The Antichrists Among Us (Part 3)

sccsermon63


TEXT: 1 John 2:18-23

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

The Antichrists Among Us (Part 3)

The Apostle John told us what happens with antichrists in the church: They eventually leave the church of God proving that they were never really a part of it. Perhaps, the key question for us today is: How does the church operate in light of the fact that there might be antichrists among us today — antichrists who have not revealed themselves and shown their true allegiance? How should we carry ourselves in light of this truth?

We must remember that John is writing to “little children” in the faith. These are possibly members of a local church that he helped found or a group of believers who had come to Christ not too long before John write this letter. The announcement that there may already be some among them who do not share their faith in Christ and who would seek to undermine the church was probably a little scary. The question on the minds of these believers, whom John affectionately calls “little children”, would have been: What do we do in light of this knowledge?

John reminds them of something very important. He says, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” The word “unction” comes from the Greek word “chrisma” and it means “anointing.” This anointing is something that every Christian receives from God and has abiding in him or her. It is not something special that is given only to certain Christians. This anointing is the covering of the Holy Spirit on your life and the influence of the Holy Spirit in your life. You received Him when you gave your life to Christ. In order to combat the spirit of antichrist, you must rely on the Holy Spirit.

As he explains that the “anointing” spoken of by John is indeed the Holy Spirit, John Piper states, “We can go back and rephrase 1 John 2:20 like this: ‘You have the Holy Spirit from God in you and so you know the truth.’… That is, ‘You don’t need these progressive prophets who claim to add new information about Christ beyond the truth you heard at the beginning.’ What is plain is that without the Holy Spirit we would not know the truth. Knowing the truth about Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit reveals to all of God’s children the truth about Jesus Christ. So, when someone says, ‘Jesus is not God,’ or ‘Jesus wasn’t virgin-born,’ or ‘Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead,’ the Holy Spirit inside of us rejects those statements as untrue. Jesus Christ himself said, “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” The Holy Spirit is the first line of defense against false teaching in the church. He is the first line of defense against a person who has the spirit of antichrist.

Now, some might say that this “unction” or “anointing” spoken of by John is only given to a special few. A false teacher may try to use such an argument to prop himself up and claimm to have some kind of special connection to God or a special revelation from God. However, that trick is almost two thousand years old. Warren Wiersbe writes, “False Christians in John’s day used two special words to describe their experience: ‘knowledge’ and ‘unction.’ They claimed to have a special unction (anointing) from God which gave them a unique knowledge. They were ‘illuminated’ and therefore living on a much higher level than anybody else. But John points out that all true Christians know God and have received the Spirit of God! And because they have believed the truth, they recognize a lie when they meet it.”

This is what John points out when he says, “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” Even the “little children” in the church knew the truth about Jesus. Why? Because they had the Holy Spirit living inside of them. If God puts a check in your spirit about what someone is doing or teaching under the auspices of the church, you need to follow that still, small voice. Perhaps, we would not see as much false doctrine spreading through the church as we do if more believers paid attention to the Holy Spirit speaking in their lives.

John goes on to give an example of a lie as compared with the truth. He says, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” Not only are they liars and unsaved, but they are not even of God. “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”

The Bible makes it clear that there is not any middle ground between the true church and the antichrist. And the true church has a powerful ally in the struggle against the antichrists among us — the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit not only reveals the truth to us, but reveals those who have the antichrist spirit among us. We need not fear those who wish to do the church of Christ harm. As John says, it is not because we do not have knowledge of Christ — in fact, he says, we “know all things” — but because we have an “unction”, an anointing from Christ. The Holy Spirit allows us to discern and identify the antichrist spirit. We must learn to listen to Him.

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If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

Growing in Faith Through Christian Brotherhood, Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #29)

PART A

PART B

TEXT: 1 John 3:13-18

Last week, we began talking about the importance of being a part of a community of other believers in your Christian walk. Using the example of how, in Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian found Faithful and they continued their journey to the Celestial City together, we focused on the fact that the world is not friendly to those who are followers of Christ. If you don’t have other believers around you to support you, encourage you, and hold you up, you can easily become discouraged in your Christian walk.

Today, we want to take a closer look at the second mark of true Christians: not only are they hated by the world, but they love each other. Our passage states, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”

One of the first marks of a follower of Jesus Christ is that he or she loves other believers and the church as a whole. In his fine work on The Letters of John, Colin Kruse states that John points out that mutual love is the mark of true children of God. Those who love are those who have passed from death to life. ‘The expression ‘we have passed from death to life’ has a close parallel to the same phrase found in the Gospel of John where the idea of passing from death to life is synonymous with escaping condemnation and obtaining eternal life. The closeness of the expressions and the relationship between First John and the Gospel of John justify interpreting this statement to show that love for fellow believers is the mark of those who have escaped condemnation because they have come to know God through Jesus Christ.’ Basically, what John is clearly showing here is that if you are truly born again, you will love others who are also born again.

The word used here for love is agape. This indicates that the love we have for others in the body of Christ is not based on feelings or based on what they have done for us or how they have treated us. We simply choose to love them just as God chose to love us despite our faults, sins, and failures. Just as in any family, because we are all human, people in the body of Christ will offend you, betray you, and do things that you do not agree with. What do you do? You love them anyway. Love is the mark of the body of believers.

John calls those who do not love other Christians “murderers.” Is there somebody in your church whom you hate or despise — somebody whom you avoid at all costs, somebody whom you wish you didn’t have to see every time you went to church? The Bible classifies your attitude toward that person as murderous. Remember, God looks on your heart. Just because you have never said or done anything negative to that person, that does not negate your attitude. Kenneth L. Barker states, “In the heart there is no difference; to hate is to despise, to cut off from relationship, and murder is simply the fulfillment of that attitude.” Charles Spurgeon also stated, “Every man who hates another has the venom of murder in his veins. He may never actually take the deadly weapons into his hand and destroy life; but if he wishes that his brother were out of the way, if he would be glad if no such person existed, that feeling amounts to murder in the judgment of God.”

Dear friend, you need other believers, and other believers need you. Together, we grow stronger in our faith, encourage each other, and “provoke” each other to do what is right. Don’t ruin the fellowship that you could have by holding a grudge or becoming bitter toward another brother or sister. The Bible says, “How good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.”

Charles Wesley wrote this song which is applicable to our relationship with others in the body of Christ.

All praise to our redeeming Lord,
Who joins us by His grace,
And bids us, each to each restored,
Together seek His face.
He bids us build each other up;
And, gathered into one,
To our high calling’s glorious hope
We hand in hand go on.

Now, in the body of Christ, you ought not to always be a receiver. No matter how much the preaching, the singing, or the service of others is a blessing to you, you ought to be on the giving end some time. In fact, most of the time, you ought to be seeking to serve others — and not just to be served. Listen to these words again: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Jesus Christ came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. He could have easily demanded that everyone bow down and acknowledge Him as God before He died on the cross for them. But, He didn’t do that. He came and humbly served as the sacrifice for sin even though we didn’t deserve it. Are you willing to do the same? Are you willing to lay aside the trappings of whatever status or position you hold in the church or in the world and humbly give of your time, abilities, money, and provisions, in order to serve others?

In this passage, the word “perceive” tells us that we know that God loves us not just because He says so, but because He demonstrated that love by sacrificing His Son on the cross. We don’t have to guess and wonder about how God feels about us. We know because of what He has said and done. We ought to make it our business to make it plain that we love our brothers and sisters in Christ by acting in a manner that demonstrates that love to them — ‘not just in word and tongue; but in deed and in truth.’

If we commit to showing love to other believers and fellowshipping with other believers, we will have a much more effective, encouraging, and empowered walk with Christ.

7 Keys to the God-Blessed Life (#2): Love God

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #140

TEXT: John 19:25-27

Last week, we began this series of messages on how to live the God-blessed life. As you might recall, I shared with you that in the course of my life and walk with the Lord, from studying Scripture, and from observing the lives of other Christians, I believe there are 7 keys to living a God-blessed life.

1. Trust God.
2. Love God.
3. Fear God.
4. Meditate on the Word of God.
5. Obey God.
6. Pray to God
7. Be Faithful to God.

Last week, we looked at the topic of trusting God from the life of Abraham whom God called “from his country, his kindred, and his father’s house” to go to a land that He would show him.

Today, we are going to look at the second key to living a God-blessed life from the example of the Apostle John, one of Jesus’ disciples. John refers to himself in Scripture as the “beloved disciple” and, as you see in our passage for today, the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” The love that God has for His children and the love that we should have for the Father is a recurring theme throughout the Gospel of John and John’s three epistles. Some form of the word “love” is used 57 times in John’s Gospel and another 33 times in John’s first epistle. Leon Morris, the Australian New Testament scholar writes, “John uses both verbs [for love] more than twice as often as anyone else. Clearly love matters a good deal” to John.

We all are familiar with John 3:16 and other passages which speak of God’s love for us, but how did John demonstrate his love for God? That is the question we are going to answer today.

1. John was loyal to the purpose of God. Our passage informs us that when Jesus was hanging on the cross, he “saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved…” Like most of the disciples, when Jesus Christ was arrested, put on trial, and led away to be crucified, John was confused and disappointed. The disciples did not understand fully why Jesus would have to die.

2. John cared for the things God cared for. Our passage states, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” When Jesus saw John standing by the cross, He gave Him a task to accomplish. It seemed like such a small thing with all that was happening, but Jesus saw fit to entrust the care of his mother to John.

3. John was obedient to God. Our passage reads: “And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” Jesus committed the care of His mother to John, and the Bible tells us that from that hour, John took Mary to his own home. He did not linger; he did not wait. John showed his love for God by obeying Jesus Christ and taking care of Mary “from that hour.”

+ Plus, listen to Philip Carter & SOV singing “I Love the Lord” and David Crowder Band singing “How He Loves”

GLMX #162: Prepare to Meet Your Maker

Two weeks ago, we learned that Ariel Castro, the Ohio man who kidnapped and raped three women, and held them captive in his home for a decade, committed suicide in prison. After admitting to all of the charges brought against him in court, he was sentenced to life in prison and then 1,000 years for his crimes.

Castro likely committed suicide thinking that death would allow him to escape the judgment for his crimes. However, his death only drew him closer to his final judgment before the Judge of the universe. Ariel Castro went to meet his Maker a few weeks ago.

The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Castro will not have another chance to live his life or undo his deeds. He has gone to answer for what he did. The Bible says in First Peter 4:5 that everyone “shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.”

No matter our status in this life, no matter how good and moral we are, no matter how much success we have, we will each go to meet our Maker when we die. Each of us has an appointment with the Creator of the universe. Revelation 20:12-13 describes this great meeting. The apostle John writes, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books…And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”

The only thing that will matter once you have gone to meet God is whether or not your name is written in the “book of life” mentioned in these verses. Those who do not have their name written in the book of life will face eternal punishment in Hell as described in verse 15 of this very same passage: “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

+ Plus, listen to Shine Bright Baby singing “Never Too Far”