1 John 2:18-29
This past week I got a notice in the mail and on the envelop it said, “Urgent!”
- What does that mean? Urgent?
Nothing to a lot of people and the reason it doesn’t mean much to a lot of people is because we use the term when the situation isn’t really “urgent.”
But there are times and instances when the situation is really “urgent” and should be treated as such.
- And that is what the situation is here in the verses that were read.
- There is a sense of “urgency” here in what John writes and it requires our immediate attention.
Look with me at vs. 18 again.
Vs. 18: Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.
- First of all notice that John speaks to the “Children.”
- Back up in verses 12-14 John wrote to three different groups; the children, the young men, and the fathers…and he isn’t referring to their age.
- He is referring to their spiritual maturity…the fathers being first generation Christians “who have known Christ from the beginning”…the young men “who have overcome the evil one” being second generation Christians…and the children “whose sins are forgiven” being new converts.
So here in vs. 18 John is speaking to the “children” or to those who are new converts…because the new converts are the weakest in their faith…they are babies in Christ…they are the most susceptible…they are the ones who are in the most danger!.
So John says, “Children, it is the last hour”…two times in this verse John says, “It is the last hour.”
- “This is urgent! There are no hours after this!”
Now initially when you look at this statement it sounds like an “end of time statement.”
- But that is not the way that John uses the term “”
- John uses the term “hour” to speak of a transition…a change.
- For example look at John 2:4:
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.”
- Jesus says, “A transition or change will take place but not yet.”
John 5:27 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour (a change) is coming and now is, when the dead (spiritually) shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.
John 5:28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour (a change) is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,
John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (Here Jesus is saying, “It is time for a change.”)
Several times John in his writing uses the word “hour” but he doesn’t use it in the context of “end of time”…he uses it to refer to a change.
So, what you have in 1 John 2:18 is a warning about a change.
- And John doesn’t say, “It is going to take place.”
- Instead, 2 times He says, “It is the last hour.” “It is happening now!”
- It is an urgent situation! And it requires your immediate attention now.!
And why is this so “urgent?” Because “even now many antichrists have risen.”
- Some today say that the “antichrist” have yet to come.
- That is not what John says. John says they are already here!
And this should not be a surprise to these new converts because John says that they have “heard (past tense) that these antichrist (these people who were against Christ) were coming.”
- Up until the time John wrote this the people were eager to hear the good news of Jesus, but now these “anti-Christ”, these people who were opposed to Christ have “arisen”, and they will pervert the “good news of Christ” and confuse these new converts and turn them from the sound teachings of Christ.
- And that is what is so “urgent” about this!.
In fact, look at what John writes in 2 John vs. 8. John says, Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
John is not talking about the “end of time.”
- What John is doing is, he is sounding a warning here to try and keep these new converts from a present danger that could and would cost them their salvation in Christ.
- This is an “urgent” situation. It requires their immediate attention.
- And this situation still exists today for us.
So John says, “Even now many antichrist have arisen.” Who are these “antichrist?”
Well, notice in vs.18 that John says that these antichrist are many.
- And when he speaks of “many” he isn’t talking so much about numbers.
- No doubt there were many of them just as there is today.
But when John speaks of “many antichrist” he is speaking more specifically about the many different currents of antichristian teachings and doctrines coming from false teachers who claimed to have a special knowledge (syncretizing the gospel of Christ with their human reasoning).
- And John has already mentioned a few of their teachings; teachings that still exist today.
In chapter 1:7 some of these false teachers were teaching that you could “walk in the darkness and still have fellowship with God.”
- Later in chapter 1:8 and 10 they said they “were without sin” which in essence made God a liar and which meant they didn’t need Christ.
- In chapter 2:4 they were teaching that “you didn’t have to keep God’s commands.”
- In chapter 2:12 they were claiming to have fellowship with God while standing on a platform of hate.
- And in vs. 15 of chapter 2 they said you could have a divided devotion; that you could serve two masters; you could “love the world and all the allurements of the world and still love God.”
And look at vs. 19: John says, “They went out from us (they claimed to be Christians), but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.
- You can almost hear their argument…in fact, we often hear it today.
- “We believe in God too! We believe in Christ! We believe in heaven we just have different ideas on how to get there.”
John says, “These antichrist went out from us” but were not really a part of us.”
- They looked and sounded so good; they were very impressive; but they never really accepted the truth…and they never had fellowship with God. They only claimed to be Christians….
- “Because”, look what John says, ”If they would have been of us, they would have “ have remained with us.”
- “But they went out in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”
The church didn’t lose anything when these people left because the church never had them in the first place.
- These deceivers came in secretly as though they were spies…they were false brethren.
- They were sectarian…they only wanted to teach and promote their way of thinking…they came in to cause confusion and division.
And look at vs. 22: Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
- These false teachers, these deceivers, these perverters of the word of God they denied that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah…they wanted to deny His O.T. roots.
- They wanted to deny His deity; His Father and Son relationship.
- And John says, “They are liars.”
And if you look at vs. 26 you see why John is writing this: These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
- These false teachers; these liars; these perverters of the word of God were on a mission to deceive these Christians.
Why would they do this? To justify themselves.
These “children, these new converts” were going to encounter many different facets of antichristian teachings, just as we do today.
- And John is urgently warning these new Christians as well as all of us of the danger we face.
- The situation is “urgent” requiring our immediate attention!
So, what do we do? In the presence of this danger that exists today, what do we do to keep from being deceived by those who pervert the word of God?
- Well, John tells us. Look at vs. 26 again.
John says, These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
27 And as for you, the anointing which you received… (What is this anointing? Well, you learn what the anointing is by what the anointing does!)
27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you…
- These brethren that John is writing to have “received this anointing.”
- And they received it from “Him”; 20 says they received this “anointing from the Holy One.”
- And the “anointing” abides in them. In vs. 24 “what they had heard” abides in them.
- So the anointing is what they had “heard from the beginning” and since it does, “they abide in the Son and in the Father.”
Now, vs. 27 again: And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you and you have no need for anyone to teach you (why?); because His anointing teaches you about all things (redemption and salvation), and is true and is not a lie, and just as it (not a person) has taught you, you abide in Him.
What is this “anointing?” Well, it is something that teaches us; about all things.
- It is true and is not a lie.
- It is totally adequate. We don’t need any one else to teach us; especially the antichrist; those who pervert the word of God.
- And since “it” is an “it” we know “it” is not a person.
- And when we let “it” teach us we abide with Him; we have fellowship with Christ.
- What is it? WORD OF GOD or the BIBLE.
And what John is saying is, there are many false teachers and there are many false teachings who will deceive you and lead you astray.
- And to keep us from being deceived we must make sure that the word of God abides in us. (Study it; learn it; spend time in it_
- If what someone teaches us, including me,(Don’t need to be baptized; live a sinful life and still be saved; don’t have to keep His commands; you can hate your brother; Jesus is not the Son of God; you can save yourself; Jesus isn’t enough, you need more) if what they teach you does not agree with the word of God, they are false teachers and liars.
- Ignore what they say.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023