In First John we are in a passage of scripture where the Lord through the Apostle John is explaining to us some important information about the last time. He is talking to us about the antichrist. Many people in the last two thousand years have tried to identify the antichrist. The Bible is telling us to beware not only of the antichrist but of many antichrists. John wrote in verse 18, there are many antichrists. He also wrote in First John , 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.
What makes these people antichrists is their attitude towards Christ. They are not for Christ: they are against Christ. They do not receive the true teachings about Jesus Christ, and so they are antichrists. They went out from John, because they did not like nor agree with what John was saying. If someone does not accept my teachings, then they do not accept me; and if my teachings are from God and His Son, then whoever does not accept my teachings, does not accept God either. These antichrists went away from the things that the apostles taught. That is how you will recognize them. They will be manifested by what they teach. If they departed from the key points of apostolic doctrine, then they departed from Christ. Of course, you will not know that unless you know the Bible real well.
But even if you study the Bible a lot, you will not understand it properly unless you have the Holy Spirit to teach you. John said that those to whom he was writing did have the Holy Spirit and they would understand. He wrote in First John 2:20, But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. Those who have the Holy Spirit know all that they need to know. John said that he was writing to these believers, not because they did not know what they needed, but because they know already. If you already know what is good and true; it is a good thing to hear what is good and true once again. That same concept was understood by the song writer who penned, Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word. Tell me the story so precious, sweetest that ever was heard.
If you know the truth, then you will not be fooled by a lie. Many, many people are fooled by the antichrists of whom one great characteristic is that they are liars. And they are very good liars. That is why without the Holy Spirit and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, you also will be duped by them. One reason that they are so good at fooling people is because these false teachers are often very good speakers. Paul wrote about them in Romans 16:18 where he said that they, by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Listen to what Peter said about the antichrists. He wrote in Second Peter 2:1-2, But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
Remember that your best teacher is always the Holy Spirit. You cannot learn anything the way you need to unless the Holy Spirit teaches it to you no matter who is speaking. On the other hand, if all that you have is the Word of God, the Holy Spirit is quite capable of teaching you whatever He wants you to know.
These antichrists should know the truth. They heard the truth. Evidently the Holy Spirit offered them the truth at one time. But the antichrists chose a lie instead of the truth, and now they are liars. That is what John said and his message is from God. John wrote in First John 2:22, Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. So far we have been told three characteristics of the antichrists. At some point they hear the truth: maybe they are members of churches at some point in their life, or students or even teachers in a seminary, but at some point they cast themselves off from the apostolic teachings. They become attached to a lie instead of to the truth. This passage undoubtedly is talking about the deity of Christ. The antichrists reject the concept of the deity of Christ. That is why First John speaks of the Father and the Son the way that it does in one phrase. Jesus is equated to God. Jesus is One with the Father. That means that Jesus has the same nature and attributes as the Father. That means that Jesus Himself is God. That is why Jesus said in the gospels, If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.
And what John is saying is that if you reject Jesus, then you have rejected the Father. John says that very bluntly in First John 2:23. He writes, Whosoever denieth the Son, the same has not the Father; but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. It is not enough to say, I believe in God, because Jesus and the Father are One. That is the truth. The truth is universal and the truth comes from God. The One true Who is everywhere presents the truth to all. Those who reject the truth will reject the truth about Christ. Why do people reject the idea that Jesus is the Christ? They reject it because they reject the truth that God is trying to reveal to them. They are rejecting God. Whoever says that they accept God and yet deny Christ is an antichrist.
First John 2:24, Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. The problem that every Christian will face is the possibility of departing from sound doctrine. One way to keep that from happening is to always remember the beginning: the beginning of Christianity. Remember what it is really all about. This is what it is about: I am a sinner. I need a Savior. Jesus Christ the Son of God came into the world to die for the sins of the world. Jesus forgives the sins of those who repent and turn to Him. Everyone who has entered into this relationship with Christ listens to His teachings and has a goal of following Him and doing His will. There will be circumstances to arise and people to come into your life whose effect will be to lead you away from what you learned at the beginning of your Christian life. Many people have started well, but then do not finish well. Do not let that happen to you. John did not want that to happen to these Christians to whom he was writing. John knew that it would happen to them if they listened to the wrong teachers.
John wrote in First John 2:25, And this is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life. Perhaps John wrote this verse in order to remind these believers of one of the central ideas in the foundational truths regarding Jesus Christ. It is all about eternal life. The promises that Jesus gave are largely in regards to the next life. Jesus has given to us great and precious promises. Most people only have this life to live for. Jesus said, In my Fathers house are many mansions .I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you may be also. Jesus also said about His believers, I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish. To give one more example, Jesus said just before raising Lazarus from the dead, I am the resurrection and the life. Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. There is nothing more important than having eternal life. The antichrists can do nothing for you. No one can do anything for you.
The Apostle John realized the need to warn these believers of a serious situation that they would face just like all other believers. John wrote in First John 2:26, These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. The antichrists are false teachers. They are not satisfied with believing that which is false: they are very motivated to teach, to manipulate, and to control. What they teach and the way that they teach will be a seduction to even believers. If the Lord delays His coming, even the elect may be seduced.
John reminds these believers one more time of what resource has been given to them so that they can avoid being drawn away by false teachers or false teachings. John wrote in First John 2:27, But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him. John had just mentioned the eternal life that we have from Jesus. No one can ever take that from us. Now John is mentioning for the second time the anointing that we have speaking of the Holy Spirit. If you are a true believer in Jesus, you have been given the Holy Spirit who dwells within you. No one can ever take the Holy Spirit away from you. One of the things that the Holy Spirit does for you is that He teaches you.
Never forget that the Holy Spirit is your teacher. Jesus told the disciples that when Jesus left the earth, Jesus would send the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. You cannot understand the Bible the way that you need to, and you cannot be touched by specific Bible verses that you need, and you cannot learn the true spiritual truths that you also desperately need without the Holy Spirit. Learn to listen to and rely upon the Holy Spirit as a teacher. Yes, Jesus has gifted certain men as teachers of His Word, but that never changes the fact that your primary teacher is the Holy Spirit. Many people have wrongly stopped leaning upon the anointing that is within them, and instead have turned themselves over to some human being. No pastor or preacher has a right to lord it over the flock, and no believer should turn their mind over to some control freak. Maybe they want to control you so badly because they are an antichrist. The Spirit of the Lord is the spirit of liberty: liberty of body and mind and soul. Jesus came to bring freedom: freedom from sin and freedom from bondage and freedom from error. Do not become entangled once again under any kind of bondage: especially not the bondage of some human teacher. Yes, listen to a human teacher, and hopefully it will be a teacher gifted by Christ to teach the Word; but never forget that your main teacher is the Holy Spirit.
John wrote in First John , And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. John gives one more reason to make the proper effort to stay clear of the teachings of the antichrists: the judgment of Christians at the coming of the Lord. What the Lord wants to happen is that you become a Christian and then you start growing in Christ, so that when your life is over and you are judged for what you become in life, you will be happy with what you became and the Lord will be happy with you. In that case you will be rewarded and you will enter into a position and a responsibility in eternity that was prepared for you. You do not want to miss out on any part of that, and you do not want to be ashamed when you stand before Christ. That is exactly what Paul was talking about in SecondTimothy 4:7-8, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
In Pauls case he was in prison with a death sentence, and he knew that he was about to die, and therefore he knew that he was about to stand before the Savior and the Almighty God. In Johns case here in First John evidently he had no impending death, and so the event that John was looking to was the coming of the Lord. John expected the Lord Jesus Christ to return to the earth. We should also live that way: with that kind of expectation. Unless you are going to die today or tomorrow, do not talk about meeting the Lord when you die. Talk about meeting Christ when He returns. The Lord Jesus Christ will return to the earth some day and some time. He could very well return today. Everything is set up for his return. Remember that we are already in the last time, and Christ will return in the last time. Remember that there are already many antichrists, and the man of sin will be revealed once Christ has raptured His beloved ones out of the earth. Do like the Apostle John: do not look forward to death, but look forward to the return of your Savior, and make it your goal to meet the Savior unashamed. And you will only do that if you avoid the seduction of the teachings of the antichrists.
John has one more thing to say about recognizing the antichrists. The Bible says in First John 2:29, If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone that does righteousness is born of him. John learned this from Jesus and from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in warning about the false ones, You shall know them by their fruits. One way that you will know the antichrists is by their teachings. Another way that you will know them is by their life. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The antichrists are people who live in sin. They use their religious position in order to take advantage of people: this might be sexually or financially or willfully in any other way. A servant of Christ is a humble person, surrendered to the will of Christ. An antichrist is a proud person, going about doing their own will for the sake of their own ego. They are capable of nothing else. They just might deceive you by how well they speak, but watch them. You will know them by their fruits. As John wrote, everyone that doeth righteousness is born of him. If they do not do righteousness, then you must assume that they are not born of him. Beloved, this is the last time, and there are many antichrists.
Copyright; 2005 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved