1 John 2:18-29
22:7, 12, 20
Five times in the book of Revelation, Jesus says, "I am coming quickly."
What meaning does "quickly" have, when it's been nearly 2,000 years since He said it?
In his first epistle (1 John 2:18), John says that it was "the last hour"…then.
If we look with earthly eyes, it could cause one to doubt; but with heavenly eyes, time has no real meaning when compared to all of eternity; for 2,000 years, by comparison, would be less than two days.
Now, consider something else: since God is One, then wherever any person of God is, there is Jesus, also.
Thus, to those who have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the one true baptism, Jesus has come, spiritually.
When He does return in His physical appearance, that the whole world may see Him, to us it will be only a manifestation of what we already have had, for the presence of the Holy Spirit gives the believer a different vision and a different understanding.
Look at what John tells us in 1 John 2:18-29:
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.
There are still many antichrist type people in the world today.
Things haven't changed much in all these years.
But where do these evil people come from?
19. They went out from us, 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.
If we listen to most conservative Christian commentators and television evangelists, we hear that they are usually looking to some evil government or anti-Christian movement for the antichrist; but that is not where they come from, as John reminds us.
These antichrists actually come from the church community itself.
They usually come from the extreme right or left wing, or at least some fringe area of Christianity.
They are extremists.
Think of the Jim Jones and Richard Coresh situations.
They drew to themselves people who were discouraged with the world around them, and they gave them a sense of hope.
And the stronger the following, the more they claimed to be like Christ, and the more dictatorial they became.
Three things usually become apparent:
They emphasize certain portions of the Bible (often out of context) in order to justify their hardness of heart, or set the Bible aside and claim to have a better or more complete authority,
they show a fear of government and take up arms to protect themselves,
and they resort to various kinds of immoralities (greed, lust, arrogance, cruelty, hatred, etc.) often away from public view.
Observe that none of these characteristics are based on love.
However, as John reminds us:
20. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
We all know what?
We know the difference between what is of Christ and what is against Him.
And the three examples that I gave are all against the teachings of Christ.
Thus, if we are truly in Christ, we should know the difference.
Listen to what John says next:
21. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
This is a polite way of saying, I have written to remind you; and at times, we all get so involved in situations that we fail to really look at them as an outsider would look at them, so we need to be reminded about what it is really like.
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.
23. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
So, how do we recognize and avoid these problems?
As John says:
24. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
25. And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
26. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
There are many deceptions in the world around us.
What are we to do about it, run away from it?
No, that's how people get into trouble, and it's not what the Bible teaches us.
First of all, we are not to become a part of it; and secondly, we are to stand firmly against it.
27. And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
We really don't need anyone to teach us, but we do need to be reminded of the truths, mostly because we get too busy or too lazy, and fail to read and study God's word on our own.
28. And now, little children abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
29. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.
The messages that Jesus gave to the seven churches in Revelation were really this same kind of reminder.
Listen to what He said in Revelation 3:7-13:
7. "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:
8. 'I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
This is not a reminder to a bad church.
This is a reminder to a church that is trying to do what the Lord wants them to do, but not as fully as they should be.
In several ways, it could have been a church just like ours, today.
But it had some differences.
9. 'Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie--behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
But then we come back to the reminder and the encouragement:
10. 'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.
11. 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown.
12. 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
13. 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
This is why it's so important that we that we instruct our children in the love of God, according to the whole Bible, that they will grow up in the knowledge and strength of the Lord.
And we don't have a Bible study for just for a few people; it's for everyone, but sometimes only a few come.
I don't encourage you to come because I'm counting numbers.
On the contrary, I'm encouraging you to come, that we may grow in the Lord together, and strengthen each other.
Don't just take my word for this, ask the people who come regularly.
I want you to have ears that really hear and eyes that really see.
It is only ignorance that gets us into trouble.
As Jesus reminds us (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20):
7. "And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book."
12. "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
20. He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Yes! Come, Lord Jesus!
Amen and Amen.
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