Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jesus wants Us to Beware of Antichrists and False Teachings (1 John 2:18-21)

Jesus said: “Watch out for false prophets. 
They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15). 
Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us. But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies
(1 John 2:18-21, NLT).

The Apostle John are making a few startling comments here: First, there is “the Antichrist” who is coming; and second, many “antichrists” have already come! Don’t be confuse. Let me try my best to clarify what is being written.

We might begin by asking what “the Antichrist” is. The term refers either to a person who opposes Christ (is “anti” Christ) or to a person who tries to take the place of Christ (“anti” also mean “instead of”). Thus anyone who is against Jesus Christ, anyone who teaches false doctrine about Christ, anyone who tries to take Christ’s place by claiming to be a new saviour or messiah or redeemer, is an “antichrist.” Earlier, Jesus had warned about the coming of “false Christs and false prophets” who will do everything they can – even performing miracles and temporary healings – to deceive the Christians and lead them away from the true Christian faith (read Matthew 24:24). Some would even claim to be Christ himself (read Mark 13:6). These people can be called antichrists. John also say that some of the false teachers or antichrists had voluntarily “left our churches,” they were defectors. They “proved that they did not belong with us” Good! They were the counterfeit Christians, those who looked and sounded like Christians but turned out not to be so.

People throughout history tried unsuccessfully to identify who this “the Antichrist” figure is. Some thought it was Nero. Later, some people thought the antichrist was Napoleon, then Adolph Hitler, or more recently, Barack Obama and even the Vatican Pope! But all of these thoughts proved to be wrong. To me, what we can learn from this is not to spend our energies (and Internet data to watch YouTube videos about this issue) to identify one Antichrist who is going to bring about the end of history and the return of authentic Christ. Instead, we should be aware of people and groups who in their own ways – whether quite directly or more subtly – try to convince people that they alone have all of “the truth,” “special knowledge,” and that they have a “special” relationship God which no one else can have. Let me tell you: All of us have access to knowledge of the truth – we can, I’m convince, understand the essentials of faith.

God makes it clear in His Word that we can all know enough about our faith to be saved and live as believers. No matter know smart or dumb we may feel we are; no matter how many Bible verses we have memorized or how many details of Bible history we know, we can know enough to be God’s children; and that’s what really counts (but this is not an excuse to not read and study the Bible). The Scriptures reminds us that we don’t need any “new truth,” that we have been told and know enough to help us “know the difference between truth and lies”; to know “what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, we have enough light to show us where to walk – if we choose to use it.

Imagine you have a flashlight in your hand as you walk down a dark, spooky street at night. If you don’t turn on the flashlight you won’t get the light you need to walk; but if you take advantage of the flashlight you will have enough light to show you the way and where to go. You have enough light (or knowledge or “the truth”) to tell you what to believe and do. Don’t look for “new” truth as it was being proclaimed by false teachers and prophets [In summary, there are 7 lies in the church today: 1) Overemphasis of prosperity, 2) exaggerated view of grace; 3) antinomianism; 4) deification of man; 5) challenging the authority of the Word; 6) rejecting the existing of actual hell; and 7) universal reconciliation] Stand firm. God “has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth” (1 John 2:20). Amen.

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