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I John 2:18-28 - A Lifestyle that Transforms
Part Four: You Must Remain in the Son and Avoid Counterfeit Teachings
18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24 See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us-even eternal life.
26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-just as it has taught you, remain in him.
28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. - I John 2:18-28
Welcome back to our study "A Lifestyle that Transforms" from I John. John teaches us how to live a genuinely biblical lifestyle that honors God. Today, we will consider I John 2:18-28 and our fourth lifestyle choice: "You will have eternal life if you remain in the Son and avoid counterfeit teachings." John encourages us to remain in relationship with Jesus and, if you do so, this lifestyle will transform your self-image, your family, your church, your co-workers and all relationships that you encounter daily.
John has just taught us that we must do the will of the Father and not to love the world. In our passage today, John warns us about the need for us to live in Truth and to avoid counterfeit teachings for false teachers are trying to lead us astray. John directs us strongly to remain with God and, by doing so, to choose a lifestyle that transforms.
The Final Hour Has Arrived
John teaches us that we are living in the last days. The last days is the period between the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. So, we must be aware of the tactics of the evil one who is out to destroy us and we must hold firm to the truth. There are a few items to note about the antichrist. First, the term "Christ" is a title that means "Messiah." So, Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. The antichrist is a term that describes one who opposes the Messiah. In the end days the Antichrist will come and oppose Christ before the end of the world. Until then, there will be those with a similar desire and John calls them "antichrists." Second, while the antichrists oppose Jesus, they are not at all His equal in any way. They are merely those who proclaim lies and seek to kill and destroy. Third, John taught that they originated from the church but turned from Jesus in disobedience and seek to fulfill their own desires. This fact alone shows that they are not seeking to glorify God for if they truly followed God then they would have remained in the Faith. Fourth, though they once claimed to walk in the light, they now deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah and Son of God. Fifth, they are liars whose goal is self-gain and to build up themselves by tearing down believers.
The antichrists proclaim counterfeit teachings. Let's consider what it means for teaching to be counterfeit. First, it has the appearance of being genuine in look and in value. In reality, counterfeit teachings are a lie and are void of true value. Second, it has the appearance of coming from an equal or greater source that the original. Often, counterfeit teachings will be presented as a new idea, a new revelation, and a fresh approach. There is nothing new under the sun. Counterfeit teaching is still a lie even though it may be presented in a new manner. Third, it is presented to you that it will bring value to your life and often without much, if any sacrifice on your part. In fact, counterfeit teachings are worthless. That which has value comes always with a price of some kind. Fourth, it places your focus on doubting the Truth rather than seeking to have an authentic belief in Truth. Counterfeit teaching is a lie that originated in the Garden of Eden when the snake planted the seed of doubt in Eve by asking, "Did God really say …?"
If the antichrists and their counterfeit teachings were Truth then John wrote that they would remain in the church. If they were genuine then they would seek to glorify God and do His will. Instead, they cause division, they lie, and they deny the Lord.
Genuine Believers Have an Anointing from the Holy One
Genuine believers have an anointing from the Holy One. This means that Jesus Christ is present constantly in your life. Jesus said that He is, "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to be present in our lives as well. He taught us what the Holy Spirit will do in our lives when He said, "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13a) and "He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you" (John 16:14).
The anointing of God reveals Truth to your heart as you read the Bible, God's Word, as you obey Jesus Christ, and as you show your love for Him by loving others. There is no greater anointing, there is no greater teaching, there is no greater Truth. You must not accept the lies from the antichrists no matter how impressive their arguments or presentations may be. Instead, John instructs you to live in your anointing and remain in the Truth.
The rewards for remaining in the Truth are that you will be in the presence of the Son and the Father and that you will receive God's promise of eternal life. There is no reward greater than being in God's presence!
Application: Continue in Jesus
John concludes today's passage by warning us not to be led astray. This is actually our application of the Truth today. Instead of being led astray we must live and know the Truth. We must be aware of the tactics of the antichrists. We must respond to false teachers with Truth.
It is vital that you know the Truth and live the Truth. As I mentioned earlier, you must read the Bible, obey Jesus, and love others. This is Truth. When you are tempted by the antichrists you can respond as Jesus did when He faced the devil during his trial in the desert: He responded with the Truth of God's Word.
To live in Truth means that you will live by your convictions rather than by what is happening around you or by what others think of you. Jesus said, "'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31b-32).
If you continue in Jesus then you will be "confident and unashamed before him at his coming" (I John 2:28). That will be a feeling of authentic and deep joy that you never before felt! What a wonderful day that will be!
You will have eternal life if you remain in the Son and avoid counterfeit teachings. This is a lifestyle that transforms!
Dear Jesus, please help me to obey your Word in my life. I ask that you know my thoughts and desires so that I can keep my focus on Truth. Help to continue to walk with you today and to help others love you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
For You to Consider
- Please give an example of a false teaching. Consider how the false teaching was presented and how you should respond to it.
- What are some ways that you can identify false teachings?
- What is Truth and how can you know the Truth?
- What are the rewards for living in the Truth? How can you keep your focus on these rewards instead of on the alleged outcomes from the false teachings?
- How can you help others to live the truth and to avoid the counterfeit teachings of the antichrists?
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