When John wrote this epistle, the church was confronted with great heresy. His opponents were denying that Jesus was the Christ. Some denied that Jesus had come in the flesh. The end result was to downplay the importance of Christ's atoning sacrifice.
Many heresies exist in the world today concerning Christ and the church. The one that stands out the most is that Christ is not the exclusive way of salvation. Undoubtedly, this is the greatest heresy of our time. We have an answer to the problem of heresy in our text. We are anointed with the Holy Spirit who helps us overcome heresy.
One, honor the Holy Spirit who teaches!
The central question in I John 2: 20 and 27 is whether the anointing (chrisma) refers to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, or both. John does not specifically say, but the answer is clear enough. The anointing refers in this text to the Holy Spirit, but especially the Holy Spirit in His teaching role. The Holy Spirit teaches the truth to believers who are then able to overcome the antichrists and their heresy.
The Holy Spirit, like the Son and the Father, is God. Let us lift Him up as a Teacher. The highest way for us to honor the Spirit as Teacher is to read and study God's Word. The Spirit is the Great Inspirer of the Word. Because He is the Inspirer, we know the Bible as God's Word. We honor the Spirit by giving the Word the proper place in our lives.
Two, rely on the Anointing who abides in you!
John does not specifically say when the anointing takes place. The anointing abides or remains in us. In his gospel, John stressed the abiding presence of the Spirit in Jesus (John 1:33) and in the believers (John 14: 16-17). Rather than dwelling on the way in which the disciples first received the Spirit, John emphasizes the continuing and abiding power of the Spirit.
Also, John says, "and you have no need for anyone to teach you." With this comment John makes it clear that the church does not need false teachers. Instead we must rely on the Spirit and the Word. The anointing is the Spirit who dwells within you. Let's not let negligence rob us of our source of teaching--God's Word. And let's not let a weak personal relationship with God keep us from sensing the presence of the teaching Spirit!
Three, learn what the Spirit teaches!
John says "His anointing teaches you about all things (peri panton)." He does not mean that the disciples know all things, but rather that the Spirit teaches them concerning all things. Our knowledge about all things should continue to be enhanced and grow deeper. The Spirit continues to teach us throughout our lives.
We will continue to learn the deeper things of God. Concerning verse 20, Chafer (p. 134) says: "Here, again, it is implied that every Christian, being anointed, is indwelt by the Spirit and therefore is in the way of knowing those 'deep things' of God which are alone imparted by the indwelling Spirit."
The apostle Paul speaks about levels of instruction. He tells us (I Corinthians 3:2) that there is "milk" and there is "solid food." Milk is not one doctrine, and solid food another. Rather, the milk, as I understand it, is an elementary form of a doctrine. The "solid food" is the more advanced form of the doctrine. We keep on learning about all the doctrines of the church.
We are anointed with the Spirit so that we may be properly taught. What the anointing teaches us "is true and is not a lie." When the disciples know the truth, they are better prepared for service. The Spirit enables them (John 20:23) to present the truth and apply it to others. Because we present the truth, what we teach affects the eternal destiny of our audiences.
Four, abide in Jesus!
There is a close relationship between the Spirit, or the anointing, and what He teaches. The truth, like the Spirit, abides in us. John says that the disciples (verse 24) are to "let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning." We imbibe the truth, and the truth abides. The truth is best expressed in the Word of God. So, together, the Spirit and the Word guide us.
John says (verse 27), "and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him." That anointing (the Holy Spirit) teaches the disciples. Let us obey the Spirit. When the Word and the Spirit abide in the disciples, they will abide in the Son and the Father. Jesus was concerned always that we abide in Him. It is when we abide in Him that we are protected and secure. He is the great Lord of the universe. Our relationship with Him is what counts. It is our grand privilege to know Him personally.
John declared it, "You have an anointing!" When you come to Christ, you receive the Spirit. The Spirit is the anointing, and He abides in you. You know you are in Christ by the anointing which is in you.
The apostle John emphasizes the teaching ministry of the anointing. Because you have the Spirit and the Word, you can be sure of God's guidance in life. He will guide you into all truth. Let us not despise the teaching ministry of the church.
And, when we know the truth, we are better prepared to experience the powerful presence of the Spirit. This is something we all enjoy. Let the Spirit fall upon us fresh today! Let His anointing be new and real in our lives!