This is the manuscript for the sermon I preached at West Bradenton Baptist Southside on Sunday October 6th, 2019.
We are continuing our series through John’s first Epistle. Last week I talked about loving God, and not the world. I talked about how the world has nothing for you that is of eternal value. The world may offer what falsely looks to be a promise of fun, excitement, and freedom but the end results in the shackles of evil, emptiness, and estrangement from God.
Today we will be looking at 1 John 1:18 – 27 and we will see how we are living in the last hour and in this last hour we are susceptible to being deceived by those who oppose Jesus. In our time together we will look at ways we can be deceived and look at the safeguards we can take to protect us from deception.
Verse 18: Once again, John is talking specifically to the believers in this church and he is informing them that it is the last (final, lowest) hour (season or specific time).The last hour refers specifically to the time between Jesus’ ascension and his imminent second coming. John is talking about an undetermined time for all of God’s promises to be fulfilled. According to Gary Burge in his commentary on 1 John, “Sometimes the ‘last hour’ refers to a short period; sometimes its length is longer. Peter warns that God’s measuring of time is not like ours, for to the Lord a thousand years is like a day. God is above time. But when the end does come – and here the New Testament writers are in one accord – it will surprise everyone, including Christians. It will be seen by unbelievers as an unexpected catastrophe.” Since Jesus’ Second Coming has not happened yet, it is safe to say that we are still living in the last hour, so this warning also applies to us today.
Apparently, the teaching of Antichrist was common knowledge among the people. Antichrist(s) are those who are adversary/opponent of the Messiah. Broadly, the term antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ. However, John speaks of a person (who has been spoken of as coming) who will be a representative of “the evil one” of whom Jesus spoke of in his prayer, plus he speaks of the many antichrists or adversaries of Jesus who had already come during this time and these antichrist’s have continued throughout history and these are who John refers to as antichrists. With the rise of the opposition to Jesus (antichrists) this is evidence that they/we are in fact living in the last hour.
Verse 19: These present and past antichrists or adversaries of Jesus Christ or more specifically the false teachers had left the church and they did not continue in the ways of Jesus. They continued to teach and spread a false gospel and caused many to stray from the true faith of Jesus Christ. John tells the readers that these adversaries were not of God for if they had been true to the Gospel then they would have stayed in the Church. Their departure was evidence of their evil ways and anti-Christian teachings, and they were never part of the church in the first place.
Verse 20: However, those who have remained in the church are faithful and they have been anointed by the Holy Spirit. These are the true believers and those who have true faith in Jesus Christ. I will speak more directly on this in verse 27.
Verse 21: John is writing to this church because they know the truth, since they know the truth, they should not be susceptible the deceit and lies of those who teach them. This congregation has been equipped through the anointing of the Holy Spirit and thus have the Spirit of truth in them
Verse 22: Antichrist defined – The antichrist is a liar and he is one who denies or rejects God and Jesus Christ. One who is unregenerate and has refused the Gospel in their life. They are liars and there is no truth in them. If you look ahead to 1 John 4:2 – 3 it says, “This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus in not from God. This is the spirit of antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world.”
Verse 23: John now shows the oneness of Jesus Christ and God. He states if you deny one then you deny the other. On the other hand, if you confess the Son then the Father is present in your life.
Verse 24: John encourages his readers to stay true (and not stray from the false teachings) to what they heard from the beginning because this is the true authentic Gospel Message of Jesus Christ (life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus). If they hold to the truth of the Gospel, then Jesus Christ will abide in God the Father and Jesus the Son. What happens when we stray from the truth of the Gospel? We are deceived by those who oppose Jesus Christ.
Verse 25: The Gospel message contains a promise… “Those who believe in Jesus, confess their sins and abide in Jesus Christ will have eternal life (which begins here on earth).
Verse 26: The letter is written so that the believers would not be deceived. Unfortunately, there are some in the church who are trying to deceive the believers and John is telling them to be on guard. Deception comes in various forms and it is very subtle, and I believe it is important to identify how we can be led down the pat of deception. Here are four ways… These are by no means the only four pathways to deception.
Four Pathways to Deception
Verse 27: The anointing – anything smeared or poured on. The Holy Spirit has been smeared or poured out on us (unction) and is continually present in us. John tells his readers since the Holy Spirit dwells in them then the Holy Spirit is their teacher and they have no need for other teachers who claim to have the Spirit in them and teach them. This is true for us. Ultimately the Holy Spirit is our guide and teacher in this life.
John is not saying that biblical teachers are unnecessary; he is saying that teachers who come claiming a new Gospel are not from God. One author wrote, “It is no contradiction that we should listen receptively to other believers, especially when they admonish and instruct us. They also have the same Spirit, and the confusion generated by false teaching is a real danger.” The Holy Spirit is our teacher and He will reveal the truth to us when we abide in Him (Christ), however, God does empower and use men and women who are anointed by the Spirit to teach us the truths of God and Scripture.
We are living in the last/final hour, so we need to be ready, prepared and on guard because there are people in the world who are teaching false Gospels. These people are working against Jesus. They promote a false message that is deceptive and give a false sense of security. There are teachers teaching a false messages of prosperity Gospel, or one that tells you that God’s main concern is your health, wealth and happiness. They teach that you are the center of God’s universe and if you are faithful to Him (and the pastor preaching the message) you will be blessed with an abundance of wealth, a life free from sickness, and a happiness that is rooted in possessions. To the unfaithful they will not receive God’s blessing thus being unhealthy, poor, and miserable. We know this is to untrue. The Gospel is not based on you and your happiness. It is grounded in Jesus and what He has done and the promise he made to all who believe. These false teachers are working against Jesus and the Kingdom and therefore they are called antichrists.
Unfortunately, a plethora of people are beings deceived on regular basis. They are deceived primarily by the four pathways that I spoke of earlier. So, how do safeguard ourselves from deception? Well, I believe the answer is found in this passage. Here are
2 safeguards from deception found in vss. 24 – 28
 Burge, Gary M. The NIV Application Commentary: The Letters of John. Zondervan Books, Grand Rapids. 1996. Page 127
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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