Overcoming an Antichrist: Rely and Abide

Epistles of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Who here is familiar with the term antichrist? We most often associate an antichrist with end-times, which is fitting. There is very often a great deal of hand-wringing that is associated with an antichrist. This morning, my hope is to set the record straight on what an antichrist is as well as what we should do to prepare for such an encounter.
Read 1 John 2:18-27

Identifying an Antichrist

Once again, John addresses the recipients of his letter as children, putting on display both the affection that he had for them as well as his role as spiritual mentor or father to them. This passage is interesting because there has been a great deal of encouragement up to this point. However, now the tone changes from encouragement to a word of warning.
Because it is not the main point of the message, I don’t want to get into the idea of the last hour other than to say that John recognizes that the return of Christ was nearer and nearer with each passing day. It is important that we display the same type of urgency when we discuss the things of God both with one another as well as the world.
Based on verse 18, John is highlighting the fact that there are many antichrists both in the past as well as the future. There are three ways that you and I are able to identify an antichrist.
The first is seen simply in the name alone: antichrist. In the Greek, the prefix ‘anti’ was typically used in front of a name to indicate that there was an attempt to claim to be, replace, or be against. The last option is what we typically would assign to an antichrist as being against Christ, which is true by his very nature but that is not the direct meaning. We can understand that because of the second identifier in verse 19.
They have come from the Christian community. Verse 19 centers on the fact the antichrists were once a part of churches but it is quickly understood after their departure that they never belonged because they did not stay or make an attempt to be apart.
Just based on these two identifiers alone, there could be a lot speculate of some who have lost the faith. However, if we skip down to verse 22, we will see one final characteristic.
An antichrist will also deny both the Father and the Son. In claiming the role of redeemer and savior, this imposter will deny the deity of Jesus as Christ as well as the sovereignty of God the Father.
You may be asking, “why does this matter to me? Won’t it be obvious that a person is being an imposter. Well, it is notable that John is providing a warning to these disciples of Christ. If understanding these things was not important, I don’t believe that he would have shared them in this letter.
There is a great deal of danger in a person leaving a faith community and beginning to preach their own gospel. We have seen this happen in the past with other antichrists, where a person speaks using familiar words to the gospel but does not represent the scriptures. There is always something extra.
When we believe that we are not at risk to follow such a heretic, we set ourselves up potentially for failure. This is why it is important that we know precisely how the bible identifies antichrists. There are individuals who pose a real and serious threat to the advancement of the gospel and the church.
The remainder of this passage deals with what we can do to both prepare for an antichrist as well as dealing with them directly. Next this morning,

Rely on the Knowledge That Has Been Revealed

John continues on, after stating clearly that they were once a part of the Christian community but no longer are, that those he is writing to have been anointed by the Holy Spirit. I turn to you this morning and say, if you have confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord based on His death and resurrection, you also have been anointed by the Holy Spirit.
What exactly does this anointing mean? The anointing is an identifier. Something that sets apart. The point that is being made here is because the Holy Spirit is with a person, they have an important tool: knowledge. Because the Holy Spirit is actively revelation, God reveals things to us through His word. This isn’t some exclusive decoder. It is through this same process of revelation that God has set aside to reach the world.
Verse 21 tells us that John is telling them these things because they know the truth. In referring to the truth, he is specifically talking about the truth that it is Jesus of Nazareth who is the Christ. And it is important that they be made aware of these antichrists because they were spreading false information regarding who the Christ is.
While we’ve already covered some of verse 22, I want to circle back and highlight the fact that it is a person who denies that Jesus is the Christ who is a liar. May it be known to everyone who is here that there is truth! There is no gray area in the matter of who Jesus is. Beyond just denying Christ, there is a tie here between denying Jesus as the Christ and denying the Father. If a person rejects that Jesus is the Christ, they have managed to deny the whole gospel. Jesus is the centerpoint of the gospel and to take any of the scriptural truths about Him is to also deny His Father.
We live in a world that does not place high value on truth. May we be a people who not only embrace truth but also proclaim it. The truth that I am talking about is not just a mundane fact. Instead, it is the lifeblood that has given you and I new purpose and life. And this leads into the final point regarding what to do to prepare for an antichrist and how to approach them.

Abide in Truth

Because it is Jesus Christ who has saved us, the surefire way to overcome the possible temptation of being swayed by an antichrist is to simply rest in what it is that you know of Christ. What did you hear from the beginning about Jesus? Verse 24 says that if you rest in that, then you will abide in both the Son and the Father.
The word for abide here means that it is a continuous dwelling. We must remain in this. And when we abide in the gospel, verse 27 explains that there will be no need for another person to come in and teach us. This is not to say that the person who has been saved has no need to hear preaching regularly. Instead, it is to say that the anointing of the Holy Spirit is what guides each and every time we open up the scriptures. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us discernment.
I’m afraid that we have a tendency to stray away from the simplicity of the gospel. There are times, especially in an established church where we manage to complicate things.
As we close this morning, I’d like for us to consider what we know about Jesus. This very truth should be where we abide. It ought to be the beginning and end of our thoughts. When a person has committed themselves to Jesus, it is His salvation that dictates everything else about us. This is what it means to abide in truth.
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