1 John 2:18-23 - Guarding Against Antichrists or False Teachers

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God has warned the church “little children” about the conflict between:

·         Light & darkness 1John 1:1-2:6

·         Love and hatred 1John 2:7-17

Now He warns about a third conflict:

·         Truth and error

The Warning Against Antichrists (v.18)

It is the last hour (v.18a)              a kind of time, not a duration of time

1.       Believers must know this (2 Peter 3:3)

a.       The first coming of Jesus Christ to earth was the pivotal point of human history.

·         Jesus Christ came in “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4).

·         Jesus Christ came “in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20).

·         God has “in these last days spoken unto us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:2).

·         John the Apostle says, “it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).

b.       Right now, the time between Christ’s first coming and His Second Coming is called the age of grace.

The thing to remember is that this period of history is called...

·         “these last times” (1 Peter 1:20).

·         “the last days” (2 Peter 3:3; 2 Tim. 3:1).

·         “these last days” (Hebrews 1:2).

·         “the last time” (1 John 2:18; Jude 18).

c.        The final chapter of human history is now being written. Soon Jesus Christ will return to earth. When?

Jesus Christ said that no man knows nor can know. Only God knows. And we must always keep in mind what 2 Peter 3:8 says, “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years”.

Therefore, we must not be projecting dates. What we must do is obey the Lord’s exhortation to watch and be ready. We are to look for His return every day and be prepared for His return any moment.

2.    This then is the message that we must heed: it is the last days.  

a.       “let our every contact with the world be as light as possible” 1Cor.7:31 cf. 1John 2:15-17

b.       “watch and pray” Jesus did not want us deeply rooted in this world

It is time: the antichrist is coming (v.18b)

Antichrist –is used in the Bible only by John (1John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2:7).  It describes three things:


1.       A spirit in the world that opposes or denies Christ.

The “spirit of antichrist” (1John 4:3) has been in the world since Satan declared war on God.

2.       The false teachers who embody this spirit

The “spirit of antichrist” is behind every false doctrine & every “rebellious” attitude.

3.       A person who will lead up the final world rebellion against Christ (2Thess. 2:1-12)

The “spirit of antichrist” is in the world today & will eventually lead to the appearance of the Antichrist. 

The Bible calls him “the man of sin” or “lawlessness” (2Thess. 2:1-12).

This passage explains that there are two forces at work in today’s world:

a.       Truth is working in the church by the Holy Spirit (1Thess 2:7)

b.       Evil is working by the energy of Satan (1Thess. 2:9)

1)       The Holy Spirit in Christians is holding back lawlessness, but,

2)       When the church is removed at the Rapture (1Thess.4:13-18), Satan will take over the world

4.       Antichrist is Both a Spirit and a Person

a.       1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3, 2 John 7, 2 Thess 2:3, 7

b.       The Greek word is antichristo- Instead of or against Christ.

5.       Matt 24:24 False Christs (pseudo-christ) will work miracles in the last days to deceive.

The Word warns us of False:

a.       Brothers #2Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 2:4

b.       Apostles #2Corinthians 11:13

c.        Teachers #2Peter 2:1

d.       Speakers "speaking lies" #1Timothy 4:2

e.        False witnesses #1Corinthians 15:15; Matthew 26:60

f.        False Christ's #Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22

g.        False Gospel #Galatians 1:9

h.       False spirit #2Corinthians 11:4

i.         False ministers of Satan who transform themselves into ministers of righteousness #2Corinthians 11:14-15

j.         Jesus spoke of many in Matthew 24 and they have large crowds today #Matthew 24:11,24

6.       The Abomination of Desolation (2 Th 2:4)

a.       Daniel 9:27 A covenant will be made for one seven year period

b.       2 Th 2:4 The Anti-Christ will want to be worshipped as God in the Temple

c.        Matt 24:15 & Mark 13:14 He stands in the Holy Place

d.       Dan 12:11-12 After this event there will be 3 ½ years left


Jesus said, “I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. (John 5:43 NKJV)

Jesus predicted that there would come a final personality of evil.  He would come in his own name, though people would reject God’s Christ, they would accept and receive the devil’s antichrist.

This is why it is important that we:

1.       Take heed 1Cor. 10:12

2.       Abide in His Word & know the truth John 8:31-32; 1John 2:21

3.        “study to show ourselves approved unto God” & that we know truth from error, being able to detect lies whey they come our way.

Proof: Many antichrists have come (v.18c)

1.       There are many who oppose and stand against Christ.

a.       They are denying His deity:

b.       They are denying that He is the sinless Son of God who lived a perfect and righteous life and thereby secured the ideal and perfect righteousness for man.

c.        They are denying His death and resurrection: that He died as the perfect sacrifice for man’s sins and that He rose from the dead to conquer death for man.

d.       They are denying His Lordship: that He is truly the Son of God who ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God as the Lord and God of the universe.

e.        They are denying His return to earth: that He is coming again to execute judgment upon every person who has ever lived upon the earth.

2.       There are many today who deny:

a.       God (Luke 17:26; 2Tim. 3:4-5)

b.       The power of the blood of Christ (2Tim. 3:5; Romans 1:16; 1Cor. 1:23-24; 2Tim. 4:2-4)

c.        The faith (1Tim. 4:1-2; Jude 3)

d.       Sound doctrine (2Tim. 4:3-4)

e.        A separated life (2Tim. 3:1-7)

f.        Christian liberty (1Tim. 4:3-4)

g.        Authority (2Tim.3:4)

3.       The key to whether a doctrine is Christian is this: What does it believe about Jesus Christ?

Peter’s Confession (Matthew 16:15-16) “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”

With that brief question, Jesus confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face.

·         Jesus spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority.

·         The time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is?

·         Your response to Jesus Christ will determine not only your values and lifestyle but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him.

a)       Jesus is God (John 10:30)

b)       Jesus is Holy (Isaiah 6:1-3; Colossians 2:9)

c)       Jesus is the Savior (Acts 4:12; Titus 2:13)

d)       Jesus is the only acceptable object of saving faith (John 14:6)

e)       Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10)

f)        Jesus is the Judge (Acts 17:30-31; Rev.20:11-15)


Who do you say Jesus is?

a.       This is the inescapable question.

b.       His love compelled Him to die for your sins.

c.        He alone can redeem you & free you from the power and penalty of your sins.

d.       He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, giving your life ETERNAL PURPOSE!


Putting False Prophets to The Test

1.       Check the content (1John 4:3)


a. False prophets will say many things that are true, however, because a person says some true things, it does not mean that he is of God & that everything he says is the truth of God

b.       Every Major Cult is in error concerning the person of the Lord Jesus Christ


2.       Check their congeniality (1John 4:5) geared to win popular approval


a.       A false prophet teaches what the world wants to hear.

b.       God says, “they will not endure sound doctrine” (1Timothy 4:3-4)

1)       Men followers not Christ followers

3.       Check their commercialism (2Peter 2:2-3)

a.       They are constantly appealing for money: material gain

b.       The miracle billfold: you will get one if you send in a contribution.

4.       Check their character

a.       What kind of life do they live?

b.       Jude 4 refers to “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness”

c.        They use the grace of God as an excuse to sin.

1)       One who committed adultery said, “my private life is my own business, my public life is dedicated to the Lord.”

5.       Check their converts (Matthew 7:15-16)

a.       Check the kind of converts that their message produces

b.       Look at their overall character

Beware – literally means “hold your minds away from”

Here is a warning to not let your thoughts be captivated by these false teachers

The Point is this: their deception is not obvious they come to us in sheep’s clothing


Three Types of False Teachers

1)       The Heretic – one that denies the truth & teaches lies (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10)

2)       The Apostate – on that denies the truth or denies the faith (1Tim.1:20)

3)       The Deceiver – (Jude 3-4) this is a sneaky person who proclaims to be a Christian

How to Identify Them (Matthew 7:16-20)

1)       You will know them by their fruits

6.       Put it to the Test (1John 4:1-3)

a.       You and I are commanded in the word of God to apply spiritual tests to all things we hear.

b.       “try” could be translated “test” or “prove” used in reference to putting metals to the test to see whether they are genuine.

1)       Acts 17:11 the Christians in Berea

2)       1Thessalonians 5:21-22

The Origin of Antichrists (v.19)

They were in the church Acts 20:28-31

B.     Physical Desertion (v.19)

1.       They went out from us, but they were not of us (v.19b)

a.       Professors only

b.       Attendance or Church membership does not mean that you are born into the family of God. 

c.        “with joy received the Word, but in temptation fall away because of not root”

2.       They did not continue: Their going out proves they are not genuine (v.19d)

·         Judas Iscariot (John 13:21-30)—he appeared to be saved but was not.

a.       Some will even betray others

b.       Psalm 41:9

c.        Psalm 55:12-14

·         The Prodigal Pig (2Peter 2:18-22)

·         The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24)

The Protection Against Antichrists (v.20-21)

The anointing from the Holy One (v.20, 27)

1.       God gives us His Spirit to teach us all things (John 14:16-20, 26; 16:7-11)

2.       God gives truth to the believer 

Anointed—Unction: this is the Holy Spirit.

·      In the Old Testament only prophets, priests, and kings were anointed.

They were anointed by pouring oil upon their heads.

·      The oil symbolized the Spirit of God coming upon them for service. 

Such anointing was the privilege of only a few chosen people.

·      But Jesus Christ changed this.

He was anointed at His baptism—not with the symbol of the Spirit, that is, the oil, but rather with the Holy Spirit Himself (Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; Acts 10:38).

·      What John is saying is this: the same anointing is no longer just the possession of only a chosen few.

It is the possession of every believer (cp. Acts 8:17; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Col. 1:28). The Holy Spirit is the believer’s protective force against false teaching and seducing spirits, against antichrists.

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NKJV)

Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Romans 8:9 NKJV)

3.       No lie is of the truth

a.       Some cults have good points – so does a porcupine.

b.       Must build faith on the whole word (Acts 20:27)

The Enemies Message (v.22-23)

The lie, the Denial of Christ (v.22a)

1.       Satan will teach He is a son of God (John 1:1 JW’s ‘a god’)

2.       Spirit teaches He is the Son of God

3.       Either Christ is true and these self-proclaimed prophets are false, or it is the other way.

Who is the antichrist? (v.22b-23)

1.       He who denies the Father and the Son

2.       Denying Jesus Christ denies God (v.23).  Why?

a.       John 17:3 – His image of God is different then the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33 NKJV)

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38 NKJV)

"that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (John 5:23 NKJV)

"I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. (John 5:43 NKJV)

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22 NKJV)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.   Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.   Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.   If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;   for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (2 John 1:7-11 NKJV)


Who do you say Jesus is?

This is the inescapable question.

·         His love compelled Him to die for your sins.

·         He alone can redeem you & free you from the power and penalty of your sins.

·         He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, giving your life ETERNAL PURPOSE!


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