Proverbs 14:22 ESV
“Do they not go astray who devise evil? Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.”
1 John 2:18 ESV
“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.”
“Anti” means “against.” So, antichrist means against Christ, opposed to him and to who he is, and to what he did, and to why he came, and to what he stands for. And, it is also opposed to his gospel message of salvation from sin, which says that we, by faith, must die to sin and live to righteousness.
But, it also means “opposite of.” If Jesus is righteous, he is unrighteous. If Jesus is holy, he is unholy. If Jesus is pure, then he is impure, etc. etc.
Thus, this “against” is not necessarily with words, but it definitely is with actions. For many antichrists are wolves in sheep’s clothing, i.e. they are those who masquerade themselves as servants of righteousness, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves, liars, deceivers, and adulterers.
So, one can say with his words that he is a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ, but his actions may speak just the opposite. His actions (behaviors, practices) may actually be opposed to what Jesus Christ stands for and what he is all about, which is righteousness, purity, honesty, love, humility, selflessness, kindness, faithfulness and freedom from slavery to sin.
Therefore, if one’s actions (practices, behaviors) are to cheat, lie, steal, manipulate, and deceive, and if they are to make a practice of selfishness, anger, hatred, abuse, adultery, sexual immorality, viewing porn, being prideful (arrogant), etc., then he is antichrist (against, opposed to Christ, and the opposite of Christ, not like him).
And, you know what? This describes a large majority of professing Christians and even pastors, in our day and time, here in America, especially among men, who are more susceptible to porn addiction and to sexual immorality than generally are women, though they are certainly not excluded.
But, this is how we know we are living in these last days, because sin is rampant, even within the church and among its leadership. And, the men in the church, who are supposed to be leading us spiritually, have largely gone AWOL when it comes to standing up and doing something about it (See 1 Corinthians 5). And, this is not the exception to the rule. This is the new norm in a large majority of the church, and that should break our hearts!
1 John 2:19 ESV
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
Ok, this is not about leaving the gatherings of the institutional church, which is not the true church, for its head is the government and the world, not Christ, for it is a business of men, not the children of God. For, the true church is not a building. God does not dwell in buildings built by human hands. The true church is not Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran or Episcopalian, either, for those are organizations of human origin, not of God.
The true church is comprised ONLY of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, who by the Spirit of God have died with Christ to sin that they might live with Christ to his righteousness. She, the church, is a living organism, not an organization.
So, when this says “they went out from us,” this is not saying they stopped coming to the Baptist, Methodist, Charismatic or Non-denominational church, etc. What this is saying is that they deserted Christ and his gospel and his people to go after their lusts, their adulteries, their idols, their pride, and their selfishness. They chose self over God, and self over spouses, and self over children, and self over the body of Christ, the true church.
And, again, the sad reality of this all is that it truly describes a large majority of the church in America today. Mostly it describes the men, who are supposed to be the ones leading the church to righteousness, and leading their families spiritually, and loving their spouses. But, instead, they are engrossed in their lusts. They have abandoned us all. And, the church, marriages, spouses, children and families are suffering greatly for it, too.
1 John 2:20-23 ESV
“But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.”
Again, this is not speaking about a verbal denial necessarily. For, many who are antichrist want people to think they really are for Christ. And, so they fake their relationships with Jesus Christ in order to try to fool others, and also as a cover-up for their adulteries, their cheating, stealing, gossiping or whatever other evil they do. Some fake being Christians for political reasons, too. While others fake it so that they can trick others into believing their lies.
So, the main way in which any of us truly deny Jesus Christ is not so much with our words, but it is with our actions. It is like a man or a woman saying to his or her spouse, “I love you,” all the while he or she is cheating on that spouse with another person, or with images on a screen, or with self-gratification, or via secretive chats or texts or emails, etc.
It is like telling Jesus that we are his, that we love him, and that we are his followers. But, then we do what we want. We may not do some things we know we are not supposed to do, but then willfully, and often secretively, do other sinful things we know we ought not to do, and regularly, and as a matter of course. And, I am not suggesting here that this is about perfection. It isn’t. It is about what we practice (See: Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
If we are Christians, or if we profess to be Christians, and so we have been exposed to the truth of God’s Word, then we know the truth, or at least we have access to the truth. But all people are without excuse the Bible says, for God has put the knowledge of himself and of his divine character and will within every one of us. For he has revealed himself to us through his created works (Rom. 1:18-32).
So, the problem isn’t that we don’t right from wrong, though seriously there are people who have claimed to believe in Jesus most of their lives who will still say that they didn’t know what to do or how to stop, as though that is somehow an excuse for willful sin against God and against their spouses. They have no excuse! For, the problem isn’t not knowing, it is not doing!
1 John 2:24-25 ESV
“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.”
So, what must we do to correct this situation? Individually we must submit to Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, and let him rule our hearts and lives. We must turn away from our lifestyles of sin and turn our hearts over to Jesus Christ to walk in his ways, and in his truth, and in his power and strength.
Then, we must daily die to sin and self and take up our cross and follow (obey) Jesus Christ. We must do what the Word says, not ignore it, and not twist it to our advantage. We have to read scriptures in context and not pull them out of context and build entire doctrines around just a few verses. For, many people are being led astray to follow lies this way.
We must resist Satan and flee temptation. And, we must throw off every weight which hinders and the sins which so easily entangle us. We must cut out of our lives everything that is leading us into habitual sinful behaviors. And, we have to get radical with this if we truly want to be free! And, that may mean going back to a flip phone, having no private internet access, and having accountability procedures put into place.
And, yes, I know that I am mainly focusing here on sexual sin, and for good reason, because this is what is killing our lives, our marriages, our children, our families and our churches in rapid succession. And, the church is on a speedy moral and spiritual decline “like nobody’s business,” i.e. “to an extraordinarily high degree or standard” (Google). Thus, the 1 Corinthians 5 church is all over the place here in America. And, that means they are consistently persecuting and denying Jesus Christ, too.
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”