Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV
When this tells us we are not to love the world, this is saying we are not to take pleasure in, long for, prefer, embrace, and obey what is of the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. We are not to take pleasure in, prefer, and embrace a longing and desire (based on feelings and urges) for what is of our sinful flesh; for what is sinful.
This is not saying that we are not to take pleasure in and that we are not to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. We are! For, God gave us these things to enjoy – the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, the oceans, the rivers, the creatures of the earth, and the colors, etc. He gave us music, art, writing, singing, dancing, and musical instruments, too. But, we are not to worship these things, and we are not to pervert these things, either.
What we are not to love (long for, embrace, and prefer) is what is ungodly and unholy, such as lying, cheating, stealing, slander, gossip, hate, lewdness, immorality, bitterness, unforgiveness, revenge, outbursts of anger, pride, selfishness, meanness, resentment, and sexual impurity, etc. These should have no part in our lives, for what we give our time, our passion, and our affections to tells a lot about what we truly love.
So, if we love these things which are of the world and which are of our sinful flesh and its desires, and these are the things we long for, and we prefer, and we embrace, then the love of God is not in us, for these are opposed to God. And, again, it is obvious what we love, prefer and embrace by what we give our passion, time and affections to. The world, though, is passing away, but whoever does the will of God abides with God forever.
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. 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. 1 John 2:18-19 ESV
Those who are antichrist are those who are opposed to all that Jesus Christ stands for, all that he is and was, and all that he did and does. They are also opposed to (against) his gospel of salvation, as he and his NT apostles taught it. They are opposed to moral purity, to righteousness, to obeying Jesus as our Lord, to turning away from sin, and to surrendering their lives over to him, making him truly Lord (owner-master) of their lives.
They went out from us. Now, this is often misinterpreted. This is not talking about those who have left the institutional church. For many godly people who are following Jesus Christ with their lives have left the institutional church in obedience to their Lord, because it is of man, not of God, and because Jesus is not the head, man is, and because it is not being led of the Spirit but of the flesh of man and of business marketing schemes (tricks).
This does not mean they have left the church or that they have forsaken the assembling of themselves with other believers in Jesus Christ. For the church is not a building or an organization or a denomination or a business of men. The true church is the body of Christ, the saints of God. It is those of us who have trusted Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives, who are walking with him by the Spirit and who are no longer living to our sinful flesh.
So, when it says here that they went out from us, they may still physically be present and active in the institutional church, but it means they deserted the faith, and they rejected Jesus Christ as truly Lord of their lives, for they refused to submit to his Lordship, to surrender their lives to him, and to forsake their sinful lifestyles to follow him in obedience to his will.
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. 1 John 2:20-23a ESV
We who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives have been given knowledge, discernment and wisdom to know what is of God and what is not of God. We have been given the truth of God’s Word, which we are to study, in context, and to apply to our daily lives, in practice. So, we can use the Word of God, too, to discern error, lies, false teachings, and hypocrisies, and the like. We just need to put that armor of God on.
So, how do we know who is antichrist? It is he who denies that Jesus is the Christ. But, let me share with you some wisdom here on this subject. For, to deny Jesus involves denying him and his gospel truth by our lives, by how we live our lives, by the things that we do. It does not necessarily mean a person who is antichrist will necessarily deny his existence with their lips.
For, also remember how the scripture describes those who are antichrist as those who masquerade themselves as servants of righteousness and who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. So, they may proclaim him with their lips but deny him by their lifestyles. So, many who call themselves Christians may actually be antichrist by how they choose to live their lives, if they are loving (preferring, embracing) the world of sin instead of Jesus Christ.
Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 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. 1 John 2:23b-25 ESV
And, the same is true with regard to those who confess Jesus with their lips. Just because someone professes Jesus Christ as Savior of his life doesn’t mean Jesus is his Savior. For, there are those who give lip service to God only but their hearts are far from him. For, Jesus is not Lord of their lives. They are still lords of their own lives, still the ones in control, still doing what their flesh dictates, while disregarding Jesus and his commands.
So, just because you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord,” it doesn’t mean he truly is Lord (owner-master) of your life. It may mean that you are a liar and a deceiver and a hypocrite. So, confessing the Son obviously has more to it than a mere verbal confession or acknowledgment of him. For, we confess him with our lifestyles, by walking according to the Spirit and no longer walking (living) according to our sinful flesh.
So, this has to do with letting what we have heard, providing that what we heard is the truth, abide (live, endure, remain, continue, and stay) with us. And, this means that it is alive within us, that we love the truth, we embrace it, we live for it, we obey it, and it is a normal part of our everyday lives. The Word of God is being lived out in our daily lives, in other words, for we walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and thus we have eternal life with God (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).
But, let me add one thing here. When we do abide in the truth of God’s Word, and it is being lived out in our daily lives, and if our desire is for God, and not for what is of the world, and if we are holding to what is true, and we are rejecting and we are exposing the lies for what they are, not everyone is going to like us.
Thus, we will be hated and we will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake because we do love our Lord and not the sinful passions of our flesh, and because we stand for what is truth, and because we reject the lies.
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.