1 John 2:18-19 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. 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.”
We are living in the last days before the return of Christ. Every day we live on this earth it becomes more and more apparent that we are living in these final days before our Lord comes back to take those of us who are his to be with him forever. But not everyone who believes that the Lord is coming to take him to be with the Lord will be going with him, for many are deceived.
Who or what is the “antichrist”? The (or an) antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ. This would include all people who verbally deny that Jesus is the Christ, but it also includes all those who deny him by their lifestyles, who may give lip service to him (profess him with their lips) but who deny him by their disobedience and by their continuance to live in sin.
They Went Out from Us
Ok, first off, who is “us”? “Us” refers to the true body of Christ, the true church, not the institutional church. For the true church is not a brick and mortar building. It is not built with human hands but with human lives. It is a spiritual building with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone and with us as living stones. And it is comprised of all those who have died with Christ to sin and who are living to his righteousness in the power of God.
So, although in our culture “the church” is regarded as a human institution of varied denominations which usually meets in a building called “church,” and which is usually incorporated underneath the state (in America, at least), and which normally operates like a business, marketing the church to the world, that is not the “Us” that this is talking about.
Therefore, when it says that they went out from us, this is not talking about people who have left the institutional church but who may still be part of the “Us”, the true body of Christ, who finally understood that the institutional (state) church is Babylon and that the Lord says to “come out” from among her for her sins are piled high to heaven (Rev 18:1-5).
Ok, so their going out from us may be a physical desertion of the body of Christ or it may be a spiritual departure from the faith and the communion of the saints. But they may still be meeting with others who call themselves Christians in a building or a facility of some kind referred to as a “church.” But spiritually they are departing from Christ and his gospel message.
For, we have many wolves in sheep’s clothing, who are antichrist, in our pulpits leading congregations of people, because they have departed spiritually from the true Christ and from his true gospel. Yet they are still physically in gatherings called “church” and leading the masses astray to follow after what is antichrist, which is a lie and a false hope.
So, basically all those who depart from the true faith and who chase after “another Jesus” and a “different gospel” other than the one Jesus taught are considered “antichrist,” and their going out from us (the true body of Christ) may be more of a spiritual departure rather than a physical departure, because if they are still among us they are able to still influence people to believe in the lies and to reject the truth.
Therefore, “continuing” with us has to do with continuing with Christ and with the truth of his gospel and with the communion of the saints according to the Scriptures. And not continuing with us, the true church, is not continuing with Christ and with the truth of his gospel. And to all who are truly part of “Us,” that should be obvious to us when others depart from the faith as taught by Jesus and by his apostles.
The fact that their “departure” is not apparent to most is troublesome. For that would seem to indicate that the masses within the gatherings of what is called “church” have departed along with them. But there is a remnant who have not bowed the knee, who are continuing in Christ and in the truth of his gospel, and some or many of them have left the institutional church.
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.”
If we are truly in Christ by genuine faith in him, we have died with Christ to sin, we have been reborn of the Spirit of God, and we are now continuing by the Spirit to put sin to death and we are living by the Spirit according to the Spirit in righteousness and holiness (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
We have been anointed by the Holy One (God), and we have knowledge. But this is not head knowledge only. This is not books smarts. This is not theology that we learned through some formal biblical training. This knowledge is spiritual, and it only comes to us directly from God by his Spirit who now lives within us. So this is divine knowledge.
For we are given the Spirit of God to teach and to counsel us, to encourage and to strengthen us, to give us aid, to be our helper, to give us wisdom and discernment and to remind us of Christ and what he taught when he lived on the earth. And the Spirit leads us into all truth, and he will let us know if something is a lie if we are listening, and if we are obeying our Lord.
And from the Spirit we will discern that “antichrist” is “against Christ,” and it is against the truth of his gospel, but that an (or the) “antichrist” may give lip service to the Lord while he or she denies him with actions and denies his gospel in favor of another gospel which makes no demands for repentance, obedience, or submission to Christ as Lord.
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.”
Now, this is providing that what you heard from the beginning was the truth. And the truth that you should have heard from the beginning is this:
“They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:19-24).
This is what should abide (live, continue) in you. If you live in this truth, and you make it your practice, by the Spirit, to put off (to deny) your old self, to be renewed of the Spirit in the spirit of your minds (in your way of thinking, believing, and behaving, and in your attitudes), and to put on (apply to your life) that new self, created to be like Jesus, then you have eternal life.
But if you continue living in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord, and especially if you think that God’s grace gives you permission to continue making sin your practice, then you must know that will not end in eternal life with God no matter what you profess with your lips or think you believe in your heart. For our actions reveal what we truly believe. So, please take this all to heart.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
And if you have labored long in sharing the gospel, in the power of God’s Spirit, and if you have been praying for a long time for your loved ones to surrender their hearts to Jesus, and for revival to come to the church in your nations, but things just seem to be getting worse, and not better, be encouraged. God will fulfill all that he has promised. Trust Him!
Praise You in This Storm
Mark Hall and Bernie Herms
I was sure by now, God You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it’s still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
“I’m with you”
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.
And I’ll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm…
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