1 John 2

Let’s turn now in our Bibles to First John chapter two. The first part of chapter two is a continuation of chapter one. Because in chapter one, John has been talking about fellowship with God and we know that the thing that breaks fellowship with God is sin. And so John is saying, “If we say we have no sin, we’re deceiving ourselves, the truth isn’t in us. But if we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And if we say we have not sinned, then we make Him a liar, His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).
So John then opens up chapter two with this word, teknia, in Greek which is a word that is, little children but it is a very tender, loving word. We really don’t have an English equivalent for it but it is my lovely little child or my beautiful little child. It’s like a grandfather, might express to his little granddaughter. Oh my sweet little child or my beautiful little child. And so John now is, of course, an old man. And rather than becoming a cranky old man as some do, there’s still that beauty, that love.
My little children,(my special little child), these things I write unto you (2:1),
And of course you can feel all of the tenderness in John. “These things I write unto you,”
that you sin not (2:1).
Of course, this is the ideal. “These things I write unto you, that you sin not.” But he points out and realizes he had just said, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, the truth isn’t in us.” But “I write these things unto you, that you sin not.” In other words, I’m not giving you an excuse for sin. It is the ideal, it is God’s desire that we sin not.
But when and if we sin, we have [first of all] an advocate with the Father (2:1),
That word advocate is that Greek word, parakletos. And that is the word that Jesus used when He said to His disciples in John 14, “I’m not going to leave you comfortless,” the parakletos. “But I will come to you. And then He said, And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter,” again parakletos (John 14:16,18). It is one who comes alongside of you to help you. One who stands up for you. And in this case, the advocate, one who will speak up for you or one who stands on your side. Jesus, our advocate with the Father.
The Bible tells us that “He is able to save also unto the uttermost, seeing He ever makes intercession for you” (Hebrews 7:25). That is the position of the advocate. Making intercession for you. As Paul said that, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ who has died, yea rather, is risen again, and is at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for you” (Romans 8:34).
So I wrote this unto you, my little children, that you sin not. But if a man sins, we have that advocate with the Father, that parakletos. That one who is speaking up on our behalf,
even Jesus Christ the righteous One (2:1):
And he is the (2:2)
Here is the second thing. He’s not only our advocate, He is the,
propitiation for our sins (2:2):
This word propitiation is a difficult word for us in our culture. But it was one that was very familiar as far as the Hebrew culture was concerned. Because when they sinned, under the Hebrew culture, it was necessary for them to bring a sin offering unto God in order that the fellowship with God might be restored. And so the idea of propitiation is satisfying God’s righteousness through a sacrifice in order that I might live again in fellowship with God. And so Jesus Christ is the propitiation. That is, He is our sacrifice and through His sacrifice for us, we have access now to God and we have that fellowship with the Lord. “He is the propitiation for our sins.”
and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (2:2).
In the extreme interpretation of Calvin’s theology, there is what they call the limited atonement. And the limited atonement declares that Jesus did not die for the whole world. That the atonement is limited and that He died only for those who would believe. It’s a theological kind of an argument that, Don’t waste your time with it. But here, John tells He died “for the sins of the whole world.” And so I will take John’s word on it.
Hereby (2:3)
Now John throughout this letter gives a series of tests or self questioning, or like the Reader’s Digest to find out how friendly you are. If you’re in a situation and this happens, would you, and then, self-analysis. “Hereby”
we know that we know him (2:3),
How can I know that I know Him, as a proof of the Christian walk? “Hereby we know that we know Him,”
if we keep his commandments (2:3).
Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21). Paul sort of rebuked the Jews because they had the law of God and they were boasting in the fact, We have the law of God. And Paul is saying, Look, it’s meaningless to have the law of God if you’re not keeping the law of God. It’s not just–one thing. It’s one thing to say we have the law. Yeah, but are you keeping it? That’s the thing. And so with the commandments, it isn’t just having the commandments, but it is keeping the commandments. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” And so “hereby we know that we know Him.” This is know, in Greek is ginosko. We know by experience that we know Him if we keep His commandments.
And this false profession, this is a series of false professions in the first chapter. If we say we have fellowship with God, we walk in darkness, that’s a lie. If we say we have not sin, then that too, we’re deceived. If we say that we have not sinned, we make God a liar. So here is another one of those things that people often say, but is not necessarily true.
He that saith, I know him (2:4),
Wonderful thing to be able to say. I’ve experienced God, and this to know by experience, the ginosko. The other Greek word for know is oeidos, which is to know intuitively. But this is to say I’ve experienced God. I know God. I’ve experienced God. And if you say that,
and you keep not his commandments (2:4),
John’s pretty tough. He says,
you’re a liar, the truth is not in you (2:4).
So “hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” But if I say, I know him and I don’t keep His commandments, that’s a lie. I’m not telling the truth. It’s like, it’s very parallel to, “If we say we have fellowship with God and we walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth.” And so here, If I say I have fellowship with God, I know God. Yes, I know Him, and yet I don’t keep His commandments, I really don’t know Him.
But [in contrast] whoso keeps His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected (2:5):
As you are obedient, as you keep the word of God, God’s love becomes perfected in you. And I love that passage of scripture that “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18). And as God’s love is perfected in you, you don’t have to fear what might come tomorrow. The circumstances that you might have to face. Because you know that God loves you, you love God, you’re His child, He’s going to take care of whatever comes, He’s not going to allow anything to happen to you except He allows it for His eternal good purposes, loving purposes. And as God said, “I know My thoughts concerning you, they are good, not evil” (Jeremiah 29:11). I have a beautiful future in mind for you. And oh, what a glorious future God has in mind for each of us!
And so as we keep His commandments, His love is perfected in us. And, he said,
hereby we know that we are in him (2:5).
I know that I have this relationship with Him when I obey His commandments. As again, Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me will be loved of the Father and we will come and manifest ourselves to Him. Keeping the commandments. And then again, something that people often say, verse six.
He that saith he abides in him (2:6)
That again is a very beautiful thing to say. I’m abiding in Christ. Beautiful thing to do. Beautiful thing to be able to say. But if I say I abide in Christ,
then I should walk, as he walks (2:6).
That just follows. Abiding in Him is to walk as He walked. But John had brought up the subject of keeping His commandments and he in verse seven says,
Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you have heard from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shines (2:7,8).
John’s going to write about this old commandment which they’ve heard from the beginning. When Jesus was questioned by the lawyer as to what is the greatest commandment, Jesus went back to Deuteronomy and He quoted, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and strength.” He said, “The second is like unto the first, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. And on these two are all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). In other words, the whole law is fulfilled in love.
If I love God supremely, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, I don’t have to worry about the first table of the law, “Thou shalt not have any other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). And going through that first table, I don’t have to worry about that if I love God supremely. If I love my neighbor as myself, I don’t have to worry about the second table of the law that deals with my relationship with my brother. “Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:13-16), I don’t have to worry about those if I love Him as I love myself. It’s all fulfilled in love. And so Jesus responded to the attorney with the statement of, “Love God supremely and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19).
John is saying, I’m writing the old commandment which you heard from the beginning. This goes way back in the law. It is God’s desire that He has a loving relationship with you. God loves you and He wants your love. But it is also God’s desire that you love one another. And so Jesus said to His disciples in John 13, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you” (John 13:34).
A person may say, I hate myself. And therefore, I can hate everybody because I hate myself. The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Well, I hate myself. There are always those that are looking for the loopholes. But Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you,” you that are looking for that loophole. And when a person says I hate myself, I really doubt that. A person looks in the mirror and says, Oh, I’m so ugly, I hate myself. No, if you looked in and you thought you were so ugly, you’d say I’m so glad I’m so ugly ‘cause I hate myself.
The scripture says, “No man yet hateth his own flesh” (Ephesians 5:29). But because people might try to seek that as a loophole, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, love one another as I have loved you.” Now there’s no loophole there. His love for you is complete! Complete love! Unmerited love! And so the new commandment.
Again, John really nails. You may be saying the right things and many times, people are. But it isn’t what you say, it’s what you’re doing that is important. We’re going through the beatitudes right now at the present time on Wednesday night, and as someone has pointed out, they are be-attitudes, not do-attitudes. It’s what you are. And the attitude of your heart is what is so important! It is as important, in fact, more important than what you do. But if you don’t do it, then as James said, You say you have faith but “faith without works is really dead” (James 2:20). It stands by itself.
So if he says, if a man says I’m in the light (2:9),
Another glorious thing. I’m in the light.
and yet if he hates his brother, he’s in darkness even until now (2:9).
The new commandment, Love one another as I have loved you. And if you say that you’re in the light, and of course, if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with the other. So it is saying, I have fellowship with God, I know God and I’m in the light. I am fellowshipping with God. And yet if you hate your brother, then John says, you’re in darkness. And we know that if I say that I have fellowship with God and I’m walking in darkness, that’s a lie. It’s not the truth.
But he that loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hates his brother is in darkness, he’s walking in darkness, and he knows not where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes (2:10,11).
People can be deceived. People sometimes harbor bitterness and hatred for another. And yet, they think that they’re in light. They think that they have fellowship with God. And so John is giving a series of tests here that should penetrate into each of our hearts and cause self-examination. Because I am saying the right things, am I doing the right things? Do my actions line up with my words? Is there a harmony between what I am saying and what I am doing? Or is there a diversity or digression between what I say and what I do?
John now says,
I write unto you, little children (2:12),
This same word, teknia.
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake (2:12).
What a beautiful thing. “I write unto you because God has forgiven your sins for Jesus’ sake.”
I write unto you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning (2:13).
Back in chapter one, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen, which we have looked upon, which we have touched” (1 John 1:1). He’s talking to little children in the faith. He’s talking to the fathers in the faith. And then he’s talking to the young men. These are not necessarily age factors but a spiritual adulthood, spiritual childhood and spiritual young men, strength. Those that are able and ready to go to battle.
So “I write unto you, fathers, because you have known Him,” you’ve come to know Him. The word again is ginosko, you know Him by experience. You’ve experienced Him who is from the beginning. And then,
I write unto you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one (2:13).
Now he sort of goes back and repeats himself, only makes some important addition.
I write unto you, little children, because you have known the Father (2:13).
That’s a repetition of what he said earlier. Or no, he said earlier, “I write unto you that your sins are forgiven. I write unto you, little children, because you have known the Father.”
I have written unto you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning (2:14).
That remains the same. But then,
I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one (2:14).
We’re in a battle. The battle is a spiritual battle. The object of the battle is the control of your mind and thus, your life. God wants to control your life. Satan wants to control your life. And Satan is by force seeking to bring you in subjection unto him. He uses force, he uses deceit, he uses guile. The Bible says we’re not ignorant of his devices or of his wiles and it speaks of the wiles of the devil. And he is out to bring you into bondage to him. Now you are in bondage or you are servants of God or of Satan, one or the other. You can’t be of both. No man can serve two masters. You will love the one and hate the other. You’ll hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon but you are serving God or mammon.
Tonight, every one of us are either servants of God or we are servants of Satan. It is God’s desire to bring us out of the bondage of the kingdom of darkness, Satan’s kingdom, and to bring us into His glorious kingdom. But there is a war that is going on. A spiritual warfare. And Satan is doing his best to keep you in bondage. And Satan uses the world, the flesh, in order to bring you into bondage unto himself. So John says, “I write unto you, young men, because you’ve overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, young men, because you are strong for the word of God abides in you and you’ve overcome.” In other words, John gives to us the secret of their overcoming. It is because they are strong but they are strong because the word of God abides in them.
God’s word in your heart is the greatest defense that you have against sin. “Thy word have I hid in my heart, O Lord, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). David’s word in Psalm 119. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by giving heed to Thy word” (Psalm 119:9).
As we pointed out this morning, it is important to note that Jesus, when He was in that battle with Satan, and Satan was seeking to deceive and to lie to Jesus, even as he deceived Eve and lied to Eve in the garden, and through his deception and through his lies enticed her to disobey the command of God and thus, come under the authority of Satan. For “to whomsoever you yield yourself servants to obey, his servants you become; whether it is of disobedience unto bondage or of obedience unto our Lord” (Romans 6:16). If you are yielding to Satan, then you come under his authority and under his control. And so Satan came to Jesus with powerful temptations.
And we read in Hebrews that He “as our great High Priest, was tempted in all points like we are, that He might be able to understand the struggles that we have when we are tempted by Satan and He’s able to help us in our temptation, being tempted as we were, yet apart from sin” (Hebrews 4:14,15). The temptations. Jesus had been fasting for forty days. He was hungry.
They say that after about fifteen days of fasting, you lose your appetite. I don’t know. I have to take their word for it. But that’s what they say. And they say that once you have lost your appetite, your stomach, of course, has shriveled and you’ve lost your appetite. Your body is actually feeding off of itself. And when you again, when the appetite returns, is an indication that you have now begun to starve to death. You are at the point of death when the appetite returns. So the fact that Jesus had been fasting for forty days and was now hungry, He is actually at the point where death is beginning to ensue.
And so Satan came to Him at that vulnerable moment. Naturally, after forty days of fasting, a person would be extremely weak. Probably most in cases a person would be bedfast after fasting this long. And coming to Jesus in His weakened physical condition, he suggested that Jesus now use His divine supernatural powers in order to feed His flesh. Why don’t you turn those stones into bread? The idea is use your divine, miraculous powers for the benefit of your flesh.
Unfortunately, Satan has used that on many people who have succumbed to it and because God has gifted them, they have used those gifts of God for the benefit of their own flesh. Tragic, but Satan has enticed so many to do that, to use the gifts of God to benefit their own flesh.
But Jesus answered the temptation with the word of God. “I write unto you, young men, because you are strong, because the word of God abides in you and you’ve overcome the wicked one.” Jesus said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the Father” (Matthew 4:4).
“Satan took Him up to a high mountain, showed Him all of the kingdoms of the world. And he said to Jesus, All of these will I give to you and the glory of them for they are mine and I can give them to you or to whoever I please. I will give them to you if you will bow down and worship me” (Matthew 4:8,9). Now Jesus came into the world to redeem the world back to God. That was the whole purpose of His coming. The world originally belonged to God. He was the divine Creator. God created man and put him on this world and when He did, He gave the world to man. God said to Adam, Have dominion over the earth, over the fowls of the earth, the fish of the sea, over every living and moving thing (Genesis 1:28). For they are yours, I have given them unto you.
But Adam by his being deceived or Eve deceived and we don’t know about Adam whether he’s deceived or just deliberate, but Adam by his sin, by yielding to Satan’s suggestion, he delivered the world over to Satan. “Whomsoever you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you become” (Romans 6:16). And Satan became the god of this world, Paul calls him that. Jesus calls him the prince of this world. Notice Satan is bragging to Jesus, They are mine. I can give them to whomever I will. The world is mine. The world system.
Paul said we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against these spirit forces of evil that are in high places. The world governed by Satan. You remember when Daniel was praying, the angel was dispatched, but he said the prince of Persia stopped me. That is, the angels that were over the area of Persia and they held him captive until Michael came. There’s a warfare that we’re not aware of, a spiritual warfare that is going on. There’s a battle. You’re in the middle of it. It’s for the control of your mind, of your heart. God wants control. Satan wants control.
Knowing that Jesus came to redeem the world so that it once again be the Father’s, He knew that the price of redemption was death. He knows the prophecies as well as you do. He knew what God had revealed through the prophets concerning the Messiah. That “He would be wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities: He would be numbered with the transgressors in His death. Then all of us like sheep had gone astray; we turned every one of us to our own ways; but God was going to lay on Him the iniquities of us all” (Isaiah 53:5,6,12). So He could redeem the world back to God. Be the propitiator, the sacrifice. And knowing that Jesus had come to redeem the world at the cost of His own life, Satan showed Him all of the kingdoms of the world and said, I will give them to you. You don’t have to take God’s path.
You see, it was, Jesus said, “I came to do the will of the Father,” to finish His work (John 6:38). When He was in the garden facing the cross, He said, “Father, if it’s possible; let this cup pass: nevertheless not what I will, your will be done” (Mark 14:36). And in obedience, as we read in Philippians, “Who was in the form of God, thought it not something to be grasped to be equal with God: yet came in the form of a man, as a servant: obedient unto death, even the death on the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). That was God’s will. That was God’s purpose.
And Satan is saying, Look, you don’t have to take God’s way. If you will bow down and worship me, I’ll just turn it over to you. It can be yours right now. You can have immediate fulfillment. Satan says this to people all the time. You can have immediate fulfillment. You don’t have to take God’s path of the cross. Jesus said, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For he who seeks to save his life will lose it, he who will lose his life for my sake will find it. And what would it profit a man if he would gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what would you give in exchange for your soul” (Matthew 16:24-26)? So the path that we have in coming after Jesus entails the denial of self and the taking up of the cross.
But Satan comes and says, No, you don’t have to deny yourself. You don’t have to wait for heaven. You don’t have to look into the future for the joys and for the blessings and for the peace and all that God has promised. You can have it now! You can have all the excitement and all the pleasures and all the thrills right now. Just bow down and worship me. Follow my path. The world is mine. I can give you all the glories of the world. I can give you the thrills of the world, the excitement of the world.
Satan was attempting to deceive Jesus because he knew that if Jesus would bow down and worship him, that that was the act of submission and Jesus would have been under Satan’s control even as Adam and Eve came under Satan’s control when they obeyed Satan’s suggestion, turning away from God’s command.
And so Jesus, and it I can imagine was indeed a powerful temptation. After all, He came to redeem the world and after all, He didn’t want the cross. “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). Satan is now saying, Look, you can escape the cross. You don’t have to deny self. You don’t have to deny your flesh. You can just have it now. But Jesus said, “It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).
So then Satan took Him up to the pinnacle of the temple. It was about 200 feet from the pinnacle of the temple to the rocks below. And demonstrating his knowledge of the scriptures, Satan said unto Jesus, “It is written, He will give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways, to bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone” (Matthew 4:6). Why don’t you jump from this pinnacle and let the angels bear you up? Imagine that it will be with that crowd down below when you jump and you land, there’s no damage. Immediately they’ll recognize and they’ll think you’re superman. Think of the excitement and the attention and all that You can draw for Yourself. Jesus said, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:10). Jesus showed the importance of not taking scripture out of its context.
Satan is saying, Put God to the test. Put the word of God to the test. Put yourself in personal jeopardy to see if God comes through. And there are a lot of people that do that. The snake handlers that get into a spiritual frenzy and begin to pass rattle snakes in their midst, or they drink poison or whatever to put the scriptures to the test. They’re foolish because Jesus said, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
There is the balance within the scripture and Jesus brought the balance in the scripture. But in every case, He overcame by the word of God. “I’ve written unto you, young men, because you are strong, because God’s word abides in you.” How we need to feed daily on the word of God in order that we might have spiritual strength.
Now John defines what the scripture talks about when it speaks of the world.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world (2:15).
He’s not talking about Yosemite National Park. He’s not talking about the beauty of this earth, the creation of God. He’s talking about the world system. He’s talking about Hollywood and what comes out of Hollywood. He’s talking about the world system that is in opposition to God. The world that is under Satan’s control. As Paul said, The god of this world. The world that is under Satan’s power and control. That’s what He’s talking about. “Love not the world.” The worldliness. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”
For he that has the love of the world in his heart has not the love of the Father (2:15).
You can’t have both. You cannot serve God and mammon. It is God or mammon. So “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” And then he defines for us what he’s talking about.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is of the world, and is not of God (2:16).
Again, Jesus said, “If you will come after me, you’ve got to deny yourself.” Your desires, the fleshly desires that you have, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life—those things are of the world, they’re not of God.
We are living in a day and an age when the world seems to be invading every corner. It’s tragic that the world actually has been brought right into our homes. All of its filth, all of its rebellion, all of its enticements brought right into our homes now. Through television, and now through the Internet.
Jesus, when He was talking about His return, questioned, “When the Son of man returns, will He find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8)? He said, “Evil days will wax worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:13). And surely we are living in those days when the world offers itself with all of its enticements in so many different forms and many people are succumbing to the world because they’re not strong in the Word. And they’re being overcome with evil. “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, it’s not of the Father, it’s of the world.” But here’s the bottomline.
The world is passing away, and the lust thereof: but he who does the will of God will abide for ever (2:17).
You see, as with Jesus, Satan offers immediate fulfillment. By indulging in your lust. The excitement and the immediate fulfillment that Satan is laying out before people. But the end of that path is misery, it is death, it is destruction.
Let’s just take one aspect. Because it is a very unfortunate, a very prominent aspect and one that is becoming even more insidious; that is the use of heroin. Heroin has become sort of the drug of choice now. There’s been a tremendous comeback of heroin. And many of the addicts now are eight and nine years old. There’s a real epidemic of children eight and nine years old who are addicted to heroin. They will sell it to the children for ten dollars for two hits so that it comes within the grasp of children, to get them hooked on the heroin. It is my understanding that heroin gives to a person an extremely exciting kind of a rush or feeling or euphoria or whatever, thank God I don’t know, but they say that the effect of heroin is so powerful–the thrill or whatever is so intense that your whole body–every fiber of it almost responds with this intense feeling of pleasure. So that with two hits of heroin, a person can become addicted.
Now there is the promise of immediate excitement. Immediate thrill. Immediate sensations that are something greater than you’ve ever experienced in your life with anything else. But it is the path that leads to destruction. And to enter into that path is to enter into the path of death. It’s going to lead you to the grave. And so though there may be an immediate thrill, an immediate sensation, yet the end of it is disaster. It’s misery. It’s horrible withdrawals. It’s a life in filth and in that realm of drug addiction. It will take you down to the bottom. It’s not just with drugs but the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life.
Here is an exciting prospect of romance. An extra-marital relationship. That romantic love that you felt when you married your wife years ago has long gone. That excitement of the first touch. The first kiss. That has worn off and it’s good that it did. You couldn’t live in that love-kind of condition that you were in when you lost your appetite and everything else. But now here’s someone that’s come along and oh, the touch is so exciting. And you become involved. And the thrill seems to be so great. But it’s the path of death.
Solomon describes it so well in Proverbs as he was watching out of his window and he saw this young man come to a corner and this prostitute came up and propositioned him, cuteing herself around him, flirting, saying, I’ve been waiting for you. And he said, he watches this young man as she leads him away and, he said, he doesn’t know that her home is the path to hell (Proverbs 7:6-23). It’s the path of destruction.
The whole thing is, Satan may offer immediate excitement and fulfillment but the end of it is destruction. God says, No, you must deny yourself, you must take up the cross. You must be dead to the desires of the flesh. You’ve got to reckon those crucified with Christ. You can’t give in to them. You can’t yield to them because they are the path of death. You see, lust can never be satisfied. And the worst thing you can do with lust is feed it because it will always demand more until it becomes the monster destroying you. The only cure for lust is to starve it to death. And so God says, You’ve got to deny yourself. By the Spirit you’ve got to mortify the deeds of the flesh that you might live.
“The world is going to pass away, with the lust thereof: but he who does the will of the Father will abide forever.” The end result, the wise man will look at the end result of an experience of a relationship. He’ll stop and he’ll look down the road and see where this path is leading me.
Little children (2:18),
Again, John is really–my precious little ones.
it is the last days or the last time: and you’ve heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time (2:18).
You say, That was almost two thousand years ago. What does he mean it’s the last time? They believed that they were living in the last times. And I believe that God wanted them to believe that. I believe that the Lord deliberately set things up so that every age would feel that we are in the last times. I think that’s a deliberate design of God because, number one, it gives us an urgency of getting the gospel out. We don’t have much time left. And it gives an urgency to getting the gospel out. It also gives us a correct perspective as far as material things are concerned.
The world is going to pass away. Let’s invest in things that are eternal. And it gives us the proper perspective toward material things because it’s so easy for us to get caught up in materialism. But believing also that we are living in the last days gives us a desire for purity. I don’t know when the Lord is going to come but when He comes, I want Him to find me walking in purity and in holiness.
And so as John will tell us in another chapter, ‘Beloved now are we the sons of God, it doesn’t appear what we’re going to be: but we know when he appears, we’re going to be like him; for we will see him as he is. And he who has this hope purifies himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2,3). Let me say this. It was the last time for John. He was getting close to the end and it wasn’t many months after this that John went to be with the Lord. In a sense, all of us are living in the last days for us and we don’t know when the Lord is going to come for us.
But I believe that it was God’s intent that every generation live with the feeling that we are the last generation in order that we would have the urgency to get the gospel out to our generation. And I think that it is absolutely exciting that we are indeed the last generation. And I believe that. I think God wants me to believe that.
So John said, “Little children, it’s the last time. There’s a lot of antiChrists.” Surely we see the spirit of antiChrist in the world today. We see how they have successfully ridded the public schools of any semblance of Christianity. How that they can freely talk about Buddhism, Hinduism, Mohammedism, but a mention of Jesus Christ can bring the threat of a suit from the ACLU, that is in a positive way. A school teacher, recently in New York was dismissed because of a tragic incident. One of the little children in the class was killed and so the teacher was seeking to comfort the class. Some of the children asked, Where is he now? And she said to the children, If you want to know more about this, I will speak to those who want to know. And in her own time, she spoke to these children about the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ. And as the result she was dismissed this past year from her post in teaching in the public schools because she dared to suggest to the children that there was a hope for the future. AntiChrist, the spirit of antiChrist.
It was in John’s day and of course, it is only increased today and unfortunately, here in the United States, there are many antiChrists. Many who are seeking to free people’s minds from any sense of guilt, no matter what they do and they’ve been pretty successful. Some of the police officers tell me that the thing that is always shocking is that in some of these horrible, vicious crimes, the children involved seem to show no emotion whatsoever. No remorse. Hard. Spirit of antiChrist. John said,
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for had they been of us, they would not have gone out (2:19):
That makes sense. “Had they been of us, they no doubt would have continued with us,”
but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things (2:19,20).
Here’s the other Greek word, you know, oeidos. And that is through the Holy Spirit. There is that divine intuitive knowledge that comes to us from the Holy Spirit, as far as I know that this is true. I know the truth of God. It’s implanted in my heart by the Holy Spirit. There are those who have gone out from us. They really weren’t of us. They came for a while, they participated for a while. It seemed like they were of us. But they went out from us. “Had they been of us, they no doubt would have remained. But they went out that it might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” Now John said,
I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Messiah? He is antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son (2:21,22).
So the spirit of antiChrist. It can even be in religious circles, the denial of the Father and the Son. That is really coming down to the denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ. That the Father and the Son are one. As Jesus said, “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30). If you honor me, you’ve honored the Father also. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father also” (John 14:9). Now John is talking about those who deny Jesus Christ as far as His deity is concerned. Denying that He is God. And this whole particular section here has to do with the deity of Jesus Christ and the denial of that deity and John says it is the spirit of antiChrist who denies the Father and the Son.
For whosoever denies the Son, the same hath not the Father (2:23):
Of course in those days, the Jews, many of them, denied the Son. They denied that Jesus was the Son of God. And even to the present day the Jews still deny that Jesus was the Messiah and was the Son of God. Many of them will say the reason why we do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah is that He claimed to be the Son of God and that the Messiah will be a man. As Moses said, “And there shall arise a prophet like unto myself; and to him shall you give heed” (Deuteronomy 18:15). Moses was a man, thus the Messiah will be a man.
That is relatively new in Judaism. In Jesus’ day, they did believe that the Messiah would be the Son of God. When Jesus said to His disciples, Whom do you say that I am? Peter said, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. When the high priest said to Jesus, I adjure you by God, tell us, Are you the Messiah? And Jesus said, You said it. He said, Are you then the Son of God? He said, You said it. And he said, What have we need of any further witnesses? You’ve heard Him yourself. That’s blasphemy. What do you say? They said, He’s worthy of death.
And so sentenced to death because He affirmed that He was the Son of God. So “whoso denies the Son has not the Father.”
Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. And if that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father (2:24).
They are one in that mystic way that we are not fully cognizant of and we only can probe but not fully understand. For “great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16).
And this is the promise that he has promised to you, to us, even eternal life (2:25).
Again the future. The glorious future. If we will now deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him, there will be a cross. There is the denial of the flesh and the lust of the flesh. There is a renouncing of the world. But there is the promise of eternal life.
These things have I written unto you concerning those that would seduce you. But the anointing which you have received of him [that is, the Holy Spirit] He abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but the same anointing teaches you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, that you shall abide in him (2:26,27).
The basic message of the Spirit is abide in Christ. Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatsoever you will, and it shall be done to you of the Father” (John 15:7). Now you say, But wait a minute. He said if we have need that no man should teach you. What are you doing up there, Chuck? Again, scripture with scripture. “He who has ascended is the same one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended He led the captives from their captivity and He gave gifts unto men. To some, He gave apostles; to some, prophets; and to some, evangelists; and to some, pastors teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:9-12). So God has set in the church pastor teachers. That’s what I’m doing up here.
I can teach you the truth as I teach God’s word. God’s word is true. But unless the Holy Spirit brings it to your heart, you can’t learn it. So the Holy Spirit is the One that takes the truth and applies it to your own heart. And there will be those that are here and the truth will ring in their heart and the witness, the oeidos, you know, yes. The Holy Spirit brings the truth to your heart. And there are others that will hear and they’ll say, I don’t know. Sure didn’t get anything out of that. And so unless the Holy Spirit really teaches and brings the truth to you, you can read the truth, you can hear the truth but it takes the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to your own heart and to bring you the understanding.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear (2:28),
And we know He’s going to appear. “When He shall appear,”
we will have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming (2:28).
We don’t know when He’s coming. “In an hour that you think not, He said, He is coming.” And I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of things I really would not be wanting to do when the Lord came. I surely wouldn’t want to be in some theater watching an X-rated movie or an R-rated movie or some of the, I don’t know what the movies are ‘cause I don’t go to the theaters anyhow. But I wouldn’t want to be there. Nor would I want to be sitting at home watching some racy stuff on the Internet. Or having rented an X-rated video, watching that in my home. There’s a lot of things that if the Lord should suddenly come, I don’t want to start hiding magazines and fumbling and trying to find the turn off button on the TV or the mute button or something. Ashamed at His coming. I don’t want to be doing anything. Because you see, what you don’t realize is that the Lord is with you. You say, Well I went to church and I met with the Lord tonight. I’ll tell you what, He’s going to go home with you. He’s aware, completely aware.
And what we need more than anything else is that consciousness of the presence of Christ with us at all times. So abide in Him, little children, my little blessed ones. That when He appears, yes, Lord.
Jesus said, “Blessed is that servant, who when his Lord comes, He finds him so doing” (Matthew 24:46). That is, doing the will of the Lord. When He comes, I hope to be right here in this pulpit doing the will of the Lord.
Now you know [and this is oeidos, you know intuitively] that he is righteous (2:29),
That’s knowledge by intuition or by impartation of the Holy Spirit. But then,
you know [and this one is ginosko, by experience] that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him (2:29).
So here you have a good contrast of the Greek words, oeidos and ginosko, the knowledge by intuition or by the Spirit and the knowledge which comes by experience. We know intuitively that Jesus is righteous but we know by experience that every one who does righteousness is born of Him.
Father, we thank You for the wonderful work of Your Holy Spirit in our hearts and in our life and the witness that He bears to us concerning Jesus our Messiah, our Savior, our Lord. And Father, we pray tonight that You will help us to deny ourselves, to take up the cross, and to follow You. Lord, that we will not be seduced, deceived, enticed by Satan with the thought of immediate fulfillment by indulging our flesh. But Lord, may we follow You, may we take up our cross and follow You. Lord, our heart yearns for Your righteousness. We love, Lord, Your fellowship. We need You desperately. Come walk with us, Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8233
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