Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Test of Fellowship (Part 11)

SERMON            GM14-020

SERIES:              Christian Living in a World of Chaos & Contradiction

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Fellowship: Resisting the Anti-Christ’s

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 2:18-27

SUBJ:                  Warning against the antichrists

SUMMARY:       You must remain in Christ in order to overcome the deceptive teachings of the anti-Christ’s.

SCHEME:           The aim of this message is to test your claim of fellowship with God on Christological grounds


          1B     Fellowship is tested on practical grounds (1:5-2:11)

                   1C     Practical grounds of moral like-ness (1:5-7)
                   2C     Practical grounds of confession of sin (1:8-2:2)
                   3C     Practical grounds of obedience (2:3-6)
                   4C     Practical grounds of love (2:7-11)

          2B     Fellowship is tested on relational grounds (2:12-17)

                   1C     The Positive Relationship (2:12-14)
                   2C     The Negative Relationship (2:15-17)

          3B     Fellowship is tested on Christological grounds (2:18-27)

                   1C     The Contrast (2:18)
                   2C     The Christological (2:19-21)
                   3C     The Centrality (2:22-25)
                    4C     The Clincher (2:26-27)

The Test of Fellowship:  Resist the anti-Christs
1 John 2: 18-27
(Part 11)


A.   Review

The letters of John deal predominately with the fundamental points of Christian theology. John’s letters are short and they are very understandable with careful reading, prayer, and meditation.

This letter that we call 1 John indicates that the interference and influence of false teachers had developed into a fluid system of thought opposing the teachings of both Jesus and the apostles, including John.

These false teachers withdrew from individual churches and began working to drag believers out of apostolic churches through the use of heresy and deception.

These false teachers were teaching that it was not necessary to believe that Jesus was the Son of God to have knowledge of God or to have an experience of salvation. They taught that:

·        One could live without sin or sinning
·        That there was no need of the practice of confession/forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ
·        They rejected apostolic authority, teaching, and doctrine and claimed to have their own special brand of information

So, John responded by writing this letter to assure these Christians that they were in fact the possessors of absolute truth from God. John chose to give his readers some ‘tests’ to in order to demonstrate the authenticity of the apostolic teaching and to re-build their confidence in John’s teachings.

John made his goal very clear: it is a very real possibility of having fellowship between men and God through Jesus Christ, His Son. Fellowship is possible and the claims of fellowship with God can be tested.

In 1 John 1:5 – 2:11, we see that the claims of fellowship with God can be tested on or by practical grounds or means. One does not have to look for secret, special, or selective signs in order to know for certain if one has fellowship with God. John listed at least four (4) distinctly practical marks that prove one does have fellowship with God:

·        There must be a moral-likeness to God. (1:5-7) Children resemble their parents, their father. There must be a moral-likeness to God our Father in order to establish our claim of being in fellowship with God. Morality will not save you, but your salvation will result in morality and a moral likeness.

·        There must be consistent remorse and confession of sin. (1:8-2:2) We cannot deny that we are guilty of sin nor can we refuse to confess sin when convicted and directed by the HS. We must omolegew - say the same thing, or agree with God that our sin is sin and then we must ask for forgiveness. A denial of sin, a reclassification of sin into hang-ups or quirks and a refusal to ask God for forgiveness is a sign that our claim of fellowship may be bogus.

·        There must be a commitment and a lifestyle of obedience. (2:3-6) One cannot simply make a decision, or pray a prayer, or as biblically incorrect as it can be “ask Jesus in your heart” and then live with no desire to obey God and His Word.

·        There must be a love for God, the things of God, and the people of God. (2:7-11). This love grows and deepens as believers grow and mature. But one cannot claim to have fellowship with God and not love God nor the things of God, including the people of God. God pours His love into us by His HS and we must express that love. 

It is true then that we can have fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that we can claim to have fellowship with God. But it is equally true that there must be evidence supporting our claim of having fellowship with God.

This is important to remember when you come across someone that claims to be a Christian, or that they are ‘OK’ with God and yet none of these characteristics of qualities exist. Our claim must be able to be put to the test and to pass giving us the confidence that we really are OK with God.

So, The Claims of Fellowship can be tested. They can be tested by practical grounds or means.

There is a second test we looked at and that was Fellowship can be tested on relational grounds. The evidence of salvation can be seen or proven by the fact that we have a visible and vital relationship with God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we looked at this test we saw that John had broken it down into two specific categories, the first category was positive relationship and he second category was negative relationship.

First of all – John was confident that the people he was writing to have a positive relationship with God. He wrote to them as little children, young men, and old men. He knew that they were at various stages of growth, but they were truly related to God. He based this confidence on:

·        The fact that their sins had been forgiven by God for His name’s sake

·        The fact that these believers had known God since they first heard the good news

·        The fact that they had overcome Satan and were strong in the Lord

So John has confidence in their claim because of their positive relationship to God through Jesus Christ. 

He is also confident of their claim because of a negative relationship. They are not related to the world. John tells them to not love the world or the things that are in the world. True believers who have a real relationship and real fellowship with God do not love this fallen world system. What is this world system? We answered that question with the following things:

·        The understanding and reason of sinful men
·        Vain imaginations of men
·        Evil thoughts of men
·        Inordinate longings and cravings of man
·        Unlawful inclinations of man
·        The perversities of men
·        Stubbornness and willfulness of men
·        It is a system where God is left out, where his standards are rejected
·        It is a system that opposes God, promotes self, and loves self

I summed it up this way:

·        Gratification w/o guidelines
·        Control/ w/o consequences
·        Rights w/o responsibilities
·        Pleasure w/o penalties

So, if you claim to have fellowship with God, then your claim can and should be tested. It can be tested on practical grounds and it can be tested on relational grounds. This leads us to a third test. Let me give you a …

B.   Rundown

1.     Identifying Friend and Foe

When I was in the Marine Corps I was assigned a tour of guard duty. It was my job to walk a perimeter line around our helicopters that were sitting on the flight line. They were both vulnerable and susceptible to sabotage. It was my job to protect them from any and all attempts of sabotage. 

As guards we were given the password of the day. Any time someone approached our position or attempted to get close to our helicopters we had to challenge them by calling out, ‘Halt, who goes there?’

Naturally, the individual who had been challenged had to respond with the correct password or be shot.

It was my job to determine who was a friend or who was a foe, or an enemy.

2.     The enemy of the church

The church faces foes, or enemies on a regular basis. The church faces enemies far greater than any that I might have faced on US soil or any foreign soil. The enemy is alive and well and has battle plans drawn and ready so as to attack the church.

3.     Our responsibilities as believers

We as Christians have no less responsibilities today in our Christian lives. We must be able to recognize who is a friend to the Christ and His cause or who is a foe to Christ and his cause. We must be able to determine who the anti-Christ’s are. We must be able to identify false doctrine and teaching.

Our theme is:  watch out for anti-Christ’s

This is a good reminder for us all to be sober, alert, and always on guard in order to identify and resist the anti-Christ’s that attempt to destroy our faith by deception.

Proposition:  I propose to you that you must remain in Christ in order to overcome the deceptive teachings of the anti-Christ’s.

Interrogative SentenceWhy does John warn these believers to watch out for the anti-Christs.

Transitional SentenceThis passage implies four (4) arguments that enable us to see the importance of the Christological test of a claim of fellowship.
[The first argument John gives is…]

3C     A Proliferation of antichrists are a sign of the end times      (18)

“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.” (1 John 2:18, ESV)

1D     Children

John begins verse 18 with paidia. Little children. It actually means infant or babe. It is a term of endearment. John loves his readers and they are very special to him.

2D     “…it is the last hour…”

The last hour is the last period of time between the first coming of Jesus in the incarnation and the last appearing of Jesus at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

John clearly means the short period which still remains before the final manifestation of the last day.

Remember Jesus had told his disciples that the time of His return was not revealed by God.

Read Matthew 24:3-14

“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44, ESV)

“Watch…for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13, ESV)

“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40, ESV)

John reminds his readers just how important these truths are. They are living in that last period of time and they needed to be on guard, watching, and ready not deceived by false teachers.

As John thinks about the appearance of many false teachers or antichrists, he wants his readers to realize that their appearance is characteristic of the coming end of this particular age.

John doesn’t set a date, or speculate on the when, his desire is to stress the urgency of the implications resident in these false teachers.

                              3D     “…and as you have heard…”

This subject, the last days or final period of time and the coming of the Messiah was taught to these believers. This was part of the apostolic teaching. John reminds them that they had been taught these truths.

A part of their instruction in the faith was the teaching that “the” antichrist would appear or that he is “coming,” he is on his way. The grammar tells us that the future coming of “the” antichrist is a certain reality. He is coming.

The singular noun points to a definite individual who is yet to come.

                              4D     “…that antichrist is coming…”

                                        Who is this antichrist?
                                        What is significant about him?
                                        Why was he such a part of the apostle’s teaching?
First – The early church believed a number of things:

·        that the Temple would be rebuilt in Jerusalem
·         that a Jewish man would come on the world scene
·        This Jewish leader would have extraordinary powers
·        He would make extraordinary claims
·        He would harass and persecute the Christian church
·        He would deceive many people, attempt to deceive and mislead Christians

Second – During the period of time between Christ’s first coming and his second coming, there will be many false teachers and prophets who will pop up all over the place teaching false doctrine heresy, and promoting wickedness/evil, and will persecute Christians.

Thirdly – the “spirit” or intent of the coming antichrist is already at work even in John’s day.

There have been many imitations of this coming antichrist.

For example:  the Roman Emperor Caligula

·        He demanded to be worshipped as a God
·        He had a temple built for him to be worshipped in
·        He had a statue set up in his likeness to be worshipped 

You have to remember who our enemy really is.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)

The only protection that we have is the entire armor of God and that is why Paul tells us to put in on and he describes our armor piece by piece.
So John says, “…and you have heard…” These believers have already been warned already. It seems that none of the apostles ever preached without warning these early Christians about the danger of these antichrists.

We as believers have been warned yet it seems that so many are deceived today by them.

The church is constantly confronted by this evil power that many times is quiet, subtle, and just under the radar.

Who is this antichrist?

·        He appears in the “latter times” of Israel’s history        (Dan 8:23)
·        He will appear prior to Christ’s second coming to earth (2 Thess 2:2)
·        His appearance at this time is prohibited by the HS  (2 Thess 2:6, 9)
·        There will be a unique and seemingly global apostasy  (2 Thess 2:1)
·        It seems that he is a Gentile:    (Rev 13:1)

o   He arises from the “sea” (depicts the nations)
o   He comes from the Roman empire
o   He is the head of the last Gentile world rulers
o   He is a political leader  (Rev 13:1; 7:12

·        He will rule over the entire world 

What is significant about him?

o   He will  eliminate 3 rulers in order to take control  (Dan 7:8, 24)
o   His rise to power is a result of a peace program  (Dan 8:25)
o   He is marked by extraordinary intelligence & persuasiveness  (Dan 7:8, 20; 8:3)
o   He will rule with absolute authority (
o   His chief intent is absolute power  (Dan 11:38)
o   He introduces absolute idolatrous worship
o   His authority and power is derived from the pride of Satan  (Eze 28:2)
o   The one world, false church actually helps him come to power because the church believes it can control him.
o   He will destroy the false, one world church

Why was he such a part of the apostle’s teaching?

His chief aim is to oppose God and anything that relates to God
He is the man of lawlessness – he is the very embodiment of evil/wickedness
His mission is to destroy God’s work, his people,

He is very deceptive
He is very crafty
He can be very subtle

Therefore the church had to be on its absolute guard. I am afraid today’s church has been lulled to sleep by the any antichrist’s who are active today.

When Frodo put on The Ring it made him invisible to anyone and everyone around him. But when he was wearing The Ring the all-seeing power in Mordor was drawn to The Ring. Frodo or any wearer of the ring was subtly drawn to the all-seeing evil power and its control.

The church has put on The Ring. The church today is drawn toward power, success, wealth, position, and notoriety. The church has been deceptively drawn more and more to the world’s philosophy as it seeks to be relevant.

Next week, Lord willing we will finish John’s three other arguments that enable us to see the importance of the Christological test of a claim of fellowship.
Our theme is:  watch out for anti-Christ’s

This is a good reminder for us all to be sober, alert, and always on guard in order to identify and resist the anti-Christ’s that attempt to destroy our faith by deception.

Proposition:  I propose to you that you must remain in Christ in order to overcome the deceptive teachings of the anti-Christ’s.

[What do you say we wrap this up?]                       


My goal this morning and the aim of this series of messages is to test your claim of fellowship with God on Christological grounds. Today, my goal was to review and remind you of what we have covered since it has been a few months since we have studied this letter.

 This warning was given on the basis of John’s confidence in his reader’s position of being genuine believers. This warning was based on all the prior apostolic teaching and preaching that these believers had received.

John warned them that The Antichrist was coming, but there were many similar antichrists spreading false doctrine right then and there.

Exhortation:  I exhort you to be sober, watching, and on guard that you are not subtly deceived into works of lawlessness by antichrists who are imitating Christ. 

Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:7-8, (ESV)

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…”

Let’s pray! J

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