Exploring 1 John Session 11 1 John 2:18
Exploring 1 John Session 11 1 John 2:18
We are in our 11th session in our exploration of 1 John. All previous sessions are available online at www.hbcc.life or YouTube channel hbcc life.
In this session, we will consider what the Apostle means by time being “just about up” and what he means by antichrists. What you can walk away with is that believers are to live in the day, one day at a time. The truth that Jesus is fully God and fully human will again be considered as we discover how a person earns the title of anti-Christ.
1 John 2:18 (MSG)
Children, time is just about up. You heard that Antichrist is coming. Well, they're all over the place, antichrists everywhere you look. That's how we know that we're close to the end.
John calls the members of the congregation “children”; again it is a term of endearment that speaks of the loving attitude of an old man towards those who
have accepted the gospel under his mentorship. The heart of a good pastor sees the congregation he or she serves as a family. Have you ever been a part of a functional family? Most of us are acquainted with the dysfunctional family. Hopefully, yours was able to keep the fun in it. As disciples of Jesus, we are to be building functional families, we call them congregations, where being loved and loving others is the norm, where acceptance and belonging are to be found, where safety and comradery form mutually beneficial supportive relationships. Disciples are to create an environment of trust. Is that the kind of Christ-follower you are? One who creates community?
“Time is just about up.” Such controversy surrounds a discussion of “the Last Days,” “the Last Hour.” It has been two millennia since John wrote this. Either he was mistaken or he means something else than what those words literally mean. The clue to a reasonable interpretation is to see how the phrase was used in John’s day. “In biblical thought, the last time is the end of one age and the beginning of another. It is last in the sense that things as they are pass away; but it leads not to world obliteration but world re-creation” (Barclay's Daily Study Bible). In the old-time, salvation was found under the Old Covenant. In this new time, the last time, salvation is found in the gospel, the New Covenant. The last time is this time.
A covenant is a contract. In ancient days the deal wasn’t sealed with signatures, it was sealed in blood. Jesus lifted a cup of wine during what we term the last supper and said to those gathered around the table.
1 Corinthians 11:25 (NIV)
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
The new covenant is that by acknowledging your sins, believing that Jesus can forgive your sins and reconcile you to God, you commit yourself to be Jesus’ disciple and you ask the Father to accept your faith. That’s the gospel.
Have you entered into the fellowship of Christ? Have you confessed your allegiance to the community, to the congregation? Acknowledge your sins committed while you lived in the darkness. Believe Jesus can forgive you of your sins, reconcile your relationship with the Father, and deliver you into the light. Commit yourself to walk in the light God gives you. Ask God to accept your faith. You will be granted entrance into the light.
It’s in the light that we await the second coming of our savior. The Kingdom is Blazing, it is overcoming the darkness. Disciples live with the expectation that today, this day, a total victory of the Kingdom of Light over the Kingdom of Darkness will be revealed. VE Day, Victory on Earth day:
Revelation 11:15 (MSG)
A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out, The kingdom of the world is now the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah! He will rule forever and ever!
The follower of Jesus carries the expectation and hope that VE day is upon us. Today is the day to walk in the light. This is the last hour. Get into the light, I want you in the light.
In this letter, the anti-Christ doesn’t refer to one single person but rather an attitude, a disposition, an intention. Before God accepted our faith in Christ we were all caught up in an anti-Christ spirit which means we did what we thought was best, we set ourselves up as the arbitrators of morality, no one could tell us what was right or wrong, truth or lie, morality is what we decided it to be. In Hawaii, they have a term for this: deaf ear. “Dat bruddah got deaf ear, he never like listen.” Oh, was that cultural appropriation? Email me let me know if I need to make a retraction and apology. “Deaf Ear” is heedless, obstinate, and often self-deceived. The result is walking in darkness.
Orchestrating the darkness is the spirit of disobedience. That spirit is identified as the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the dragon, the father of lies, the murder from the beginning, the thief, the accuser of God’s children, the one opposed to the Kingdom of God. This pied piper’s tune is “please yourself.” Please yourself is exactly what we are always tempted to do. “Am I going to bend my knee to God by choosing to love or am I going to please myself?”
One of my high school classmates has written a book titled 2084. In his Orwellian book the powers behind all the craziness in the world, the ones who are pulling all the strings, the real power brokers are a group called the Syndicate. They are the ones who destabilize governments, use social media to spread propaganda, convince the people to sacrifice liberty for safety. It’s a pessimistic read about what could happen in the future. As I read it I couldn’t help but think that there is no evil cabal controlling the world, darkness occurs with every refusal to love God and love others. As the numbers of the refusers grow, the darkness grows. The darkness is the realm of Satan. Don’t lose heart, the Life-Light is blazing, it shines brightest in the darkness ushering the darkness out. Are you walking in the light? Are you shinning with the life of Christ? If so where ever you are the darkness flees. You usher it out.
The folks who choose to walk in darkness are anti-Christs. Anti means against or opposed. Christ means “anointed one” and we can understand anointed or anointed as a reference to Jesus and the power to walk in the light. So anti-Christ can refer to anyone or anything that is opposed to the gospel. Where there is a refusal to love God and love others, there is darkness.
Specifically in this letter, those walking in darkness have ideas about Jesus that undermine the gospel. If Jesus isn’t fully God and fully human there is no salvation to be found in Him. At Christmas we set aside a time to celebrate the incarnation, God entering His creation as one of His creations. Only God could make things right with God. Only God could atone for the sins of His creation. On our behalf, God in Christ does exactly that. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ, John will again write of the anti-Christ in more definitive terms. Here in the letter, John addresses the problem of many anti-Christs being currently at work and he has this specific group which was formerly part of the congregation but were led astray with the wrong Christology. Christology is a theological term that means the study of Christ. This group John has identified as anti-Christs were part of the fellowship that ceded from the congregation. They left because they claimed that they had superior knowledge, a better salvation, which was such a major deviation from John’s teachings about Jesus that made salvation impossible.
There can be no salvation if Jesus is not fully God and fully human. Jesus has to be fully human to have absolute identification with humanity. Jesus must experience what it means to be human and the only way to do so is to be human. Jesus accomplishes what Adam did not. [Recapitulation Theory] Jesus lives a righteous life and reverses humanity's course of disobedience to one of obedience. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Think of this in terms of reconciling a relationship. Suppose a close friend accuses you of doing something that you didn’t. You get offended, and rightly so. Who can make things right with you? Can a mutual friend make amends for what the other person did? No, of course not, only the offending party can make reconciliation for their offense. Jesus had to be truly human: a human who like Adam represents all humanity to the One who created humanity. This is one side of the of the equation.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (MSG)
Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
The other side of the equation is that Jesus has to be truly divine because only God can forgive sin. Let’s say that close friend sins against you, but instead of estrangement, you allow love to overcome the situation. God is the offended party. Humanity’s disobedience is the offense. In Jesus, offense and forgiveness collide; guilt and acquittal integrate; justice and mercy bond; estrangement and the reconciliation meet; only God can do this. To set things right, the Creator had to take responsibility for His Creation. Only God saves, redeems, and reconciles.
Jesus is fully God and fully human. Remove divinity or humanity and salvation is an impossibility. It is faith in the atonement made by the God-Man that opens the door for you to be reconciled, to walk in the light, to thrive in the light. I want you in the light.
John 3:19-21 (NIV)
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
Our dear ones who refuse to enter into the light default into anti-Christ behaviors. All who refuse to love God and all who refuse to love others are behaving like anti-Christs. Those who once fellowshipped with us, and did not overcome offense with love and instead forsook the congregation are behaving like anti-Christs. Those within the congregation who refuse to love causing disruption within the community of faith are behaving like anti-Christs. Anti-Christs do not know right from wrong, they do what pleases themselves, they stumble along in darkness perpetuating evil, while blaming others for the very deeds they do, accusing the righteous of the very evil that they do.
Look around, open your eyes, there are many anti-Christs, those who are blatantly opposed to God, those who manifestly disregard and hate others. Time is almost up. The clock keeps ticking and the clock seems to pick up speed. Live fully today. Get into the light and stay in the light. Think right. What’s right? Right is loving God and loving others. Let your light shine, expose the lies that captivate people’s thoughts. Do right. What’s right? Right is actions that demonstrate love for God and love for others. Be like Jesus, be a light in your world. Shine, don’t put it off, do it now. The clock is ticking.