Exploring 1 John Session 15: 1 John 2:26-27
Exploring 1 John Session 15: 1 John 2:26-27
In our previous sessions, we have covered the background material sufficiently for you to understand the issues to which John is writing. We know there were folks within the congregation that got swept up in an explanation of Jesus' nature and relationship with the Father that undermined the gospel. The folks that left were trying to persuade those that stayed to move over to their more logical and popular opinions about the gospel message.
John has written that these folks
1 John 2:19 (MSG)
They left us, but they were never really with us.
In session 15 we are going to learn why they left, we are going to discuss the amazing blessing of Christ’s anointing and then discover how to live deeply in what we have been taught.
1 John 2:26-27 (MSG)
I've written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you. But they're no match for what is embedded deeply within you—Christ's anointing, no less! You don't need any of their so-called teaching. Christ's anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.
There always have been deceivers in the Church; wolves among the sheep, those who pedal for profit the Word of God, those who teach their newest revelation that they have received. It’s difficult when someone you admire for their teaching all of a sudden veers off into some tangent. Some of the false teaching in the church today is that God is angry, and vindictive, pouring his wrath on Jesus for our sins, and will punish those who don’t meet his expectations by sending them to eternal damnation, not a scriptural revelation. False teachers preaching that you must follow specific rules to please God, you have to have the right kind of faith for God to answer your prayers, give financially and you will receive financially, not scriptural revelations. Be a loyal disciple and God will bless you with health and wealth, giving you the desires of your heart so that you can live the American Dream, not in the Bible, only on TV. Recite a special prayer three times daily and God will bless you, not in the Bible. God loves you so much it doesn’t matter what you do, just have faith, not in the Bible. Never question pastoral leadership, he is God’s man with God’s plan and definitely cannot be a woman, not in the Bible. Now to step on doctrinal sensibilities, I can’t find evidence in scripture for a rapture of the Church before the Second coming of Christ. I can’t find evidence in scripture that the gifts of the Spirit ended with the Apostles. I can’t find evidence in scripture that God governs through dispensations. I can’t find evidence in scripture that Christians escape the great tribulation.
Matthew 7:15 (NIV) & 15-16 (MSG)
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. “…"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook.”
Be wary of the deceivers. Always investigate someone’s, preaching, prophecies, and proclamations. Is what said supported clearly in scripture? Is what said have a precedent within the history of Christianity? Is what said in accord with the instruction you received when you first believed? Is what said accepted among all believers? Is what said backed up by a life of righteousness? Do your own work. Do your own research. Use that good mind that God gifted you with. True biblical teaching will set you free from legalism, fear, and manipulation. True biblical teaching condemns sin and offers grace, mercy, and the opportunity to change.
The deceivers John is writing about are those that denied that Jesus is God in body and soul, human in every way except without sin. The deceivers were caught up and lead astray by the prevailing philosophy of the day called Gnosticism. They believed in Jesus, but not the gospel revelation of who He is. As we have established right belief and right action are necessary for salvation. If Jesus isn’t fully God and fully human, then there can be no atonement made and we remain estranged from life and light, from fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
John tells us that those who left didn’t have what he calls “Christ’s anointing,” those that stayed did. He tells his congregation that this anointing is embedded deeply within the believer and helps them discern truth from error. There are three understandings of this anointing.
The first anointing is the teaching that the congregation received from John. Can you imagine sitting at the feet of the Apostle John and learning what he had to tell us about his experiences with Jesus? The questions you could have asked and gotten answers too? Its speculation on my part but most likely John taught from Moses and all the prophets, the revelation of the Old Testament, explaining the scripture in such a way that they pointed to Jesus. We know that John testified to God’s plan for reconciliation that he was an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. God incarnates, models what it means to be human while revealing the character and nature of God, then sacrifices Himself in death to make atonement for the sins of the world that those who call upon Him for salvation are reconciled to God. You can be reconciled to God, you can walk in the light, you can be born again, you can be saved: acknowledge your estrangement, believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, that empowers reconciliation, commit yourself to live as his disciple, to walk in the light, to believe right and act right, then ask God to make you one of his own, to be counted among those who are united to Him. If you feel a tug on your heart right now, that this is something you must do, then do it know. I want you in the light. I want you to walk in the light. Today you could shine. Ask God right now to accept your faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). The first understanding of this anointing is the knowledge of Christ, it’s the right belief.
The second anointing refers to baptism but in a roundabout way. Baptism is a sacrament, a sacred ritual instituted by Jesus. There are no un-baptized Christ-followers in John’s day. Another John, John Wesley, refers to baptism as a means of grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God enabling you to desire to do God’s will and the wherewithal to accomplish God’s will. There is a lot more to baptism than getting wet. Baptism is a ritual of identification with Jesus (Romans 6:4). The person being baptized approaches the water symbolizing leaving their old life behind, they enter the water symbolizing the crucifixion, they are immersed in the water symbolizing death, they are brought up out of the water symbolizing the resurrection and they leave the water symbolizing the new way of life as a disciple (Colossians 2:12). In some rituals, a person is anointed with oil symbolizing the infilling of the Holy Spirit. To participate in the ritual is to make the gospel your own faith story. In the early church, you may have spent up to a year being mentored in the faith before you were allowed to be baptized, for baptism was how all believers became members of the Church. You were given plenty of time to count the cost of being a Christ-follower (Luke 14:28). The second understanding of this anointing is the strength, solidarity, and safety of the congregation.
The third anointing is that of the Holy Spirit. When having acknowledged your dead-end way of life (Colossians 1:13), believed that Jesus makes it possible for you to live your life to the full (John 10:10), committed to being Jesus disciple (Luke 9:23), and have asked God to accept your faith (Romans 10:13), that acceptance comes with the infilling of the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit supernaturally takes up residence within you (Ephesians 1:13), empowering you to desire the will of God and to do the will of God (Romans 8:9). Jesus instructed us that once the Holy Spirit took up residence within that the Spirit would lead the believer into all truth (John 16:13). The third understanding of this anointing is the active guidance of the Holy Spirit.
One of the tasks as a new believer is to learn to hear the voice of the Spirit, to discern God’s voice, from your own, or others (Romans 8:14). In my education in the Spirit here are some guidelines that I have found to be very helpful in discerning the voice of God. First, the Spirit will not contradict the written Word. Second, the Spirit will not lead you into selfish gain, not for fame or fortune. Thirdly, the Spirit leads to a collaborative fellowship to accomplish God’s desires (John 5:19). Fourth, the Spirit will not lead you into hypocrisy, compromise, or anything shady, rather what is necessary to build others up. Fifth, the Spirit never manipulates or coerces or threatens; the Spirit does warn, rebuke, and correct, most definitely, but taking His path is always your choice. Sixth, the Spirit direction is always wise you will not be led into doing something stupid. Seven, the Spirit will not cause confusion, or lead you into division, fear, or strife, the Spirit will not have you constantly changing directions.
Isaiah 30:20-21 (MSG)
Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he'll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: "This is the right road. Walk down this road."
Don’t expect that the Holy Spirit will speak to you through signs and wonders. That earthquake, that lightning bolt, that dream or vision, makes for great testimonies but most often it's in the quiet that we hear the Spirit. In the quiet we listen, that’s why prayer and contemplation and reading the scripture are part of the seven habits of a disciple.
1 Kings 19:11-13 (MSG)
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, "So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?"
Christ’s anointing is deeply embedded in you because you have stayed true to the basics. You have kept the orthodox teachings of the faith, you have become an active participant in the congregation that holds to the gospel of the Apostles through baptism. You listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is through this anointing that you can discern truth from error and live a devout and holy life. Right belief, right action is the result of Christ’s anointing. When presented with false teaching it is this anointing that sends up a red flag in your spirit. Something feels not quite right. The anointing causes you to ponder and think through the ramification of what has been said. The anointing instigates an investigation, a search for truth. In the quiet, the anointing guides and protects.
You may find it interesting to consider that in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, it is the prophet (1 Kings 19:16), the priest (Exodus 28:7), and the King (1 Samuel 16:3 & 12) who are anointed. The anointing was God’s seal for special service limited to these groups of people; prophets, priests, and kings. The anointing with oil is a symbol of sanctification and empowerment, being set apart for God’s purposes and equipped to carry out those purposes. John is telling us that this anointing is not for select special individuals, now it’s for all who believe. Set apart and empowered for service is an anointing that is grace gifted to you if you are a believer.
We are to live deeply in what we have been taught. Live deeply is reminiscent of the admonition in Deuteronomy concerning the commands of God.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (MSG)
Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got!
Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
We are to be immersed in the anointing. In my home, there are several reminders displayed that are there to remind me of being set apart to serve. There are crosses, there are scriptures, there is artwork. All serving as visual reminders to live deeply in what I have been taught. I have Bibles at the ready, one, in particular, I use 6 days a week for a quiet time—a quiet time so that I can hear the guidance I need for the day, I read scripture usually a Psalm for the week and then a selected passage of scripture, and then I write out my impressions and prayers; all to help me to live deeply in what I have been taught. In the last couple of weeks, I have been ending this time with questions like: how can I be a blessing today? How can I comfort the one who is suffering? Who can I encourage today? These reminders to activate my anointing, notice that right belief must be accompanied by right behavior, a prompt that I am to live deeply in what I have been taught. Some Christian music, some books, some conversations help me live deeply. My wife, my friends, and my church family, each holds me accountable to live deeply, that’s why I need a congregation.
You know that in the years following 2011, I put the things that I have been taught into a crucible. I critically examined the things that I have been taught. The result was that some beliefs were challenged. I have made some changes. I think differently than I did in 1985 when I started full-time work as a pastor. Even though I reject some of those teachings, I still believe my beliefs fall well within the boundaries of orthodoxy. I’ve stayed with the original message. I can testify that the anointing remains, even if I have been accused of being a heretic from time to time. Don’t be afraid to think. Don’t be afraid to challenge and to question. Keep loving God and loving others, be an active part of a congregation, that’s the way to be in the light, that’s the way to shine. I want you in the light.
So what do we walk away with today? It is the job of every disciple of Jesus to be on guard against deceivers. Watch out for the false preacher, the false prophet, the false pastor. There are anti-Christs everywhere. You will most likely find them in the church. Allow Christ’s anointing to help you discern truth, to guide you on your journey. Don’t just accept, evaluate, and if its Truth, assimilate. Abide deeply in the truth you have been taught.
For those who didn’t hear, if you’re a believer you need a congregation; if you’re a believer you should be baptized; if you’re a believer you need be active in some sort of ministry; if you’re a believer you need to be practicing the 7 habits of a disciple; if you are a believer you need to think and evaluate what the pastor, prophet or priest is teaching; if you’re a believer right belief plus right action plus right words allows God to shine through you. I want you to shine.
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