Fellowship With God and Other Believers

1 JOHN 2:18-29

1st John, Chapter 2 refers to our conduct in fellowship with both God and other believers.
The first eleven verses refer to the fact that our conduct was to be like that of Christ.
Then, in verses 12-17 we're commanded to be separated from the world in our conduct.
Now, in verses 18 through 27 we are told to affirm to the world that our fellowship is with Christ, and, consequently, with our fellow believers.
John is going to give us some contrasts between truth and falsehood in these verses.

VERSE 18. "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." John is talking about the last days, the time between Christ's first and second comings. The first century readers of John lived in the last days, and so do we. During this time, "antichrists" (false teachers who pretend to be Christians and lure weak members away from Christ) will appear. They also mislead the unsaved in things that aren't Bible truth.

Here is an example of the work of an antichrist. I received this on the Internet, and it starts with some deceptively comforting words, but it is pure lies. It's calculated to mislead one into thinking that man is somehow able to approach God on man's terms. I quote: "No one can doubt the Power of Prayer. How do we know if our prayers are heard? What do we know about the location of God? We know that God was at the birth of His universe. We know how the universe began - with a "Big Bang." We know where the oldest part of the universe is located. We can transmit radio messages to this precise location. Why not transmit our prayers to where we know God resided?" These folks have designed and built a radio transmitter to try "to contact God by sending their prayers into space to the last known location of God."

I just can't seem to find that radio transmissions are the method of contacting God in His Word, the Bible. Obviously they reject God's account of creation for man's theory of how the universe came to be, thereby calling God a liar. They even claim to know where God resided at one time and, instead of praying directly to Him as He has offered us in the Bible, they propose to contact Him by radio. God has made no secret of where He resides. He resides in the heart of the Believer. He also has stated in His Word that He does not reside in the heart of the non-believer.

Just before the end of the Great Tribulation, one great Antichrist will appear. A television evangelist predicts that Christ will come in 2001. The Bible doesn't support that prophecy. Click on Matthew 24:36. If this were true, the Great Antichrist would be here now. God alone knows when Christ will return.

VERSE 19. "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." The antichrists weren't total strangers to the church, they once belonged to it. Some go to church today because it's family tradition. Others developed the habit as kids and still go. Still others like the social contacts. Some try to "update" the church. We don't have to settle for these. With Christ as our Savior, we're in God's fellowship.

VERSE 20. "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." When you become a Christian you receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Truth and the Holy Spirit guides you into that Truth. People who are against that truth are against God. The Holy Spirit isn't working in their lives. The spirit of the antichrist is working in their lives. The Holy Spirit of God is working in the lives of those who are Believers in Christ.

VERSE 21. "I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth." John didn't write this to those that were ignorant of the truth, he wrote it to confirm that what they believed was true. He was confident these Believer knew Jesus was truly the Son of God and was God in the flesh.

VERSE 22. "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." Jesus is the Christ. Some people like to say they believe in God and worship Him but they don't want to believe that Jesus is also God in the form of His Son. Many religions accept Christ as a son of God, but not as the only begotten Son of God. In John 14:1 Jesus says, "You believe in God, believe also in Me."

VERSE 23. "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." Apparently the antichrists in John's day were attempting to be loyal to God while denying and opposing Christ. God's Word tells us this is impossible. Since Jesus is God's Son and the Messiah, to deny Him is to reject Gods way of revealing Himself to the world. A person who accepts Christ as God's Son accepts God the Father at the same time. The two are one and can't be separated. Some cults call themselves "Christians" but deny Jesus as divine. Some of our mainline denominations are actually cults. They deny Christ as being God.

Verse 24 "Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father." These Christians had heard the gospel, very likely from John himself. They knew that Christ was God's Son, that He died for our sins and was raised to give us new life, and that He would return to establish His Kingdom in it's fullness as He had promised the 0ld Testament saints. Now there were some teachers who were denying that basic doctrine of the Christian faith. Some of these folks were in danger of believing it.

The safeguard against false teachers for Believers is to stay close to the Bible. Test everything you hear or read for verification from the scriptures. Prove that what you heard or read actually came from the Bible and was taken in true context. Satan and his followers are great at mis-quoting the scriptures. He even tried it with Eve, and succeeded, and also with Christ. He didn't succeed when he mis-quoting scripture with Christ, however.

VERSE 25 "And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." God has promised us eternal life as the reality of our faith. When we accept the Lord Jesus, we receive His own life, namely eternal life."

VERSE 26-27. 26: "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
27: But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him."
Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit to teach His followers and remind them of all that Jesus had taught. John 14:26. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." The moment we accept Christ as our Savior, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can understand the scriptures. The statement that you don't need anyone to teach you what is right doesn't mean that we don't need Christians that teach and preach. God has made provision for these in Ephesians 4:11. "It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers." We don't need man's teachings. What we need is men teaching what is found in the Word of God. With the Word of God in our hands, (and it's available to everyone) and the Spirit of God in our hearts who enables us to understand that Word, we have everything we need for instruction in the truth of God.

VERSES 28-29 "And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.
29: If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him. Little children, it is the last time: and ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many."
John calls the Believers "little children." It's a term of affection that identifies the Christian as a child of God. He tells us to "abide in Him," literally to trust and obey Him in all facets of our lives. If we do obey Him, we won't be ashamed when He comes to meet us in the air at the Rapture.

John closes the chapter with a comment on the righteousness of God. He assigns a righteous standing to every Believer at our salvation. There is no way that we could become righteous in our own merit, God declares us righteous. The visible proof of being a Christian is right behavior. The invisible proof is comfort and confidence in God's leading in our life when we are obedient to Him. His last words in this portion are to warn us again about the many antichrists that are among us.