Thursday, April 11, 2024

2024.04.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 John 2:18–27

Read 1 John 2:18–27

Questions from the Scripture text: How does John address his readers in 1 John 2:18? What does this mean has happened to them (1 John 2:12)? And Whom does this mean they have known (1 John 2:13f)? What hour does he tell them that it is now? Whom had they heard is coming? But who have already come? What does this show about the hour in which John was writing? From where did these antichrist’s come (1 John 2:19)? Why did they go out? What if they had been of the fellowship of 1 John 1:3? What has their departure manifested? But what do the believers have (1 John 2:20)? What do they know, that corresponds to what the apostle now writes? What isn’t the reason for his writing (1 John 2:21)? What about them has led him to write? What do they know about lies? Who is the great liar (1 John 2:22)? What is his title? What (Whom) does he deny? Whom doesn’t the Son-denier also not have (1 John 2:23)? Whom does the Son-acknowledger also have? What are they to let abide in them (1 John 2:24)? What will happen by this truth’s abiding in them—in Whom does this truth tell them to abide and make them to abide? What has been promised by this abiding (1 John 2:25)? Who has promised it? Concerning whom is the apostle writing them? What (Who) abides in them (1 John 2:27)? What don’t they need? What else does this anointing teach them? How reliable is this anointing? What have they already begun to do by its teaching?

What does the Spirit do for believers? 1 John 2:18–27 prepares us for the second serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these ten verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Spirit keeps believers from becoming antichrists by confirming Scripture and biblical teaching to them, so that they abide in God by abiding in Christ.

What about those who don’t “abide” in the church? The visible church/invisible church distinction. 1 John 2:17 concluded that he who does the will of God abides forever. But there were people who had went out from the church (1 John 2:19a). What about them? Well, not everyone that is in the church is of the church (1 John 2:19). Sometimes someone who learns about the distinction between the visible church (baptized members) and invisible church (all the elect) complains that this is not a biblical distinction. But it clearly is one here, with those who “went out from us” because “they were not of us.” (Just as the same is clearly taught in Romans 9:6-12, especially Romans 9:6.

Antichrist, and antichrists, come because it is the last hour (and has been for 2000 years!). It is a dreadful thing indeed either to have to be put out of the church (cf. 1 Corinthians 5) because some sin or error has exposed your profession as false, or to leave from the church and expose your profession as false (1 John 2:19). It reveals such an assertion of “self” authority and “self” theology that 1 John 2:18 describes such people as “many antichrists.” Their autonomy and independence is in the image and spirit of that great Antichrist, the Man of Sin who puts himself in the place of God (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4). What the Pope is, writ-large and eschatologically, the “lone-ranger” Christian is on a smaller scale. Sadly, these “independent thinkers” must be watched against, since they often are not satisfied merely to leave the church, but attempt to lead genuine believers astray (1 John 2:26).

The Spirit agrees with Himself about the Father and the Son. How do real believers come to remain in biblical/faithful churches? They have “an anointing from the Holy One.” God has anointed believers in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21). Christ has poured out His Spirit upon them, specifically as the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). It is He Who had given all previous Scripture (cf. 1 Peter 1:11). It is He Who makes our hearts to understand Scripture and agree with it (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14–4:7). So John is encouraged, as he writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, because he is writing to those who recognize, by the Spirit, that what the apostle writes is true (1 John 2:21). 

The spirit of antichrist is especially present in those who deny the Persons within the Godhead; they deny the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22). But God is One, and they cannot know or have God if they deny any of the Persons of the Godhead (1 John 2:23a). Happily, this means that in giving Himself to us in the Son, God the Father has also given Himself to us (verse 23b). This is the great truth by which believers begin in Christianity (1 John 2:24): God the Son became a man to save us, and we are saved by abiding in Jesus—by Whom we also then abide in the Father. This is the truth that must abide in us. And, God has promised that by abiding in Him we have eternal life from Him and in Him (1 John 2:25, cf. 1 John 1:2–3). 

Thanks be to God that the Spirit persuades us inwardly of what faithful teachers say outwardly: the triune God has given us to abide in Himself by abiding in Christ (1 John 2:27). This is why, if you are a Christian, you have discovered that the truths of the divinity of Christ and doctrine of the Trinity are so important to you. Christ has given His Spirit to you precisely to convince you of Bible truth, so that you will abide in Him!

Who gave you the Bible? Who gives you faithful Bible teachers in the home and in the church? Who are these teachers? What do all faithful Bible teachers say about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit? In Whom do they teach you to abide? What do they teach you that you have by this abiding?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for teaching us that Jesus is God the Son, and for revealing Yourself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thank You for teaching us that the church is Your own institution and that we cannot expect to be saved if we go out from it. Forgive us for how lightly we have taken the necessity of our church membership and the gift of faithful teachers in the church. Forgive us for how lightly we have underestimated the wickedness and danger of those who deny the divinity of Christ or the doctrine of the Trinity. Forgive us for when we have not been so intentional and diligent to abide in Christ and in His doctrine. Thank You for Your patience with us. Keep persisting with us by Your grace, as You continue convincing us by Your Spirit and helping us by Your Spirit, we ask in the Name of the Son, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP110B “The LORD Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH212 “Come, Thou Almighty King”

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