Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 – December 26 – Surprising Antichrists

Study from God’s Word The Book of 1st John … Passage for Reflection: 1st John 2: 22 … NIV Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.

My Journal for Today: When most Christians begin to talk about the “Antichrist” today, the image connoted is one of a very powerful and evil human who would assume control of mankind in the last days. But the Apostle John, who was writing to Christians in his three little letters late in his life, had a different, more generalized, idea of who represented the spirit of an antichrist.

John’s test of who could be categorized as an “antichrist,” involved several criteria; and he would have labeled anyone as an antichrist who, …
• denies the deity of Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God;
• claims to be “Christian,” yet refuses to obey God’s commands;
• claims to follow Christ, yet cannot or will not show love for other Christians; and/or …
• thinks he is saved and keeps on sinning flagrantly and habitually.

How about it? Did that catch anyone who is reading along with me? And right now, you may be thinking, as I am, “There’s a lot of people who will be sitting in the pews in my church next Sunday whom the Apostle John seems to be labeling as ‘antichrist.’ “ And in thinking that, you’d be right.

There are a lot of folks in our world today, some who may even call themselves “christian,” who flagrantly and habitually ignore God’s commands and sin against God; and my friend, if they died today without confessing and repenting of that sin, they would roast in hell for eternity. In John’s day, the Gnostics were false teachers who had conned many, thinking of themselves as disciples of Christ, who held onto antichrist doctrines, which led to them falling prey to worldly idols and lusts. But the Apostle stated clearly in his first epistle, that anyone could know he/she is saved if …
• he/she pursues Christlike purity and avoidance of sin, acknowledging/confessing/repenting of sin whenever it occurs, ... and ...
• he/she truly has a deep and abiding love for his fellow Christians, … and
• one who stands against anyone who denies Jesus was/is the Son of God and was/is our Messiah.

In fact, (see 1st John 5: 13 -linked), the Apostle wrote this first letter to help Christians have assurance of their salvation and to be able to recognize who, in the world of that time, were the “antichrists.” So, looking around in our world today, … whom would you identify as having the spirit of “antichrist?” They may not be that cataclysmic monster who will come to power in the last days; but they may hold a lot of interest and influence and be leading many, like a Pied Piper, to hell in their hand-basket of false teaching.

I think of some like the mighty TV guru, Oprah; or many of the self-help teachers who try to get people to elevate their self-esteem and imagine that they are the ones controlling this world. And of course, there are many religious people and sects who deny the deity of Jesus as The Christ, as in Mormonism, Buddhism, or Islam. Any of them carry or espouse the spirit of an antichrist; and they need to be recognized and their ideas discarded in the marketplace of truth.

But even more importantly, for Christians, … real, born-again Christians, … we need to know and hold on to the truth in such a way that we can recognize a counterfeit antichrist when we see/hear one in our world today. And I maintain that there’s only one way to become one who can discern the antichrists in this world; and that is to become so familiar with the truth that any antichrist liar can be easily discerned for whom they are. And that process involves what the author of Psalm 119 wrote about and the Apostle Paul espoused in 2nd Tim. 3: 16-17; and that was to be so immersed and covered in God’s word/truth that any lie or liar shines out in this darkened world without being able to be disguised.

What about it, fellow “Christian?” Are you totally confident of your salvation; and can you do what John wrote about in 1st John 4: 1, testing for the spirit of antichrist in the world and its leaders? If not, I would exhort any of us Christians to embark on a program encouraged by God to Joshua in Joshua 1: 8, digging in and staying in God’s word continually and daily … to the point that God’s truth becomes our standard and, as it declares, in Psalm 119: 105, it lights our way in life, revealing any antichrist for whom he is.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I thank You for Your way and Your will, clearly discerned in Your word. Amen

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