Wolves In Sheeps Clothing

Wolves In Sheeps Clothing
Wolves In Sheeps Clothing
[1Jo 2:18 NKJV]
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

As we look at the biblical timeline and watch as prophesies unfold in our generations we know that if John was living in the last hours then we are living in the last minutes and even seconds. The only thing that needs to take place on the prophetic timeline with regard to the rapture of the church is well….nothing. The fact is that Christ could return for the church this very second. As John lived with the expectancy of Christs eminent return, we also should stand fast in earnest expectation of the same. We do not know the day, hour, minute, second or twinkling of the eye (as the Bible refers to the rapture as in 1 Corinthians 15:52) that the LORD will return for His people. And so as believers we ought to be living like it could happen at any moment. What will you be doing when the LORD returns? Hopefully, you will be living a godly life working while you wait for Him.

John points out that his readers have heard that the Antichrist is coming. And just as John waited with expectation of Christ’s return, he was also very aware that one would come who would manifest himself as the one who is the leader of the opposition to Christ. This Antichrist, as we see in the Revelation will come in human form, possessed by Satan himself. Interestingly, I have heard tale of a satanist who converted to Christianity. Before her conversion she apparently was involved in the upper eschelons of the church of satan and approached the leader, Antion LeVey, with the request to be the one who would give birth to the Antichrist. Much to her surprise, LeVey stated that the Antichrist had already been born!

During John’s day as in ours, there is a spirit of antichrist. Many murderous people and leaders such as Hitler, Jeffery Dahmer, etc… have had a spirit of antichrist, yet there will come a day when the Antichrist will come and set up shop on the earth to decieve the nations. John is simply pointing out that the appearences of these antichrists leading to the rise of the Antichrist are indicative of the time left for the believer on the earth.

[1Jo 2:19 NKJV]
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but [they went out] that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

John is speaking of these antichrists who had apparently made their abode amongst the people of the church, they ended up leaving the body and revealing their true nature. Now, in the church today it is not uncommon for people to move for jobs, or to find a church that they feel more useful in (and I have a lot to say about that but will save it for another time) and some will quote 1 John 2:19. But this is not always the case. Just because someone decides to go to another church does not make them an outcast from the body of Christ. The problem occurs when a person leaves a church and ends up leaving the church entirely. They no longer fellowship, or attend a body for worship and service. This begs the question, “were they really saved to begin with.” Of course, only God knows the hearts and intents of these people, but if a person leaves the church altogether, it is a fair assumption that they were not of us. The evidence of a true believer is the fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are made manifest in acts of service to the body of Christ, and are evidenced in the daily life of the believer.

[1Jo 2:20 NKJV]
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

John is not saying that when you have the anointing from the Holy One that you suddenly become omniscient. To be anointed speaks of the fact that all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers the believer to discern the Word of God and by application of the Word, the believer is able to know and understand the things that the world is spiritually discerned. The Bible often refers to oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Oil would be used to anoint people for its soothing qualities and healing properties. It is told in church history that The Roman emperor Domitian cast John in a boiling vat of oil, as if to say, “You have an anointing? Here’s your anointing!” And yet John emerged from the vat of boiling oil unharmed, because he was anointed indeed! The Holy Spirit is the one who is our anointing and when we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit often times He does physically protect us from harms way.

[1Jo 2:21 NKJV]
I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

John is simply stating that his readers know the truth, and that lies have no part in the Christian walk. There were those who denied that Jesus was the Christ, and even today many of the Jews believe that Christ has yet to come. One of the subtle tactics of the enemy is to mingle a little lie with the truth. Slowly and almost methodically, the lies begin to twist the truth until the truth is no longer the truth but a lie. We see this in contemporary secular humanism, which teaches that truth is relative. This moral relativism states, in essence, “What you believe may be true to you but it is not necessarily true to me.” In other words you have “a truth” but there are no absolute truths. But this is a fallacy since opposing ideas cannot both be true. The problem with relativism is that it offers a blank check for anyone to behave however they desire. There is no room for accountability and much less room for absolute truth. Believers in Christ have the Holy Spirit who supplies us with all truth. Believers understand the absolute authority of the Word of God and the truth has been revealed through the work of Jesus.

[1Jo 2:22 NKJV]
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.

One of the most harmful influences of secular humanism is the impact that it has on people who fall prey to its lie. There are those who claim to know Jesus, but they do not know the real Jesus. They believe that “my Jesus is _______” (fill in the blank), but do not know the Jesus of the Bible. They have a religion and not a relationship with the LORD. They deny the truth about Christ and make themselves out to be liars. Then there are those who deny the Father and the Son. Worse than one who has misguided ideas about who Jesus is, is the one who outright denies the Father and the Son. John refers to these as antichrists.

[1Jo 2:23 NKJV]
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

There are many religions that claim to know God but deny Jesus. There are those who recognize Jesus as a prophet or a good man, but do not ascribe his deity. There are even those who claim that He is a god but not necessarily The Only God. All of these miss the mark and are not true. The true believer not only recognizes the authority of Jesus in the godhead, but they accept His offer of salvation and surrender their lives to Him. These are the ones who have a right relationship with the Father. We could spend hours covering texts that support the fact that Jesus is the LORD, but we will save that for another time.

[1Jo 2:24 NKJV]
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

In light of what John has just shared there were those who he referred to as antichrists who did not hold to the authority of Christ. John encourages the believer to hold fast to the core of their beliefs and not be swayed by heretical teachings. It is the the true message of Jesus that enables us to have a relationship with the Father. If the Holy Spirit abides in you then you abide in Christ and the Father.

[1Jo 2:25 NKJV]
And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life.

We are the recipients of the greatest gift ever; the gift of salvation. Jesus chose to give His life as payment in full for a sin debt that we could not pay. Now we have eternal life in Him. There is no greater gift! This gift was made available by the One who truly loves us. He has made this gift available to all, even those who have denied Him. The sad thing is that those who deny Him do so against His will. He wants all of us to taste the future of glory with Him. This is His promise to those who will accept His perfect gift.

[1Jo 2:26 NKJV]
These things I have written to you concerning those who [try to] deceive you.

The message of tolerance is a great message when people are truly tolerant, loving others as themselves. The problem with this was not unique to John’s time, but we see it very much alive today. People preach tolerance at the expense of the truth. It seems that everyone that is pushing for tolerance want their voice heard, but do not want the mention of Jesus in any discussion. It is like everyone get’s to be God but Jesus! The fact is tolerance is not the only argument that desires our attention and takes the focus off Jesus. We should be aware of those who come like wolves in sheeps clothing to decieve us. John would not have us be decieved by these antichrists and so he warns us to be careful.

[1Jo 2:27 NKJV]
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

This does not preclude the need for believers to have a pastor teacher. It is important that we are taught the Word of God. It is the Holy Spirit in us that allows us to understand. We should be careful when someone comes along with a “new” Gospel. There is no new Gospel. Yet it is funny how every year, usually around Easter, we see a television program about some “new” discovery other than the Gospel. We have seen things like, “The Secret,” and “The Gospel of Judas.” The point here is that we don’t need someone to teach us any ancillary to the Gospel, the Gospel alone is sufficient for us. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, and we have no need for any other.

[1Jo 2:28 NKJV]
And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

There will be those who are ashamed when He comes. They have played Christian all this time and now the LORD Himself stands before them and they are exposed for who they really are. The true believer can have confidence that when He returns that we will hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” As believers we are to abide in Him. This means that we must have a real relationship with Jesus and work on that relationship daily.

[1Jo 2:29 NKJV]
If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

The litmus test for a true believer is one that practices righteousness. Just like a doctor practices medicine or a lawyer practices law, the Christian must practice righteousness. It does not come to us naturally. It requires us to surrender our own stubborn wills and lay down our rights before Jesus. This practice reveals the fruits of the Spirit and this is the true evidence of a believer. So when you see someone practicing righteousness be the first to encourage them. Chances are good they are born of Him too!

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