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Beware of False Teachers | April 8th Sermon| 1 John 2:18-27


Read 1 John 2:18-27

 

 

We must remember the context of John’s later letters to the many churches. There was a false doctrine of Christ being taught in the churches.  A new thought and/or religion called Gnosticism was taking over the church it this is what is was teaching about Christ.

 

The Point:  Be wary of false teaching and the antichrist.  Christians need to be mindful, critical and ask many questions about what they are taught within the church.  We must follow the One, True, Biblical Christ—not a false Christ. 

 

 

1. In the last days, there are many false teachers who will teach false doctrines to take Christians away from their Lord and savior—Jesus Christ.

 

 

Gnosticism:  A Distorted view of God—False Teaching which John is warning of in 1 John.

 

 

Docetists (Docetism)

a).  denies the true humanity of Jesus Christ, but accepted His deity. (It only “appeared” or “seemed” that He had a body like ours.) For them, Jesus was not God who incarnated into flesh as man.

 

Cerinthians

b). . The only New Testament writing that Cerinthus accepted was the Gospel of Matthew. Cerinthus taught that Jesus, the offspring of Joseph and Mary, received Christ at his baptism as a divine power revealing the unknown Father. This Christ left Jesus before the Passion and the Resurrection. Cerinthus admitted circumcision and the sabbath and held a form of millenarianism.

 

Millenarianism is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which "all things will be changed".[1] Millenarianism exists in various cultures and religions worldwide, with various interpretations of what constitutes a transformation.[2]

These movements believe in radical changes to society after a major cataclysm or transformative event.

 

General Gnostics Heresies

God: Gnostic writings often describe God as incomprehensible and unknowable. This idea conflicts with Christianity’s concept of a personal God who desires a relationship with human beings. Gnostics also separate the inferior god of creation from the superior god of redemption.

Salvation: Gnosticism claims hidden knowledge as the basis for salvation. Adherents believed that secret revelation frees the "divine spark" within humans, allowing the human soul to return to the divine realm of light in which it belongs. Gnostics, thus, divided Christians into two categories with one group being carnal (inferior) and the other being spiritual (superior). Only the superior, divinely enlightened persons could comprehend the secret teachings and obtain true salvation.

Christianity teaches that salvation is available to everyone, not just a special few and that it comes from grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), and not from study or works. The only source of truth is the Bible, Christianity asserts.


“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.  Therefore we know that it is the last hour.  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, and that it might become plain that they are not of us.  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.”


--1 John 2:18-20


ἀντίχριστος  --Antichrist


ἀντίχριστος-ου, (ἀντί against and Χριστός, like ἀντίθεος opposing God, in Philo de somn. l. ii. § 27, etc., Justin, quaest. et resp., p. 463 c. and other Fathers; [see Sophocles Lexicon, under the word, cf. Trench, § xxx.]), the adversary of the Messiah, a most pestilent being, to appear just before the Messiah's advent,

There will be ONE antichrist (most scholars believe “the beast” in Revelation 13 is the antichrist).  What will the antichrist do?

“And a I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads…And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.  It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His name and His dwelling , that is, those who dwell in heaven.”


--Revelation 13:1, 5-6


The one antichrist will preach and teach blasphemous doctrine that will go against who God is and His teachings.  John is saying here how there will be many “adversaries” to Christ—there will be many antichrists! There will be many false teachings teaching blasphemous doctrines until Jesus comes back and even during tribulation as the true “beast” rises out from the depths to show the true nature of the antichrist. 

These antichrists and / or false teachers will be sinful, smooth talkers, they may even appear as children of light (they may seem like the are Christians and/or right teachers) but they are deceiving us.


Even Jesus warns the disciples of this time in History which will occur after His resurrection: Matthew 24:3-5, Matthew 7:15-16


This letter in 1 John is warning the church as Jesus warned His disciples:  beware of false teaching.  Be careful, check the log in your own eye, be a thinker and not a hypocrite, do not have blind faith—your faith must be discerned and thoughtful because you need to follow the One, True Jesus Christ. 


"Another problem with people who fail to examine themselves is that they often prove all too easily influenced."

 – Martha C. Nussbaum (Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (The Public Square))

Modern false teachings:

a). Little gods doctrine.  “We are born in the image of God therefore we are little gods under God.  This makes us like God, giving us God’s prophecies and powers (healing power, prosperity power, power over the weather etc.)

b). False, extreme Kenotic theology.  Kenosis means “to empty out.”  It can also mean, “to limit oneself.”  Many churches teach that Jesus emptied Himself taking Philippians 2:7 out of context to mean that Jesus emptied Himself of His divine powers therefore He was no longer divine or full of God’s powers.  Churches that teach this are trying to push miracles for everyone or that we all need to harness our miracle power from God, which is why they need to make humans the same level as Jesus.


And again in The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles,  Bill Johnson writes:

"Jesus had no ability to heal the sick.  He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead.  He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’  He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow…Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help."


c). Extreme healing and prosperity gospel.  This means that God doesn’t want us to suffer, God wants to make us healthy, wealthy and prosperous on this earth—if you are suffering that means you lack in your faith or there is something wrong with your relationship with God.  This leans into a false works-based gospel.  We are saved by our works for God and if our works are off then that is why we suffer. 


D).  Oneness theology.  This means that there is no trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, rather Jesus is the ONE TRUE GOD—the trinity is found in Jesus himself—there is no Holy Spirit or God the Father.


 

2. Every false teaching/ teacher will attack God Himself and Jesus as God.  Christianity has these essentials to be a Christian.


Verse 22-23:

These verses make it very clear on how to see if someone is teaching in error or falsely. 

“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?  This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.  No one who denies the Son has the Father.”

John makes it very clear, which is a bold proclamation, anyone who denies Jesus as Christ does not HAVE the Father! This is like what Jesus was saying in Matthew 7:15-16, “we must judge them by their fruit.”  What kind of fruit is hanging off the tree?  Judging a movement’s fruit based off the amount of people who attend is not a good way to discern the biblical nature of their teaching. 


If someone is teaching a false Christ they will bear false fruit—their fruit will be rotten if the tree is rotten.  John is clearly saying here that anyone who changes Christ or anyone how messes with the essential nature / teaching of Jesus as God they must be avoided.

 God’s people are given knowledge of God to be able to figure this out—what is this knowledge?  WE have God’s full and complete word right in front of us.  This is why everything we teach, we do and we hear must be compared to God’s Holy Word.  What John is saying here is basically “You know better, you have knowledge of who God is, use that knowledge to stray away from these false teachings.” 

 

3. To make sure we know Christ we must be with Christ.


John 14:6


You cannot worship God if you don’t know God.  You cannot know God if you don’t spend time with God.  We must be spending time with God.  We must be praying with Him every waking hour of our day.  We must pray without ceasing.


Verse: 24-27


Jesus is the Christ! Jesus died on the cross and rose again!  Jesus is the king above every other king on this planet—Jesus is 100 percent God and 100 percent man!  Jesus is sinless and perfect!  There is one God, with one substance, a “God substance”, three distinct persons with one substance, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, humans are saved from their sinful nature, their sin, from the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—He has done the work for salvation.

The entirety of God’s word teaches us this—it is not hidden knowledge it is clear as day, and John is reminding the churches fo the gospel, of where they stand with their saviour and he reminds them one last time:  “just as it has taught you, abide in Him.”  Jesus has taught His people to abide in Him in John 15 (The vine and the branches). 

This is what we are to do as Christians, abiding in Christ, praying without ceasing, anticipating His return while showing others generosity, mercy, truth and grace in our lives—we are ambassadors for Christ.  Spent every waking hour with Christ—make your life revolve around Jesus instead of fitting Jesus into your life.


1 Thess. 5:16-19


God is still working, God is still moving, but we need to discern every move of God.  We must test the spirits with God’s Holy Word and the knowledge which Jesus has given us. 

 

The Point:  Be wary of false teaching and the antichrist.  Christians need to be mindful, critical and ask many questions about what they are taught within the church.  We must follow the One, True, Biblical Christ—not a false Christ. 

 

 

 

 

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