Friday, December 27, 2013

Lord, Liar, or Lunatic - 1 John 2:24

v.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.

In the context of this verse, the truth has to do with who Jesus Christ was and claimed to be. The Gnostics were already gaining a foothold in the church with a false teaching that Jesus did not really come in the literal flesh, but was actually a phantom. This teaching was propagated best by one named Arius and it eventually became known as the Arian Heresy. He eventually came to the conclusion that Jesus was not God, but a creation of God just like us. Sadly, this same teaching is the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and Jehovah's Witnesses today. The Mormons say that Jesus is actually the brother of Lucifer (the Devil) and the Jehovah's Witnesses say that Jesus is actually Michael the Archangel. Either way, they both deny the deity of Jesus Christ and have left the truth.

Sadly, so many do the same thing today in the church. They come in long enough to hear the truth and then get lured away into error. They start out well, but then they take a detour. It is a big deal who you believe Jesus is. Was He just a great man or God Incarnate? It's no small issue. As a matter of fact, it is the none other than the difference between Heaven and Hell. Jesus said in John 8:24, I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. In this verse, Jesus is invoking the name of God, "I am" (the word "he" is not in the original text). He is claiming to be the same God that said to Moses in Exodus 3:14 after he asked him His name, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

The choice is ours to make. Jesus asks the same question of us today that He asked of Peter almost two thousand years ago in Luke 9:20, But whom say ye that I am? Josh McDowell says that each of us has to answer that question one way or the other. He is either Lord, Liar, or Lunatic to each of us. Who is He to you?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

An Anointing – 1 John 2:20-23

v.20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

After discussing antichrists in the church, this verse now turns to the true Christians. The word know here comes from a Greek word that means to know by intuition. In other words, we simply know some things intuitively because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. John further drives home this point in v.27 when he says, 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. Our Lord spoke to this in John 16:13-14 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Paul also spoke of this ability to knowin I Corinthians 2:9-12 when he said, But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The Truth
v.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.

As a result of this ability to know, John says that they should be able to discern the lies that were already creeping into the first century church about who Jesus was. Gnosticism was gaining a foothold in the church at the time of this writing. For example, the Gnostics initially taught that Jesus was a phantom when He lived on the earth and didn’t have a body of flesh, but it was later developed by a man named Arias who taught that Jesus was not really God, but a created being. Arias taught that Jesus was not really God, but a created being. This heresy later became the basis for the Watchtower Society or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Who is a Liar?
vv.22-23 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.  (23)  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

Strong language! To deny that Jesus is the Christ is to deny the Father and that makes one antichrist. All of the “isms” and cults today have one thing in common. They deny the deity of Jesus Christ. The Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus is one and the same with Michael the Archangel and the Mormons say that He is the older brother of Satan.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Antichrists in the Church - 1 John 2:19

v.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 bottom line is that there are some who profess to be Christians, go to church, take the Lord’s Supper, get baptized, go through all of the motions, but are not truly Christians. The proof is that they left, because if they had been of us, they would no doubt continued with us. 

Of these people Peter says in II Peter 2:21-22 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (22) But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 

J. Vernon McGee said, “You can wash a pig, put a little bow around his neck, polish his toes, brush his teeth, and take him into your home, but it’s still a pig!  In the end, it will go right back to the mud hole it came from.”

This even happened in Jesus’ ministry with Judas. He seemingly walked like, talked like, and looked like a true disciple on the outside, but of him Jesus said in John 6:64, there are some of you that believe not…Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Last Hour Deception - 1 John 2:18

v.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. 

Here we see the urgency of salvation because it is the last hour. Paul and the writer of Hebrews speak to this urgency as well when they say I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2) and While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation (Heb 3:15).

Why the urgency?  Let’s be honest, not one of us knows what tomorrow holds for ourselves, let alone someone else. Jesus spoke to this in the parable of the Rich Fool when he said in Luke 12:16-26 The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: (17) And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? (18) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. (19) And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. (20) But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (21) So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (22) And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. (23) The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. (24) Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? (25) And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? (26) If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? James further drives home the point when he said in James 4:13-15 Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:  (14)  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  (15)  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that very stupidly said, “Sin now.  Pray later.”  My friends, the problem is that you don’t know if you will have a “later”. The biggest lie of the devil is tomorrow. The driver of that car had bought that lie! 

John also reminds us in this verse that we can know that we are in the last days because of the demonic work of the Antichrist. Notice the description of these “antichrists”: (1) they have a faulty understanding of Jesus Christ and are liars (v. 22; 4:3), (2) they have no relationship with the Father (v. 23), and (3) they are deceivers (2 John 7). Now bear in mind that these references refer to men who had left the church (v.19) and were now aggressively promoting the heretical doctrine that Jesus was not the Christ (4:1).

Yes, there are many today who say that Jesus was not who he claimed to be. Some of those in our area include Mormons and Jehovah’s False Witnesses. Make no mistake, my friend that Jesus claimed to be one and the same with the Father. He made no bones about that. As a matter of fact, they killed him for blasphemy in claiming to be God. The deity of Christ is found from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. Compare these verses: John 1:1-5, 14; I John 4:1-2. Also, notice Peter’s response in Matthew 16:13-16 when he responded to Jesus when he asked Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (14) And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Temptations - 1 John 2:15-17

How does the Devil tempt us? The Bible says in I John 2:15-17 that the he tempts us in three ways, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It can be said that the lust of the flesh is Passions, the lust of the eyes is Possessions, and the pride of life is Position. Others have summed it up this way, the lust of the flesh is the consuming desire to do, the lust of the eyes is a compelling urge to have, and the pride of life is a constant thrust to be. We are all tempted in these three areas. As a matter of fact, any sin that we commit is the result of succumbing to one or more of these three temptations.

Of course, to further drive home my point, there are two famous temptations in the Scriptures that bear this out: the temptation of Eve and the temptation of Christ. Yes, we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin(Hebrews 4:15). First, let’s take a closer look at the temptation of Eve as found in Genesis 3:16 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Notice that Eve was tempted when she saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food (Passions), pleasant to the eyes (Possessions), and desired to make one wise as gods (Position).

Now, let’s consider the temptation of Christ as found in Matthew 4:1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. (3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, (6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (10) Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. Notice that Christ himself was tempted to make these stones be made bread (Passion), to cast thyself down (Position), and to fall down and worship the Devil in exchange for the kingdoms of the world (Possessions).

While both of these temptations are similar in that they involved three common temptations (i.e., Passion, Possession, and Position), they are different in the way that the tempted responded. Eve apparently did not seek to counter the Devil’s accusations at all, but merely took the fruit. On the other hand, our Lord responded by taking Scripture that had been quoted out of context to him by the Devil and placed them back into context. Of course, to respond with Scripture one must actually know the Scriptures, thus 2 Timothy 2:15. I mean, it’s kind of hard to remember something that has never been made a memory. Trust me; I’ve got enough years in the classroom to know this to be the case. Some students merely pray for remembrance before tests while others pray for an epiphany!

What’s the conclusion of the matter? We are all tempted in the exact same way: Passions, Possessions, and Position. It is common to all of us. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul put it this way, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Well, there it is. We are all tempted the same way. No, you are not unique in this area and neither am I. We are the same. So the question must be, “How do we overcome temptation?” The answer, is by putting on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and submitting ourselves to God (James 4:7-10). It’s the only way folks, God will lower the gate of warning, sound the bell, flash the red light, but He will not keep us from crossing the tracks.