Truth and Error
1 John 2:18-27
– The backdrop to 1 John was a group of outspoken false teachers (Gnostics)
who had once professed faith in Christ and had commanded respect, but had
subsequently left the church. *John is writing here to reassure those
remaining members of the church whose faith in Christ had been shaken.
I. Distinctions – Error vs. Truth (vv. 18-21)
1) The Spirit of Error
1. The future coming of ‘Antichrist’
- A ‘lawless one’ who will persecute the Church (cf. 2 Thes 2:1-12; Rev 13)
- The Bible’s picture of Antichrist is rooted in historical persecutions
2. The perennial spirit of ‘antichrist’
- John’s main concern is to alert the Church that many ‘antichrists’ are already in the world!
- The ‘last hour’ (v. 18) is a reference to the entire time between Jesus’ first and second coming
- The ‘antichrists’ that John faced were false teachers in Ephesus (vv. 19, 26)
2) The Spirit of Truth
- The Spirit of Truth indwells us! (v. 20)
- ‘Anointing’ from the Holy Spirit is the main mark of the New Covenant
- Every born again believer has the anointing (or ‘baptism’) of the Spirit
- The false teachers in Ephesus were claiming to have a special ‘anointing’ from God
- God’s Spirit enables *all believers* to discern what is true
– Don’t be so concerned about the future ‘Antichrist’ that you fail to recognize the spirit of antichrist and the tribulation which has already arrived!
– Don’t be deceived by those who say that truth is just personal opinion – Truth is a Person!
– Don’t be surprised by ‘apostasy’ – the visible church on earth is a mixture of ‘tares’ and ‘wheat’
– Perseverance is a defining mark of saving faith
II. Definitions (vv. 22-23)
1) The Spirit of Antichrist
- Denies that ‘Jesus is the Christ’
- Claims that you can have a relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ
2) The Spirit of Truth
- Enables us to confess the Son (Jn 16:14)
- His full deity
- His full humanity
- His eternal pre-existence
- Enables us to possess the Father
Application: It is not enough to say you ‘believe in God’ or that you ‘believe in Jesus’! What ‘Jesus’ and what ‘God’ do you believe in??
III. Defenses (vv. 24-27)
1) God’s inspired Word – “what you heard from the beginning” (v. 24)
2) God’s indwelling Holy Spirit (v. 27)
Application: If the Word of God dwells in your mind and the Spirit of God dwells in your heart you have an impermeable fortress against ‘antichrist’!