Read - 1 John 18b-19
Message - Alan Burke
How do you keep a child safe, do wrap them in cotton wool, try to keep them away from any dangers, be a helicopter parent just hovering over them, making sure that every aspect of their live is strictly supervised? What happens though when a child grows up and moves out, if they were never allowed to use a knife because they could cut themselves, how are they going to know how to safely prepare a meal that involves chopping with a knife? If they were never allowed to go to the shop because of the fear of someone taking them how are they going to negotiate the weekly shop? These might be absurd examples because we all know the best way to keep a child from danger is to teach them about the danger and to be wise, teaching a child how to chop and prepare the dinner safely, teach them the highway code, ‘Stop, Look, Listen’. We teach our children about the danger because we want them to know how to be wise, not to live in fear of a knife or crossing the road, or going to the shop but to be able to avoid danger. As John continues he is teaching them about the danger that there is so that they can be wise to it and avoid it. For this world is passing away, this is the last hour and we can expect adversaries, for the antichrist is coming and even now many antichrists have come.
What does John mean, the by the antichrist? Well just before Jesus returns a completely evil man will arise. He will be Satan’s tool, equipped with Satan’s power, Paul uses the term ‘man of lawlessness’ and he will proclaim himself as God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4,9). This will be the Antichrist, the one who will gather together anti-christian forces in opposition to Christ and his Church, some argue whether it is an individual or an all pervading ideology but it still awaits the church.
Then the antichrists, who are they, well begin by looking to verse 19, how these that John speaks of, went out from us, but they did not belong to us. John is talking in this instance about those who were part of the visible church to whom he first wrote and who deny Christ and as a result they are antichrists, possessed by the spirit of the antichrist (4:3). They are those in every age, Jesus himself taught about the future and warned about the coming of false christ’s and false prophets that would arise, who would appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect, Jesus wanted to be on our guard (Mk 13:22, Mt 24:24).
They are those who declare untruths or persons who falsely claim that they themselves are Messiahs. The later is not something that we often see today, we don’t see people walking about claiming to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. Yet there are many who declare untruths, those who deny Jesus as the Christ and John wants believers to be aware of the danger and be wise about it for there are those who claim to be ministers of the gospel yet they deny the deity of Jesus, they say all roads lead to heaven, they teach untruths and they are leading people astray whether they are aware of it or not.
John mentioned this so that they would be prepared for that which would threaten their faith, that they would hold on to Word of life and not be swayed by the nonsense being spouted, the false teachers, the antichrists. We are to recognise our adversaries. For all of us it is so important, we have so many things in this life vying for our attention, so many famous speakers, so many books available, so many podcasts and blogs, we need to know what we are dealing with, antichrists who teach untruths, who in this last hour will become more and more to the forefront, often subtly deceiving, watch out, be on your guard people of God!
What are God’ s works of providence?
God’ s works of providence are, his most holy, (Ps. 145:17) wise, (Ps. 104:24, Isa. 28:29) and powerful preserving, (Heb. 1:3) and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. (Ps. 103:19, Matt. 10:29–31)