1 John 2:18-29                        December 2016


In this 1st letter of John he gives us 4 proofs by which we can know we are genuine followers of Jesus.

The moral proof in chapter 2:1-6 – Our greatest desire is to please God and obey Him.

The social proof in chapter 2:7-11 – We love our fellow believers.

Today we will look at the Theological proof – We believe the truth that Jesus proclaimed.


I have divided this passage into two sections:

The Spirit of Anti-Christ v18-25

The Spirit of Christ v26-27



The Bible tells us that right at the end of human history a world leader will arise and will embody everything that is anti-Christ and anti-Christian. He will undermine the Christian faith, lead many people away from Christ and persecute those who hold to the faith and teaching of Jesus. We read of this in Daniel, Thessalonians and Revelation.

We can see this beginning to happen in our world today. Most of the world’s leaders support the concept of globalization, where all the nations unite together. They believe that the best way to address the problems of the world is by uniting and working together. And to be honest there are some good reasons for this:

Economic reason – they believe if there was one financial system they could control things like inflation and recessions and maintain financial stability.

Trade reason – if there was one trading organisation they could create a system without tariffs or protectionism so that every nation could get a fair deal.

Security reason – if all the nations united they could work together in dealing with oppressive, corrupt leaders and terrorists groups like Isis, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram. The more powerful nations would be given the right to enter other nations and prevent things like genocide, etc.

Human rights reason If all the nations unite they could enforce human rights and do away with sex trafficking, slavery, the abuse of women, etc etc.

Military reason – If all the nations unite, they believe they could bring an end to armed conflict.

Religious reasons – If all the nations unite, they could also unite all the religions of the world and being an end to religious conflict for good.

So the Bible tells us that at the end of history the nations will unite under a world leader, who will be an instrument of Satan to try and destroy Christianity.

But before he comes many people will arise from within the church who are motivated by the spirit of Antichrist and seek to undermine the Person and teaching of Jesus. And although these people may claim to be Christian they will reject the fundamental and basic truths of the Christian faith.

Their aim is to deceive the followers of Jesus, undermine their faith in Christ and draw them away.

This anti-Christ, anti-Christian behaviour will become greater as we get closer to the return of Jesus.

In fact Rev 12:12 we read that as we near the end of history Satan’s activity on earth will intensify because he knows his time is short.

Ill. During the Second World War, once the USA had entered the war the German High command knew they could never win the war. The Nazi Propaganda machine kept telling the troops that they were winning, even though they were being decimated. Right at the very end the Germans stepped up all their efforts throwing everything they had into one final assault, but the Allied victory was absolutely assured.

Satan knows he can never win, but in these last days he is launching one final assault against Christ and his followers and he is throwing everything he has into it, that is why his activity on earth is intensifying.

Ill. When Hitler faced final defeat his attitude was, “If I’m going down, I am going to take all of Germany with me and he ordered His troops to destroy all that remained of the cities in Germany.” And that is what Satan wants to do. He knows he is going down and he is determined to take as many people down with him. 

The spirit of Anti-Christ is not only active among non-Christians, it is also active among people who call themselves Christian.

And John says here that one of the ways we know these people, is that they don’t want to be in churches that preach and teach what the Bible says.

Paul speaks about them in 2 Tim 4 because the time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching but will find other teachers who please them by saying the things they want to hear.

One of the disturbing factors about the western church today is the movement of people among churches. People keep moving from church to church and many leave churches because they don’t agree with what is being preached. Others don’t want to be taught the truths of God, they want to be entertained, they want excitement, they want to hear things that make them feel good. Some want a church where they can listen without being challenged to change their attitudes and behaviour.

John says here that when people leave a church because it teaches the truths of Christ without compromise it proves they don’t belong to Christ.

The main characteristics of the spirit of anti-Christ is that it lies about the Person of Jesus. And you will find this is true about every false religion and every false cult.

Islam says that Jesus is not the Son of God and definitely not divine. He is just one of many prophets.

Buddhists say that Jesus was just an enlightened man.

Hindus say that Jesus was one of many millions of gods.

Jehovah Witnesses teach that Jesus is not God, but was the  created spirit being Michael the archangel before He came to earth.

Mormons teach that Jesus was a man who worked His way up to become a god and we can all do the same.

New Agers teach that Jesus was a man who reached a very high point of Christ consciousness after many reincarnations.

The NT clearly teaches that Jesus is God. He is not God the Father, but He is the Divine Son of God and has the same authority, ability, nature as God. In fact the Father and the Son are so close and so united that they see themselves as One. They do everything together. Jesus said, in John 5:22 “I can nothing without the Father. Whatever the Father does, I do likewise.”

Jesus the Son of God has always existed with the Father and it was only when He came to earth that He took on the form of a human being.

John says here that those who have the spirit of Antichrist will always say that Jesus is less that what he really is.

The fact is that if Jesus is not God He cannot forgive anyone or save anyone from their sins.

Ill. It’s interesting that the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny that Jesus is God, take their name from Isaiah 43:10-11. Let me read it to you.  “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord Jehovah, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no Saviour.” NB The Lord Jehovah says, “Apart from me there is no Saviour.”

What is the most common title given to Jesus in the NT “Our Lord and Saviour”, and Acts 4:12 clearly says “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

And John says here that those who deny the Son do not have the Father. We cannot separate the Father and the Son, they are One and without Jesus we cannot have access to God, because no one can come to the Father  except through Jesus.

Another interesting fact is that none of the false religions or cults call God “Father”, because when you call God Father you have to admit that He has a Son. And yet all through the NT He is called Father.

But when you believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God, you have access to the Father.

So we see that the spirit of antichrist will always undermine the person and teaching of Jesus.

The opposite of the spirit of antichrist is the Spirit of Christ.



If the spirit of antichrist undermines the person and teaching of Jesus, the Spirit of Christ will always confirm and uphold the person and teaching of Jesus.

John is saying here that when we gave our lives to Jesus and became His followers, the Spirit of Christ entered our lives and John 16:14 tells us that the main objective of the Spirit of Christ is to guide us into all truth and to bring glory to Jesus by telling us whatever he receives from Christ.

Do you realize that if you are a true follower of Jesus you have Someone living in you who constantly points you to Jesus and lets you know that what you hear or read agrees with the teaching of Jesus.

The Spirit of Christ is like a truth detector inside us that confirms what is truth and alerts us to what is not true.

Ill. In our first church there was a man who became a Christian and he was speaking to a woman who attended our church. She had a very thorough knowledge of the Bible but she believed that everyone would be saved at the end whether they were believers or not and she could quote scriptures to support her belief. He told me afterwards that she sounded convincing but somehow he didn’t feel right about what she said. “It was like alarm bells were ringing inside me.This was the Holy Spirit alerting him to what was not true. And later when he studied the scriptures for himself he found that what she said was not true and that she had used the scriptures in isolation and out of context.

The opposite is also true. When someone tells you things that agree with the teaching of Christ, the Holy Spirit within you will confirm that this is the truth.

John is not saying that we shouldn’t have people to teach us from the scriptures. The NT makes it clear that God has appointed people to teach His truth, but the Holy Spirit is within us so that we can listen with discernment. In fact we should pray before we listen to a Biblical message or read a Christian book, “Lord, if this person says anything that disagrees with truth of Christ, please alert me so that I don’t get lead astray.”

Now there are two extreme attitudes we can have when listening to or reading Christian teaching.

We can be gullible – accept whatever the person says. Please don’t naively swallow everything you hear from Christian teachers. It makes no difference who says it. They are only human and can it wrong from time to time.

Some of you listen to your favourite Bible teachers on the net or TV and the danger is that because you hold them in high regard you assume that everything they say agrees with the Bible. Even they can get it wrong sometimes –they are only human. That is why we need to listen to the Spirit within as well as the teacher without.

The other extreme is that we can be Sceptical – we listen to the person speaking with a critical, fault finding attitude.

I mentioned this before but this was the way the Pharisees listened to Jesus. They were waiting for him to make a mistake and because of that they never heard the good news God wanted them to hear.

So the best way to listen to those who preach and teach God’s Word is to listen to them with a teachable heart, and at the same time listen to the Holy Spirit who will either confirm what is being taught as the truth or alert you when it is not the truth.

What should you do if you sense what they are saying doesn’t line up with the teaching of Jesus.

Please don’t wipe the person just because you believe they got it wrong. Give them the opportunity to explain how they came to that conclusion and if they have a humble, teachable heart they will acknowledge they got it wrong and learn from their mistake. Please also remember that you are fallible too and make mistakes.

The final word John gives to his readers is this: Remain in fellowship with Christ. The very best way to protect yourself from being deceived is to remain in fellowship with Jesus. How do we remain in fellowship with Jesus? 2 John 9 tells us “Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no fellowship with God. But anyone who remains or lives in the teaching of Christ has fellowship with both the Father and the Son.” 

John uses the word ‘remain’ or ‘abide’ quite often in his Gospel and letters. It’s a beautiful word.

We get our word abode from it – which is our home, the place where we live.

We live in Christ and Christ lives in us. As we live in His truth and His truth lives in us. How does His truth live in us? As we allow that truth to shape us, mold us, to change our attitudes, behaviour and character.

The Psalmist wrote Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart.” And there are many Christians who have hidden God’s Word in their hearts. They have studied the scriptures, even memorised them and can quote them off by heart. But that is as far as it goes.”

They have filled their heart and their heads with Bible knowledge, so they have store of information hidden away in there, but for what purpose? Do they just enjoy studying? Is it a pride thing?

Ill. I knew a man who had been a student of Massey University longer than anyone else. Every year he sat more and more papers and accumulated more and more degrees. I asked his wife why he did this. He just enjoys studying.

The Hebrew writer said the word of God is living and active. It is not meant to lie dormant and inactive in our hearts and minds. We have got to allow God’s truth to live and work in us and through us.

Ill. When Oliver Cromwell was the Lord Protector of Britain the government needed more silver to make money. So Cromwell sent his officials throughout England to find silver to make the coins. The only place they could find the silver was in the churches. The silver was just sitting there in the form of statues, candlesticks, plaques, etc. When Cromwell was told this he said, “Good, let’s melt them all down and put them to use for the good of the country.”

God’s Word was never meant to be unused, inactive information stored away in our hearts and minds. God wants His truth to be worked out in our lives, changing, transforming, empowering and passed on to those who need to hear it.