Studies in 2 John [part 3]

2016-12-10-20-56-26

2 John :7

Introduction

Resisting false teachers and their doctrines is just as applicable for us today as it was in the first century. John is not so much concerned here with what pagan religion teaches, instead he is dealing with a subject closer to home. There have always been those who distort the word of God to deceive believers. In the closing verses of this letter John contrasts truth with error, but in verse 7 he highlights the most fundamental doctrine of all, the incarnation of Christ.

Many deceivers

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John :7). The church he was writing to must have come into contact with the Gnostics [the new age and faith teachers of that day], so John encourages them to keep on resisting them. If there were “many deceivers” back then, how many more are there today? No matter how many false teachers there are, they can be dealt with in exactly the same way. The truth must always be victorious over error. “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” (1 John 2:27). Those who deny the deity of Christ cannot be saved, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Notice how quickly error gets a foothold in the church! The church had only existed for about sixty years yet already it was being attacked, not only by Rome and Jerusalem, but from within. In light of this we can understand why the early church thought the end of the ages was near, “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” (1 John 2:18).

Confess not

The false teachers had an unbiblical view of Christ. They came to see Jesus as being just a man who was anointed by God rather than the Anointed One sent by the Father. John had already declared these men to be liars and deceivers, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23) … “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:1-3). To reject Jesus is to reject God, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

These people were the forerunners of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and all those who reject the divinity of Christ and the Trinity. They reject the truth that Jesus came in the flesh, that is, came from Heaven to be born of Mary. They reject the truth that Jesus was and remains co-equal with the Father. They reject the truth that Jesus is God and the only Saviour. How do we deal with them? We must simply remember that we have both Him and the truth on our side, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) … “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him” (1 John 5:1). We keep on telling it as it is.

Antichrist

Most Christians have heard and read about the end-time Antichrist who is coming upon the earth, but how few recognise the spirit of antichrist at work in their own church. The evil seed was sown over 2,000 years ago and it is obviously close to fruition today. John does not call the false teacher of his day “the Antichrist” but “an antichrist.” The last days Antichrist is still to arrive on the scene, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). In reality all false teachers, including the leaders of pagan religion, are acting on behalf of and preparing the way for the Antichrist. His red carpet began to be rolled out in the first century.

Conclusion

Anyone who denies the truth is from the same mould as the Antichrist. They are enemies of Christ and Scripture, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18). What they speak is highly dangerous and evil, for they speak for the devil. These minor antichrists can be overcome in exactly the same way the true last day church will overcome the final deceiver, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

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