They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us (1 John 2:19).
So many antichrists grew up in church. When they were grown, they left. They may have been in church, but the church was never in them. The church is the Body of Christ. If the Spirit of Jesus truly lives in you, you’ll never kick Him out. The draw of the world is never large enough to tempt someone who has tasted the goodness of God.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).
So when we see those who went to church and learned some of the heavenly systems of success, but took those principles to augment themselves we’ll know they aren’t one of us. When we see those who have fallen away taking control of the things in the world, we will know the spirit of antichrist has manifested itself in them. Look for that one who lived with us, gleaned from us, but never became one of us and avoid him or her. We certainly do not want to follow them, vote them into office, or let them control our money. They are double agents.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour (1 John 2:18).
Does John think all Christians are ‘little children’? Well, if he did, he wouldn’t be far off. I’m convinced most of the church has never grown up, but in this case, I believe John is simply using the most inclusive title in order to speak a severe warning to everyone.
“The last hour.” To equate an hour to a millennium makes it easier to talk about. The world, when John wrote this letter, had already lived four millennium, or four hours. Knowing there were only two more hours to live, John could easily refer to the time as the last hour. In comparison to eternity, two thousand years is no more than two hours.
“Many antichrists have come.” From what I’ve read of Herod the Great, he could certainly be classified as an antichrist. Anyone who exalts himself to be higher than heaven, higher than God, is an antichrist. I can think of quite a few that have ruled in my lifetime, such as Hitler, to name one. Anyone who makes decisions about life and death that are not ordained by the Commandment of God is taking on godlike attributes that he or she is not qualified to assume and is therefore operating under the spirit of antichrist.
John is warning us that because of the spirit of antichrist, things are going to get darker and darker, but that the light will get brighter and brighter. Make sure you are able to discern which is which and follow the True Light of Jesus Christ.
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:17).
What does it mean to do the will of God? Well, surprisingly enough, once you are born again, the next thing to learn is that you must now do the will of God. Before you were born again you could do any old thing you wanted. Not so now. Now you belong to God and you must bend your will to do His will.
But the other surprising thing is this: doing your own will never brought you happiness, but doing the will of God brings you great gladness and overwhelming satisfaction. Why is that? Because He designed you. He created you from the foundations of the earth and wrote a book all about you. He knows what makes you tick. He knows what brings you joy. He is the only One who can lead you into all completion, all prosperity, all health, all beneficial relationships and all contentment. He will make your life holy and wholesome because He loves His creation. He loves you!
You can choose the world and pass away. Or you can choose Him and live forever beyond your wildest dreams. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life will never fulfill your wildest dreams; in fact, they will drown your dreams. Live in the fullness of life by doing the will of God for you.
For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world (1 John 2:16).
I have long contended that people marry out of the lust of the flesh. This is true whether the society is such that abstains from sex before marriage, or freely indulges.
The Bible says that no one shall separate what God has joined together. God does not operate through the flesh. He operates through His own Spirit speaking to the human spirit and telling that person who to marry. When you know who you’re going to marry before you fall in love with the person, there’s a good chance God brought the two of you together.
What is lust of the eyes? Quite simple. You see it. You want it. Now you’re operating on the level of the soul and again, God doesn’t operate there.
The pride of life? Ask yourself. What are you proud of? Get rid of it. That is if you want the life of the Father operating in you and not the life of the world.
A certain missionary I knew told me he bought a refrigerator with an ice dispenser in the door. One day he was passing by and noticed how good it felt to own such an appliance. He stopped in his tracks and called for his wife. He told her to get rid of that refrigerator immediately and get one with the old ice trays.
She, not being a woman attached to this world, gladly carried out his orders. This example may seem extreme, but it is what worked in this man’s life.
How about yours? Can you identify your own pride of life? Pride is one of the nastiest of the values of the devil so work at eliminating it.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15).
I have realized as a missionary that I love my American culture. I didn’t realize I loved it until I couldn’t have it anymore. The French, however, are quite aware of their culture and are proud of it. But God is saying not to love or be proud of our cultures as it leaves no room for the life of our Father to be in us. Heaven has its own culture and, as the Bible says, we are no longer citizens of our countries here on earth; we are already citizens of Heaven. If we are born again, heaven is now our home, even if our bodies are still living on the earth.
We need to know the rules and regulations of the Kingdom of God so we can live there, today. Heavenly protocol demands we operate in Righteousness, in Peace and in Joy. All of those are choices to make, just like not running a red light is a choice we make on earth.
If we are going to operate in Righteousness, then I don’t care if we were given two cents extra in change, we go give it back. If we are going to operate in Peace, then I don’t care what anyone else says, we will never say a contrary word about anyone. If we are going to operate in Joy, then I don’t care if circumstances are grim, we will maintain our supreme confidence in God to take care of us, and we will express that confidence with actions of Joy!
Christianity is full of choices and Righteousness, Peace and Joy are major ones to make. They won’t happen unless we choose them. And I’ll share a secret: it’s a great way to live!