Focal passage: 1 John 2:18-27
“It is the last hour” (2:18).
The Apostle John means the last revelations have been made: Jesus has come and sent His apostles.
From Pentecost to the Second Coming are the last days. So there is not another prophet coming, either in a cave in Arabia or the woods of America. In these “last days” antichrist is coming, many antichrists.
Only this letter and 2 John mentions “antichrist” in the Bible.
It can mean, “anti” against Christ, but also in place of Christ.
These are either people who try to take the leadership, glory, authority, given only to Christ, or people who teach against Christ, deny that He is who He said He is.
And there are, he says in verse 18, many of them.
But with so many of them, how will you be able to tell a faithful teacher from an antichrist?
First, in 2:19, the antichrists go out from the church, they don’t stay accountable to a God-centered, Bible teaching church.
In our day, of course, they’ll just form their own church but we’ll know whether they have left the true church by whether they fellowship with other orthodox churches; if they see themselves as the only true church, then that is a red-flag.
But John makes clear that the false teachers, the antichrists, arise from the church, at first appearing to be true believers.
Membership in the church is no guarantee that a man belongs to Christ. Notice how John puts it, in 2:19: “They went out from us but they were never of us.”
Yes, they appeared to be of us. But even then they were not really of us. It’s not as though they lost their salvation. They never really had it. We know that now because they dropped out. This shows us what is wrong in thinking that our only needed evidence of salvation is an emotional experience. And with allowing people to remain “members” for years who have not attended church.
Second, you’ll know the many antichrists because of the Holy Spirit in you. In 2:20, the Holy One is Jesus and He has bestowed on all His true people the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth (John 16:13).
In 2:27 John tells them that they, or we now as a church, don’t need these outside, unknown questionable “teachers” because we have the Holy Spirit, opening our eyes and giving us reliable teachers.
Does your church expect members to attend? Do you trust the teachers of your church, especially your pastor, or pay more attention to people on TV?