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No Christ, No Dice (1 John 2:18-25)

1 John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What you do with Jesus matters. This is a decision you must get right. This passage presents the greatest lie and greatest truth in the world.

Notes & Transcripts
10,000 Sermon Illustrations Jesus, as an example

D. M. Stearns was preaching in Philadelphia. At the close of the service a stranger came up to him and said, “I don’t like the way you spoke about the cross. I think that instead of emphasizing the death of Christ, it would be far better to preach Jesus, the teacher and example.”

Stearns replied, “If I presented Christ in that way, would you be willing to follow Him?” “I certainly would,” said the stranger without hesitation. “All right then,” said the preacher, “let’s take the first step. He did no sin. Can you claim that for yourself?”

The man looked confused and somewhat surprised. “Why, no,” he said. “I acknowledge that I do sin.”

Stearns replied, “Then your greatest need is to have a Savior, not an example!

D. M. Stearns was preaching in Philadelphia. At the close of the service a stranger came up to him and said, “I don’t like the way you spoke about the cross. I think that instead of emphasizing the death of Christ, it would be far better to preach Jesus, the teacher and example.”
Stearns replied, “If I presented Christ in that way, would you be willing to follow Him?” “I certainly would,” said the stranger without hesitation. “All right then,” said the preacher, “let’s take the first step. He did no sin. Can you claim that for yourself?”
The man looked confused and somewhat surprised. “Why, no,” he said. “I acknowledge that I do sin.”
Stearns replied, “Then your greatest need is to have a Savior, not an example!
I want to be clear today that your life depends on your response to Jesus Christ. What you do with Jesus matters.
This passage presents the greatest lie that anyone can believe and it presents the greatest truth anyone can believe. The lie is to deny the Father and the Son, not believing that Jesus is God and the Lord of all. The greatest truth is that there is only eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Notice what we would call the chaistic structure of v.18, or a nice symmetry:
A. This is the last hour
B. Antichrist is coming
B. Many antichrists have come
A. This is the last hour
This passage obviously starts out with two major concepts we need to understand: the last hour and antichrist.
To understand the last hour, understand the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God was inaugurated through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The consummation, or completion, of the Kingdom will be at the parousia, or return of Christ.
The last hour began when the Messiah dealt the death blow to the evil one on the cross and through His resurrection. The last hour will end at the consummation, the return of Christ.
It isn’t a literal hour—and there is not to be a guess at when this hour will end. The last hour is a realization that the Kingdom of God is in full force/power and antichrists will come to oppose that work because the Messiah represents death and defeat to them.
Interestingly, only John uses the term “Antichrist”. Man of lawlessness is used in , and the Beast from the sea is described in .
Interestingly, only John uses the term “Antichrist”. Man of lawlessness is used in , and the Beast from the sea is described in .
Also interestingly, John uses it in singular (v.18, 1st mention) and plural forms (v.18, 2nd mention). Look at
There is one who will comes in the end, the Man of Lawlessness like Paul describes.
But there is a spirit of antichrist that is already in this world. The spirit of antichrist has been present since the Christ claimed total victory over sin and death!
The meaning is no surprise—ANTI means “instead of; against.” CHRIST means the Messiah or anointed one.
Now, when we talk about an antichrist, let me mention this: The Messiah, the Christ, has come because an antichrist cannot oppose (be against) that which has no reality. The very presence of antichrists indicate that the Christ has already come. This is great hope for us and a reminder that we serve the risen Savior, the Messiah! We aren’t waiting any longer for a Messiah.
This spirit of antichrist was even in the church— think about that! That’s how disruptive Satan is that he would send this spirit of antichrist into the place where Christ is to be exalted.
V.19 says that they went out from the church because they didn’t belong. The church exists because of Christ and is to exalt Christ—not be against Him.
Those with an antichrist attitude might be in a church for a while; they might put up a fight for a while; they might stir up division for a while; but ultimately, they can’t handle the power of Christ!
Church must be praying; must be faithful to the work of Christ because the enemy can’t handle it for too long!
The lie is to deny the Father and the Son. To be against Christ. The mark of an antichrist is found in v.22-23: they deny the Father and the Son. In fact, no one who denies the Son has the Father.
Keep handy to remind you that it matters how you respond to Jesus.
Let me give you an example in our world today. There are those who look at different religions and say that we all worship the same God. The Christian and the Muslim and the Jew all worship the same God. But this is not true! The Muslim might acknowledge Jesus as a prophet or teacher; the Jehovah’s Witness might think the same. And if you don’t understand that Jesus Christ is God, you don’t know God the Father!
There was a poignant reminder recently in our government of how unpopular this biblical truth is. On Wednesday, June 7, Sen. Bernie Sanders said that he’ll oppose Donald Trump’s pick to be deputy White House budget director over a blog post last year that says Muslims ‘stand condemned’ because they have rejected Jesus Christ.
Russell T. Vought was the man in question who was proposed for the position. Senator Sanders claimed that Mr. Vought was Islamophobic for his statement. Mr. Vought wrote that statement a year prior in a blog post defending his alma mater, Wheaton College, for its decision to fire a professor who made comments about Islam that were outside of its profession of faith.
Senator Sanders used that mention of Jesus Christ to oppose Mr. Vought for a deputy budget director position. Senator Sanders publicly made this a theological debate, which is interesting because The US Constitution says there can be no religious test for public office. That is exactly what Senator Sanders did to Mr. Vought.
Mr. Vought wrote this: “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.
“Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”
Mr. Vought’s statement is absolutely correct! Listen to how the debate went between Senator Sanders and Mr. Vought:
Mr Vought said, “I’m a Christian and I believe in a Christian set of principles.”
Senator Sanders said, “Do you believe that people in the Muslim religion stand condemned?”
“Do you believe that people in the Muslim religion stand condemned?”
Vought answered, “Again, Senator, I’m a Christian, and I wrote that piece…”
“Again, Senator, I’m a Christian, and I wrote that piece…”
The Senator interjected, “I understand that. I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. … Are you suggesting that all of those people stand condemned? What about Jews? They stand condemned too?”
“I understand that. I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. … Are you suggesting that all of those people stand condemned? What about Jews? They stand condemned too?”
Vought again began to explain where his convictions are grounded in historic Christianity when the Senator simply said,
Senator Sanders— let’s be clear that yes, if you deny the Son, you deny God the Father, so yes, you stand condemned before our Almighty God.
“I understand that you are a Christian!”
This is the lie: that you can somehow make be connected to God the Father while denying Jesus Christ the Son. This is the attitude that characterizes the Last Hour, which we are currently in. But while this lie is prevalent, there is a greater truth that is powerful!
No Christ, no dice. That’s an easy way to remember the promise in v.25: “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
V.20 starts with but you… As opposed to the spirit of antichrist. There is something different about the believer. And we see what it is in that same verse:
In the Old Testament anointing was usually done for the purpose of consecration or the setting aside of an individual or object for a particular sacred purpose (; ; ).
Anointing later came to signify that the Spirit of God has come to dwell within an individual so that he can either rule or prophesy for God (; ).
This connection with the indwelling of the Spirit seems to provide the background for understanding the anointing of Jesus in the New Testament. Peter says in that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit, most likely illustrated at his baptism (; ; ; ).
Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John, vol. 38, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 117.
In other words, you have the presence of the Holy Spirit within you, and you have been consecrated or set aside for a greater purpose. You don’t have to run around in lies and error in a purposeless existence because you stand condemned and defeated. You have an anointing!
V.20 is clear that these believers know the truth. They know who God is. They know what Jesus has done. They know who they are in Christ.
Yet, v.26 tells us that one of the goals of the evil one is to sidetrack us by deceiving us. To get us to doubt the truth.
This is an age-old tactic: did God really say?.... This has been going on since the beginning. You have an anointing, and you know the truth, but Satan will try to cause you to doubt the truth.
So look at the situation at hand: you have a strong spirit of antichrist trying to battle against those who have an anointing and know the truth. Let me ask you: who is winning in your life?
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