Who Is the Anti-Christ
18 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. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
A. These Christians were facing two problems: one (theological) doctrinal and one practical.
B. The theological problem was this: some were teaching that Jesus didn’t really come with a true
human body--that he had not come “in the flesh.” This kind of reasoning later developed into
1. Characteristics of a later and more developed Gnosticism
a. The human body is inherently evil. God is spirit and is therefore good (=dualism).
b. Salvation means to escape from the body. This is achieved by special knowledge (=gnosis),
not by faith in Jesus Christ.
c. Christ was not truly human. Either
(1.) He only seemed (docetism) to have a human body – a phantom spirit
(2.) The divine Christ came upon the human Jesus at the baptism and left before the crucifixion (= Cerinthianism).
2. Irenaeus, a second-century bishop who combated Gnosticism related a story of John as an old man going to one of the public baths in Ephesus. Inside he found Cerinthus, a gnostic leader. According to Irenaeus, “There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, ‘Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within’”“ (Irenaeus 3.3).
3. The practical problem was one of Jesus’ mortality: some of these people were drifting into immorality, especially sexual, because of an inadequate concept of sin. If evil is defined as matter, not as breaking God’s law, then breaking God’s law is of no moral consequence.
C. The dedicated Christians of the first century thought that they were living in the last days.
I. The Falling Away (vv. 18-19)
1. Person – an agent of Satan
2. Time – the falling away
B. There are “anti-Christs”
1. If you are not for Christ/His will, you are against Him
2. Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
C. A Falling Away
1. 2 Thess. 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;
2. Not really Christians (2:19)
3. False Christs—false Christians
II. A Divine Unction/Desire (v. 20)
A. A desire not to quit
B. God Does not create extra-ordinary people—He does extra-ordinary things through ordinary people who live for Him.
C. Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
III. Who Is the Anti-Christ? (21-23)
A. No Need to Evangelize the Saints
1. Disciple them
2. Set an Example for them Philippians 3: Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
B. He is a liar!
1. Satan is the father of all lies
2. The liar denies Christ -- liar
(a.) Peter denied Christ Mark 14:68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
(b.) The denier is accursed 1 Tim. 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
3. This is what separates us from the Jews Acts 3:13-14 13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
A. We daily acknowledge or deny Christ by our walk
B. Walk in Christ 2 Tim. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.