Faithlife Sermons

The Battle for the Mind

Life in the Vine  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A battle is going on to win over the minds of people. This battle especially rages among Christians. It is Satan's desire to tear us away from Christ through deception. John warns the church about Satan's use of deception and those that preach false doctrines.

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18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 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 it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 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 it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Introduction

There are times in our lives when we do not want to face reality. Facing reality means that we may have to face the enemy. Facing reality means that we may have to face defeat. Facing reality means that we have to move out of our comfort zone. Let’s face it. No one wants to move out of their comfort zone.
But face reality, we must. We are at war with an enemy that wants nothing but to destroy us. He wants to take us captive. He wants to use us to bring down a bigger enemy. He wants to exalt himself above everything and everyone else in the universe. He wants to be God.
His battle field is our mind. Listen to the consistent, persistent and insistent call of the apostles.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
-- For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
Satan has declared war on God and our minds are his battlefield. But God has equipped us to wage war against the enemy and to overcome the enemy. John has two purposes in this passage.
John’s two purposes in this section are

1. His first purpose: To warn Christians about false teachers and their teaching.

A. The false teachers are already among us (, ).

— Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 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 it might become plain that they all are not of us.
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
— Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
1. I always encourage you to read the Scriptures that I give you. Check me out. Make sure that I am telling you the truth.
2. Check out preachers, local and TV.
30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

B. The false teachers deny that Jesus and the Father are one (, ; cf. ; ; ; ; )

)
Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
1. False teaching #1 — Jesus is an emanation from God. He is one of many.
2. False teaching #2 — God came on Jesus at his baptism and left him just before he died.
3. False Teaching #3 — The historical Jesus is not the same as the spiritual Jesus. Jesus was a good man.

2. His second purpose: to equip Christians so they are able to defend themselves and the gospel when attacked by false teachers.

A. We have received an anointing by the Holy One.

1. We have been set aside with a purpose and a gift ().
— But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
— And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
— And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
— But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
2. The anointing abides within us ().
But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

B. We already have a knowledge base to distinguish truth from a lie (, )

— But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
— But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
1. The anointing becomes our measuring rod for truth ().
But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Conclusion

Let me leave you with four tactics to use as you do battle with the enemy.
1. Read daily
2. Pray daily.
3. Ask questions daily
4. Measure everything you read and hear by the Word of God.
As you seek the truth of God’s revelation to you, practice Paul’s command in .
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Make your prayer this week
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
1 Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
preserve me from violent men,
Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
who plan evil things in their heart
and stir up wars continually.
protect me from those who are violent,
They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s,
who plan evil things in their minds
and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah
and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
and under their lips is the venom of vipers. (NRSV)
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