Lesson 6

Walking in the Light: Rejecting Anti-christs

(1 John 2:18-29, 2 Corinthians 1)
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Introduction: Last week we learned that the smart people had their focus on eternal matters and eternal wealth. Why are they smart to do this? Because this world is going to burn while those with a heavenly focus will have eternal life enjoying eternal treasures. That focus divides the "worldly" from those who are believers. This week John turns his attention to an unusual sounding problem. He warns us of "anti-christs." What is an "anti-christ" and how do we avoid one sneaking into our home (or our mind)? Is there more than one of them? Let's plunge into our Bible study and find out about these anti-christ characters and how to avoid getting into anti-christ trouble!

  1. The Last Hour


    1. Read 1 John 2:18. Who are these "dear children?" (1 John 2:1 started out with the same phrase, "dear children." We decided before that these are followers of Jesus. Recall from last week that "children," as opposed to "fathers" or "young men" (see 1 John 2:12-14), refers to new believers. These are people who have a lot to learn.)


      1. "Last hour." What does John mean by this? The last hour of earth's history?


      2. Read Deuteronomy 18:20-22. If John means to tell his readers the end of time is at hand, does that reveal he is a false prophet and we should immediately stop reading his letters?


      3. You have heard "the end of time," "the end of the age," "last days" and similar phrases. "Last hour" seems to be the very end of the end, right?


    2. Read Matthew 24:30-34. What is Jesus saying: that those who were listening to Him then would see His Second Coming?


      1. If so, was John just repeating the wrong thing that Jesus said?


      2. Since we cannot toss Jesus out as a false prophet, should we toss out all of Christianity?


    3. Read Matthew 24:1-3? What do you think of the quality of the disciple's private question?


      1. Is it compound? (Yes. The disciples ask both about the destruction of the temple and the end of the world. They wrongly believed they were the same event.)


      2. Which question is Jesus discussing? (The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. This took place in 70 A.D. If Jesus is still talking about that destruction, the "this generation" statement is true.)


      3. Jesus seems to merge His Second Coming with the destruction of the temple. Is this just "helpful misdirection," "beneficial lying" (so we won't get discouraged), or is something else going on? Is Jesus' statement something that helps us understand John's "last hour?" (Put yourself in the sandals of the listeners. The temple was the center of the existing worship. The temple worship system was symbolic of Jesus' death, life and intercession for our sins. The destruction of the temple shortly after Jesus was crucified began a new time for God's followers - the last days, the end of the age, the last hour.)


        1. Is this the reason why the disciples could not imagine a world without the temple? (Yes. If the system of worship for the true God disappeared, then God was no longer in charge. That could not be the case. The disciples did not yet grasp that Jesus was the reason the sacrificial system was set up in the first place.)


  2. Anti-Christ


    1. Let's continue on with 1 John 2:18. How are the anti-christs connected with the last hour? (This turmoil in the changes in thee system of worship creates the opportunity for false teachers.)


      1. How many of these anti-christs do we have? (It seems several.)


      2. What do you think John means by "the anti-christ" and "many anti-christs?" (It seems that there must be a single, primary anti-christ. But, there are lesser anti-christs as well.)


    2. "Anti-christ" is an odd term. Let's read 1 John 2:19-22 to figure out what this term means.


      1. Are anti-christs formerly "good guys" who were walking on the path to light? (They were associated with the company of believers. John says their leaving shows they were never really part of the group. But, they seemed to be with the group.)


      2. What is the primary way to identify the anti-christ? (Someone who lies about the truth. The primary truth being that Jesus is God. If you deny that Jesus is Lord, then you deny the Father God as well.)


        1. Why is that true? Why could we not believe (as do Jews and Muslims) in a "single God" of the Old Testament and not have to agree to this "multi-part" God the Christians promote? (If you did not understand that Jesus was entire reason for God's "temple plan" for the elimination of sin, you obviously would not understand the truth or be able to tell the truth about God. In 70 A.D. the final hour came when people either understood God's plan and made the transition from the symbolic to Jesus, or they were left behind in ignorance.)


    3. Read 1 John 2:23. Does this make sense to you? (If accepting Jesus and His sacrifice is the newly clarified way to be rid of sin, then it is the only way to approach a Holy Father God.)


    4. Read 1 John 2:24-25. What is the connection between eternal life and Jesus? (Since Jesus' death on our behalf (we died with Jesus when He died) is the key to remission of sin, His death is also the key to our eternal life!)


  3. The Anointing


    1. We just learned that it is essential to retain "what you have heard from the beginning" ( 1 John 2:24). What makes that truth stick? (Re-read 1 John 2:20: the "anointing from the Holy One.")


      1. The "Holy One" has to refer to God. What is this essential anointing?


    2. Read 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. What does this explain is the anointing? (The Holy Spirit.)


      1. We understand the idea of putting down a deposit on something we are going to buy. How is the Holy Spirit a deposit for Jesus' Second Coming? How is the Holy Spirit a deposit which keeps us believing in Jesus? (A deposit is part of the purchase price. It is a small sample of the rest. When we go to heaven at the Second Coming we will live in the presence of God. We can begin to understand right now how it is to live in the presence of God when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.)


    3. What is your greatest fear about your belief in God? (That we believe something that is not true. I regularly read popular scientific books and the general theme is that there is no God, we have simply evolved.)


      1. How does the Holy Spirit provide us with a guarantee that God exists? (If you know the Holy Spirit is working in your life, then you have positive assurance that God exists and that the Bible is true.)


      2. Read John 16:13. In what way can the Holy Spirit guide us into knowing the truth about God? (Sometimes I marvel at how dumb these smart scientists can be. They write books talking about all the exact rules that govern the operation of the creation. They acknowledge that they know most of the rules simply through measurement - they do not understand the logic or the reason behind the rules. Yet in this precise, rule oriented universe, they believe everything came about by chance! The Holy Spirit gives us clear, logical minds to see the folly of such confused thinking.)


    4. Read 1 John 2:26-27. Does this mean you don't need me? You don't need the lessons? We don't need the epistles of John?(I think John is saying that we don't need the false teachers. As you have probably noticed, the way I write these lessons is to have you read the Bible, and then ask you questions about what you have read. My goal is to help you think about God's word and let the Holy Spirit guide you.)


    5. Read 1 John 2:28-29. What is our duty? (To continue our walk on the path of light!)


    6. Friend, if you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, if you accept His sacrifice on your behalf, then you are on the road to eternal life. If you need help (and you do) will you pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you? Will you begin experiencing life now in the presence of God? Why not ask for that right now?


  4. Next week: Living as Children of God.

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