May 10, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 2:18-29

I know, I know… Red flags are going up. You Drudge Report readers see the police siren and CNN regulars see the big red breaking news box. Anytime we get to that A-word, the antichrist, there’s questions, intrigue and sadly, too often very little hermeneutics and contextualization which leads to crazy beliefs.

There are 2 different antichrists in the Bible.

  1. The Anti-Christ in the End Times.

Scripture teaches that during a great tribulation period one man will emerge as an ultimate Anti-Christ. Through the centuries, there’s been speculation and studies by both scholars and people who were really paranoid, predicting numerous historical dictators and figures as this anti-christ. From Nero to Muhammad to various popes, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler and the last two presidents of the United States.

People have gone a little crazy with these antichrist and end times beliefs and that’s why those red flags go up. It even happens to me!

This is not what John is speaking about in these passages and in the book of 1 John. Instead, it’s:

  1. Anything that goes “against” or “in place of” Christ.

Anyone or thing that opposes Christ or seeks to supplant Him.

and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 1 John 4:3

That’s what this is… a hostile spirit in this world but not just people: attitudes, mindsets, philosophies that supplant or oppose Christ and His teachings.

So what do we know about these antichrists that have been around since this was written and in the world around us right now according to verses 18-19?

  1. We are living in END TIMES where many around us will be opposed to Jesus. Almost every generation has predicted that we’re living in End Times but we don’t know exactly when that will be.

What we do know is that in the history of the world that God created and the story that He’s writing. Satan and people He has used have opposed God and God has been saving and reconciling people back to Him in the midst of it.

When Christ came to this earth, this upped the ante for Satan. The prophecied Messiah was finally here and it shook Satan. Christ’s arrival aroused Satan’s opposition to an intensity not seen before or since, resulting in the rise of many antichrists. After Jesus started his public ministry at 30, he was relentlessly opposed until his enemies finally nailed him to that cross and that same antichrist spirit continues to flourish to this day.

  1. These antichrists can be found both out in the world and departing from within the church.

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. 

He’s talking about false teachers and heretics that started out within the church. Those who are opposing Christ or taking his place are coming from within the church and we know that has happened throughout history. Some of the Religions that oppose and persecute Christians the most came from within a Judeo-Christian tradition and beginning.

For Christ and His church’s sake and witness, this does not mean that it’s wise to start calling everyone and anyone the anti-christ. But you need to know, many things around us will oppose not only what you believe, but what you love and hold dear to, Christ.

How important is this is in a day and age of antichrists (a culture that is antagonistic toward Jesus and Christianity)? You can have knowledge and discernment of who is against Christ and that you know Truth in the midst of those who deceive.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

May 9, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 2:12-17

I was recently strolling through the spam folder of my email inbox. I saw a phishing scam from somebody using Tim Parsons’ name (be warned CPC, it ain’t Tim. He hates email) as well as other emails from legitimate and illegitimate sources. One email, however, caught my eye. It was from a sweet lady who recently lost her husband a few years ago. He squirreled away about 3 million dollars in an offshore bank from a trade he had in the gold market and she has been unable to access it. She needed my help and I would get to keep 30% of 3 million.

In case you’re wondering, I decided not to help for several reasons—mostly because it’s a scam and they would rob me blind if possible. But secondly, and more importantly for our discussion of 1st John, this lady writing to me about potential assets is outside the context of a relationship. In our passage today, however, John is writing to believers to encourage them in their relationship with the Lord and the assets, the power, they have through Him.

John wrote to believers hearing from false teachers. Although the message is a little different, this is no different than today as we are bombarded with false truths. Combating the lie begins with our relationship with God. In verses 12–14 John says three times, “I am writing,” then three times, “I have written.” This repetition should draw us in and force us to focus on the effort that John has exerted to make a point.

John is writing to children, young men, and fathers, but more importantly, notice the verbs—forgiven, know, overcome, etc. In Greek, John is using the perfect tense—have been forgiven, has known, etc. Sorry for getting nerdy, but this is critical: a perfect tense verb describes a completed action. That means the power found in our relationship with God is so complete, it is unchangeable, untouchable, there is nothing left to do… with one exception. In John’s statement to young men in 14, he uses two present active verbs (“you are strong, and the word of God abides in you”). It is this strength found through the abiding Word that believers need to continually fight the false teachers. Yet, this power is so great that, although the battle is ongoing, we are said to have “overcome (perfect tense) the evil one.”

Verses 15–17 get at the heart of the issue. Everything outside of God, His Word, and people is fleeting and passing away. “In 2:15–17 the author moves from emphasizing the assurance that the members of the community have in their relationship with God to exhorting them about how they are to deal with the world that hates them and is opposed to God. He accentuates this change by using the present tense imperative form of agapaō (“love”) to begin verse 15. Once again belief and behavior are linked together in John’s assurances and exhortations.” (New American Commentary)

Like fake emails, the “truth” of this world is a scam. Everything it says brings life, brings death. We see this all over the place, from success to romance.  Life is only found in our relationship with the Lord. Therefore, we must examine that which our heart longs for—our loves. Then, we must pursue holy affections. We must love what God loves.

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

May 8, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 2:7-11

In our world today, we see laws all around us. Think about driving, signs tell us how fast to go, or who should yield, or when to stop and when to go. These signs are set up to be a reminder to us that we need to obey the laws so everyone is safe. We need the signs so we do not forget the laws.

Well in 1 John today, John is not giving us a new commandment. Instead, he is reminding us of something that was already commanded. That ‘old commandment’ is to love God and love others (Lev. 19:18, Deut. 6:5). In verse 8, he says that it is a new commandment, but that is only to say that Jesus confirmed those teachings and told the same thing to his disciples (Matt. 22:36-40).

The rest of the passage focuses on who is following the commandment and who is not. The people who love God and love others are in the light, while those who may love God and hate their brother are in darkness. The question is, are you in the light or in the darkness?

As Christians, we have no reason to be in the darkness. Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” If God can love us even while we are sinners, then why can we not love our brothers and sisters in the same way? As humans, we often like to hold on to grudges. Somebody might have wronged us or sinned against us, and so we cannot stand to even think about that person. But let me ask you, how many times have you sinned against God? It is humbling to think about the number of times we have sinned against God and the amount of grace and forgiveness He has given us.

We need to be lights in a dark world. Extend grace to people who have wronged you. Love people well. Do all of these things so that people may see God through you. (Matt. 5:16)

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

May 7, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 2:1-6

How do we deal with SIN as a disciple of Jesus?   We should do everything in our power to avoid it – to live holy lives like our example Jesus Christ.

1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.

What if we do (sin)?   The cross gives us a solution for our sin.  Jesus (our advocate or attorney) defends our case before the Father through the power of the cross.

But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.  2He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

God’s Word tells us to confess our sins – which means to agree with God that they are wrong and take steps to avoid them.

If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9)

Jesus defends us from the accusations of Satan before God.

Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last–salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth–the one who accuses them before our God day and night.  Revelation 12:10

How can we be sure that we know Him?  John says – if we have a pattern of obeying His commands.

3And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.

This gives us the assurance of our salvation that we are looking for.  This is why so many people doubt their salvation – their lives don’t reflect a Jesus-change.

How should we live our lives?  Do our best to live like Jesus did – W.W.J.D?

6Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

So…

 

  • Are you striving for holiness?  How’s that going?
  • Do you keep sin confessed in your life?
  • Does your life make you certain that you know Him?

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor