The Enemy of Christ
18Children, this is the last hour. You heard that the enemy of Christ would appear at this time, and many of Christ's enemies have already appeared. So we know the last hour is here. 19These people came from our own group, yet they were not really part of us. If they had been part of us, they would have stayed with us. But they left, which proves they did not belong to our group.
20Christ, the Holy One, has blessed you, and now all of you understand. 21I did not need to write you about the truth, since you already know it. You also know that liars do not belong to the truth. 22And a liar is anyone who says Jesus isn't truly Christ. Anyone who says this is an enemy of Christ and rejects both the Father and the Son. 23If we reject the Son, we reject the Father. But if we say we accept the Son, we have the Father. 24Keep thinking about the message you first heard, and you will always be one in your heart with the Son and with the Father. 25The Son has promised us eternal life.
26I am writing to warn you about those people who are misleading you. 27But Christ has blessed you with the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit stays in you, and you don't need any teachers. The Spirit is truthful and teaches you everything. So stay one in your heart with Christ, just as the Spirit has taught you to do.
What happens when we hear something from someone which sort of sounds right, but actually is not the truth? Do we believe it? Do we question what is being said? How do we know?
If John has seemed weak on passion to this point, now he presses the pedal of intense emotion. He’s fired up! John’s aware that people are spreading falsehoods and lies about faith in Jesus Christ. So he’s sounding the alarm bells. But he gets emotional not just to make a point or a spectacle of the people who are misleading others. John, with his firsthand experience of Jesus and his pastor’s heart, wants to teach a deeper truth. That is, he wants us to ‘keep thinking about the message you first heard’ (v 24). In other words, he doesn’t want us to forget the truth we heard when we first started following Jesus: Jesus is the Christ and he came in the flesh. As we reflect on this, John encourages us to let this truth live in us. Let it take root. Let it sink deep down into the depths of our mind, soul, body, and spirit. As we do, we will experience the quality of life Jesus promised us, a dynamic, vigorous life; one totally connected and blessed by Jesus both inside and out.
And yet, sometimes it’s hard to recognize falsehood from truth. Then what do we do? Along with urging us to remember, John also puts a very high value on the One who tells us the truth, the One Jesus said would lead us into all truth: the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit is here on earth to teach and lead us in everything (v 27). We are not alone or on our own. God is present. And is ready to help us when we are unsure if something is the truth, or not.
Thank you, Lord, that you care about what I hear which might affect my belief in you. Some days I feel bombarded by half truths, things that sound sort of right but that I wonder about. Today, give me wisdom and judgment to sort them out in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.