P. G. Mathew | Sunday, April 22, 2001
Copyright © 2001, P. G. Mathew
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist--he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us--even eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.
1 John 2:18-27
The subject of this passage is the antichrist. Who is the antichrist? Is he Nero or Domitian or Hitler or Stalin? Or is he someone else who will come just before the second coming of Christ?
The word "christ" means "anointed one." According to the Bible, Jesus is the Christ, and every believer in Jesus is a christ with a small "c." The Lord Jesus Christ was anointed by the Holy Spirit without measure, and every Christian is also anointed in Jesus Christ.
Who, then, are antichrists? They are those who deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. They deny that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, that Jesus Christ is true God, and that Jesus Christ is eternal life. Antichrists also are anointed ones, antichristoi in the Greek, but instead of being anointed by the Holy Spirit, they are anointed with an evil anointing, a counterfeit anointing. Antichrists are energized by the devil himself. An antichrist may pretend to be the Messiah, the Anointed One, or he may oppose the true Messiah with Satanic empowerment in the last days. The word anti- means either opposing, against, or in place of. So antichrist can be a person who opposes Christ, or pretends to be a Christ. It is interesting to note that people who belong to the church can be antichrists. In fact, someone said if a person goes to sleep when the word is preached, that person may be an antichrist because antichrists despise God's word.
The only writer who uses the expression "antichrist" is the apostle John. He does so in 1 John 2:3-8; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 7. But the idea of an antichrist is found throughout the Bible, as we will discuss later.
The Last Hour
In 1 John 2:18 John writes, "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour."
What is "the last hour?" It is the same as "the last days," which Peter spoke about in Acts 2:17-21 as he quoted Joel 2:28-32. The last days are the days in which the Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Peter also calls these days "the last times." In 1 Peter 1:20 he said of Jesus Christ, "He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake." So "the last days," "the last times," and "the last hour" all refer to the time period between the first and second advents of Christ, the time when Old Testament prophecies about the Christ were fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
In 2 Timothy 3:1 Paul writes, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days." He was warning the church that the last days will also be a time of crisis for the church of Jesus Christ. Additionally, it will be a time of urgency. The early church believed, as we also believe, in the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because we are living in the last days, we who are Christians must be careful and watchful in our service to God, because the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come soon. We must remember the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 and live in a careful, watchful manner.
Biblical References to the Antichrist
In 1 John 2:18 John writes, "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming. . ." This teaching about the antichrist was not new to the recipients of John's epistle; rather, it was part of the apostolic proclamation of the gospel. John was reminding his readers that they had already heard about antichrist when they first heard the gospel. In 2 Thessalonians 2:5 Paul says the same thing to the Thessalonians about the man of sin, the man of lawlessness, telling them, "Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?" In other words, Paul was reminding the Thessalonians that his apostolic proclamation of the gospel also included a treatment of the subject of an antichrist.
Although the term antichristos is only used by the apostle John, the idea of an antichrist is found throughout the Scriptures. For instance, in the Old Testament it is found especially the book of Daniel. In Daniel 7:8 we read, "While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully." The same description is found in Daniel 7:11, 20.
We are told about the destruction of this evil beast by the Ancient of Days, who is the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Daniel 7:25-26 we read, "He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for time, times and half a time. But the court will sit and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever." That will happen when the Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
We believe that some people in the history of the church foreshadowed the antichrist, but that before the second coming of Christ the final antichrist will come. He will be a human being who is the embodiment of all evil. He will oppose the people of God and be destroyed at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. So in Daniel 8:23-25 we read, "In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power." This is speaking of the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ himself spoke about antichrists, or pseudo-christoi, false christs. In Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus told his disciples, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." In Matthew 24:15 Jesus said, "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation. . . .'" This is a reference, albeit somewhat mysterious, to the antichrist. And in Matthew 24:24 Jesus warned his disciples, saying, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible."
False Christs are people who oppose God, his church, and his gospel. Inspired by the devil himself, they may perform great signs and miracles for the purpose of deceiving many people. All false Christs of history foreshadow the antichrist of the future.
Paul's Teaching About the Antichrist
Paul taught often about the antichrist. In Acts 20 we find Paul speaking to the elders of the church of Ephesus. In verse 29 he says, "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock." Then Paul warned the Ephesians, "Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." The phrase "even from your own number" is the same reality that John spoke about in 1 John 2. These antichrists were church members.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 Paul writes, "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day," meaning the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, "will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." This is a reference to antichrist, who is characterized by anomia, lawlessness." Paul continues, "He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God." Daniel spoke about a political antichrist, but here Paul is telling us that the antichrist will also be a religious leader. The antichrist of the future will be a blend of political as well as religious power, in other words. Paul goes on, "Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work. . ." You see, lawlessness is already at work, "but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming."
The final antichrist has not yet been revealed, Paul was saying, because he is hindered, prevented by divine power, by divine agency, whatever that agency happens to be. But at the proper time, when that which prevents him from being revealed is taken out of the way, the man of sin, the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, will be revealed.
Paul was speaking of the antichrist, even though he uses the term "man of lawlessness" rather than antichristos. In the last times there will be a time of great rebellion, great apostasy, great opposition to the gospel and great rejection of Jesus Christ the Messiah. A man characterized by lawlessness will be revealed, one who is doomed to destruction, as we read in Daniel's prophecy. He is restrained now, but the restraint will be removed in due time, and then this lawless one, the antichrist, will be revealed. This antichrist will be a religious as well as a political antichrist who will oppose and exalt himself above God. A very arrogant person, he will go to God's temple and demand that people worship him as Dominus et Deus, Lord and God, just as Nero and Domitian and others did. Energized by Satan himself, this antichrist will perform counterfeit miracles so that the vast majority of the people of the world will believe in him and follow him. In fact, Jesus Christ said that this one's purpose will be to deceive, if possible, even the very elect. But God be praised: It is impossible to deceive the elect of God. God's people shall persevere by divine might and strength given to them until the antichrist is overthrown at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John's View of the Antichrist
What is John's view of the antichrist? In 1 John 2:18 he wrote, "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come." In verse 22 he wrote, "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son." In 1 John 4:3 he wrote, "But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." In 2 John 7 he wrote, "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist."
In the book of Revelation John wrote again about the antichrist. In Revelation 13:1 we read, "And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. . . ." This tells us of the nature of the antichrist: he is a beast. John continued, "He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority." The dragon, of course, is the devil, Satan.
There is an evil trinity that mimics the Holy Trinity. The dragon mimics the Father; the beast from the sea mimics the Son, and the beast from the earth, whom we read about in Revelation 13:11 and who is also called the false prophet, mimics the Holy Spirit.
"The dragon gave the beast his power." The antichrist is not going to do his wonderful miracles by his own power. He gets his energy-he is anointed-by the anointing of the devil. "The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne great authority."
In verse 5 we read, "The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words. . ." This is reminiscent of the picture in Daniel 7 of the little horn who had a big mouth and was speaking pompous words, but who was eventually taken care of by the court of heaven. So John says, "The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months." Those who do not love God may get Nobel prizes and accomplish many wonderful things in this world, causing them to speak boastful words against God. They all foreshadow this big-mouth personality that will emerge before the second coming of Christ.
John continues in verses 6 and 7, "He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation." Remember that Jesus Christ said, "All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me"? Here is the one who is given all authority from the devil, mimicking the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 8 we read, "All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." All those whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life will worship the antichrist. There is Christ and there is antichrist; we will worship one or the other.
In Revelation 16:13 we see the trinity of evil together in one verse: "Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and and out of the mouth of the false prophet." Who is the dragon? He is Satan, the devil, who mimics God the Father. Who is the beast? This is the beast who mimics God the Son. Who is the false prophet? He is the beast that comes out of the land, who mimics the Holy Spirit.
In Daniel and in 2 Thessalonians we read that the antichrist, the big mouth who speaks pompous things against God, and his church, will be destroyed. PGM Who destroys him? The Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is given all authority in heaven and on earth. So in Revelation 19:11-20 we see a picture of Jesus Christ coming to make war against every opponent his sovereign rule:
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great."
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
In this passage we find the beginning of the final disposition of the evil trinity. The beast here refers to the second beast, the antichrist. Now, of course, we have one left, which is the dragon, also known as the devil, Satan, the old serpent. In Revelation 20 we are told that he is first captured and locked in the Abyss and then later released. In verse 7 we read, "When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released. . ." And now, verse 9 of chapter 20: "They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded" - this is the final attack against God - "the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
Thus, the antichrist of the future shall be a person who would be politically and religiously powerful, an embodiment of all false religions and global political power. But there will be a final disposition of the evil trinity taking place when Jesus Christ comes again.
Historical Manifestations of the Antichrist
What were the historical manifestations of the antichrist? In the early church, the post-apostolic period, the prevailing view of the antichrist was that a Jew would rebuild the temple in Jerusalem; claim extraordinary powers; make extraordinary claims about himself; and tyrannize, terrorize, and persecute the church.
In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic church believed that the antichrist would be a political potentate, a person of great political power, who would claim to possess extraordinary powers and would persecute the true church of Jesus Christ. During the Reformation period the prevailing view among the reformers was that the pope, who claimed to be the mediator between God and man, was the antichrist-a person arising from the church itself. We cannot blame these reformers for entertaining this view because at that time the whole power of the papacy was used to persecute true believers in Jesus Christ. That is one reason the reformers came to hold the view that the papacy was the embodiment of the antichrist.
Before the post-apostolic times, one view named Antiochus Epiphanes, who came into Jerusalem in 167 B.C., as the antichrist. Antiochus Epiphanes banned the worship of Israel's God and turned the temple in Jerusalem over to the worship of the Olympian Zeus. Then he claimed that he was the present manifestation of Zeus and demanded that people worship him, offering sacrifices to him and for him.
Several Roman emperors have been identified as antichrists. In A.D. 40 there was an emperor named Gaius who demanded that his image be set up in the temple of Jerusalem so that all people could offer sacrifices to him and for him. He was thought to be the antichrist. Some people thought Nero was the antichrist because he certainly behaved as an antichrist. During the reign of Domitian (81-96) people thought Domitian might be the antichrist.
The truth is, there have been a number of people in the history of the church who have functioned as antichrists. They all are foreshadowing the antichrist who will be showing up in due course before the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
John's Teaching About the Antichrist
In 1 John 2:18 John said, in essence, "We know that this is the last hour because certain things are happening." What was going on at that time? In verse 19 John gave a reason: "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
Who was John speaking about? He is speaking out church leaders, prophets, and teachers of the church. John was referring to leading people in the church of Jesus Christ.
These leaders were not interested in the gospel as preached by the apostles and those authorized by the apostles. Instead, they wanted to improve upon the gospel. Doesn't that sound very modern? We want everything to be new and improved, not the same old product. In the same way, these leaders were not interested in the old-fashioned gospel preached by the apostles. They wanted a new, improved gospel, and they wanted to improve it by destroying the old gospel. They wanted to preach a different gospel, in other words. Of such people Paul said in Galatians 1:8, "Let [them] be eternally condemned!" In 1 Corinthians 16:22 he made a similar comment: "If anyone does not love the Lord-a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!"
The Denials of the Heretics
The false teachers of John's time wanted to preach a different gospel-a gospel of intellectual speculation. They were the elites. They were known, not for their affirmation of the gospel, but for their denying the propositional revelation of it. Thus, when we read the first epistle of John, we find several denials these people made.
- They denied sin. After all, if there is no sin, we do not need atonement and we certainly do not need a Savior. These people denied sin, said they had never sinned, and maintained that they were without sin.
- They denied especially and particularly that Jesus was the Christ. When John uses the word Christ, he means the divine Christ, the Son of God, who is God. They denied that God came in human flesh. They denied that Jesus was the Christ.
- They denied that Jesus is the Son of God. We read this in 1 John 4:15 and 1 John 5:5.
- They denied that Jesus Christ is God, as stated in 1 John 5:20.
- They denied that Jesus Christ is eternal life. We read that also in 1 John 5:20.
- They denied the Father and the Son, and the Trinity. We read that in 1 John 2:22.
- They denied the need for any type of Christian fellowship. Christian fellowship is only possible if you have the prior fellowship with the Father and the Son. But if you have such fellowship with the Father and the Son, then you will treasure, practice, and value fellowship with the people of God.
- They denied the very purpose of incarnation. In 1 John 3:5 we read, "But you know that he appeared so that he may take away our sins." In 1 John 3:8 we read, "He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work."
- They denied the atonement, as we read in 1 John 2:2 and 4:10.
- They denied the need for forgiveness, as we read in 1 John 1:8.
- They denied the future judgment in which God will punish every rebel and every evildoer.
These deniers were false prophets, the antichristoi. They were those who were anointed with counterfeit anointing by the devil himself, as we read in 1 John 2:27 and 4:3.
They Went Out from Us
In 1 John 2:19 John states that the antichristoi "went out from us." These people were secessionists who had no need for Christian fellowship. They were people who willingly separated themselves from the true people of God.
In the gospel of John we find an account of the last supper, including the Holy Communion, the Lord Jesus had on earth before his crucifixion. In John 13:30 we read that "as soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out." John uses the same word in his epistle to describe the behavior of these antichrists, saying, "They went out from us."
Leaving God's church is as American as apple pie. In fact, we hear about people leaving churches all the time. There is only one problem: Separating oneself from a true, functional church of God is not biblical, and it is not an option for true people of God.
There is one other thing we must understand from this verse. In Acts 2 we read that God added to the church such as should be saved, but here we read that God also subtracts those who do not belong to Christ. God, in his sovereign ordination, wants to maintain the purity of the church; therefore, certain people who are in the church only to do their own thing, not to serve God, will soon be found out. When that happens, what do they usually do? They make their way out.
Did you know that the church of Christ is not an "inclusive" church, as some people use the term today? The main purpose of Christ's church is not to promote plurality, diversity, inclusiveness and every other modern philosophy; thus, God will add and God will subtract in his church. "They went out from among us because," John was saying, "they were not of us." In other words, these people did not share the spiritual nature of Christians. They did not share a common faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or God the Father. They did not share a common view of the gospel. There was nothing in common between them and the true church, so they made their way out.
Church splits are sometimes necessary and God-ordained. In 1 Corinthians 11:19 Paul begins, "No doubt there have to be differences among you . . ." In the Greek, the sentence begins, dei gar, "there must be." This separation is of divine ordination, in other words. So reading from the Greek, this verse says, "There must be also differences among you, divisions among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." As the head of the church, Jesus Christ wants to keep his church pure; therefore he will bring about differences between people within that church. All of a sudden, there will be a difference manifested-people will begin to teach a different gospel or openly reject Jesus Christ or the word of God. These things are ordained by God so that such people can be disciplined and excommunicated, or so that they will go on their own accord out of the church.
Paul and John and all the early church leaders knew that people may leave the church. They were not worried, and in 2 Timothy 2:19 Paul wrote, "Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: 'The Lord knows those who are his,' and 'Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.'"
In other words, no true child of God will get out of the true church. Having relationship with the Father and the Son, he or she will, therefore, have relationship with the people of God and will persevere to the very end. Held and grasped by the hand of the Son and of the Father, they are, indeed, kept.
Remember, these antichrists were church people whose names were on the church roll. But they hated the Trinity-they had no Father, no Son, no Holy Ghost. They were not born of God, they were not justified, and they rejected the gospel.
These antichrists were false shepherds. Oh, their teachings were novel! They were like the Athenians who spent their time trying to find out what was new, improved and exciting. But not only were their teachings defective, but they were diabolical. Their aim was to destroy the very gospel that saves us. So in 1 John 2:26 John writes, "I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray."
By way of application, let us now look at modern manifestations of antichrists.
- Antichrists are those who deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Yes, they will say that Jesus was a nice man, a great man, an ethical man to whom we should listen, especially when he spoke the Sermon on the Mount. These people deny the deity of Christ, and any person who does that is an antichrist.
- Antichrists are those who deny the humanity of Christ. This heresy has manifested itself throughout the history of the church. Such people say the body of Jesus Christ was a phantom body; in other words, Jesus Christ did not have a real body. But we need a Savior who is both God and man, two natures in one person.
- Antichrists are those who deny the absolute authority of Scripture. We find our Savior in the Scriptures. So if any person denies the veracity and absolute authority of the Holy Scriptures, he is an antichrist.
- Antichrists are those who deny the supernatural aspect of Christianity. Oh, they may be scholars, Nobel Laureates, Jesus Seminar professors-it doesn't make any difference. Anyone who denies the miracles in the Scriptures are antichrists.
- Antichrists are those who deny final judgment, and hell. Such people may say, "Oh, don't you know that our God is so big and nice and compassionate and all-inclusive that he would never punish anyone? Let's have a church that includes everyone, no matter what. There is no future punishment. Our God loves everyone!" Such people are antichrists.
- Antichrists are those who deny biblical teachings. This includes those who are in cults, which claim to be biblical but are not. This country is prolific in terms of cults, whether Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, or Christian Scientists. This includes liberal Christian churches, as Dr. J. Gresham Machen of Westminster Seminary wrote in his classic work, Christianity and Liberalism. There he stated that liberalism is not Christianity, but a different religion. Any Christian church that will not preach the truth as found in the Holy Scriptures is antichristian.
- Antichrists are those who refuse to be part of a true church. Every secessionist, every person who goes out from a true church, refusing to submit to biblical doctrine and biblical church government, is a person who loves lawlessness. Such a person is an antichrist.
Antidote to Antichrists
Finally, what can we do so that we will not become antichrists who deny the propositional truths of the Scriptures and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
1. The scriptural test.
In 1 John 2:24 we read, "See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. . . ." From the Greek text, the next line should be translated this way: "If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you will also remain in the Son and in the Father."
The antidote for not becoming an antichrist is to pay attention to what you heard from the beginning, which is the apostolic declaration of the gospel. Don't have itching ears. Don't get interested in novel ideas, looking for something different. If you become excited about the gospel when it is preached, if you find your joy in it and relish the preaching of the gospel, it means you are a child of God. The word of God will be food indeed for your soul..
Get back to what you heard from the beginning. In Hebrews 2:1 we read, "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard so that we do not drift away." In other words, get back to the Scriptures! Study the Scriptures, believe the Scriptures, embrace the Scriptures, and add faith to the Scriptures. If you do this, you will notice that everything is going to be all right. So the first test is the scriptural test.
2. The Christological test.
Do you confess Jesus Christ in the way formulated in the creeds and confessions of the church? We must agree with the confessional and creedal statements of the historic orthodox church.
3. The test of fellowship.
Do you love fellowship? If you don't love fellowship with the people of God, it is because you have no relationship with the Father and the Son. You are an antichrist. You have become a Gnostic. You are interested in solo Christianity. You are a church-hopper. A true child of God will belong to a true church, enjoying and delighting in fellowship with the people of God.
I pray that God would help us to pay more careful attention to the word of God-to believe in its veracity and absolute infallibility; to believe in Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, who took upon himself human nature, who is very God and very man; and to pay attention to fellowship with the people of God. And if there are antichrists in our midst, may God have mercy upon them and grant them repentance and the gift of faith, that they may love the gospel and believe in Jesus Christ, whom the gospel reveals to us as the Savior of the world. Amen.
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Copyright © 2001, P. G. Mathew
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