Chapter 2, Verses 18-29
1 John 2: 17) [KJV] And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
QUESTION: What are these 3 verses telling us?
ANSWER: The path the Christian is on, the narrow path, is to be different that the path the unregenerate is on, the wide path. The saved see things differently that the unsaved!
QUESTION: What aren’t these verses telling us?
ANSWER: They are not telling us that if we are attracted to attractive things, that if we would prefer a more financially successful life than the one we have, or that if we want more stuff than we currently have that we are not truly Christian. Even sinful things are tempting because they are appealing. The point is that regardless of what we want we must be willing to pursue the things that God has intended for us. The issue is who do we serve? Whose lead do we follow?
Matthew 6:24) [GNB] You cannot be a slave of two masters; you will hate one and love the other; you will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
QUESTION: Why does God love the world [John 3:16] and tell us not to?
ANSWER: One thing is for certain, it can’t be wrong for you and I to do what God does. Therefore, the “world” that God loves and the “world” that He tells us not to love are two very different things. It is obvious that the “world” God loves is the world of people; it’s all those who inhabit the planet. WE SHOULD LOVE THAT “WORLD” ALSO! He also loves the earth He created, the physical world. It’s also O.K. for us to love our planet. The “world” we’re not to love is the world of things that this life presents us with; AND GOD DOESN’T LOVE THAT WORLD EITHER!
NOTE: In other words, 1) we shouldn’t love to do those things that bring gratification to our flesh, yet are forbidden by Scripture; 2) we shouldn’t love everything that appeals to our sight; and 3) we shouldn’t love those things that make us feel superior to others. GOD LOVES THE WORLD OF PEOPLE; WE SHOULD NOT LOVE THE WORLD OF THINGS!
ANOTHER NOTE: When God loves the world of people He genuinely loves them. When we love the world of things it’s actually a perversion of true love; IT IS LUST!
A CLOSING NOTE: We will have “things” in this world. Everyone has some things. The rich obviously have more things than the poor do. It’s not a sin to have things, but we are not to love those things.
On To This Week’s Lesson:
1 John 2:18-29) [KJV] Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
(GW) Children, it’s the end of time. You’ve heard that an antichrist is coming. Certainly, many antichrists are already here. That’s how we know it’s the end of time.
19) [KJV] They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
QUESTION: Who are these people who left the fellowship?
ANSWER: These are the Gnostics who, I believe, made it a point to be seen with John, and other known church leaders, so that others would think that they were “one of them,” and conclude that they, like John, had Apostolic authority to state church doctrine. [see my commentary on I John, pages 61-62 to see my full explanation on this subject]
QUESTION: Who does John compare these false teachers to?
ANSWER: He compares them to the coming Antichrist.
QUESTION: What does John mean when he says, “we know it’s the end of time?
ANSWER: Even the first century, A.D. church lived in expectation of the coming of Christ.
In regards to this thought,
“‘In this last hour we all even still live’ [BENGEL]. Each successive age has had in it some of the signs of ‘the last time’ which precedes Christ’s coming, in order to keep the Church in continual waiting for the Lord” [JFB].
20) [KJV] But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
21) [KJV] I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
QUESTION: What does this passage teach us about the abiding Holy Spirit?
ANSWER: The Holy Spirit makes us realize that all Truth is based on rightly dividing the Word of God. We have the Scripture; we don’t need any additional “truth.”
QUESTION: Are there groups today in the Christian world who base their beliefs on the Word of God along with some new truths?
ANSWER: Absolutely! There are those who offer “another testament.” There are others who offer leaders who they claim have Apostolic authority to speak new, inerrant truths.
NOTE: True teachers in the body of Christ, are teaching old, established truths, not new revelations.
22) [KJV] Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23) [KJV] Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also].
QUESTION: What were the Gnostics teaching that causes John to refer to them as liars?
ANSWER: They taught that Jesus was not the promised Messiah.
“The words are aimed at the heresy of Cerinthus, a man of Jewish decent and educated at Alexandria. He denied the miraculous conception of Jesus, and taught that, after His baptism, the Christ descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and that He then announced the unknown Father and wrought miracles; but that, towards the end of His ministry, the Christ departed again from Jesus, and Jesus suffered and rose from the dead, while the Christ remained impassible (incapable of suffering) as a spiritual being” [Vincent].
NOTE: It’s important to teach accurate truths about God.
False Teachings Today Concerning God:
1. God had a beginning. He’s an exalted man from another world.
2. Jesus isn’t God.
24) [KJV] Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
1 John 2:7-10) [GNB] My dear friends, this command I am writing you is not new; it is the old command, the one you have had from the very beginning. The old command is the message you have already heard.
8) [GNB] However, the command I now write you is new, because its truth is seen in Christ and also in you. For the darkness is passing away, and the real light is already shining.
9) [GNB] If we say that we are in the light, yet hate others, we are in the darkness to this very hour.
10) [GNB] If we love others, we live in the light, and so there is nothing in us that will cause someone else to sin.
1 John 3:22-24) [GNB] We receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
23) [GNB] What he commands is that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as Christ commanded us.
24) [GNB] Those who obey God’s commands live in union with God and God lives in union with them. And because of the Spirit that God has given us we know that God lives in union with us.
QUESTION: What was “the message you heard from the beginning”?
ANSWER: We need to love others the way Jesus loves us. We’re walking in the light if we do that; we’re walking in the darkness if we don’t.
John 3:34-35) [GNB] And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35) [GNB] If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.
QUESTION: What was “the beginning” John is referring to?
ANSWER: He was referring to “the beginning” of a new order; which required the giving of a new law.
25) [KJV] And this is the promise that he hath promised us, [even] eternal life.
John 10:27-30) [GNB] My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28) [GNB] I give them eternal life, and they shall never die. No one can snatch them away from me.
29) [GNB] What my Father has given me is greater than everything, and no one can snatch them away from the Father’s care.
30) [GNB] The Father and I are one.
1 John 5:11-13) [GNB] The testimony is this: God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son.
12) [GNB] Whoever has the Son has this life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13) [GNB] I am writing this to you so that you may know that you have eternal life—you that believe in the Son of God.
QUESTION: What has Christ promised you?
ANSWER: Eternal life.
QUESTION: Can someone receive eternal life, and then lose it?
ANSWER: No! If you could lose it, then it wouldn’t be eternal.
QUESTION: Who has Christ given this eternal life to, according to John 10:27-28?
ANSWER: He gives eternal life to His sheep; He gives eternal life to those He knows/foreknows [Romans 8:29-30].
26) [KJV] These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
QUESTION: What deceptive lie is John referring to?
ANSWER: Most commentators believe this verse is referring to either, the entire letter, or verses 18-25. The entire letter is composed of encouragement to believers, and warnings to them of the danger of the false teaching of the Gnostics.
Acts 20:27-30) [GNB] For I have not held back from announcing to you the whole purpose of God.
28) [GNB] So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the blood of his Son.
29) [GNB] I know that after I leave, fierce wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.
30) [GNB] The time will come when some men from your own group will tell lies to lead the believers away after them.
NOTE: Paul warns the Ephesian elders [vs. 17] to protect their flock from false teachers.
ANOTHER NOTE: The majority of the epistles are written to correct error.
QUESTION: What can you and I do to avoid error?
ANSWER: We need to 1) keep the Word of God ever before us, and 2) we need to keep the message that was given by Christ in the very beginning of the N.T. Age in our hearts. That message is that we love each other the very way that Christ Jesus loves us.
STILL ANOTHER NOTE: The commandments that John speaks about at the end of chapter 3 of this letter are: faith in Christ and love for one another. If you’re a Christian you already have faith in Christ, so now the emphasis is on loving one another.
27) [KJV] But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
QUESTION: Is John suggesting that the church doesn’t need teachers?
ANSWER: That can’t be, because John is teaching them throughout this letter.
Ephesians 4:11-12) [GNB] It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers.
12) [GNB] He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.
Hebrews 5:12) [GNB] There has been enough time for you to be teachers—yet you still need someone to teach you the first lessons of God’s message. Instead of eating solid food, you still have to drink milk.
QUESTION: If John isn’t telling us that we don’t need teachers, then what is he telling us?
ANSWER: “If you want to know what it’s talking about, then see what it’s talking about. What’s the context? The Gnostics had brought in a new doctrine. It was something that hadn’t been taught by the Lord Jesus, or by any of his apostles. We have the Word of God; we don’t need a new revelation!
QUESTION: What does “his Spirit teaches you about everything” mean?
ANSWER: It was the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of Scripture.
II Timothy 3:16) [GNB] All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living,
II Peter 1:21) [GNB] For no prophetic message ever came just from the human will, but people were under the control of the Holy Spirit as they spoke the message that came from God.
QUESTION: The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of Scripture. Why is that truth important to this discussion?
ANSWER: Any new “truth” that contradicts the first Truth is not of God. Paul’s words were a harsh warning to such men.
Galatians 1:6-9) [GNB] I am surprised at you! In no time at all you are deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ, and are accepting another gospel.
7) [GNB] Actually, there is no “other gospel,” but I say this because there are some people who are upsetting you and trying to change the gospel of Christ.
8) [GNB] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell!
9) [GNB] We have said it before, and now I say it again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel that is different from the one you accepted, may he be condemned to hell!
28) [KJV] And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
QUESTION: How do we remain in union with God?
ANSWER: Let the “message you heard from the beginning” guide your heart. That message, as we explained in the discussion of verse 24, is the command to love others the very way God loves us.
29) [[KJV] If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
NOTE: This verse is a precursor of the next chapter. I will leave the discussion of this verse to the discussion of the passage in chapter 3 that it refers to.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church