1 John (4): Christ's Abide but Antichrists Apostatize (2:18-28)
That You May Know: An Exposition of First John
Part 4: Christ’s Abide But Antichrists Apostatize
We have seen that if we know Him, love is maturing in us as we abide in the light and we are overcoming worldliness (lust of flesh, eyes & position). In this section, the damning lies of the gnostic apostates become clearer (section D on outline).
The Parallel Outline of First John
A 1:1–4 — Prologue — Eternal Life Manifested
B 1:5–2:2 —The Truth Proclaimed
C 2:3–17 — The Love Commandment
D 2:18–27 — Antichrists Deny Jesus is the Christ
E 2:28–3:10 — Confidence as Children of God
F 3:11–18 — The Message: Sacrificial Love for One Another
E’ 3:19–24 — Confidence in God’s Presence
D’ 4:1–6 — Antichrists Deny Christ Came in the Flesh
C’ 4:7–5:5 — The Love Example
B’ 5:6–12 — The Testimony Received
A’ 5:13–21 — Conclusion — Eternal Life Assured
You Must Not Apostatize from Core Truth or the Church (vv2:18-19, 22-23). “Christ” means “anointed.” “Antichrist” is John’s name for those who falsely claim the truth while not abiding in the Apostolic Gospel (2:18, 22; 4:3; 2Jn 7). Jesus predicts the rise of false Christ’s. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many” (Mt. 24:5). Simon the Sorcerer desired the “authority” for conferring the “Anointing” and was condemned for his evil motives (Acts 8:19). Antichrists, as John indicates do abide in the Church or the truth. Literally, “They went out of us, but they were not out of us” (2:19). The content of their falsehood not only includes their prideful assertion of “not sinning” but also that they know Christ better than the apostles. They deny that the historical Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (v22). Do you believe the Apostle’s Creed?
You Must Abide in the Anointing of Apostolic Truth (vv20-21, 24-27). In St John’s Gospel Christ promises the Spirit (“another Comforter/Advocate Gr: Paraklete) to those who believe. Here John explains that this “anointing” (Chrisma) is given to those who hold the apostolic truth. Anointing is a form of installation into office (Ps. 2:2, priest Ex. 40:13, for king 1Sam. 2:10, and prophet 1Kg 19:16 - ultimately “Messiah” Lk 4:18). (Looking at the doctrine of baptism, we will see that the images of baptism are drawn from the priestly ordination ritual so that ordinary Christians are clothed with righteousness to be able to once again enter into Garden of God to have communion with the Father and Son. This was pictured in the high priest’s ordination but is now available for the “royal priesthood” of all in Christ. Christians are “christs” and “Christ’s.” The proof of this is in fidelity to the message “from the beginning” (v24). Fidelity to the Apostolic Community (the Church) is also demonstration of having the Spirit-Anointing since “they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (v19). Are you committed to a congregation in the Apostolic Church?
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more