We’re going to jump into an interesting passage of scripture today in first John chapter two. This section of scripture is the kind of section whether you read, rather you watch real news or fake news, this is the kind of passage of scripture that those people that watch news all day like to come to this passage of scripture, complain about the world going to hell in a handbasket, and then put things on social media about how frustrated they are. And that’s all that they ever really do about it. Right?
This is one of those passages, were Christians just like to talk about the word Antichrist is going to come out they like to talk about the end of the world. And they we all just hunker down, build our bunkers, and it’s over. Like we have no victory to celebrate, in Jesus and what God’s called us to do is to walk in fear. If that’s you, this passage is going to particularly draw you in. But I want to work through this passage for more than just walking in fear as a body of believers. In fact, I think a spirit of fear Bible tells us in Timothy is not what God calls us to, but power, love and a sound mind.
And so when you look at this passage, there’s a healthy way to approach it. But what John is doing is we’ve come to learn about John, understand, John, John is a disciple that deeply loved Jesus. His life radically transformed by Christ, where he went from an individual labeled as a son of thunder, where he punched in the nose first, and he asked questions later. He was one of wrath, not one of grace, God radically changes his life. And John has seen as he grows in Jesus as one that deeply loves people, so much so that some people might even think that you can take advantage of that love.
And what you see in first John, is that John while he walks in love, he also stands in truth and is willing to stand for that truth when persecution comes. His life even resonated with that to the point that he was persecuted for his faith, he was boiled alive, survived, was exiled to the island of Patmos, he stood for Jesus in adversity. And so he’s communicating in this book, what it means to know God in His love, while standing for the truth of God as a follower of Jesus, and how that should look in a healthy way. And he parallels it between these two ideas of darkness and light. That God represents what is light, He is pure, He is holy.
We saw the goodness of God last week in his propitiation as our advocate, that He argues for us in our innocence. And He propitiates, He satisfies the wrath of God for us by His sacrifice on the cross. And so you see this beauty of God and His grace and His holiness and His light, in the midst of what darkness. That when God has called us, to belong to him, he’s called us to not be of this world, but in this world, and to represent the light of God in the midst of darkness. And so within this book, you see this parallel of believers walking this world in the midst of light and pursuing God around us with the darkness that is represented by the kingdom of darkness.
When you think about this world, that we walk in what God has called us to, I think anything worthwhile in life has a battle. And you need to just make sure that you’re fighting for the right thing. You want to do great things for God, expect great battles for God. Things don’t come easy when it’s for the Lord, because there is a kingdom of light, and there is a kingdom of darkness. I think sometimes as Christians, we get off to the wrong foot, and we confuse who the enemy is. And Paul even acknowledges, in Ephesians chapter six, he says, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against spiritual forces of darkness. That our enemy is not people. Rather than fight against them, God calls us to fight for them. Just like Jesus came and fought for us.
This is on the backdrop of those thoughts that John now starts in verse 12, of first John chapter two, encouraging you as a believer in this world that you live in to be a light for Christ. And I love the way that he represents it. If you read in your Bible, if you have it open to that section of Scripture, most translations will take verse 12, to 14, and they’ll sort of do this indentation of this passage of scripture because they want us to recognize that as John’s writing this letter, he does something a little unique in verse 12, to 14 than the rest of the sections of scripture. And verse 12, to 14 and most translations that will indent this section, because John in this portion is about to write a poem.
So you think in all the adversity we’re about to experience, John here gets poetic and I think the reason he gets poetic is he wants to be understood in his loving desire for your life and what he wants. And the reason we know this is poetic, you might read through that real quick, we’re going to read it just a second and say, “Hey, this is not poetry does not rhyme John is not a very good poet.” Well, in John’s day, poetry was not written to rhyme, or at least in Hebrew understanding, it wasn’t written to rhyme. Hebrews wrote in what’s called parallelism, where they would write one line, and they would write another line that reinforced the first line. And you can see this in John’s writing, because he talks about children, he talks about fathers, he talks about young men. And then again, he talks about children, he talks about fathers, he talks about young men.
You see this parallelism and his story, but he says this, “I’m writing to you little children” … That phrases more like, “Listen here, I’m driving home a point.” “I’m writing to you little children because your sins are forgiven for his namesake.” Remember, last week, we talked about what it means to be a disciple, to be a follower of Jesus, and what that looks like in our lives. That it’s a heart, head and hands that God cares about your belief and your behavior driven by your love for him. And your love for God should be emulated through how you believe and how you behave. That’s a disciple of Christ, your orthodoxy, orthoproxy.
And here he’s writing in the same stories about to share with us. Look, this is how you live then as a disciple of Jesus, that what drives being a disciple truly is your identity. You will be a disciple of something in life. You will love something in this world and what you love will emulate what you believe and how you behave. And it’s when you begin to understand your identity in Jesus, that you grow in your love for God and begin to mimic that relationship for what you were called to in Christ. And so he writes here to little children because your sins are forgiven, and for his name’s sake. This idea of name is just not like Jesus’s name have some sort of voodoo magic, but in Jesus’s day, name represents identity. His name Jesus Christ is not just a name as mom’s like, “You know what? He looks like a Jesus, let’s call him Jesus.”
His name is a title and an identity as much as just as is person. Jesus is the saving Messiah, Yeshuah, salvation, Christ, the Anointed One of the Messiah. It’s a title representing everything that encompasses who He is. So when it talks about for His namesake, it says, glory being made known in our lives. And so we have this identity in His glory that our sins are forgiven. So it says little children because your sins are forgiven for his namesake. I’m writing to you father’s because you know him who was from the beginning. This word, for know, is not just intellectual assent, meaning, we talked about being a disciple, we said this last week. It’s not about just information. Just because you’re good at Bible trivia doesn’t mean you’re a true follower of Jesus. It’s about taking what God says that is truth and applying it to our lives, and allowing it to transform us.
And so this word know isn’t just intellectual knowing, it’s relational, knowing, it’s relationship with God. Says, because you know him who was from the beginning, I’m writing to young men, because you have overcome the evil one. And then he begins to repeat it. “I’m writing to children because you know the Father, I’m writing to you fathers because you know him who is from the beginning. I’m writing to you, young men, because you are strong, the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
Here you see in this story that while John is getting ready to talk about darkness, he wants to remind you of your position in Christ, because you are light capable of piercing the darkness with the power of Jesus represented in you. Is why even though the world may be dark around us, even though the world may suppress God’s people, that we still walk in victory, because we are conquerors in Christ. It’s why I don’t own a bunker behind my house. Jesus calls us into this world to be difference makers for His glory. And he spurring on His church in these moments for that purpose. I’m not against bunkers by the way, if you’ve got one and something bad happens, please call.
But when you look at this illustration, Paul is using, you see as he’s talking about children and young men, fathers. The story of scripture is very family focused, community focused, this letter is community focused. Part of the beauty of the early church is they didn’t see themselves quite like an organization. I think anything healthy needs to have some organization to it without organization, there’s chaos. Anything that’s life giving life possessing has to have organization, or it’ll be anarchy and just fall apart. Every organism has to have organization to survive. But we saw it as something deeper than just an organization. It’s a family. In fact, the early church was made up of a group of families. When Paul called the church to look for leaders within the church, he said, look for healthy families, families that are walking in light of who Christ is.
So Paul, on this story and writing to the early church, he’s focusing on the idea of the health of the spiritual family. Some people look at this poem and they debate, “Why does Paul primarily write the section of scripture to men?” Is it because he’s chauvinistic? And why aren’t women included? It’s a within the context of this when you talk about little children, I think it’s not exclusive to just men, it’s really male, female in this. But after he talks about little children, he then only mentions the men. Why does he only mention the men? Well, if you look at the story, it’s written poetically, this section of scripture. So it could be mentioning men in a patriarchal society, this is predominantly a patriarchal society. It could be mentioning men poetically, really as an illustration and referencing to everyone.
And in fact, if you turn to second John, and read the beginning of second John, you’ll see throughout this story that John rather than mentioning men, he actually refers to the church as a lady. And he uses the illustration of women in the book of second John but in first John, he’s referencing men. So it could be poetically that John is using this in a patriarchal article society to talk to men as an illustration of all people as an example. Or it could be that he’s just referencing men for a particular reason, because maybe in the society, men needed courage. Maybe he’s looking at what’s happening in the place of the church. And he’s saying, look, where guys are right now in relationship to the church some men needing courage to just walk where they are in Christ for what God has called us to do. Not be just passive, but to see their place and what God desires for them to do for His kingdom and glory in this world.
If you pick up commentaries, you read on that they speculate no one really knows the answer. And I don’t feel like I need to solve it. I’ll just say let’s do both. Let’s walk in both. But let’s walk in this as if John is just talking to the men for a particular reason. And let’s walk in the idea that maybe this relates to everyone and make the application for us. When you think in terms of needing to encourage men and you look at the first century church, the first century church was a grassroots movement, that really encouraged the slaves, the lower classes society. And for one of the first times in history, it’s giving women identity, worth value, meaning, not just this property to be possessed, but it’s showing the identity. And because it’s showing the identity of women before the Lord, it’s seeing women come to know Christ, it seeing slaves, lower class society, come to know Christ. And maybe as John’s looking out in the church, he saying, “You know what? We’re lacking men.”
I think about our culture today, I don’t think it’s any different. Who tends to be a part of a church community more, men or women? Maybe not here, but women. Who tends to be more of the spiritual leader in the home, men or women? Women. I think maybe in this passage of scripture, John’s recognizing the need to continue to encourage men. Maybe he’s thinking about this for a moment, and he’s recognizing maybe women have more fortitude than the dudes because at the end of the day, women care more about the success of their family than their husbands.
And guys, if you’re here this morning, I’m not saying that, to beat us over the head rather, I want to say this man, if you are here, with your family, as an individual wanting to grow in God, like more than anything we don’t need to feel the guilt of this, we need to be encouraged in this to recognize what God desires for us to do. So this is to applaud you to spur you to, to just say, keep being who God has called you to be. That what we want to hand family. Is not a future of lacking clarity and who God has called them to be and why God has created them in this world, but to have an understanding of their identity and running with Him. We don’t measure our worth as men simply by providing earthly possessions for our family, with no godly identity.
God wants to work in you. And as God works in you he wants to work through you. This world has plenty of young girls looking to fill a void in their life, in the arms of another man because they lack love and grace from their own father. This world has plenty of young men who have no idea the reason for which they exist because of that never mature. You know, the difference between a boy and a man, a boy needs you to take care of him. A man takes responsibility. A boy is cared for by others, a man cares for others. We learned this a few years on the men’s retreat. Real men, reject passivity, expect God’s greater reward, accept responsibility, lead courageously.
I think John is using the section of scripture to encourage us to say, guys let God shape your heart, so you can be used by God to help others find their heart shaped in Him. Dads you are the pastor in your home, and your influence isn’t to be underestimated.
So we think in just terms of mass masculinity, I think, encouraging the men here, but maybe because it’s written poetically, it could be the identity of just using men as an illustration for the greater picture of the church. In fact, children really encompasses all of us. All of us are that belong to Christ, the Bible tells us John 1:12, as many as received Him, to them became the children of God. I think one of the best things to really understand this passage is seen in the last section of verse 14. If you think about how the story goes, starts with children, and it goes to fathers and it goes to young men, children, fathers, young men. And when you look how the story is written, it says something that children sort of repeats the same idea when it talks to children again. Says something to father’s repeats the exact same idea to father’s again, when it mentions fathers. And then it talks to young men. And when it talks to young men at the very end for the second time, it adds a larger portion to what he’s trying to express to young men.
If you were to write a poem, it would make the most sense to say, okay, children, young men, fathers, children, young men, father’s, but rather than do that, what John does, in the story is he says children and older men, and then he says young men. He doesn’t follow the age of progression here. I think he wants us to highlight the understanding of exactly what he’s saying to young men, because this is the final thought he wants us to carry into the battle which we face in this world, as we live as lights for Christ.
So look at this, last half of verse 14, I write to you young men because you are strong. Church in the midst of darkness, you’re not weak, you’re strong, and the Word of God abides in you. And you have overcome the evil and look, the victory has already been won. We understand what John is saying here. I think the key to this passage isn’t the idea of a bible. Jesus in John 15, last moments with his disciples in the upper room before his crucifixion, he talks to the disciples in verse five, he says, He who abides in Me, bear much fruit. For apart for me, you can do nothing. And John is saying now to us look in this world to yourself thinking all the pressures on you to try to make a difference, not connected to Christ, like it’s not going to make a difference.
But in Jesus, you’re already strong you’ve already overcome, you don’t just cut off the branch that is you and stick it in the sand and expect it to grow. Your health, your vitality, your strength and everything in this world that’s going to make a difference is how you’re connected to Jesus in relationship to him.
What kind of difference do you want to make. If you want to build a squash takes three months in a garden. You want to build an oak tree, it takes 30 years.
All I’m saying is, when it comes to making a difference in this world, spending time connected to Jesus cannot be underestimated in the strength that it gives you to be a light for him in this world. I remember when I was in second grade, my parents gave me one of the greatest gifts, a Nintendo, came with the Power Pad and the gun for duck hunting and your little AB controller back when controllers had all the buttons that it needed. And I remember I got this controller and they gave me this magazine to Nintendo that unlocked all the secrets to Mario.
And I got this portion that told me all that I needed to defeat Mario was to get to level three one. If you guys know level three one from your glory days of Mario playing, level three one was the place that you could pin down the turtle and jump on its head repeatedly until you got a one up, and new life, a new life, a new life until you got infinite lives. And then because you had infinite lives it was just a matter of time before you stormed Bowser’s castle and rescue your princess.
When I figured out the secret I remember second grade my mom let me stay up till two in the morning on a school night because I finally got all these men, and then I could I can make it all the way to the end, and lived my dream as a seven-year old and defeat the Bowser in the castle. So I got so excited about this. I finally stormed down the gate. I got my first Princess. And I remember I woke up the next morning and I was ready to go to school but I come downstairs and I just have hives all over my body. I was so excited about the idea of beating Mario like the adrenaline pumping so much as a kid. My mom talks about some of the embarrassing stories your family shares. “Hey, remember when you played video games and used to get so excited you’d break out in hives?” Like, “Yes, mom that was once and stop telling people.”
But what I’m saying is this, look when you read verses 12 to 14, and you understand what John’s saying from children to fathers to young men is saying, Look in Jesus, you’ve stood on those steps, and you’ve got all the power that you need to defeat Bowser in his castle.
God hasn’t lied, and he is overcome. God doesn’t call you to walk into a spirit of fear. But to remember who you are in Jesus in the midst of this darkness because living in that light makes the difference.
Last week we talked about being a disciple, what you believe, how you behave. In this week now starting in verse 15, John’s going to talk again about being a disciple, but is going to remind us like, it’s not that you can just be a disciple of Jesus, but you can be a disciple of anything. And now he’s going to present to us while there’s the idea of being a disciple of Jesus, then there’s the idea of being a disciple in this world. And this is what this looks like. He’s going to start sharing the story in verse 15. And he’s going to start by beginning with how you behave. Verse 15, to 17. Then he’s going to continue verse 18, to verse 27, is how you believe.
And so you think in terms of being a disciple, God wants to use this passage and John’s using this passage, to awaken our minds to recognize the what God calls us to in this world is so important to make an impact because you have overcome. Do your Mario with all the lives. Jesus has given that to you. To conquer darkness, to make a difference, to rescue the princess, or in this case, the princess His church. To see God be a light in this world.
So in verse 15, it says, do not love the world, or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life is not from the Father, but it’s from the world, and the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides for ever. One of those verses Christians read verses like this, and they start to go insane. They think all the world’s darkness and I don’t want to love the world, the world is bad, and you want to hide from the world and become hermits and just say, forget it. I’m not getting that dirtiness on me. And so I love Jesus, forget the world, let’s just hunker together and just all get along in my little holy huddle, and then don’t live out what God has called us to.
Some people come to these people messages like that, and that’s how they read this section of scripture. And that is not what John is saying at all. There are Christians that just live their Christian lives with nothing but don’ts. Don’t smoke, drink, or chew or hang with girls that do. Don’t listen to that rock and roll don’t go to those movies. Don’t shake those hips. The next thing you know babies are coming. They just live in a bunch of don’ts.
Because life’s short. I don’t want to live my life about what I’m against. I want people know about what I’m for. Sure, sure, as you walk in the light, it naturally will recognize things of darkness. But I don’t live my life to avoid darkness. I live my life walk in the light. God is saying this passage is not a bunch of don’ts. What God wants us to recognize again, is where you are and the difference that you can make in this world. So what he’s saying in verse 15, he wants us to recognize there are two systems in this world.
There’s one of the world and there’s one that loves God, and you can’t love the things of the world and love God. He’s talking about systems here. There’s a way in which the world perceives things in the way in which God perceives things and we want to walk in light of him in the midst of the world that we live in. Not be of the world, but we will be in the world. And so in verse 16, he starts to explain what that looks like. What does that look like to be in the world but not of the world. In verse 16, for all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life is not from the Father, but it’s from the world. So what does that look like when you’re of the world?
Were saying this, you wake up every day and the way that you live your life is what’s just going to make me happy. I want to live for my glory, lust, greed, power, lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life, I’m going to wake up tomorrow, whatever pleases me, I’m going to use the things around me for that purpose, even if its people. Because it’s all about me. It’s all about my pleasure. And John is identifying verse 16, look to be of the world, that’s what life is about. You wake up tomorrow and you say, my desires, that’s what’s most important because I am king.
Then verse 17, there’s a problem with it. It doesn’t last. Honestly, if it matters, it only matters for just a moment. Christians will read passages like this and get weirded out. Start obsessing with paranoia, embracing the world system, it’s all bad. Just go away, make a bunch of don’ts and let’s just hide. But rather, what God desires for us to do in the midst of this world is to redeem the culture in which we live in. So being wise about this is important. Because we think in terms of evil, sometimes we create this character in our mind that that evil is like horns, and red and pitchforks, and it’s got the lizard tongue. That’s evil. But evil doesn’t usually present itself to us that way, like evil doesn’t run around yelling to you, “I’m evil. Hi?” that’s not what evil does. Evil desires to lure you to sleep. In fact, here’s where it’s deceiving is that evil can even look good. Evil just doesn’t want God.
Like people who live in the system in the world, they can do a lot of good things, but never for God’s word. And if God created all of creation for His glory, and we rip that away from in the question is, is that really good? So evil doesn’t just come screaming at you that I’m evil, but rather what evil does is it wants to numb our minds. We walk in this world, and one of the things that happens to us we start just doing things that the world naturally does, like why do you do that? I don’t know, everyone else is doing it. Like why do you numb your mind on the couch for two hours a day? I don’t know everyone else does it. And so before you start embracing and mimicking things in your life that you’re like, “I don’t even know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m just doing because everyone else around me does it.”
John, say, look, there’s two systems in this world, you live for the world’s glory, or God’s glory. And the world wants you to mimic its behavior, and it will model that for you. And there’s a way of recognizing and then there’s God has called me to live in this world for His glory, and I want to mimic his behavior before this world around me because I love him and I want to live for that. And rather than just say, “Oh, the world is bad, run away and hide,” how do we redeem the culture and take the things of this world because ultimately, it really belongs to God, the things that God created this world, they’re not good or bad, they’re neutral. God wants him for his glory. But it’s what you do with them. The term is if you use it for His glory. And so God has called his church to go into this world and redeem the things in this world for His glory.
Let me give you an example in case it’s too pie in the sky. Television, television is a big entertainment. TV is not a bad thing. But it’s what you do with it determines if it’s for God’s glory or not. I listened to a guy once say, “I don’t let my kids watch TV for the same reason I don’t let them drink from the toilet bowl.” I have a TV, I watch TV, I own whatever the jazz network is, I like watching the Utah Jazz, I will have a TV forever as long as I can watch the jazz. I’m not saying TV is bad, but it’s what you do with it.
And do you justify the things that you watch simply by saying, “The culture does it? It’s got to be okay.” Like sometimes I’m shocked when I turn on TV, my TV will tell me the popular TV shows I’m like, “Are the first 15 choices, really just soft porn?” It seems like the popular TV shows today, that’s it all included in it. It’s like and how does the Christian community embrace this? What do we say about things like that? Like, the world does it.
Think about why we do what we do, and redeem it for His glory. I was even thinking this week. What are some of the things that I’ve heard over the last few days in Christian conversation that people said don’t worry, I’m not going to tell people what we’ve talked about. But yeah, it’s funny. One of the things I’ve listened to Christian say recently was the lottery. We keep having big lotteries. And Utah doesn’t have a lottery, so how are you got to drive to Wyoming. I’m not endorsing the lottery, I don’t want to change anyone’s conviction over the lottery. But I’ve heard people talking, if someone wins the lottery, they gave it to the church, I wouldn’t use that. That’s bad. Like people didn’t believe that the lottery was a good thing. That’s a bad thing.
And I just think, if someone won the lottery and give it to our church, just put this out there guys. I’m not turning that down. I mean, it could end up in the hands of a stripper in Vegas, or we could use it for God’s glory here. This is a no brainer for me. Like you may not agree with what the lottery is, whatever. But if someone could take that and just give it to use it for His glory, I’m thinking, you can read verses like that and say , “Bad, I don’t want anything to do with that.” But money itself is not bad. It’s what you do with it. And so if you win the lottery, let’s build churches in Utah, please. We have towns without churches, so if you ever have friends like, I won the lottery gave it to the church, church said that it was bad. I’m like, we will take it. We will take it and redeem it for God’s glory.
This is everything that exists like we even have a question recently over we had Easter. I love the way the early church does this, this will happen to me every year I know for the rest of my life. But Easter and Christmas come up and without doubt someone come to me and say like, bunnies are of the devil and then they’ll give me the backdrop. Like Easter was of the pagan whatever god of fertility and that’s why bunnies and chickens are there. And Christmas, Christmas trees are pagan idolatry. I’m like, “Man, man the world took bunnies and chickens and trees from us. Jesus made those things. I’m taking them back, baby.” So you know what happens? Like when Easter comes around, let’s put a sign on our bunny and say resurrection bunny. But I believe in eternity. Like, we’re going to see bunnies in heaven. They belong to God. God created animals for His glory. That doesn’t belong to the world, it belongs to us.
And so if I like bunnies, man on Easter, I’m going to have bunnies. I think the early church when I looked at holidays are like, “Pagan people worship on Easter. But this is about the resurrection. Let’s turn this for God’s glory.” The winter solstice people honor, false gods, winter solstice, let’s use this to honor Jesus. Maybe trees have pagan origins. I don’t know. But you know what we do? We take a tree, you put it in our home, tradition. I love centering things in tradition in my family. On the top of the tree, a star, an Angel. Why? Because we’re encapsulating the Christmas story for our family when Jesus died, or when Jesus came, excuse me, when Jesus came to the earth, the thing that appeared in the sky, a tree, an angel. We use it for our kids to tell them the Christmas story.
The only thing that has life, the only tree that has life in the winter, everything else is dormant, it’s the evergreen tree. It’s green. It’s beautiful. Just like Jesus, the midst of darkness brings life. You use these things to illustrate for your family, how to redeem the things in the culture for His glory. But like, I’m not trying to change your conviction over things. But what I want us to recognize is yes, the world does evil things with things that God has created. But God calls us as light in this world to make a difference. We are lulled to sleep by the things of this world by doing things just because the world does it. But rather God calls us to be different as light for Him in this world to look at the things around us, used by the world for the world system, the world’s glory and say, “Look, this belongs to Jesus, and I’m living for God’s glory and pointing everyone to Him.”
There’s different ways you can approach this passage of Scripture. You can run, hide, hunker, or you can say God loves people, God created these things. These things belong to Him. And I want people to understand how to use it in light of Him not just to be lulled to sleep, because evil doesn’t run around saying, “Look, I’m evil.” Rather what we do, we just start to be lulled to sleep.
And then we wake up and we say for my glory rather than His, lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life. What God wants us to do is live for His glory. Paul even said it like this first Corinthians 10:31 whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all for God’s glory. I love that. Paul’s in his own mind trying to think of illustrations, like I use random things like lottery or I don’t know what else I use, Easter Christmas TV, whatever.
But Paul’s like, “Look, everybody’s got to eat and drink.” And here’s the cool thing when God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, do you know before Adam and Eve even sinned, you know Adam needed food. And God told him that you didn’t have to get hungry later because the part of the fall, before man even sinned in the Garden of Eden, they already needed to eat because God told them don’t eat the tree of knowledge of good and evil, all the other trees you can eat from. From the very beginning you were created as a dependent creature, you needed to drink, you needed to eat. And you know what that was a reminder of, you needed God.
And so what Paul is saying in the story is, look, when we pray, like if you have a meal and you pray, don’t just pray because you’re just mindlessly praying because you were taught to pray, recognize rather in that moment, that God within you in your DNA, He created you in a way that you always needed sustenance for Him to make provision for your life. You were created to be dependent. And when you pray before you eat, you’re acknowledging the goodness that God provides.
So whatever you do, don’t mind numbingly just mimic the world. Figure out in your life, how you can redeem it for His glory, eat, drink, whatever you do, do all for His glory. Let me move on to the last section and be done.
I’m going to read this quickly, and then just hit a couple thoughts in here. But first John 2:18 to 25. He then goes from how we behave to what we believe in. He says this, children, it’s the last hour. As you’ve heard, the Antichrist is coming. So many Antichrist have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for they had not been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out that it might become plain that they are not of us. Let me just stop it there and say this. This is a sad verse, verse 19. I think this is probably one of the more painful verses of scripture because I found in ministry, the ones that cut the deepest, aren’t when the world dislikes you, you expect that. The wounds that cut the deepest are when friendships are forced apart, or wedged apart from the inside, the body of Christ.
Verse 19, I read that verse and just think of the pain that might be behind they went out from us, but they weren’t of us. And John refers, this is the last hour and the Antichrist. And again, this is where we could freak out. Last hour, what he’s saying is, look, we don’t need anything else. This is the last chapter that’s been written that Jesus is coming. Jesus has rescued us. That’s the last thing before Jesus returns. Bible tells us in second Peter 3:9, God is not willing any perish. But I’ll come to repentance that God is long suffering towards us. That God preached this message that we could proclaim the truth that sets people free. This is the last hour it’s like saying, This is the last chapter of the book. We’re not writing on any more Revelation, this is it live for His glory. So you see the sense of an urgency here.
It’s not to stress you out. But just to recognize where you are. Don’t be lulled by this. God has you in a place and you’ve already overcome. He’s told us, you’ve already over evil one. So it’s the last hour and there are Antichrist, what are Antichrist? Well, again, we think Pitchfork in hand, but when you talk in terms of anti-Christ, what he’s saying is teach us something contrary to Jesus.
There’s what Jesus says, and there’s what opposes Jesus. And Antichrist, don’t walk around just saying, “I’m the Antichrist.” Anti Christ, only have problem with things that are good. Antichrist just doesn’t want you to follow God.
And so he’s saying, Look that’s in this world, but verse 20, but you have been anointed by the Holy One, then you all have knowledge I write to you not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Verse 22, who is the liar? He who denies that Jesus is the Christ, this is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son, no one who denies the son has the father, whoever confesses the son has the father also, let what you heard from the beginning abide in you, if what you heard from the beginning abides in you then you to wall by in the son and the father. And this is the promise that he made to us eternal life. He saved us … Even goes on in verse 27. He takes this thought of abide and anointing and he combines it.
So the reality of the fact that there is an Antichrist, and this is the last hour, John wants us to walk in an identity and it has to do with the abiding and the anointing. What does that mean? When you look at the thought of anointing and scripture, anointing you’re using two ways in the Old Testament. A shepherd would anoint a sheep. He anointed it for protection. He would anoint the head of the sheep so that if bugs would jump on the sheep mites, fleas, like sometimes they would burrow in the sheep’s ear and kill the sheep. So he’d anoint the face of the sheep so that the bugs couldn’t grip hold the sheep’s face, and they would fall off it was to protect the sheep life.
But also in the Old Testament, they anointed, which I think this word anointing is used this way, they anointed their prophet, priests and kings. It was recognized that God’s had commissioned them that his spirit dwelt with him, for them to fulfill the calling that God had placed them for in this world, prophet, priest and King. When you get to the New Testament, God like a prophet calls you to proclaim His truth. God calls every believer a royal priest, meaning you belong to the king, and you are a priest representing people before God. So when we think about this term, in the Old Testament, this term anointing was a very special term for God’s people called on a special mission for His glory in this world, prophet, priest, and King.
And when you get to the New Testament, that same title used for those particular people, Jesus now uses for you, prophet, priest, king. In the midst of this darkness, you belong to Jesus on a mission for His glory. And the strength of that mission comes through your abiding, not savoring yourself from Christ, but rather, walking in line of who he is.
As Christians, we can get scared, we can feel defeated. We can talk like we’ve already lost, not walk in victory. We can act like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. The gospel really doesn’t call you to fight for it. The Gospel calls you to share it. Jesus can take care of himself. It’s like this gospel doesn’t need you to fight for it, it just needs you to let it out of the cage, and let God take care of the rest. Because if you live in a place where the population is 99%, Christian, or 1%, Christian, what you do for Jesus shouldn’t change.
Every day, you wake up and live for His glory. The world’s going to do its things regardless. But God calls us to live for Jesus. Last hour? Yes, it’s the last hour. Anti christ. Yes, there’s Antichrist. There’s many Antichrist, John said, but you are anointed. You’re called to abide. You are strong, as he says in verse 14. And you don’t surrender the things of God back to this world. John is encouraging us rather than to be lulled by the culture, and just embrace the culture simply because the culture does it, is not what God calls you to do.
God also doesn’t call you to hide from Him, rather what God calls you to do is to redeem, not fight against people, for people. To help on people understand why we do what we do, and how to use it for His glory. In your own life, figuring out how to honor God’s kingdom, in the world that you live in. If it’s worldly, the things that you do, if it’s for selfish pleasures, lose it. But if you can redeem it, redeem it. Whether you eat or whether you drink, or whatever you do, do it all for His glory.