A short study of 1 John 2:15-23
First John was written to warn us and to instruct us of false teachers. We are to discern truth from error.
1 John 2:15-16 The world spoken of here in verse 15 is a world that does not want to include God.To love this world is to be worldly. Loving the world means not having the Father’s love. Why? Because the focus is inward toward ourselves. We become selfish. What does the love of this world bring us? Temporal gains not doubt. But will we give up our souls for what is temporary? Will we enjoy the passing pleasures of sin and give up what God wants for our lives? What does love of the Father bring us? It brings Jesus, eternal life and knowledge of God. The Father knows our needs because He created us.When we go outside His will to meet these needs it becomes sin. This is where the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life come in.
Verse 2:17 This is the remedy for worldliness. Repent. Recognize this world and the things of it will pass away. Do God’s will.
Verse 2:18 The increase of false teachers is what describes the phrase “last hour.” It’s not a duration of time, It’s important to know what we believe and why we believe it. Discern the truth from error. How did John know Antichrist was coming? From Daniel 9:26. The “prince who is to come” is one title among over thirty given to the Antichrist.
Verse 2:19 There are two camps here: They (them) and us. The “they” camp, who are they? John tells us in chapters one ( verses 6, 8, 10)and two (verses 4, 9, 11). They left the church. The “us” camp. Who are the true members of the church? Those who have been cleansed of their sins by Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross. In this COVID 19 environment, we seem to be in two camps: Those who have returned to church and fellowship and those who have not returned. I think those who have not returned can be broken into two camps too. The “They” camp and the “Us” camp. “Us camp” These people are genuinely born-again, but they are fearful, doubting, angry, etc. Some are weak in the faith or have not matured much. What is our response? First pray for them. Help them to grow in faith and trust in the Lord. Remember we were young in the faith. We have struggle areas too. Another group of genuine believers are those who are caring for high risk family members. They are concerned for their health and do not want to carry the virus to them. Our response? Pray for them. Encourage them. We say God is cleansing His church, separating the wheat from the chaff. I don’t think these people are chaff. They are brothers and sisters who need our prayers and encouragement.
“Them camp” These people attended church services before COVID 19. Their hearts were elsewhere when they attended. They know Scripture verses but they have not applied them for themselves. They may not be saved. Our response? Pray for them.They need Jesus too.
Verse 2:20-21 Who is the Holy One? It is God. When Isaiah beheld the Lord, the angels cried out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3). To be holy is to be set apart. Anointing means to be set apart for a purpose or for a special reason (see 1 Samuel 16:13, John 9:6, ). God has anointed us 2 Corinth 1:21. We are given the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us.
What does it mean that “you know all things?” We have been given God’s word. We have fellowship with the Father and Jesus His Son who know all things. We know the essential truth that Jesus became a man to die for the sins of mankind. Unbelievers know this truth but do not accept it.
Verse 2:22, 23 If a person denies Jesus he is a liar. The most important question in our lives is, “Who is Jesus to me?” Denying Jesus is to deny the Father.
What are the lessons today?
1. We are living in the last hour. We have been living in it since John’s day.
2. It is important to know the truth, believe it and apply it to our lives. Learn to discern truth from error.
3. There are true believers who have not returned to fellowship for a variety of reasons. They are not chaff and we shouldn’t treat them as unbelievers.
4. Pray for our church leaders, our brothers and sisters in Christ, for our government leaders, for discernment on how we should respond.
5. Remember Jesus is the central issue here and has always been central. They hated Him before they hated us. We represent the King of kings and the Lord of lords.