First John 2:18-28
"Abide In The Son"

Authored by Rev. Shigeru Matsubara, Assistant Pastor, Osaka Nozomi Church, Osaka, Japan

1.  "In order for you to have our fellowship, that is, fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ," John wrote this epistle (1:3).  And he urges us (1:7) to "walk in the light in order for us to have fellowship with one another."  For that reason he states, "If we admit our sin and confess our sin, because God is true and a righteous being, he will forgive our sin and cleanse us from every unrighteousness," (1:9).

2.  "While a person says, 'I know God,' the person who does not keep God's commandments is a liar and the truth is not in that person," (2:4).  By saying that, [John] is calling out to us to be alert for the person who speaks deception.  "The person himself who says I am abiding in God must walk just as Christ walked," (2:6).

3.  John showed "loving the brethren" as a new command.  (2:7-11).  In contrast, he gave the order, "Do not love the world or the things in the world," (2:15).  Of course the world is a reference to those persons who walk with their backs toward God.

4.  "The world and the things in the world are passing away.  But, the person who practices the will of God will continue to live on for ever," (2:17).  He gives a word of comfort, saying that we will be able to abide in fellowship with the Father and the Son since we are in Christ for ever.  We learned about this during previous sermons.

5.  In chapter two and verse twelve it says "O sons," and in verse eighteen which we are studying today it says "O children."  He uses the word "o young children" in verse eighteen and begins his writing by calling out to them with affection as directed to disciples he himself has nurtured and to his children concerning the faith.

6.  Verse eighteen, "Now many antichrists have appeared.  Because of this we see the time of the end is coming."  The word "time" which is translated as "time of the end" that was used here is more accurately translated "hour."  This "hour of the end" expresses "the hour" from the time of the fulfillment of the promise of God in the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ until the hour of the completion of salvation, judgment, and eternal fellowship at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ now in heaven.

7.  In that case, what is "the antichrist" all about?  In chapter two and verse twenty-two he clearly says, "Who is a deceiver, is it not he who denies that Jesus is the messiah?  Whoever does not recognize the Father and the Son, this very person, is an antichrist."  As our Lord Jesus first said, [he was] God the only son who was with the Father.  Nevertheless, people reject that he took on flesh and that Jesus of Nazareth, who dwelled among us, was the christ.  People deny that he was with the Father and the eternal life that appeared to us.  People deny that God the word became a human being and accomplished the salvation of sinners.  This is the antichrist.

8.  In the wisdom of the flesh you can not believe that Jesus is the christ.  As he is shown by the Holy Spirit we are first able to confess that Jesus is the christ.  Paul says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit," (First Corinthians 12:3).

9.  Verse nineteen, "The antichrists left from among us, but they were not originally our partners."

10.  First person plural "we, us, our" means a flock of Christians (a church).  It should come as no surprise that "the antichrists" in the epistle existed in a pagan unbelieving world, assuming they did rise up.  (I compare Japan of World War II).  But, that's not all, "they left from within our church."

11.  "The antichrists rose up within the church."  In addition, they were "people attempting to lead the flock of Christians (a church) astray," (2:26).

12.  A Quote From Mr. Gohji Tanaka:

Even in this time period in which we live today, in the churches many antichrists have appeared.  In the December 1973 edition of Fukuin To Sekai [The Gospel And The World], there was a special edition with a subtitle "Who Is Jesus?"  At the beginning of it was the claim, "We must not imprison Jesus in the church.  We are dismantling the idol of Jesus who has been converted into hard and fast doctrine and are rebuilding an image of Jesus free in appearance."  Rejecting a Jesus who had been dogmatized and in combination with the demands of the times they were looking for both a liberal Jesus within history and a human one.  Yet, such is an antichrist coming out of today's churches in Japan.  Paul warned them and us today as well to "Therefore, wake up."

Presently, among those professing to be pastors, there are persons stating publicly that "Jesus is not the christ."

13.  Verse twenty, "However, since you have been anointed by the Holy One, you all know the truth."  Because we were given the Holy Spirit by the Holy One we were given the power to discern and ascertain whether the spirit in which false prophets speak is a spirit that came from God.  "All the spirits which publicly declare that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh has come from come.  All the spirits which do not publicly declare Jesus have not come from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist," (4:2).

14.  Verse twenty-three, "Whoever does not recognize the Son is not joined to the Father.  The person who publicly declares the Son is also joined to the Father."

15.  Jesus said to his disciples, "The Holy Spirit which my Father has sent in my name will inform you of all things and will completely bring to your remembrance what I have said," (John 14:26).

What You Heard From The Beginning

16.  Verse twenty-four, "Keep* in your heart what you heard from the beginning.  If what you heard from the beginning is always in you (if it stays in you) you will always be in the Son and in the Father (you will always abide in)."

17.  "What you heard from the beginning" is equivalent to chapter one and verse one "that which was from the beginning, that which we have heard" and "what we have seen often and touched with our hands," which is in other words, the word of life.  It means "the gospel of the son of God Jesus Christ," (Mark 1:1).   "Jesus went to Galilee, proclaimed the gospel of God, and said 'The time is full, the kingdom of God has come near.  Repent and believe the gospel,'" (Mark 1:14-15).  [The text says,] "The gospel of the kingdom of God" (Luke 4:43).  "The gospel of Christ," (Romans 15:19, Second Corinthians 2:12, etc.), means "the good news" which Jesus Christ had proclaimed.  "The good news" which Jesus Christ proclaimed was actually about himself and that he himself Jesus Christ was the son of God."  He, Jesus Christ, was proclaimed as the good news.  Verse twenty-four has, "You [all], please keep up in your hearts what you heard from the beginning," but also, it means "keep in your hearts the fact that Jesus himself is the gospel promised of God."  It means "Stand true and preserve the gospel we passed on to you."  "In so doing, you will always be in the Son and the Father," (2:24).  And, "This very thing, the promise the Son promised us, is eternal life," (2:25).

18.  Our being in fellowship with the Son and the Father is the eternal life which has been promised to us.  Let's read again from verse three of the first chapter.  "The reason we are passing on to you what we have seen and heard is so that you too will have fellowship with us.  Our fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ."

19.  "This matter of our having fellowship with the Son and the Father is one and the same with having eternal life," (Gohji Tanaka).

20.  While we study these verses everyone will surely be reminded of his words that are written in chapter fifteen of The Gospel Of John, "I am the true vine and you are the branches to it.  If a person is joined to me and I am also joined to that person, he or she will abundantly bring forth fruit; for, apart from me you cannot do anything."  "Be joined to me," (four).  The words "to be joined or connected" or "to abide, remain, stay, keep in" or "to dwell, live in" are the same words "to stand true" and "to preserve, keep, observe."  The place where we are to firmly remain unmoved is in Jesus the true vine.

The Anointing From The Son

21.  Verse twenty-seven, "But, because there is always an anointing in you from the son you do not need to receive teaching from any one.  This anointing will teach you regarding all areas.  It is the truth and not deception.  Thus, abide in the son according to how you were taught by it."

22.  John states in reference to the teaching and misleading of the antichrist that "There is an anointing (the Holy Spirit) in you from the son."  In chapter two and verse twenty it says, "However, since you have been anointed by the Holy One, you all know the truth."  This unction gives us the power to recognize and reject the teaching of those who would lead us astray.  The Holy Spirit is continuing to teach us of Jesus Christ as our good news who is "what we have heard from the beginning," that is, the truth.  We have to keep holding firm the truth of the gospel taught us by this unction, that is, the Holy Spirit.

23.  Verse twenty-eight, "Well, o sons, always abide in the Son."  John repeatedly urges us to "abide in Christ."  The Lord Jesus said,  if we remain in the Son we will bring forth much fruit," (John 15:5).  That means "to walk in the light in a relationship with Christ."

24.  Furthermore, verse twenty-eight states, "In so doing, when the Son appears, you will not have any thing to be ashamed of in his presence."

25.  Ten virgins were invited to a wedding reception.  Among these virgins five were not admitted into the reception dinner.  That's because these ladies did not stock up on lamp oil.  Then, as the arrival of the bridegroom was delayed, the ladies had to run off to buy oil at that crucial moment.  When they got back, the gate was shut tight.  Looking in from the outside, how they only regretted [their lack of preparation]!  The five young virgins committed an error which the other five had not.  In paying attention to their makeup and clothing they had completely forgotten to prepare extra oil in case the ceremony had not begun "on schedule."

26.  Regard this culture in which Jesus told this parable as an old traditional culture, in the Orient they didn't go by the clock, but would begin functions like a wedding ceremony by waiting for the arrival of the higher ups or noble visitors.  The foolishness of the five virgins was in that they thought of the time of the arrival of the groom as if it was to be set by their own minds.  These virgins thought the groom was to come right away.  But, for some reason the groom did not come at the time they had assumed he would.

27.  If we think about it, the foolishness of these virgins is the foolishness of both many past and modern Christians who believe Christ is coming at some precise hour or in a specific time period and also neglect to get ready sufficiently for the things God has prepared for them.

28.  It is right to wait in hope for the second coming of Christ.  But, making calculations on one's own of the time of the second coming of Christ, and on top of that, making all kinds of judgment calls based on those calculations is way wrong.  We ought to act as if the Lord is coming today, but, we ought to plan ahead as if he will not be here for another one thousand years.  There is a tension in this [contrastive mentality].  But, that is truly what Jesus said.

29.  John taught in chapter one and from verse five to seven, "walk in the light in fellowship with Christ," "in order not to be ashamed before him at his second coming, but have confidence in the hour Christ appears."

30.  The watchword for a Christian is this: "Maranatha," (First Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20).  As we confess in The Apostles' Creed "From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead," everyone must stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at his second coming when he comes as judge.

31.  If we continue to remain in Christ, we will be able to stand before him "having confidence" in that hour.  The best way for us to get ready for his second coming is "to abide in Christ" daily.

32.  We can listen to the following words of John in chapter three and verse twenty-four where he said, "The person who keeps God's commandments is always abiding in God and God is also abiding in that person."

33.  "The commandments of God are to believe in the name of the son of God Jesus Christ and to love one another as he has ordered us to," (3:23).

End Note:

*All words in bold or parentheses are the same New Testament Greek word, menein.  See also paragraph twenty.

 
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