Abide in the Son- 1 John 2:18-27
(Bring up a piece of metal or some non-piece of sequoia) Look at this piece of Sequioa fruit. Isn’t it marvelous!? Here, pass it around. Look at it. Study it. See if it is soft or hard. What does it smell like? Why are you laughing? Doesn’t this look like tree fruit? Don’t you trust me? I am almost done with getting a master’s degree? Don’t you think I understand dendrology and botany? –the study of trees and plant life?
Well, you are correct in doubting that this was a piece of sequoia fruit. What was it about this rock that made you doubt that it was fruit? Well, coconuts are hard and heavy, bananas and many fruits are shaped funny. So, you had to know what the fruit of a sequoia tree looks like in order to know what an imposter fruit looks like. Or, you know that sequoia trees are an evergreen tree which produces more of a cone—because evergreen trees are coniferous.
Now, aren’t you wondering what sequoia cones have to do with the Bible? Turn to 1 John 2:18.
Does this passage seem a little scary or confusing to you? Anti-Christs, talk of the last hour, anointings, Messiahs, and eternal life? Big words with some confusing talk. Kind of like if I were to start talking about the sequoia sempervirens or gigangeum because not only am I a botanist but I am a destronomist. Don’t let big words scare you. I am about to break them down.
John starts off by warning that in the last hour, or as some call it the end times, which the Bible explains to us in the book of Hebrews would be the time after Jesus ascended into heaven and before he comes back—that during this time that there would be these people called the antichrists. When you split this in half it is made of two words—anti, which means against or opposing, and Christ, which means the promised one, or the one who would deliver. –If you want me to explain some of these words more afterwards, just ask. So an antichrist is someone who is opposed to the promised one who would deliver people. As we read in the four Gospels, and also in this passage, Jesus is the Messiah.
Around two thousand years have passed since this warning was given by John about the antichrists. John warns that there will be people who come around and teach a different message about Jesus, and that message stands true today just like those sequoia trees are still standing. So, we need to be careful and on guard about what teachings we listen to about Jesus.
Over the past two thousand years many different people have lied about Jesus. Some have said that Jesus is not God, or that Jesus was not human. Some have said that Jesus did not raise from the dead. Some would say that Jesus did not pay the penalty for sin on the cross. Some would say that it was foolish that Jesus died on the cross. Others just say the bible cannot be trusted in what is says about Jesus, God, and salvation.
I cannot cover all that is falsely said about Jesus. That would take a lot of time.
Jesus is only God
Jesus is only man
Jesus did not raise from the dead
Jesus’ work was not full and complete
Jesus’ love has to be earned….
What makes it so dangerous to believe the wrong thing? Beliefs influence what we think, and what we think causes us to act a certain way. So if you follow that line, what you believe will cause a specific action. If you believe the right thing, it is good, but if you believe a lie, it can cause great harm. Like if I told you that you can jump off of the top of one of the giant sequoia trees and it won’t hurt you when you hit the ground. That is a harmful belief.
Or let me illustrate it this way. I am married to Brittany. Nate and Lindsay were worried about me for many years. They weren’t sure I would ever get married. But, now I am. But imagine this. What if I believed that Brittany –who is incredibly sweet, sensitive, fun, and encouraging, was actually mean, angry, didn’t love me, wanted to hurt me, and wanted spend all of our money. Do you think we would have a good marriage? Do you think I would treat her as well as I should? Do you think she would be hurt by me believing those things about her?
Read 1 John 2:24-25
Abiding in Christ is to be in a relationship with him: An honest relationship where you are confessing your sins to him, praying to him, sharing your pains with him, reading about him in the Bible, talking about him with others, going to church and learning about him. In doing this you will have the most blessed thing ever—a relationship with God himself. This relationship can never be broken, and will last forever. And eternal life is the unbroken relationship with God which will never end.
But believing the wrong thing about Jesus will hurt that relationship. You will not fully trust him in situations where he is asking you to trust him. You won’t act like him, or love like him, because you aren’t believing he will empower you to do so. And, maybe you won’t think that Jesus is worth a fully surrendered life if you believe a lie about him. These are all very sad and painful things.
But this is why you must compare everything you learn about Jesus to what the Bible says, and ask him in prayer, “is this true?” The Holy Spirit, which is the anointing mentioned in this passage will either make you nervous and say “nope,” or “this is true.” But it is only in abiding in Jesus Christ that this truth is clear and understandable to you.
Believing the wrong thing about Jesus is dangerous. Be careful who you allow to shape your view of Jesus. Let’s pray