Walking in the Light: Rejecting Antichrists

Scripture: 1 John 2:18-28, 1 John 4:1-6, 2 John 1:9
Date: 08/08/2009 
Lesson: 6
John warns that the antichrist will come in the future, but that there are many antichrists already at work in his day.
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Good morning, and Happy Sabbath to those of you who are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world. We welcome you to another "central study hour," coming to you from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in Sacramento, California. We welcome you and we're so glad that you are tuning in like you do every week and you're going to sing your favorite song with us, I know, because so many of you have written in. And if it is your week, hey, pull out your hymnals, it might be. Turn in your hymnals to our first request, 507, "moment by moment," , and this is a request from shela in Canada, ingrid in columbia, Daniel in italy, petura and Danielle in jamaica, noemi in North Carolina, Joseph in netherlands, chrisceda in New York, victoria, elizabeth and tomi in nigeria, luann in New York, crestie in the Philippines, Paul in south africa, crestie in thailand and Phillip in Washington.

We're going to sing your favorite song, 507, "moment by moment." And we'll do the first, second and fourth verse, 507. [Music] Thank you so much for sending in that request, and I know there's many of you who love singing the hymns with us each and every Sabbath. And we know because you write in and so we're glad that you enjoy that part of our program. And if you have a favorite and you want to sing that with us, go to our website at saccentral.org. Click on the "contact us" link and send in your favorite request.

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And I pray you'll be with them in a special way as well as we open up Your Word and we study together. We thank you so much for Pastor Doug Batchelor and his ministry here at central church and, of course, around the world. He touches so many lives, and I pray that you will bless him because he is doing a work for you and it is changing people's lives and we thank you for that. I pray that you'll be with him as he brings us our lesson study this morning in Jesus' Name. Amen.

At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much, debbie and jessica, cheri, florentine, for the music, appreciate that. Good to see each of you here at Sacramento central. And I see some visitors every week, and I want to welcome our friends who are studying from all over the place. And we have a free offer I want to always mention, and it's called "the Holy Spirit, the need.

" That's offer number 723, "Holy Spirit, the need." And this is a sermon book written by yours truly. We'll send that to you for free if you ask. It will help, I think, enhance your study of the lesson we're dealing with. In just a moment, we'll get to the lesson. A couple of things I want to mention.

This is the year of evangelism and we've, from time to time, at the beginning of our classes, talked about some things you can do in personal evangelism, ways that you could strengthen your skills. You know, there's a program for those who are maybe on the westside of the u.s., We'd like to mention. It's a Bible camp, a new program called "arme." And that's spelled a-r-m-e. That will be at so. Cal.

Camp meeting, the so. Cal. Campgrounds in central California. People can sign up and go and train in studying the Bible with other people. That's going to help with a lot of evangelistic meetings that'll begin in a few weeks.

And if you want to know more about that, there's a website. It's armeBiblecamp.com. I don't need to say w-w-w, do i? Most people know that now. ArmeBiblecamp.com, it doesn't matter if you're in florida, you can fly. It's going to be a little closer for those who are on the west coast, just wanted to mention that to you.

We're studying our study guide dealing with the epistles of John, "loved and loving," John's epistles. And it's dealing with lesson number six in our study guide, "walking in the light, rejecting antiChrists." Sounds like it has promise, doesn't it? The sermon--I'm sorry, the memory verse for our lesson today is 1 John 2:23. And this comes from the new king James version. Please say that with me, John 2:23, and of course, this whole lesson is dealing with 1, 2, 3 John. You ready? "Whoever denies The Son does not have The Father either; he who acknowledges The Son has The Father also.

" And so, it's giving us some criteria through this lesson on how to discriminate between true and false prophets and in particular, those who are antiChrists. Now, I think most of us know the 1, 2, 3 John were written by the apostle John. That's virtually undisputed by the church fathers, even though Paul identifies himself in his books as does Peter and others. John did not. He was probably among the most selfless of the apostles.

In the Gospel of John, he simply refers to himself as "the one who Jesus loved." He always was very self-effacing in his Gospel, so it shouldn't surprise he does not mention himself. John often taught and wrote in symbols. He writes from one church to another church and he refers to the church as "the elect lady." And he refers to himself as "the one whom Jesus loved." He was very sort of enigmatic in the way that he wrote. But when you compare the language of the Gospel of John with these letters of John, there's really no question who the author is. When you think of antiChrist, what book of the Bible do you typically think of? Revelation.

But the word "antiChrist" does not appear anywhere in Revelation. The only place--matter of fact, it doesn't appear in the Gospels of John. You don't find it in the book of Daniel, even though Daniel talks about the antiChrist. You find the antiChrist mentioned in 1 and 2 John. It's the only place you find it mentioned.

So, it's very important for us to understand the other places where antiChrist appears, even though he's not named. Now, don't let it bother you that a teaching maybe is not named in a book, it can still be in the book. You don't find the word "Bible" in the Bible, but you still believe in the Bible, right? You don't find the word "trinity" in the Bible, but you can find the triune nature of God, The Father, son and Holy Spirit all through the Bible. You don't find the word "millennium" in the Bible, but you do find that 1,000-year period in Revelation chapter 20. It's just another way of saying it.

So, you know, sometimes we have these terms. But you do find the word "antiChrist" in the Bible in these letters of John. Now, before we get to that, in the first section, it's dealing with a little bit of a challenge. It speaks about the last hour, and you can read in 1 John 2:18. I'll read this one for you, John 2:18, "little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antiChrist is coming.

" I'll get more to the antiChrist in a minute, but I want to talk about the last hour. "AntiChrist is coming, even now many antiChrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour." Now, we've got a problem here. John says, speaking about the antiChrist, he doesn't say, "it will be the last hour." He said, "it is the last hour." John probably--he died, it's believed by church fathers, about 63 years after Christ. I was reading this just this morning, and some of the ancient commentators, that he died immediately after he reached his 100th year is what they say. And you know, keep in mind, many of the early church fathers, their lives overlapped with John.

And so, their history's going to be pretty accurate. If you ask me to tell you what I know about John f. Kennedy, I can tell you something 'cause my life overlapped his life. You know what I'm saying? Even though it's, longer I live, the more ancient history those things become. I knew somebody when I was very young whose life overlapped Abraham lincoln.

Isn't that strange? You start thinking about that. See, of course, I was born '57 and that means you can know somebody in their 90s whose life overlapped lincoln's life. Well, these people whose life overlapped the life of John, you can trust those histories pretty well 'cause they talked to him. So, when he says, "this is the last hour," was John misinformed about when the second coming was happening? What "last hour" is he talking about? Now, I'm going to stir up your pure minds with that thought. Can the Bible be trusted? Is it precise? Somebody read for me Hebrews 1:1-2.

"God, who at various times and in various ways, spoke in time past to The Fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds." Alright, "in these last days," well, that was 2,000 years ago. Were those the last days? Well, it was to them. Something else that I want you to think about is when they say, "these last days," the word "last days" can also mean, "these most recent days." Like if I told you, "you know, in the last few days," that doesn't mean the last days of history, that means recently. So, it's saying, "in these recent days," okay? Let me give you another example. I'll read this one.

Acts 2:16-20, "but this is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel," Peter's preaching during pentecost, "and it will come to pass in the last days." Now, the Holy Spirit's been poured out. The former reign of the Holy Spirit is poured out there, pentecostal power. Peter is quoting Joel where Joel says it'll come to pass in the latter time or the last days, "that I'll pour out my spirit on all flesh." And he says, "these last days." He's referring to what happened ,000 years ago. Well, they were the last days. Keep in mind, Bible prophetic history is given to us in ages.

Let me give you another example. Peter 1:20, 1 Peter 1:20, it says, "he indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." Peter's talking about the first coming of Christ. It says he "was manifest in these last times." History's sort of divided into several ages. First of all, the history of the world seems to be divided into three epics. They're each 2,000 years for a total of 6,000 years.

We spend 1,000 years in heaven. During the millennium, we live and reign with Christ. First 2,000 years is the epic of the patriarchs, adam, Enoch, Noah, methuselah; these are God's messengers during that--there were no jews. They weren't circumcised. They were the called, the descendants of seth, the patriarchs that were faithful.

Then, about 2004 b.c., Abraham is born. Adam was created about b.c. If you use usher's chronology approximately. We don't know the exact date. The next 2,000 years, you've got the epic of Israel, the Hebrews.

And of course, we know the history of the jews. They were given the oracles of truth. That message of truth that was written by Moses was held by them. They weren't perfect, but they were his people, the epic of Israel. The epic of Israel was coming to an end about the time of Christ's ministry concluding.

About 3 1/2 years after Jesus when stephen was stoned, that 490-year prophecy ended, that was the last days for Israel. You got that? So, Peter knew that. They knew that the time for the jews was coming to an end. That's why Peter had that vision, the sheep coming down. They were just preaching to jews up until 34 a.

d. And God had to hammer them over the head and say, "look, don't call any man unclean that I've cleansed. The Gospel's to go to all the world. I don't mean the jews in all the world." See, when they first heard Jesus say, "the Gospel goes in all the world," you know what they thought that meant? The jews who were scattered everywhere. And you could see when they first went to a town, they started in the synagogues.

Finally, they had to say--that's when Paul said, "alright, seeing you judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the gentiles." And they all went, "ahh!" Because going to the gentiles? They're dogs, they're lost, they couldn't understand that. And so, finally they realized that there was an end to the Jewish age. The Gospel was now going beyond and you had your first Bible writer who was not a jew, Luke, the only one. And that was just amazing; a Greek wrote part of the Bible. I bet they struggled with whether or not to include that.

So, this was considered the last days, you see what I'm saying, for the Jewish nation. In another way, it was the last days when John said that, what was going on in the world politically about the time when John wrote his letter? Now, they're not exactly sure when John wrote 1, 2, 3 John. He didn't date them. Some date it before the destruction of Jerusalem, , 69 a.d. Some date his letters 86 as the latest date, which would've been after the destruction of Jerusalem.

So when he says, "it is the last hour," if John--either if it's just before or just after the destruction of Jerusalem, what do you think that meant to them? That Israel as a nation has been decimated, the great Jewish dispersion. The temple was destroyed. So, can you understand why John said, "even now it's the last hour"? But even more than that, the church history is divided into seven epics. Have you read Revelation chapter 2 and 3? It talks about the seven ages of the church. What is the first age of the church called? Somebody call it out.

Seven churches, what's the first church? Come on. You ought to all know that. That's Bible study 101. You ought to know. Even if you don't know all seven, you ought to know the first one.

It's the church of ephesus. And you ought to know that it reached from the time of Christ or the apostles to about a.d., Which is when this letter was written. So, Paul is the last of the apostles. Those who had seen Jesus face to face are all dying off. It is the last hour of the age of the apostles.

So, there's many ways you can look at what he's saying here when he said, "it is the last hour." I don't think John believed that it was the end of the world and Jesus was coming 'cause he also wrote Revelation and he puts it off into the future. He says, "the time is at hand for the beginning of this prophecy." When he wrote Revelation, he said, "the time is at hand." But then, it reaches ,000 years. And John is the one who wrote that. A lot of things still had to happen. So, I don't think John was confused about Jesus coming any day.

Alright, is that clear? So when he says, "the last hour," he's not setting a day for the Lord's coming within a few days. There were several epics that were ending at the time he wrote that. Some people think that--oh wait, I want to read something to you that I thought was a great quote. And this is from jamieson, fausset, brown Bible commentary. They've got some good nuggets in there, "each successive age of the church had in it some of the signs of the last time, which precede Christ's coming in order to keep the church in continual waiting for the Lord.

" So every age of the church, there's also been a sense of expectancy. Don't you think the Lord wants every age of the church to live with a sense of expectancy? Now, that doesn't mean that that we're supposed to continually be, you know, wondering if something's going to happen and then it never happens, kind of like the California budget. Will it ever be--you know, we're in the constant state of expectancy. Maybe they'll figure it out one of these days. We're not talking about that.

We're talking about since our lives are short and when you die, your next conscious thought is the coming of the Lord, right? We all should be living in a state of expectancy. But he is going to come in history. He'll come for you, I promise, and when it happens, it'll be soon. If you live to 100, what is that compared to eternity? It's a flash. It's a blink.

What is a 1,000 years compared to eternity? If a day with the Lord is as ,000 years--think about this too; in the great prophetic week of history, 6,000 years, ,000-year Sabbath, if Jesus comes 4 days, 4,000 years into earth's history and now you've entered the 5th 1,000th year of history--after Christ died, they were already in the 5th 1,000th year of history, right? Are you in the last days? Out of seven, five is the last, isn't it? And on God's scope of history, millennia, looking at things in thousands of years, millions of years and billions and zillions and gazillions of years, what is a thousand? So when they say, "the last days," don't be shook by that? You understand what I'm saying? Alright, now we're going to talk about the antiChrist. And we're quoting now John 2:22. I think I've given that to somebody. "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antiChrist who denies The Father and The Son." Alright, here you have another reference to the antiChrist. Here's a quick definition: "antiChrist, an opponent of the Messiah or the anointed," Christ, cristos, means the anointed or the Messiah.

The word "antiChrist" only occurs in 1 John 2:18, John 2:22, John 4:3, 2 John 1:7, but the idea of the antiChrist appears frequently in Scripture. Now, whoever is antiChrist is against Christ. That means they're for who? Well, you've got two great--in the Great Controversy, you've got these two great, prime characters that are battling it out here on the stage of earth's history and in your mind and heart. This is the Great Controversy. It's between Christ and satan.

Oh, you know, we're so excited at "Amazing Facts." After over 2 years of working on this Great Controversy project, it's called "the cosmic conflict." We finished it. This week, we burned the dvd and sent it off for duplication. We are so excited. But it deals with this titanic battle between Christ and satan, and that's what's going on. So behind those who receive the seal of God, you've got the Spirit of God, you've got Jesus.

Behind those who receive the Mark of the beast, you've got the antiChrist in the Spirit of who? So, the ultimate antiChrist is who? Who wanted to be Christ? The devil wanted to be Jesus. He wanted God's position. So, he is the Spirit of antiChrist that it speaks of here, right? You read about that in John 4:3, the Spirit of antiChrist. It's the opposite of the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of the devil. We all still together.

Does that make sense to everybody? Alright, but there are a number of places that antiChrist appears in the Bible all through history. For example, Christ's predictions of false Christs and false prophets you find in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, Luke 17. Would you say that they represent antiChrist, those false Christs and false prophets? You know, let me just insert something here. There are three prime views of Bible prophecy in the world today. You've got the preterist view, I'll explain this just in a moment, the historist view and the futurist view.

I'm talking about Bible prophecy from the time of Christ on. The preterist view means they think that the prophecies of Revelation are pre-fulfilled. They're all fulfilled by the end of Revelation, by the first age of the church, that nero was the antiChrist. And nero was antiChrist in many ways, but he is not the antiChrist of Bible prophecy. And they take all the prophecies of the Bible--in Daniel, they think that the antiChrist was antiochus epiphanes, and he was anti-God and anti-jew, but he was not the antiChrist.

And they relegate all these prophecies to the past. They say they're all fulfilled. And that is a very popular view among roman catholics because it's sort of a good diversionary tactic to say, "that's all in the past. It all happened before we ever came on the scene. It was all fulfilled.

" And so, that's one diversionary tactic. The futurist view takes the prophecies of Revelation and they say that from Revelation chapter 4 where the trumpet blows and John is caught up, that's all in the future. That's after the rapture. That's the futurist view. By the way, the futurist view of prophecy was written by a roman catholic jesuit named francisco ribera and helped by someone named alcazar, and it was basically a counter-reformation interpretation of prophecy.

It was manufactured to try to take the focus off of the catholic church. I'm just telling you what the--this is church history. This is not anything original with our particular church. As a matter of fact, let me read something here to you and I'll get back to that in just a minute and talk about the historist view. To understand antiChrist, you've got to understand these things.

The view of the reformation, the protestant reformation, was that antiChrist was the roman catholic church more principally with the office of the pope. Now, listen carefully. There may be some popes in heaven. There's going to be a lot of catholics in heaven. We're not talking about people here.

If you read, was it pope gregory the great? Pope gregory the great called the office of the pope "antiChrist." Now, that sounds kind of strange, doesn't it? When they started worshipping and exalting that office, he said, "something's wrong with what they're doing to this office." So luther, who was a roman catholic, he caught onto that. Now, let me just read some history to you. These are from some of the greatest scholars in the church. Martin luther, "the teaching of the supremacy of the pope shows forcefully that the pope is the very antiChrist who has exalted himself above and opposed himself against Christ because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which is nevertheless nothing, and he is neither ordained nor commanded by God." A matter of fact, as far as luther was concerned, it was a tenet, an article of faith, that the pope is antiChrist. That was one of the articles of their faith.

Albert barnes, the Christian protestant theologian, he identified the little horn of Daniel chapters 8 and 7 with antiChrist, the papacy. Adam clark, the methodist theologian, I'm quoting, "this image and representative of the beast is the pope." Is that hard to understand? He's talking about Revelation 13, "he is properly the idol of the church. He represents in himself the whole power of the beast and is the head of all authority, temporal as well as spiritual." John gill, baptist theologian commentator, "and his deadly wound was healed by setting," of course it's talking about Revelation 13, "by setting up of the ten kingdoms in it, the Kings of which gave up to him the beast to antiChrist, the pope of rome." That's what he believed. Matthew henry, the Bible commentator, his commentary is in e.g. White's library, "the pope-ish religion doth in effect set up a false Christ.

The pope comes in Christ's name as his vicar, but invades and usurps all his offices and so is a rival with him as such an enemy to him, a deceiver, an antiChrist." Now, see what the definition of antiChrist is when someone puts himself in the position of Christ as sort of a counterfeit. You know, one reason that you can't say that nero or caligula or some of those terrible roman emperors were antiChrist is because the antiChrist comes in the context of Christianity. This is back in the letters of John, speaking of antiChrist, John 2:19, "they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us." One of the characteristics of this great schism in the church is they started out together, ostensibly of the same but there was a separation. Alright, you read for me please acts 20:29-30 and Paul is speaking here. "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." Alright, so one definition of antiChrist is wolves that will arise from among us. It goes from being that spotless woman that you see in Revelation chapter 12 clothed with light to a scarlet harlot you find in Revelation chapter 17 clothed in purple and scarlet and pearls and gold. Started out as the bride of Christ, but then commits adultery, comes out from us. Wolves, how did Jesus warn us about wolves? "In sheep's clothing." That's the whole thing about antiChrist. It's not nero, it's not just some pagan king who says, "I'm a pagan.

" That's not your antiChrist of the Bible. What makes the antiChrist of the Bible so dangerous, it's a wolf in sheep's clothing, has the trappings of Christianity but it's pagan in its heart. And so, this is what the church fathers taught. Now, that's very important for us to think about with everything happening in the world these days. And I'd like to reiterate, friends, I'm not trying to send a volley of missiles against the catholic church.

A lot of my dear friends are roman catholics. I used to go to catholic school. I know a lot of them are going to be in the Kingdom, but there are teachings that are anti-biblical. And when a priest or a pope puts himself in the place of God saying, "you must come to me for the forgiveness of sins." Or his title is "the vicar of God on earth," and he's worshipped; that is antiChrist. When the titles are blasphemous, that is antiChrist.

And it needs to be said. You know, if they took no claim of believing the Bible or being Christian, well then, you let it go on by. There's lots of pagan religions in the world. But when it takes the claim of being a Christian religion and countermands these foundational principles, you've got to be careful and it fulfills the prophecies in the last days. These protestant reformers, they saw the catholic church and the pope's office as antiChrist.

It was a persecuting power that would receive a deadly wound that would be healed and all the world would wonder once again after the beast. Those things are happening even now. I think it's interesting just in the last few months that the pope made a visit to the holy land, which other popes have done, but no pope has ever gone to the temple grounds before and this pope did. For the first time, he stood on the place where the holy of holies used to be and went into the dome of the rock. You know, that makes me think of--i started telling you about the different views of prophecy.

The preterist, they take the prophecies of Revelation, they're all in the past with nero and they're all done by the first 100, 150 years of the church. Futurist, they relegate them all to the future after the rapture. The historists, the ones who interpret prophecy historically such as these names I just quoted, the great Bible commentators; this is not adventist theology, this is protestant theology that we believe. They all said there's a historic panorama of prophecy that begins with the first coming of Christ and goes on to the second coming of Christ. That's what we believe, and that's what they believe.

Anyway, go ahead and read this for us, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, please, mike? "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, The Son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Now, this ultimately is talking about the office of the pope where he claims prerogatives of God, the temple of God being the body of Christ is the temple of God. Christ said his body is the temple. It's the church, sitting over the church of God in the position of God and not waiting for another Jewish temple to be built. Is that clear? But I still thought in my mind that sometimes God gives us a tangible view of these spiritual prophecies. It's like back when pope John Paul ii, there was an assassination attempt and he was in critical condition.

And then, he came back and he said, "I've been resurrected." And you thought of that verse that said, "one of its heads received a deadly wound but the deadly wound was healed." And from the time of that assassination attempt, he traveled more widely than any other pope in history. And I thought, "it's almost like he gives us a tangible example of the fulfillment to get our attention." And the fact that pope benedict went to the holy place of the temple and got the recognition of these world religious leaders, and it was sort of eclipsed by some other things that were happening in the news. So, it's like people missed it. And then, something happened just July 7th, Karen's birthday, I'll make note of that. They had a funeral for Michael jackson that was broadcast with all the fanfare of people mesmerized by this funeral and all the celebrities that were there.

Around the world it was broadcast, around the world. And that same day, the pope released his third encyclical that he spent 2 years writing that's called "charity and truth," translated from the latin, where he talked about the world's economy. And in particular, he said, quote, "there is an urgent need for a true world political authority that would govern the world's economy using ethics." Well I wonder, pray tell, what ethical power does he think is qualified to guide the united nations in the economy? And he lists all these reasons that we've got these problems in the world with the distribution of food and with the greed and that's why we're having this economic calamity and there needs to be an ethical power that will guide the economies of the world. It also makes you think about the beast's power in the last days controlling buying and selling. I thought that was very interesting.

And do you think it's a coincidence that this was released the day before the economic leaders of the world, g8, met in italy? And then the next day, he meets with president obama, the pope, and hands him a signed copy of his third encyclical. And everybody's watching Michael jackson in the news. I think the church is snoring. Prophecy is being fulfilled all around us, and you ask the average person who the antiChrist is, you ask 10 people, you get 11 answers. Folks don't know.

But if you study the reasons that these protestant reformers came to that conclusion, those reasons have not changed. And now, it's becoming politically incorrect. And I'm saying what I'm saying now because I might not always be able to say this: there are more and more laws being enacted now and they're calling it "hate speech" if you tell the truth and it hurts. If you say something that someone might appear in some kind of disparaging light, do you know they just passed a law in ireland, I believe, where if you're critical of another person's religion or faith in writing or word, it's against the law. And there is a, I think, $36,000 fine in American money.

There's a euro fine. I forget what the translation is. But you're fined. I met with our evangelists last week. And one of 'em said, "you're going to have to add $36,000 to our evangelistic budget when we go to ireland to pay the fine for telling the truth.

" But it's becoming where people who want to tell the truth, the things I'm saying right now are going to be muzzled politically. It's not going to be politically correct, but friends, this is what the Bible says and you've got to tell the truth. So if you want to know who the antiChrist is, there's a website we could recommend, it's called Bibleprophecytruth.com, Bibleprophecytruth.com, got a lot of information there. And well, anyway, I better keep moving along. There's a lot more in the lesson I haven't covered and I'm only on section two.

Let's keep moving, "testing the Spirits," "testing the Spirits." How do we know what truth is? John 4:1--wait, someone look up for me acts 17:11, I just want you to get setup. We've got acts 17:11 right there and we'll read that in just a moment; I'll read for you 1 John 4:1, "beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the Spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the Spirit of antiChrist, which you have heard before was coming, and is now already in the world." Alright, I got a question for you. I've heard people in churches use this as a litmus test.

All you've got to do is say, "we believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, that means we're true." That's not what John is saying. He's saying, "this is one among many tests." Does the devil believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh? Does that mean he's not antiChrist? You see what I'm saying? No, it's not saying that this is the only criteria. It's one of many tests because back during the time of John, there were now people who were rising that didn't live during the time of Christ and they said, "God really came to earth as a man? No, it was really a spirit and you thought you saw him." Why do you think John says in his letters, "we handled with our hands the Word of God." He was real! He was tangible. And so, he had to keep emphasizing that because new false teachings were coming into the church that Jesus didn't really come in the flesh, that they saw this apparition, that he was a ghost. That's why John says, "I leaned on his breast.

" You don't lean on the breast of a ghost. And so, they were dealing with this heresy and so, he emphasized--anybody who's saying he didn't come in the flesh is antiChrist, but that was only one among many tests. There are antiChrists out there that will say, "oh, we believe he came in the flesh." That is not the only test. It's one of many. So, what are some of the ways that we know? I gave somebody acts 17:11.

Are we ready for that? Go ahead please. Read that. "These were more fair-minded than those in thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." Thank you. So, how is it that we test the Spirits? What criteria do we use to test the Spirits? We use the Scriptures. They're our primary criteria.

No, it's not acts, it's Isaiah 8:20, "according to the law and the testimony, if they speak not according to tHis Word," the law and the testimony is another way of saying the law and the prophets, the Word of God, "if they speak not according to tHis Word, there's no light in them." Now, I've got to say something. I'm praying I can say it so you don't misunderstand. Is it okay to listen to Christian teaching that may not be from our particular denomination or read Christian books that may not be from our particular denomination? Did Ellen white only read Ellen white? That's sort of a rhetorical question. No, if you read "Great Controversy," "Desire of Ages," she quotes from a lot of other Christian historical authors. She quotes from luther and wesley and--she was a methodist.

I hear her quoting from Matthew henry, the commentator, because I read a lot of his commentary and so I recognize it. But what you've got to do is try the Spirits. By the way, I'm quoting another one and that comes out and the new king James puts it this way, Thessalonians 5:21, "test all things; hold fast to that which is good." So, we need to try the Spirits. By the Word of God, I listen to other Christian preachers. And I want to tell you right here.

I want to go on record and tell you, there are some Godly men out there that you can tell they love the Word of God and they preach some powerful messages that have stirred my soul. And you know, 95% of what they say I think I would agree with. I'd love to get in a lifeboat with them with a Bible out in the middle of the ocean and talk to them about that other % because they're good people and they just, you know, maybe have missed some things. And as a matter of fact, I have talked to some of them and given them some good books, and I hope they're reading them. But you know what you've got to do? You eat the melon and you spit out the seeds.

Every Christian needs to have a filter in their mind so that when you're making watermelon juice, it screens out the seeds. If you just take everything you listen to, I mean I could name some for you right now but I probably shouldn't do that. But listen to some good message--i just quoted from luther and barnes and adam clark and John gill and Matthew henry and jamieson, fausset, brown and John wesley, and I expect to see virtually all of them in heaven. But I know there's some places I disagree with them. The state of the dead, you know, they walked in the light they had.

So when it says, "try the Spirits and hold fast to that which is good," I think first of all, if you're part of a church like our church that is well grounded in the word, I'd say you're safe; 80% of your material should be in our authors because we've got some really good scholars in our church, especially some of the older ones that have written just some outstanding things. And you should read uriah smith, incredible scholar, and stephen haskell, jones and wagner. And I mean, our people don't read these things anymore. They read all this touchy feely stuff that's coming out, a lot of foam. Some of the popular Christian writers today, it's all just foam, no meat.

It's like, "where's the beef?" And so, you know, you ought to read some of the good weighty things that'll ground you in the word. And then, it's okay if you read some of the stuff you'll find in the typical Christian bookstore, but make sure you let it run through a filter because you got to know what to spit out. And there's some stuff in there, you go, "eh, it's not right." What worries me is when you get people in the church and 90% of their diet is out there in the evangelical world, they're not getting the meat. All they're getting is this lemon meringue pie with all meringue. And does that make sense? So, you've got to test the Spirits because, he says, there are many false spirits that are gone out.

What--where is the majority? False prophets or true prophets? Didn't Christ say in the last days, "many false prophets will arise and deceive many"? "Many," Christ means is the majority. That's why Jesus says, "straight is the gate, narrow is the way that leads to life and few find it." That's the saved, the few. "Broad is the way that goes to the destruction and many--" I didn't mean to look on the left side of the church when I said that, I was just trying to sheep and the goat, so I'll look above you here. And he's talking about the lost group there. So, Christ is saying that the majority of the prophets, professed prophets, are false prophets.

So, how important is it to have that filter in your head called "the holy Scriptures"? Is it just the Bible that we use to filter? What about the Holy Spirit? Does John say that you've got a spirit in you? No man needs to teach you because you've got the Holy Spirit that teaches you. They were so spirit filled back then that the Holy Spirit helped them--you know, we call it the "smell test." Sometimes, somebody'll ask me to do something and I'll say, "you know, I don't feel right about that," and you can't put your finger on it. And I'll say, "it doesn't pass the smell test." And just, you know, sometimes you can't even explain it and someone wants to argue with me about something, I say, "it just doesn't pass the smell test." And what I mean by that is the Holy Spirit is telling me that just something isn't right. You can't always find a Scripture for everything and we need to be spirit led also, right? Now, if you get someone who comes along and they claim to be Christ, you better go to the Bible. Or if they're teaching something, you compare it with Scripture.

But sometimes, there's these nebulous things and you really just need to pray the Holy Spirit will guide you in those decisions. But that's one of the principles in testing the Spirits. Now, the reason I'm careful about that is I've met people before, you'll present to them, for instance, the Sabbath truth and I remember hearing a pastor say, "well Pastor Doug, I realize what the Bible says and you've got some good arguments, but the Holy Spirit is telling me I should keep going on Sunday." You don't ever go by the Holy Spirit if it conflicts with the holy Scriptures because you've probably got another spirit if it's telling you something--Jesus said, "the Holy Spirit will teach you whatsoever things I have said." The Holy Spirit's not going to contradict the Word of God. So, always make sure the word is the final filter in testing the Spirits. Let's look under "the anointing," section under "the anointing.

" John 2:20, "but you have an anointing from the holy one, and you know all things." We were just talking about that. We're to be anointed with the Holy Spirit. Somebody read for me psalm 23:5, a familiar psalm. Okay, "you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over." What does that oil represent? Holy Spirit. Who is the shepherd that makes us lie down in green pastures, that anoints us with this oil? Christ.

He said, "I'm going to The Father and if I go," what will he do? "I'll send another comforter." You know the verse, "if you love me," what? "Keep my commandments." And people always stop there, but the verse goes on, "if you love me, keep my commandments and I will pray The Father and he will send you another comforter, even the Spirit of truth." So, the whole idea of being spirit filled is a willingness to obey. God does not give the Holy Spirit to those who deliberately disobey him. It says in acts, "the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those that obey him." the Spirit is a power. He cannot entrust that power to those who have hearts in rebellion. The Holy Spirit is given to hearts that are submitted to his will.

And so, he wants to anoint us. John tells us that we can have that anointing. "To anoint" means "to apply oil or balm, to smear, to rub a substance in, to put oil on during a religious ceremony as a sign of sanctification or consecration, to commission." You know, in 1989, some archaeologists that were digging near the dead sea scrolls found a 2,000-year-old flask that still had oil in it, and they are wondering if this was the same recipe. You realize there is sort of a special recipe that was used. They would not just take plain olive oil, but they took pure olive oil and they mixed in a composition of herbs, of myrrh and aloe, and they used that to anoint the priests and the Kings.

It was a sacred anointing oil, and these very orthodox jews that wrote the dead sea scrolls believed their Messiah was coming and they had some of this sacred anointing oil leftover. Wouldn't you like to have a little drop of that on you? It's probably superstitious. I don't know if it'd do you any good. I came back from the Jordan river. I brought a bottle of water from the Jordan, and I still have some of it left and I used to dump it in the baptistery a little bit whenever we had a baptism.

And I realized people got real superstitious, "oh yeah, I want to get baptized today 'cause there's Jordan water in there." But can you pour oil on a person and is that what gives them the Holy Spirit? It's not a chemical formula. It's not the water that gives you the baptism. It's surrender of your heart. The water and the oil are symbols of those things. When we anoint a person with oil and they're sick, is the oil what heals 'em? There's probably some healing properties in oil, but that's not what does it.

It's the symbol for the Holy Spirit that heals, and we are to be anointed with that spirit. And then, the final section is on "abiding in him." I wish I had time to read it to you, friends. I just don't. You know those verses in John chapter 15. It talks about abiding in him and you will have life.

It's fatal not to abide in him. Amen? The Bible says, "if we don't abide, we don't have fruit." Well, our time is up for today's study. I want to remind our friends that are listening if you'd like our free offer, it's called "the Holy Spirit, the need." We'll send you a copy of that book. Ask for offer number 723, and just call 866-788-3966. We'll send it to you.

God bless you, friends. Thank you very much. Tape this program and send it out to your friends, and we'll see you, God willing, next week. Virtually everyone on the earth, regardless of religion or nationality, recognize that there is some form of battle raging in the world around us between the forces of good and evil; a colossal struggle between light and darkness, truth and error, oppression and freedom, right and wrong and ultimately life and death. Journey back through time to the center of the universe, discover how a perfect angel transformed into satan, the arch-villain, the birth of evil, a rebellion in heaven, a mutiny that moved to earth.

Behold the creation of a beautiful, new planet and the first humans. Witness the temptation in eden. Discover God's amazing plan to save his children. This is a story that involves every life on earth, every life. "The cosmic conflict," if God is good, if God is all powerful, if God is love, then what went wrong? If you've missed any of our "Amazing Facts" programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There, you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities, amazingfacts.org.

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