Sermon Message: Seeing People Through God's Eyes
Sermon Message: Putting Off the Old
Sermon Message: When You Hear God's Call
Sermon Message: Access Restored
Sermon Message: Fellowship in the Light
Sermon Message: A Fellowship of Joy
"Let It Abide"
1 John 2:18-27
(Delivered Sunday, February 10, 2002 at Bethany Bible Church. All scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version.)
As Jesus was traveling with His disciples one day, while on the road to the regions of Caesarea Philippi, He suddenly turned to them and asked them a question. "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" (Matthew 16:13).
Jesus has always stirred up controversy. People had a variety of opinions about Him during the days when He walked upon the earth - just as people do today. And so, the disciples responded to Jesus' question by describing some of the things people of that time were saying about Him Some were saying that He was John the Baptist come back from the dead. Others were saying that He was the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Others were saying that He was Jeremiah or one of the other prophets (v. 14). In our day, someone might say, "Well, I believe that Jesus was just a man and nothing more; but He was certainly a man who was a great moral teacher - perhaps the greatest moral teacher of all." Someone else might say, "As I study religious history, I've come to the conclusion that He was just one of many spiritual guides who had achieved a higher level of spiritual consciousness than others in His day, and who sought to teach people how they too could achieve that higher level of consciousness." Still others might shrug and simply say, "He was a Jewish prophet about whom we can know very little for certain. He's certainly important to a lot of people; but that's about all we can know of Him." In our day, the question, "Who do men say that Jesus is?", would provoke a variety of different responses and heated discussions. It did in those days too.
But wouldn't you agree that the question Jesus asked His disciples is really the greatest question that could ever be asked? It's far greater than a question of mere historical or philosophical interest. If what the Bible says about Jesus is true, then someone's eternal destiny is truly wrapped up in how he or she answers that question, "What do you say about Jesus? Who is He?"
It's not just a question for abstract philosophical discussions; but it's THE question upon which everything else hinges. And it won't do to simply recite the list of things that other people say about Him, because it's a question we must each ask ourselves and answer personally. The significant question isn't, "What does everyone else say about Jesus?"; but rather, "What do you personally say about Him - regardless of everyone else is saying about Him?" And so, Jesus asked His disciples this second, all-important, follow-up question; "But who do you say that I am?" (v. 15).
In my imagination, I see Jesus halting his steps - causing the disciples to come to a stand-still - turning around, facing them directly, and asking this second question. I imagine a few seconds of silence. And I imagine Simon Peter breaking the silence to boldly give the answer for them all: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v. 16). And then, Jesus let Peter know that this was the right answer. In fact, Jesus expressed that the affirmation that had passed through Peter's lips possessed the full authority of heaven itself. "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah," Jesus said (and I believe He smiled broadly to Peter when He said it), "for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven" (v. 17). Peter had given the only answer that has acceptance with God. In fact, Peter's answer was a prophetic word that came directly from God. It is as "correct" as a correct answer to the question could ever possibly be.
And then, Jesus says these amazing words; "And I also say to you that you are Peter [a name which, in the original language, meant 'rock'], and on this rock [that is, on the answer that Peter just gave] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (vv. 18-19).
So; who is Jesus? Jesus Himself has settled the matter for us forever. That confession from Peter - "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" - is the correct answer. It is the foundational confession of Jesus' Church. To say that Jesus was "the Christ" was to say that Jesus alone was the "anointed One" - the One that was promised in the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures; the One appointed by God to come and save His people from their sins. And to say that He was "the Son of God" was to say that Jesus was not just a mere man. He was indeed fully human - born into the family of humanity as one of us; but He was also God incarnate - God come in human flesh. It was to say that the One true God is Triune in nature - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and that the second Person of the Trinity - the eternally pre-existent Son of God - left His heavenly throne, to be conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, to be born into the human family, and to die on the cross as the substitutionary atonement for our sins. Everything that the Bible communicates to us - everything that the apostles spoke, and wrote, and taught - is an expansion of that glorious affirmation: "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God".
Jesus warned that the very gates of Hades would not prevail against that confession, nor against the Church that Jesus built upon it. "Gates" have two purposes: either to confine something and keep it in, or to block something and keep it out. And the implication is that all the forces of the devil would be employed in seeking to either confine the Church and its great confession and keep it from spreading, or to block the Church and its great confession and keep it from plundering the kingdom of darkness. The great enemy of our souls may seem, at times, to win a few battles here and there; but the promise of Jesus is that the devil will not ultimately prevail.
The gates of Hades will not prevail in its efforts against Jesus' Church, or this great confession about Him on which it is built. But let's make no mistake: the devil will certainly try to prevail! The devil has used two great "gates" against the Church and its confession of faith. First, he has employed persecution against the saints throughout the ages. He has - and will - threaten, beat, and kill those who confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. And so often, when God's people resist the threats of the devil and keep on proclaiming this confession boldly in the face of such persecution, all that the devil succeeds in accomplishing is the growth of the Church, and the spread of that confession to the hearts and mouths of others.
But the devil has a second gate: that of false doctrine. If he cannot attack the Church from without, he will try to destroy it from within. If he cannot silence the Church with threats, then he will confuse its message with lies. This leads us to the stern warning we find in this morning's passage from 1 John.
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This passage is a part of a series of three tests that John writes about in his letter. These tests prove to us whether or not we truly have fellowship with God through His Son Jesus. The first test is one that we've called "the obedience test". It's found in 2:3-6; and it asks us the question, "If you claim to have fellowship with God, do you walk in obedience to Jesus' commands?" The second test is what we've called "the love test". It's found in 2:7-11; and it asks the question, "If you claim to have fellowship with God, do you also love your brothers and sisters in Christ as Jesus loves them?" This morning's passage presents us with the third test, which we've called "the belief test". It asks the question, "If you claim to have fellowship with God, do you believe - from the heart - what God has said about His Son Jesus?" John writes;
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been with us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us - eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him (1 John 2:18-27).
We appreciate the importance of this passage when we remember that great confession upon which Jesus promised He would build His Church. The passage before us serves as a reminder to us that we live in the midst of a world system that is desperately hostile to that confession - a world system that is empowered by a powerful, malicious spiritual enemy who has everything in eternity to lose by the spread of the message that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God." This passage serves as a warning to us that this powerful enemy is working frantically to deceive the whole world from believing that great confession, and to rally all the forces of hell itself toward corrupting and confusing it. And this passage serves as a serious and sober call to those of us who have believed on Jesus to stay faithful and true to this confession to the very end; and to persevere in it no matter what the devil throws at us, or no matter how hard he seeks to persuade us that it isn't true.
The Bible teaches us that a great "falling away" will occur in the future (2 Thess. 2:3). "Now the Spirit expressly says," writes Paul, "that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons ..." (1 Tim. 4:1). It will happen; and in many ways, it's already happening. I can't think of anything more important than to heed what this morning's passage has to say to us; and to obey its call to cling to the confession of our faith in Jesus Christ all the way to the very end - even unto death! It is by a persevering faith in this confession that we are saved.
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First, please notice what this passage has to say about ...
I. THE OPPOSITION TOWARD THE FAITH (vv. 18-19).
John writes; "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been with us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us" (1 John 2:18-19).
John begins by calling his readers "little children" - which is more than a mere term of endearment. He had just written, in the verses prior to this one, about three levels of spiritual maturity: "little children", who are relatively new to that great confession of faith, and are in need of tender care and nurture as they grow in Christ; "young men", who are strong and assured of the truth of that confession of faith, and are actively engaged in the battle to defend it; and "fathers", who are mature and seasoned in that confession of faith, and have grown into a deep, profound fellowship with the God who gave it. John is writing here with a particular eye on "little children" in the faith - those who are young and vulnerable. But his words certainly constitute a serious warning to all of us, no matter what our level of maturity in Christ.
Second, notice that he says that "it is the last hour". By this, he meant that it is the final stage of God's redemptive plan for the ages. The promised Redeemer has come and has completed His saving work for us. He has returned to the Father; and now awaits the command of His Father to return to the earth in power and glory, and claim His Church to Himself forever. It's "the last hour", not necessarily in the sense that John expected the "imminent return" of Jesus to come in his lifetime; but that Jesus' return is "imminent" in that it's the next great event in God's redemptive plan for the ages. As Peter wrote about Jesus, "He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you ..." (1 Peter 1:20).
And third, notice that John warns his readers that, just as they heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now, many antichrist have come into the world - a fact which confirms to us that, indeed, these days constitute "the last hour".
Most of us who read the Bible are familiar with what John means when he says that "the Antichrist" is coming. The Bible promises that, just prior to Jesus' return to the earth, the devil will raise up a world ruler in whom will be centered the visible embodiment of evil on the earth, and who will oppose and persecute God's people with an intensity never before seen. Paul calls him "the man of sin ... 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" (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
Only John refers to this coming ruler as "the Antichrist". But this isn't the only way that John uses that phrase. He also speaks of a "spirit of the Antichrist" - a prevailing philosophy of sinful worldliness, and an attitude of rebellion against and hostility toward the gospel of Jesus Christ. John writes, "... Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world" (1 John 4:3). He also uses this phrase to describe those who teach false doctrine, and who deceive people from the truth by spreading this "antichrist" teaching. He writes, "For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2 John 7).
The "spirit of the Antichrist", then, is that system of teaching - in whatever form it takes - that is hostile to the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that is satanically designed to deceive people from believing the truth about Him. When John mentions "many antichrists", he is speaking of those who teach in this "antichrist" spirit; and who are used by the devil to deceive people. And when he speaks of "the Antichrist", he is speaking of the final culmination of this evil spirit of hostility to the gospel of Christ in a single, powerful, satanically controlled world ruler.
Listen to what Jesus said about this. When He taught about these last days, He said,
Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:4-14).
He said that, during that time, "false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders do deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand" (vv. 24-25). When we see "many antichrists" out in the world, it's a visible sign that we are, indeed, living in "the last hour".
And - perhaps most shockingly - notice where these "antichrists" come from. They went out, as John says, "from us" - that is, from out of the church.
The apostle Paul once spoke of this to a gathering of pastors from Ephesus. He warned them, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 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 disciples after themselves" (Acts 20:28-30).
I'll never forget something that happened to me several years ago. While I was a student, I was sitting in a restaurant with my Bible, working through some theology assignments. As I was working away, I heard a voice a few feet away, saying, "Studying hard?" I looked up, and at the table a little ways away sat an older man and his wife. He was smiling at me; and I said that yes, I was a student. He asked where I went to school; and when I told him that I attended a Bible college, he laughed. With a big broad smile, he said, "You mean to tell me you still believe that stuff?" He told me about how he used to be a minister himself; but he left it all - talking the whole time with this big smile. Then, with his wife sitting there, he began to deride other ministers and pastors in the most profane, vulgar way I'd ever heard an older man speak in public - wearing this gruesome smile all the time. I tried to dialogue with him; but I was getting nowhere. Eventually, I collected my books and went to sit somewhere else. I couldn't stand his profanity any longer.
The great preacher, Harry Ironside, said that nobody that rejects the Gospel message hates it as much as someone who had once professed to embrace it. As John says, "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." When this reviling former pastor who "used to believe that stuff" boasted that he did so no longer, he was simply showing his true colors. He tried to present himself as a credible critic of the faith because he said he was a "former-insider"; but the testimony of John is that he was never a child of God in the first place.
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This, then, is the character of the opposition to the faith. "Many antichrists" have come into the world, teaching in the very spirit of the Antichrist. As John says, they're marked out for us by the fact that they "deny that Jesus is the Christ" and deny "the Father and the Son" (v. 22). They are at war against the great confession that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God". And what's more, they actively work to deceive those who do believe it; because John says he's writing these things "concerning those who are trying to deceive you" (v. 26). You can put it in black-and-white terms: Preachers or teachers who deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God - preachers or teachers who argue that the one true God is not three Persons, or who deny that the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus the Son of God, has come in the flesh - are false teachers and a ministers of the devil. Do not let yourself be deceived by them.
But how can you, as a believer, be protected from such falsehood, and remain true to the faith we confess? John goes on to tell us about ...
II. THE RESOURCES FOR THAT FAITH (vv. 20-22, 26-27).
John goes on to assure his readers that, though they live in the midst of a world that's filled with false christs and false teachers, he doesn't despair for his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. He tells them,
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
He is confident for them because they have two great resources - both from God; and both fully able to keep them safe from false teaching if they will make full use of them. The first one is what he calls "the anointing". "You have an anointing from the Holy One."
The idea behind the word "anointing" comes from the Old Testament practice of particularly marking someone out for a special kind of service through dabbing or pouring a bit of oil on them. The priestly family of Aaron was "anointed" for service in the tabernacle in this way (Ex. 29:21). Similarly, the Messiah was identified as having been "anointed" for service by the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor ..." (Isa. 61:1). In fact, the Hebrew word "Messiah" and the Greek word "Christ" both mean "the anointed One". John says that his readers have an "anointing" too. He says, "These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him" (vv. 26-27).
This "anointing" is a remarkable one, because it "teaches" God's people The "anointing" John speaks of is none other than the Holy Spirit that each truly redeemed man or woman receives when they place their faith in Jesus Christ and are saved. It is this same "anointing" - that is, the Holy Spirit - that guides them and leads them in the truth. Jesus made this promise to His disciples before He went to the cross; "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26-27). He told them, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you" (John 16:12-14).
Have you ever heard a particular preacher, or visited a particular church, and just felt that there was something not right about what you were hearing? Perhaps it was something that you were having a hard time putting your finger on; but have you ever felt at such times as if there was a quiet voice within your heart, warning you, "What you're hearing isn't right; this is not the truth from God" - ? I have had that experience often. I believe that it's the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We should pay careful attention to that voice when we hear it.
When John says, "You do not need that anyone teach you," he isn't saying that the Holy Spirit's ministry means that we can now fire all our pastors and teachers. We know that he isn't saying that we don't need them anymore; because the Bible clearly says God has given us pastors and teachers for our edification and growth (Eph. 4:11-12). John is speaking here of a particular kind of "teacher". Sometimes, a person of some supposed authority comes along into the church and tells us that they have a "new teaching" that we all need - something that is above and beyond what we can get from the normal, run-of-the-mill brand of Christianity; something that we could only get from them. But John is telling us that, because we have the Holy Spirit living in us - a divine Person, who loves us very much and watches very carefully over our growth and development in Jesus - we can rest assured that we don't need such any such human "authority figures" to "teach" us something new. We can rest assured that, if there's something we need, the Holy Spirit will guide us to it. We have an anointing from the Holy One, and don't need anyone to come along and "teach" us.
But admittedly, the "teaching ministry" of the Holy Spirit can be a pretty subjective thing. How can we know for sure that we're being guided by the Holy Spirit? That leads us to the second great resource. John also says, "You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things"; or as it says in the NIV, "and all of you know the truth". This second resource is the objective, sure, unchanging standard of truth that was passed on to the apostles, and recorded forever for us in written form as the Holy Bible. John goes on to say, "I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son." Here, John points to the objective standard of truth in the Scriptures.
The Bible provides us with the sure, reliable, objective means by which to determine truth from error. The apostle Paul once preached the gospel to a group of Jewish people in the ancient city of Berea. And we're told, "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" (Acts 17:11). If you become well-acquainted with the Scriptures, and if you know that "no lie is of the truth", then you can objectively distinguish truth from error by looking to the standard of truth contained in the Scriptures.
I believe that God has given us two very powerful resources in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible. Both work together, because the Scriptures were inspired, protected and made clear to us by the ministry of the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit will never lead us into any kind of teaching that contradicts what He has already preserved for us in the Scriptures. We need both, because apart from the Scriptures, we could never confidently discern the leading of the Holy Spirit; and apart from the Holy Spirit, we could never confidently interpret and understand the Scriptures. Both of these resources work together to affirm to us the great confession of the faith of the Church - that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
I can't imagine how helpless we'd be in this dark world if God hadn't shown the mercy to us of giving us these two great resources! How thankful we should be that He did! If we rely faithfully and wisely on these two resources - the Holy Spirit and the written word of God - then we'll never go wrong and will never be deceived by false teachers and false prophets. We'll be able to stand firm against the assaults of the devil upon that foundational confession of our faith.
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This leads us, finally, to ...
III. OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THAT FAITH (vv. 23-25).
John shows us how crucial that confession of faith is, that Jesus indeed is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He tells us, "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also" (v. 23). John's point is that our heart-felt answer to the question, "Who do you say that Jesus is?", determines whether or not our fellowship truly is with God. We cannot have fellowship with God if we deny the truth about His Son Jesus. Conversely, if we have His Son Jesus, then we have fellowship with the Father. "... This is the testimony," John tells us; "that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (5:11-12).
Everything hinges on our faith in what the Bible and the Holy Spirit testify concerning Jesus. And so, John urges us to cling fastidiously to that confession - that "rock" on which Jesus is building His Church. John says, "Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us - eternal life." Fellowship with the Father and with the Son, and the grace of eternal life, are the results that come from clinging faithfully to our confession of faith in Christ. And so, we must make sure we let it abide (or "remain") in us continually and to the very end - no matter how the devil may attack it or try to deceive us from it.
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This weekend, I read a little from a modern Christian classic, "Tortured for Christ", by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand. Rev. Wurmbrand was the founder of The Voice of The Martyrs, who was imprisoned for 14 years in Communist Russia for preaching the gospel. I read a little of his story, and I wanted to share it with you. Please listen carefully to how people were deceived from the confession of our faith in his day.
Once the communists came to power, they skillfully used the means of seduction toward the Church. The language of love and the language of seduction are the same. The one who wishes a girl for a wife and the one who wishes her for a night in order to throw her away afterwards, both say, "I love you." Jesus has told us to distinguish the language of seduction from the language of love, and to know the wolves clad in sheepskin from the real sheep.
When the communists came to power thousands of priests, pastors, and ministers did not know how to distinguish the two voices.
The communists convened a congress of all Christian bodies in our parliament building. There were four thousand priests, pastors, and ministers of all denominations. These four thousand priests and pastors chose Joseph Stalin as honorary president of this congress. At the same time he was president of the World Movement of the Godless and a mass murderer of Christians. One after another, bishops and pastors arose in our parliament building and declared that communism and Christianity are fundamentally the same and could coexist. One minister after another said words of praise toward communism and assured the new government of the loyalty of the Church.
My wife and I were present at this congress. My wife sat near me and told me, "Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ! They are spitting in His face." I said to my wife, "If I do so, you lose your husband." She said, "I don't wish to have a coward as a husband."
Then I arose and spoke to this congress, praising not the murderers of Christians, but Christ and God and said that our loyalty is due first to Him. The speeches at this congress were broadcast and the whole country could hear proclaimed from the rostrum of the Communist Parliament the message of Christ! Afterward I had to pay for this, but it had been worthwhile.
Orthodox and Protestant church leaders competed with each other in yielding to communism. An Orthodox bishop put the hammer and sickle on his robes and asked his priests not to call him any more "Your Grace," but "Comrade Bishop." I attended the Congress of the Baptists in the town of Resita - a congress under the Red flag, where the anthem of the Soviet Union had been sung with everybody standing. The president of the Baptists proclaimed that Stalin did nothing but fulfill the commandments of God. He praised Stalin as a great teacher of the Bible! Priests like Patrascoiu and Rosianu were more direct. They became officers of the secret police. Rapp, deputy bishop of the Lutheran church in Rumania, began to teach in the theological seminary that God had given three revelations: one through Moses, one through Jesus and the third through Stalin, the last superseding the one before.
It must be understood that the true Baptists, whom I love very much, did not agree and were very faithful to Christ, suffering much. However, the communists "elected" their leaders and the Baptists had no choice but to accept them ...
Those who became servants of communism instead of Christ began to denounce the brethren who did not join them (Tortured for Christ, pp 15-17).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, can you distinguish between the language of seduction and the language of love? We live in the last hour; and there are many antichrists in the world. They are teachers of a satanically inspired system that is literally hell-bent on deceiving people from the only truth that will save them - that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. You must use the resources that God has given you - the Holy Spirit and His written word - and by these, persevere even unto death in your affirmation of that all-important confession of faith.
John closes with these words; "These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him" (vv. 26-27). The NIV translates those closing words as a command: "remain in him".
By God's help, may we do so.
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