Good evening and welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of 2nd John. Tonight is study number 11 and we are looking at 2 John 1:7:
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
We took a look at this verse yesterday in our earlier study and we are going to continue thinking about what God has said here. We need to think about this because, let us first ask the question, “is it that easy to determine who is of God and who is of antichrist or who is not of God?”
Let us just put the test to everyone in the churches (to about two billion), and a good number would fail the test of profession. They would not recognize Christ as eternal God. But, you would still have hundreds of millions of people that would pass that kind of verbal test of acknowledgement of Jesus as God. Yes; they had heard that or have been taught that by their church, that Christ is God. So therefore, since their denomination, or many millions of people in the churches, believe that Jesus is eternal God in the flesh, therefore they are of God, and those that do not believe this, they are not of God. Now, it is all nice and easy and simple. We can have everyone in their proper camps because we have applied this test that the Bible says we should apply.
And yet, we realize that it cannot just be that simple, because we understand, due to the nature of the churches and congregations of our day and how they are not faithful to what the Bible says on so many points and have developed other kinds of gospels, that clearly indicate that they are not of God, even though they pass that particular test of confessing that Jesus is God, who came in the flesh.
And so, we understand and we realize that there must be more to this than meets the eye. And there is. Let us begin by turning to 1 John 4 and we will read the first three verses. In 1 John 4:1, we read:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Here God is commanding us (His people), to check out the things we hear (everything we hear). We are to assume nothing. We are not to think of any individual, “Well, this man is obviously a true believer or of God and is faithful, and therefore, what he says is faithful.”
That is the same false assumption that the churches and congregations have made concerning those that wrote their confessions and creeds and theologies (their church fathers), who have many of them, been faithful in many areas, but the error of the churches has been therefore assuming that they have been faithful in everything. And they failed, at some point in their history, and they fail today, to check out what Calvin said against the Bible, and Luther, and Zwingli and Knox, and so on. They fail to compare the teachings of men (no matter how faithful the man) with the teaching of the Bible, and it is a fault of the individuals who listen to these teachers. And so, we cannot, or should not, fall into the same error and assume that something that a very faithful man has said is true just because he said it.
I hope that no one ever takes anything that I say as truth, without first checking it out. I know that that is not the case. I know that God’s people have been given discernment and an ear to hear, and they listen closely and then they examine what they are hearing against the Bible. They check it out, like a Berean, to see if it is so. Those that are not God’s people normally, do not behave that way. They just accept the things that they hear from their church and congregation.
Let us go on in 1 John 4:2-3:
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
That is very similar to what we have in 2 John 1:7, where God again is speaking about confessing that Christ is come in the flesh, then that spirit is of God. Confessing not that Christ is come in the flesh is not of God and is of antichrist. The spirit of antichrist is Satan. He is the one that is against Christ. He is the one that sows tares amongst the wheat and is constantly trying to substitute a lie for the truth.
This is what we have to watch out for. We do not want to believe something that comes from Satan, that is a lie. We want to believe that which comes from Christ and is the truth.
We are going to go a little deeper into the Bible, to look at those that did confess Christ, or those that failed to confess Him. The first place we want to turn is in the Gospel of John chapter 9. In John 9:21 it says:
But by what means he now seeth, we know not;…
The historical situation is that Jesus has healed a blind man that was blind since birth. The Pharisees did not believe that Christ had healed him, and so they called a trial and they called as witnesses the blind man’s parents and the parents are now being questioned and they say (and we read in John 9:21-23):
But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.
This gives us some insight into the word “confess.” They were asked questions concerning their son and they did not actually want to support him in the things that he was saying because they were afraid of the Jews. What were they afraid of? Being put out of the synagogue, out of the church system, out of the religious system, that was in place in the nation of Israel.
It would have been a horrible thing to live as a Jew amongst the Jews, and be an outcast, being someone who was not permitted in the synagogue, when all the people were members of the synagogue. All of them, were a part of the synagogue system. To be outcast would be like someone who had been killed, in a sense, someone who spiritually was a cast off and not worthy for the Kingdom of God. We can just imagine the great danger that this threat posed to the Jews of that day, that lived under the rule of the Pharisees and scribes.
And so, these parents were very careful not to offend the Jewish leaders, as the Jewish leaders made it known, “Look, we want you to witness, but, by the way, before you take the stand and before you give your testimony, know this: if any man confesses that He is Christ, he will be put out of the synagogue.”
What a threat that is! They are basically telling people, “Look, witness, but do not witness to the truth. Do not witness that you think He is Christ. You must witness along the lines that we want you to witness to.”
The blind man himself takes the stand and he just tells them exactly what Jesus did for him, and he says in John 9:32-34:
Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
So here, this man went against the grain. He went against what the scribes and Pharisees had told the people, “Do not dare to say anything positive about Him and testify that He is of God or He is Christ. No; you will be cast out of the synagogue.”
And then, they followed through and they did cast this blind man out. And yet, this blind man confessed Christ. He confessed Him. Remember that the Jews had agreed that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. And the once blind man who could now see (because Christ had given him sight), went against this and confessed that He was Christ.
But did he say that? Did he say those very words? No; we do not read that before the Jewish counsel and before those judges, that he said specifically that He was Christ. All he did was testify and witness to the truth of what Christ had done for him. And he added some very logical statements, “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing,” which is a fact.
And the Jews knew it themselves. And so, testifying and confessing Christ before them did not mean to actually say the words that “he was Christ,” but it was to stand for the truth of what Christ had done and to face the threat of men and the threat of the church of that day (as Israel was the church of the Old Testament), and to not buckle the knee and bow to them and to do what they would have him to do, but to stand fast, no matter what. No matter if they followed through (which they did) with their threat to cast him out of the synagogue. This man (who was probably no more than a beggar all of his life, due to his blindness), stood firm upon the Word of God and simply told the truth, and for the truth’s sake, he suffered the consequences and he was cast out.
Of course, it was nothing but for his own good that he was cast out. It brought him no spiritual harm at all. Those men could not control who entered into the Kingdom of God and who did not. That was out of their control, just like it is out of the church’s control. The church can pronounce its bulls and its edicts and it can say that someone is blaspheming and committing heresy, all it wants, and it means absolutely nothing.
In fact, when an individual is accused of these things, they are standing firm upon the Word of God. It is always the case that it is what God says about an individual that matters, not what a church says, not what a corporate body says. That means nothing in the sight of God. Actually, it tends to glorify God, when someone stands for truth over the stance of a denomination or over the stance of the church and its confessions and creeds.
Further along in the Gospel of John in John 12, we are told some other interesting information regarding confessing Christ, in John 12:42-43:
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
What a pitiful thing this verse is telling us! What a sad thing it is that many among the chief rulers believed on Jesus. We do not hear that too often, but the Bible says it, so it is true. They saw the miracles, like everyone else. They knew, just as the blind man, that no one could give sight to the blind unless He were of God. And Christ did not give sight to just one blind man, but to several. Christ also gave ears to the deaf and legs to the lame and He quenched the flow of blood from a woman that had suffered that way for many years, and He raised the dead. Who can raise the dead, but God?
Can Satan raise the dead? Of course not. Can Satan give sight to a blind man? Of course not. Can Satan do any of these mighty miracles that Christ did? Of course not. The Pharisees tried to accuse Jesus of doing these things, under the power of the prince of the devils, Beelzebub, and yet no one believed that. I doubt that they even believed it themselves, but maybe they did, in their horrible blindness and in their complete foolishness. Maybe they (some of them) did believe it.
But nevertheless, among the chief rulers, also many believed on Him. If they believed on Him, then why did they not confess Him? Remember Nicodemus? Even he (who probably did become a child of God, and I would say he did because when Christ died, it was Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus that took His body and prepared it for burial), came to Jesus by night and remember what he said back in John 3:2?
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
There is Nicodemus. He would be one of these chief rulers, and he is coming to Christ by night, so no one could see him come, because the threat that the Pharisees made known to all was applied to him also, “We will cast you out of the synagogue if you confess Him.” Yet, he came and he admitted, “We know that you are a teacher from God. Nobody can do what you are doing and not be of God.”
It was so obvious that even a blind man could see it, and yet the danger was that if you confess him. The Pharisees agreed on this point. Their leadership got together and determined, “Look at all these things that He is doing. What can we set up as a deterrent? What can we say to force people not to follow Him and believe in Him and to recognize Him as the Christ? Because, obviously, He is doing these things like raising the dead and mighty things we have never seen.
“Here is what we will do,” someone came up with the idea, “we will say that anyone that confesses that He is Christ, anyone that confesses Him, will be put out of the synagogue.” It was the worst thing they could think of, for a Jew to be an outcast like a leper and to be cast out of the inner circle of Israel. To be put out, in their minds, would be to lose the blessing of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to therefore lose the blessing of God and to make their circumcision, in effect, uncircumcision, and to be like the Gentiles who were outsiders, the heathen that were without Israel.
And so, they feared this judgment. They feared being put out of the synagogue and experiencing spiritual death, for all intents and purposes. And that is how God likens it in John 16:1-2:
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
Yes; to be put out of the synagogues was akin to being killed, and no Jew wanted that. It must have been a frightful thing.
Let us go forward in history to our day, and to the time of the great tribulation when God opened up the Scriptures to reveal the end of the church age and many other truths, also, the timing of Judgment Day that would come on May 21, 2011. God revealed these things and opened up the eyes of His people to understand them and to proclaim them. He commissioned them and gave them the task to publish these things to the world.
How fearful it is! How frightful it is also, for the New Testament believer to learn that the church age had come to an end and to have to share this with the pastors and elders and deacons and members of the congregation. “Oh,” they would say, “any kind of doctrine like this is not from God. We will have nothing to do with you! You have placed yourself outside of the church. The church is God’s institution and if you continue to insist that these things are from Christ, that God is teaching the end of the church age and that He is through with the church, then know this, the church is through with you. You will be an outcast. You are a heretic! You are someone who is blaspheming the church of the Lord Jesus Christ!”
Many things have been said against the believers. Many statements have been made by the churches and congregations, speaking against God’s people for declaring these things. And yet, what is a true believer to do? The pressure was applied, especially to those in the congregations, in the churches, when they heard this teaching that the church age is over and they check it out, because that is what the child of God does. “Try the spirits whether they are of God.”
And they saw the teaching in the Bible and yes, there it is, “judgment must begin at the house of God” and Satan, as the man of sin, takes his seat in the temple. The abomination of desolation stands in the holy place and God commands to “flee to the mountains,” and many other Scriptures came to light and God’s people saw the truth.
But the church spoke so badly of those who taught these things. The church basically said, “they are another gospel. They do not have salvation. They will lead you to damnation if you follow them.” And for the true believer, there it was—the threat of being cast out of the synagogue, of losing the blessing of the churches and experiencing shame for the sake of the Word of God. They knew it was true. There was no denying it. All the evidence supported it from the Bible and then when they looked around in the church world, they saw the ruins of a spiritual desolation. They saw it in their own congregation also. Certainly God’s Word is true on this subject.
But, would they be able to confess Christ before the church? And God’s people were able because God gave them the ability to do so. He gave them a love for the truth, and so they were able to stand with the truth of the Word of God on that point.
And then, on the point of declaring “Judgment Day, May 21, 2011,” to all the world. They stood again with the truth and confessed Christ before the church and before the world, as they declared these things to anyone who would listen, “this is what the Bible says,” and shame and scorn and reviling was heaped upon them for doing so. And God’s people continued to confess the truth of the Scripture, and therefore, they continued to confess Christ by holding fast and maintaining that confession before all the pressure of the world that mocked and ridiculed them because it did not come to pass, exactly, as had been previously thought.
The world does not see spiritual things. It does not understand anything about a spiritual Judgment Day, a coming of Christ in which He shut the door of Heaven. But God’s people maintain the Word that they have learned. They stand with the Bible, no matter what anyone says. It does not matter.
The church continues, of course, to pronounce its edicts and condemnations and the world continues to mock, but God’s people continue to confess Christ has come in the flesh, that is, they confess the truth of the Bible and what the world thinks about them does not mean a thing. It does not mean anything to the child of God. It will not move him or her to denounce the Word of Christ, because Christ has first loved them, and therefore, they love Christ in return.