Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 6:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Your Lord is With You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 2:18-29 (ESV). The Antichrist (v. 18) Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. The last hour really began, either when Jesus appeared on the scene, or after his death and resurrection and ascension into heaven. These are the last days in which we now live, but they were the last days when John penned these words, too. In other words, we are living in the Messianic era. We are living in the time of God’s grace, in which he gave us his Son to die on a cross for our sins so that we could be delivered from slavery to sin, and so we could be set free to now walk in his righteousness and holiness. It is a time, too, in which we are watching and waiting for our Lord’s return, but a time, as well, in which we are being shown current signs of the coming of the rule of the antichrist (or beast) on the earth. Although there will be a final antichrist, we learn here that many antichrists have come. The prefix “anti” means literally “against, opposing, or rival.” The antichrist is hostile toward God/Jesus. So, this antichrist is not only in opposition to Christ, but he is his competitor, i.e. he wants to take the place of Christ in the hearts of people. There are prophecies written about this final antichrist in both the Old and the New Testaments. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary said: “He probably answers to "the little horn having the eyes of a man, and speaking great things" (Da 7:8, 20); "the man of sin, son of perdition" (2Th 2:3); "the beast ascending out of the bottomless pit" (Re 11:7; 17:8), or rather, "the false prophet," the same as "the second beast coming up out of the earth" (Re 13:11-18; 16:13)”. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/jfb/1_john/2.htm). Subtle Persuasion (vv. 19-27) 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 it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. As far as these antichrists having gone out from among the followers of Christ, and their going being a sign that they were not Christ’s true followers, but antichrists, we should not be too quick to judge. In today’s institutional church, which is not the body of Christ, but a business of human-making, there are people who come and go for various reasons. Many people who are true followers of Christ are deserting the institutional church on the basis of the passage in Revelation 18:4-5, where it says we are to come out of Babylon, the great prostitute. And, they are doing so on the basis of the fact that the institutional church is man-made, not God-made, and that it is in bed with the government, at least here in America. Another thought on that subject is we read in scripture where there are wolves in sheep’s clothing among us. So, many of these antichrists haven’t left the gatherings of the church at all, but they pretend to be followers of Christ for the purpose to deceive and to win people over to them. Many of them confess outwardly that they are believers in Jesus Christ, so denying Christ is not necessarily that obvious, but is more subtle, I believe. They deny him, rather, by their lifestyles and by their dubious statements, which are intended to confuse, to deceive, to manipulate and to deter people from pure devotion to Jesus Christ. They are destroying the church from within (See: John 10). And, many naïve people are falling prey to their deception. So, we need to know the truth so that we don’t fall prey to these liars and deceivers, who by their cunning and craftiness in deceitful scheming are able to persuade even Christians to abandon the gospel as taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles, in favor of a diluted gospel absent of the cross of Christ in people’s lives. We need to be in the Word daily, studying it, learning what it says, and obeying it. And, then we need to be sharing the truth with others so that they, too, are not deceived. What Jesus and his NT apostles taught us with regard to our salvation (the whole counsel of God) needs to remain in us. If it does, then we will also remain in Jesus and in the Father, and we will receive what was promised – eternal life with God. We need to not be so naïve and gullible to believe everything preachers, politicians and newscasters tell us, for there are many liars and deceivers among them who want nothing more than to convince us of a gospel other than the one taught by Jesus and his NT apostles. They will disguise it as the gospel of Jesus through manipulations and twisting of scripture, but truly the object is to bring all people of all faiths into unity with one another, so that we all are brought together under the auspices of a one-world faith. These liars and deceivers also want us to believe their made-up stories in order to bring us under the rule of the beast, i.e. a one-world-order. But, they can’t be trusted. Left and right don’t exist in American politics. They are all one, answering to the same wealthy and powerful people who run the world. Our leaders are just puppets of the New World Order. Our constitution only exists on paper. News stories may have elements of truth in them, but many are fabricated or are twisted. Our government leaders are not the saviors of the world. First they create the chaos, and then they go in to other nations, and their own, in order to take over these nations for the One World Order. Their words cannot be trusted, I guarantee you! Abide in Him (vv. 28-29) And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. If we are going to survive this onslaught of lies, deceptions and manipulations of truth, and the persecution which is headed our way as a direct result of these deceitful schemes, then we must remain steadfast in our faith. We can’t play games, waste time, and think life is just one big party. We are not here on this earth to entertain and to be entertained. God has us here to glorify him in all that we do and are and say. He has us here to be his witnesses to a world who needs the Savior. We need to be sober-minded about our relationships with Christ. We must take his word seriously, and walk in it, and no longer walk in the ways of this sinful world. We need to be those who practice righteousness, not of our own making, but that of Christ, living in us and living his life out through us for the glory of God. Then, we will be able to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. Your Lord is With You An Original Work / August 14, 2016 Based off Various Scriptures Fear not for your Lord is with you. He will not leave you, nor will He abandon you. When you walk through valleys of life’s rough ways, You must fear no evil, for God is near. Be of courage, then, and be not dismayed, For your Lord is with you throughout your days. Fear not for your Lord is with you. He will not leave you, nor will He abandon you. Trust Him with your life and witness. He’ll go before you, and He will prepare the way. The Lord is our helper, so we’ll not fear. He will strengthen us. He sees all our tears. Do not be afraid, but to God do pray, And the peace of God will be yours today. Trust Him with your life and witness. He’ll go before you, and He will prepare the way. My God, He is my Rock and my Shield And the Horn of my salvation, whom I praise. He reached down from heaven and rescued me; Drew me out of waters so deep I’d sink. My God turned my darkness into His light; Opened up my blinded eyes, gave me sight. My God, He is my Rock and my Shield And the Horn of my salvation, whom I praise.