Sermon Notes: Love, Sex, Money and AntiChrists (1 John 2-5)

Posted: February 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

1 John 2-5Love, Sex, Money and Antichrists

We saw last week that 1 John is structured poetically as a “chiasm”, which means everything hinges on the center, which is 1 John 3:11-17.
The structure looks like this:
A. Prologue (1:1-4)–Eternal Life
  B. Making Him a Liar (1:5-2:2)–Walking
      C. A New Commandment (2:3-17)–Love
          D. Antichrists (2:18-27)
              E. Confidence–Do Not Sin (2:28-3:10)
                  F. Love One Another (3:11-17)
              E. Keep the Commands (3:18-24)
          D. Antichrists (4:1-6)
      C. God’s Love and Ours (4:7-5:5)
  B. Making Him a Liar (5:5-12)–Testimony 
A. Conclusion (5:13:21)–Eternal Life

John talks about our struggles for we are people who fight to “walk” in light but slip into darkness.  Yet, fortunately, we are truly forgiven when we do slip (2:2).  
John goes on to remind us that the central “command” for us is “to love” (2:13-17 & 4:7-5:5) but that we are to be wary of “antichrists.”  He makes it clear that these are people who arose from within the congregations and, eventually, left (2:19).
John has not suddenly gone “Left Behind” on us, but is concerned with those who simply oppose Jesus and his goals.  
In response, we are to love and esp. to love one another. Let’s look at 1 John 3:11-17.
But how do you know who to love and who are the “antichrists”?
At Revolution, we believe there are core beliefs or “closed fist” beliefs that we will not budge on like the Bible is God’s word, Jesus is the son of God who died in our place for our sins and rose again conquering death and will return one day but most other beliefs or doctrines we hold as debateable and choose not to divide over.
This is a difficult line to walk to be sure, but in the early church scholars like David deSilva argue that there was a group who were heavily influenced by Greek philosophy that came into the church looking for nothing but sex and money!  
We may debate about different doctrines but we cannot abide those who use the name of Jesus to grow rich or to use people.  These are truly “antichrists.”  These are people that need to be removed from a community of faith committed to being instruments of redemption.

Shamefully, they are not removed but celebrated in large circles of Christianity today.  In fact, several of the largest churches in the world teach that God wants you to be rich. 

I get really angry when I see these people yet I am reminded that the mark of a true Christian community is supposed to be love.  We are called to love even those who hate us. 

That means we are called to love those who we disagree with even when we must ask them to step away. This is also a difficult line to walk but it must be done. 

You may object, “Hey John is using the term ‘antichrist’ to describe these people, so maybe we don’t have to be so kind!” 

It is important to keep a few things in mind: (1) being rather “passionate” about disagreements was culturally more acceptable to those in the ancient near east than to us and (2) the term “antichrist” did not carry the same weight it does today and (3) these were probably shameless predators who had already left the community. 

As Christians, we must draw lines sometimes but we must do so with grace.  Always with grace. 

After all, the “health & wealth” crowd suffer from the same disease we do…sin.

  1. adam says:

    it was great to have jeremy back up leading worship. music was great

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