************ Sermon on 1 John 2:20 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on December 8, 2019
1 John 2:18-27
1 John 2:20
"What True Christians Look Like"
In this season of Advent we have been asking who is that baby in the manger? The answer: He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
Antichrists deny this. They hate Jesus. They hate the Gospel. They hate the church. They hate Christmas. At the most they are willing to admit Jesus is a man; maybe a better man than the rest of us, but still a man. These antichrists have invaded church after church. They look and sound Christian but they are wolves in sheep's clothing, false teachers and false prophets, who try to lead the elect astray. They introduce heresy and false teaching about Jesus. Churches that are faithful and true don't have to fear these antichrists because antichrists can't stand to be in the presence of truth and end up leaving. Remember, we looked at this last time.
I True Christians are Anointed
A As we have been going through John's letter we have noticed how he loves to point out the differences between believers and unbelievers. True Christians confess Jesus has come in the flesh. True Christians know they are sinners who need to repent and believe. True Christians walk and live in the light. True Christians love and forgive each other with the love of Christ. True Christians grow in the faith. True Christians do not love the world. True Christians, like those who profess faith this morning, confess Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt 16:16). Christians are different than non-Christians, they are different than the antichrists, they are different than unbelievers.
B Why is there this difference? Our text gives us the answer: "But you have an anointing from the Holy One." "But you have an anointing from the Holy One."
Remember what the title "Christ" means? We looked at this last time. Christ is the Greek title. The Hebrew title is Messiah. The titles mean "Anointed, Anointed One." We said Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit.
We also have a title: Christ-ian, Christian. Which means that like Christ we have been anointed. Which means we share in Christ's anointing.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One." Who does the anointing? The Holy One. Who is the Holy One? He is Jesus (Lk 4:34; 1:35; Acts 3:14). Jesus does the anointing.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One." The word for anointing refers to the act of applying oil or an oily liquid to the head or some other part of the body. It means Jesus has placed His hand on you. It means you have been touched by the Lord. It means you have received the ointment of Christ. Jesus, obviously, doesn't anoint us with oil. So with what does Jesus anoint us? He has anointed us with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 1:21-22). In the Holy Spirit you have the ointment of Christ.
C "But you have an anointing from the Holy One." Antichrists have an anointing as well. But it is not from the Holy One. It is an anointing from Satan. It is an anointing to do evil. It is an anointing to lead astray. It is an anointing to deny the meaning of Christmas and Easter.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One." That makes all the difference between us and the antichrists, between us and unbelievers, between us and pagans.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One." According to John, we have been anointed to know, we have been anointed to detect lies that lead astray, and we have been anointed to remain faithful and true.
II Anointed to Know
A What difference does the Holy Spirit make in the lives of believers? Listen to our text:
(1 Jn 2:20) But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.Do you hear that? You have been anointed with the Holy Spirit to know the truth.
Do you remember the claim of the false Christians in John's day? They claimed knowledge, they claimed to know the truth. In my first sermon on 1 John I identified them as gnostics; gnosis, by the way, is the Greek word for knowledge. So they claimed to be in the know. They claimed to have a true, secret, hidden, elevated, and superior knowledge. They claimed to be on a higher level than everybody else. They saw themselves as wiser, smarter, more exalted, more knowledgeable than anyone else.
Guess who is really in the know. Guess who really knows the truth. Guess who really has knowledge. Not the gnostics. Not the antichrists. Not the antichrist.
(1 Jn 2:20) But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.You. You who believe. You who confess Christ.
B Now, what do you know if you are a true Christian? Those anointed by the Spirit, what do they know? "You know the truth." "You know the truth." "You know the truth."
What truth? That the baby in the manger is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God. That the eternal Son of God took to Himself a truly human nature. That He lived a perfect life for us. That He suffered the wrath of God for us. That He arose from the grave so ours can be new life. That He ascended to heaven where He rules all things, pleads our cause, and through His Spirit pours out His gifts upon us. We know everything that is necessary for our salvation. We know this truth. We confess this truth about the baby in the manger.
Don't think gnostics and Gnosticism are dead today. Because they aren't. I warn my Catechism students about a group like the Masons because they have secret ceremonies, secret levels, secret knowledge. There are TV preachers and evangelists, Christian authors and speakers, who claim special revelation and insight from God. I remember a rather infamous TV preacher who said to his audience, "God spoke to me last night ..." After 40 years in the ministry I can say God has never once spoken to me. God has never once come to me in a dream or a vision. God has never once given me a knowledge unknown to anyone else.
Our pew Bibles read, "and all of you know the truth." Another possible translation of the Greek: "and you know all the truth." What truth? You know all that is necessary to know for salvation. You don't need any more truth. You may not know everything about Scripture. You may not understand everything about Reformed theology. You may have unanswered questions. But you know. You know what is important. You know the fundamental truths about Christ.
The point? In the Christian religion there is no hidden knowledge. There isn't elevated knowledge. There are no secrets. There aren't mathematical formulas built into the text. There are no acrostics you need to discover. Rather, you all know. All of you know the truth. We know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. There is no other truth to know. Because the Spirit is our teacher.
C Do you hear how inclusive John's language is? "All of you know the truth." All of you. From the youngest to the oldest. Male and female. In church office or out of church office. Raised in the church or a recent convert. "All of you know the truth." Notice how John emphasizes this thought in verse 21:
(1 Jn 2:21) I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it ...You know it. Listen now to verse 27:
(1 Jn 2:27) As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.The Holy Spirit has taught you. So you don't need the teaching of the gnostics. So you don't need the secret ceremonies of the Masons. So you don't need to falsely claim God has spoken to you.
"All of you know the truth." "You know all the truth." You know you must believe in Jesus in order to be saved. You know the baby in the manger is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Unless you know this, unless you believe this, you cannot be saved! I implore everyone here, if you have not yet given your heart to Jesus, if you have not yet acknowledged Him as the Christ, do so now. Or, if you are ready to confess your faith as was done this morning, come and talk to me.
III Anointed to Detect Lies that Lead Astray
A "But you have an anointing from the Holy One." You have an anointing of the Spirit. First, so you know the truth. Second, to detect lies that lead astray (cf 1 Jn 2:26). That's what the goal of the antichrists is -- they want to lead you astray. They want to lead you away from the truth about Christ. They want to lead you away from the truth about the baby in the manger. They want to lead you away from the truth about Christmas and Easter. They want to lead you away from the truth about salvation.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One." So you cannot be led astray. Verse 21:
(1 Jn 2:21) I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.Nothing can be true and false at the same time. So, because you know the truth, you reject lies that lead astray.
Christians have a lie-detector within them. A lie-detector that comes from the Spirit of Christ. Do you know what the lie-detector is? It is the truth! So even if a pastor or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one preached by Paul and the apostles, we right away know it is wrong (cf Gal 1:8). If someone says Jesus is a third-kind of creature -- not God, not man, but something in-between -- you know it is a lie. It keeps us from falling for the lies of the Mormons and the JWs who make Jesus less than God. It keeps you from falling for the lies of docetism which denies the full humanity of Jesus and denies Christmas. If somebody says Jesus did not die on the cross, as the Muslims say, you know it is a lie. If somebody says, like the Roman Catholics say, that you need to add your good works to the work of Jesus in order to be saved, you know better. If someone denies the baby in the manger is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of the living God, you know it is a lie.
B There is a mistaken belief out there that everyone has their own version of the truth. Not so. Truth and lie are not equal. All views aren't equal. All religions aren't equal. All spiritual opinions aren't equal. You can't say to people, "This is my truth and you have your truth." You can't say, "Let's dialogue and learn from each other." That is not acceptable. The only thing we can learn from error is error.
When it comes to truth Christians are intolerant. Or, they are supposed to be. They are intolerant of lies. They are intolerant of heresies. They are intolerant of other gospels. They are intolerant of anything that contradicts the Bible.
IV Anointed to Remain Faithful and True
A "But you have an anointing from the Holy One." You have an anointing of the Spirit. First, so you know the truth. Second, to detect lies that lead astray. Third, so you remain faithful and true. Listen to the last part of verse 27:
(1 Jn 2:27) But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.
Contrast this with the behavior of the antichrists. What do they do when they are confronted with the truth? What do they do when they are in a true and faithful church? They can't stand it. So they leave. "They went out from us," writes John (1 Jn 2:19). They left. They abandoned the true church, the true faith, salvation, the Gospel, the glorious teachings about Christ. They did not remain.
Those of you who professed your faith this morning, let me tell you the greatest heart-ache of the ministry. My greatest heart-ache is those who leave the church and abandon the faith. At one time they stood up here like you did this morning. At one time they professed faith in Christ. At one time they promised to submit to the spiritual authority of the elders and pastors. But where are they today? They are gone. They showed they did not really belong.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One." Why? So you remain. So you remain in the true church. So you remain faithful to the truth. So you abide.
B You have a role to play here. You aren't supposed to be passive. You need to persevere. Or, to use the word in Revelation, you are to overcome. You are to hang on. Hang on to Jesus. Hang on to the truth. Hang on to your Bibles. Hang on to the church.
Parents and grandparents worry when their kids go off to college, even Christian colleges, even seminaries. We worry their faith will get ripped apart. We worry they will come back without any faith. We worry they will cave in to the world.
But true Christians, because they have the Spirit, hang on to truth.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One." So you know the truth about the baby in the manger. So you detect lies that lead astray. So you remain faithful and true.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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