by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I John 2:18-29
I. The other day, one of my boys needed help with a math problem, so I asked him to show me the problem. He brought in his paper on which he was working.
A. “No,” I said, “I need to see the original problem in the book.”
B. “But I copied just as it was written!”
C. I replied that if I used his work then I am likely to make the same mistake, being influenced by what he wrote.
D. He got the book and as I translated the word problem into a mathematical formula, he suddenly said, “Oh, I reversed two things in the last line. No wonder the answer wasn’t coming out right.”
E. You know, I wouldn’t have found the problem if I didn’t go straight to the source.
F. It is no different in my day-to-day work.
1. I talk to many people about various concepts in the Scriptures. They will make points, citing passages to back themselves up, and if I just accepted what they said I’m sure I would be going down some fairly strange paths.
2. It is amazing how easily difficult, twisted false teaching can be laid to rest if you just go back to the source and look at the problem in the context that it is originally presented.
G. To illustrate this, let us look at some popular ideas concerning the Holy Spirit.
II. How do you explain that some people are drawn by the gospel and others hear the same message and are unaffected?
A. The popular answer among charismatic groups is that the difference is the influence of the Spirit.
1. God, we are told, sends His Spirit to certain individuals to draw men to him. (John 6:44)
2. Man is so sinful, he cannot comprehend the teaching of the Spirit. It takes the Spirit, who knows the mind of God, to unlock the sinner’s heart to understand what God is teaching (I Corinthians 2:11-14)
B. Examine the context of John 6:44
1. John 6:41-42 - The Jews were upset about Jesus’ claim that he came from heaven.
2. Jesus told them to quit grumbling about the statement. The reason they would not accept it was because they were not drawn by God - John 6:43-44
3. If we stopped there, we leave a big mystery. Don’t you just love mysteries?
a. A lot of people like to speculate and here is a statement that has brought on a lot of speculations.
b. Yet, the truth is in the verse that follows.
4. John 6:45
a. God does the drawing. But it is a mistake to assume that the Spirit comes down and pulls certain people to God.
b. God draws by the words taught. This Bible is the lure!
c. When a person is willing to sit down and listen to what God has to say, it will produce belief in him that will lead to life - John 6:47
5. This is no different than what Paul taught - Romans 10:8-10, 17
6. “Aw, but that’s no fun. Where is the mystery! Where’s the mystic!”
7. The mystery is that people overlook the obvious.
a. A radio personality, Dr. Dean Edell likes to use the question “Why look for zebras when horses will do?”
b. By that he means when searching for an explanation for a medical ailment, start with common, everyday explanations. It is more likely to be right than the exotic answer.
c. So many want an exotic answer from God, they overlook the obvious answer that is right in front of them.
C. Examine the context of I Corinthians 2:11-14
1. The context starts at 1:18 when Paul notes the difference in reaction to the gospel.
a. The difference comes from the method God used to spread the message - I Corinthians 1:21
(1) People are looking for something more - I Corinthians 1:22-24
b. The message was not of the creation of man, but of God - I Corinthians 2:6-7
(1) The message was inspired by God’s Spirit - I Corinthians 2:10
(2) It was given to the apostles (“which we speak”) - I Corinthians 2:12-13
c. Because of its spiritual source, it is reject by worldly men - I Corinthians 2:14
2. Paul’s point is that the message he delivered could not have been from man because men rejected it.
a. The message was something that men could not have created because it was beyond their ability
b. Men cannot know the mind of God. God must revel Himself to man.
c. Paul makes the same point elsewhere - Galatians 1:11-12
3. The charismatics take a passage dealing with the inspiration of the message and apply it to every man – changing it from inspired teachers to inspired learners
III. The Spirit guides you and shows you what is right and wrong.
A. Charismatics will cite I John 2:20, 27 as proof
1. Exactly what is this guiding is left in mysterious vagueness.
2. Some argue that the Spirit keeps a child of God from sin.
3. Others, seeing that Christians do sin at times and realizing they can’t say the Spirit allowed the sin to happen, say that the Spirit guides, but we can resist the guidance – like having a person next to you giving directions but then going your own way.
B. What exactly is the anointing of the Spirit?
1. It is defined in Luke 4:18-19.
a. Christ, quoting Isaiah, defines it as being divinely dedicated to the teaching of God’s word.
b. In other words, we are speaking of having gifts of the Spirit
c. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit - Acts 10:38
d. This is what Christ or Messiah means: the Anointed One
2. Paul said that the apostles were also anointed by the Spirt - II Corinthians 1:19-22
a. This was promised by Jesus - John 14:25-26; 16:13
b. Paul said they were established (or confirmed) by God in II Corinthians 1:21 - This too is what Jesus had promised - Mark 16:20
c. Much of II Corinthians is Paul’s defense of his apostleship against false prophets. Paul shows his apostleship by the evidence of the Spirit and shows that the false apostles cannot match that evidence.
C. Examine the context of I John 2:20, 27
1. John said it was the last hour when the antichrist would come, in fact many have already arisen. - I John 2:18
a. The context deals with events current to the first century.
b. The prophecy is the one Jesus made in Matthew 24:23-25, 33
c. John is basically saying that the time for Jerusalem’s destruction is getting close.
2. These false Christs went out from among the true Christians - I John 2:19
a. Jude, speaking of these same people - Jude 17-19
3. John said the Christians of this time should not be deceived because they have an anointing of the Spirit (the gifts of the Spirit)
a. One of the gifts of the Spirit was the discerning of spirits - I Corinthians 12:10
b. The same Spirit gave gifts of understanding. These people knew the truth. They would see that a liar is against Christ.
c. This is why John said in verse 27 that the anointing would teach them all things.
d. When God gives a message, it is consistent. He doesn’t tell one person one thing and other person something else - I John 4:1-3, 5-6
(1) Paul gives the same challenge - I Corinthians 14:37-38
4. In other words John is warning Christians in the first century to use their spiritual gifts to prevent them from being persuaded by false prophets as events geared up to the destruction of Jerusalem. - I John 2:26
a. While the principles can help us in our struggles today, we do not have the means of spiritual gifts to aid us - I Corinthians 13:8-10
b. We have to compare what is taught against the words revealed. - Galatians 1:8-9
IV. Phrases and verses can be taken out of context and made to see to say things quite different from what the original source states.
A. The only way to combat these errors is to go back to the source.