I John 2

John 2: 1-4 The Footsteps of Jesus

My little children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” John has a pastor’s heart and it shows in his affectionate term for his flock- my little children. This is a family letter- written to members of the family of God. Notice John does not say or write that you cannot sin. In fact the very next verse tells us what to do when we do sin.   As we have said before – we will not come to a point of spiritual maturity where we live and walk continuously in sinless perfection. We should however be making progress and  sin less. We should not make allowance  for sin. 

But John is letting us know that God has made provisions for us to not sin. How do we do that?  Paul gives us some useful practical solutions that God has provided:


  • “So I say live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desire of the sinful nature.” (Gal.5:16)  Living by the Spirit is living by the power that is available to us in our relationship with the Father and the Son. We appropriate this power by fellowship which is achieved by walking in the light. The abiding life.
  • “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance  with the Spirit have their mind set on what the Spirit desires.” ( Romans 8:5) See where it starts? In the mind.
  • “..people who think we live by the standards of the world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish (tear down) strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10: 2b-5)

It is clear from these verses- that we are in  a battle. The battle field is our mind. It is a battle for the mind- because it is in our thought life that sin begins as a temptation. James tells us how this process works:  ‘ but each is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown gives birth to death.’ ( James 1:14-15)

The flaming arrows of the enemy are aimed at our minds. We are so bombarded daily with those fiery barbs, that we hardly recognize how proliferate they are. If we could see in the spiritual realm as Elisha’s servant was allowed- we would see the sky ablaze with the flaming arrows. How do we protect ourselves?  How do we sin not?  What do we do when we do sin?  All of these questions are what John is dealing with. The Lord has not left us helpless- He has not left us without defense. We have been provided with armor and weapons that are mighty- prayer and the word of God.


Let’s look at a couple of  instances of sin:

First sin occurred in the Garden of Eden. Clear instructions were given by God- do not eat from the fruit of this tree. What did James say- but each is tempted when, by his or her own evil desire, they are dragged away and enticed. Where was Eve standing when she engaged in a conversation with the serpent?  By the tree. Why was she standing by a tree that was so dangerous, to eat from it would cause death?  Because she drawn by her evil desire.
What about the prodigal son?  He evidently was drawn to the foreign country, independence from his father and the freedom to do what he wanted to do. He must have been thinking about it for his plan was to get his portion of  inheritance and go to the foreign country. He had set his mind on what his sinful nature desired and his actions followed.
Now  before John begins his instructions in how we ought to live, what we should know and do- he lets us know what we do when we sin.  “And if any man sin, we have an advocate ( a lawyer, a defender) who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.   We know that Satan is an accuser who accuses us before the Father day and night.  He sifted Peter and he accused Job and said to God- if you will let me get at Job I will make him curse you.
What is the defense that our attorney, the Lord Jesus uses?  He tells Father God these sins have been paid for, He has paid for it Himself. He suffered the stripes intended for me, He paid the price in full with His Royal , Sinless blood. And God was satisfied. (Isaiah 53:11)
It goes all the way back to the Exodus 12, where the blood of the lamb was placed on the outside – on the door post. God said: “When I see the blood I will pass over you”. The blood is for God. The Israelites were told to remain inside their houses. His Holiness demands that a sinless life should be given for a sinful man. God requires this and God supplied it. When God sees the blood of the Lamb of God He is wholly satisfied and passes over us.
Now there is a change in subject, as John moves from how God is light and we are to walk in the light to the subject of God is love and we should walk in love.
2:3: “ We know that we have come to know Him, if we obey his commands.” John told us in the gospel of John, chapter 15 that Jesus said: “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.’  The secret to walking in the light, to living the abiding life is obedience. And the secret to obedience is love and the process of love comes only from knowing.   Here is a very simple check list- we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments. Again John is not talking about sinless perfection but by a life that characterized by obedience and sinfulness is out of character. The Bible has often been called a love letter to us. In it God has revealed Himself and we come to love Him because He first loved us. Paul wanted to know the Lord. And if you want to know Him, you will spend time with Him. He has told us who He is through His names.
God desires to be known as Father. We are told God is Light, but He is also Love.

He is also  known as : Provider, Protector, Healer, Helper – and these are only a few of the more than 700 names that reveal God to us. If you want to know Him- He has made Himself known in His Word by His Names.

“Some trust in chariots and  some in horses, but we trust in the Name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7.

Do you know my Heavenly Father? Do you know His Son, My Savior? If you do not – you have missed the very purpose for which you exist- to know Him. And to Know Him is to love Him. This knowledge of God constrains us to obey His commandments. This new nature in us desires fellowship with God and longs to please Him.
This brings us to the next practical test:

Verse 4:  The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.  This is a person whose profession is not seen in their practice- whose belief does not affect their behavior. Disobedience and habitual sin describe their life style. Any believer can fall into sin- but if you are a child of God you will not remain there. No more than the prodigal son could remain in the pig pen- because he was not a pig but the son of his father.
John does not mince any words- he said the person who claims to know God but his walk does not match his talk is a liar and  the truth is not in him. Truth is not just a concept or right vs. wrong- truth is a person. The person of Jesus Christ who said if you continue in my word, you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. And if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. ( John 8) The truth has no place in a person whose life is characterized by as a lifestyle of disobedience. Those who have the Son have life- those who do not have Him, do not have life. The Truth has no place in them. Remember Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
If you are a believer- a born again believer with a new nature, you will desire not only the word of God- but will want to order your life after the counsel of God.

“ Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” ( Psalms 1: 1-3)  This is what a believer does.  As believers we do not look to the world to provide counsel, instruction or define for us what is ‘ success.’ We look to the Word of God.  We order our lives after His counsel. We trust Him with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding, in all our ways we acknowledge Him and He shall direct our paths.
Now as we examine our spiritual health in the light of God’s word, you may be experiencing some spiritual hypochondria. We all have a little bit of hypochondriac in us. And the enemy who accuses you will sweep in with doubts. So let us make sure we have a desire and willingness to obey Him. If you have this desire, it is a sign that you have been born again. Your actions have changed because your attitude has changed. You do not behave as you once did… you do not think like you once did.
In the next verse (vs 5) John tells us the result of this desire for obedience: “ But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him/her.” The Revised Standard Version translates this as “the love of God is perfected.” What is the benefit of obedience? If there is a willingness to obey God then the love of God is being shed abroad in our hearts. Do you realize what that love of God is doing? It is leading one to desire to please the One we love. Just as we desire to please  the ones in our lives we love. And what God wants this love to do is to lead us into continuous fellowship with Him. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Phil. 2:12-13)  When we get saved we have a  desire to get into  the Word of God, as a new born babe craves milk.. Where did this desire come from? The Holy Spirit  who now indwells us. As get into the Word and now comprehend it because the Teacher guides us in truth and we can discern spiritual truths, watch what happens. The Holy Spirit begins to shed the love of God abroad in our hearts.(Romans 5) We really and truly love Him. This love compels  us to obey. This love also causes us to grieve when have sinned and not obeyed God.
What happens when one gets saved? – old things pass away and are passing away. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old  has gone and the new has come. Will there still be sin in our lives?  Yes, and John has told us what we must do when it occurs.
Verse 6 gives us another way we can examine our faith: “ Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” Did you ever observe a child trying to step in the steps of their father in the sand or snow?  The stride is too far apart and the child has to grow into it. Can you imagine what it was like for the disciples and those who actually lived  to see and hear the Lord Jesus when He was on earth? To see and hear His preaching and teaching, the miracles would have made one wonder – how can this be? In fact it was this desire to know the secret of how He lived that brought Nicodemus to Jesus that fateful night recorded in John 3. Do you remember what Nicodemus said when he approached Jesus?  Nicodemus said, “ We know you are a teacher who came from God. For no one can perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (John 3:2) Nicodemus wanted to know what was his secret- how did He do those things?

We can never match the life of Jesus but we must remember what His Life showed us and continue to stride in it. Jesus showed us how humanity indwelt by God behaved. Referred to as the last Adam, Jesus showed us how God intended humanity to behave. During his days here on earth, the Lord was tempted in every way we are, but without sin. He did this by complete dependence upon the Father. He did not rely on His Deity, for it was hidden in the fact that He did not exercise it. Jesus said ‘the son of man does not do these things of himself. That is I am not doing these; it is the Father who dwells in me . He is doing them through me.
What Jesus showed us in His walk is a pattern, John says we must walk in. What is the pattern?  To do the Father’s will. To seek His will and depend upon Him. Why do we not walk in this pattern more? James said ‘ you have not, because you ask not. Are  you asking God to reveal His will so that you can walk in it? Or are you asking Him to reveal His will so you can decide if His Will is suitable for you?  Are you obedient to what you know God has already shown you to do? This walking in the light is quite revealing isn’t it?  Sometimes when we come out of a dark place into bright light, the light can be painful.
So now you know the secret of how Jesus lived his life as a man on earth. It does not make it any easier and something in our mind wants to say- but He Was Different- He Was God in flesh.  Is not God in you and in me?
Paul tells  us: ‘ Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
You see:  I do because He did. I am because He is.
I am to walk as He did. How did Jesus walk? As a man living his life in complete dependence upon His Father. In unbroken fellowship.
So are we to do likewise.
Put off lying.

Put off anger.

Put off stealing.

Put off unwholesome talk.

Put off bitterness, rage, anger and slander.

Put off your old self.
Put on the new.

You have been made new in your attitude and your mind.

Put on your new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
It is time to grow up. To become mature.

Mature in our mind, our relationships, and in our fellowship.
But everything is made visible in the light. That is why it is said:

‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Be careful how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the opportunity because the days are evil. ( Ephesians 5)
No wonder Paul did not consider himself to have arrived at the point of spiritual maturity as he compared himself to the one who is the plumb line, the Lord Jesus Christ. But do not let the enemy discourage you . Forgetting what is behind you( it is covered by the blood) and straining toward what is ahead, press on toward the goal. And what is that goal? To know Christ and be like Him. To be all He created me to be in Him.
This should absorb our lives into a single-minded focus.

Do not be discouraged or disheartened for your short comings.

When you have sinned- confess it and turn from it. Believe He has cleansed you as He is just and faithful to do.
We can grow and mature spiritually as we trust Christ, learn more about Him and obey Him. We may stumble or fall, but we will not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholds us with His right hand. Understand that we  will not ever be sinless- but we will sin less. One thing I learned in AA…was to deal with life one day at a time. If I begin the day in His Word beholding His glory and drawing close to Him, I have started out right. If I have a conscious awareness of God at all times in my life, I have within me the very source that Jesus did as He walked this earth.
How?  Out of love. That is the key… that is the one thing we must do for we are told the two greatest commandments are : to love the Lord , thy God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and secondly to love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments all other commandments are based.
Paul tells us:  Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ( I Cor. 13:13)
In eternity in heaven – our faith will be made sight. Won’t need faith. Our hope will be fully realized. All that will remain is LOVE. And it is love that will be the governing principle of  all that God and His redeemed people are and do.
We just need to keep following the footsteps of Jesus.

I John 2 Cont. : The Heart of the Matter. {I John 2: 5, 7-11,15}


“ Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)
“ Guard your heart with all diligence for out it come the issues of life.” ( Proverbs 4:23)
“Who needs a heart- when a heart can be broken.” ( Tina Turner)
“Only love can break a heart- and only love can mend it again.” ( Gene Pitney)

I John 2: 7-8 : : Brethren( Dear Friends) I am NOT writing you a new commandment  but an old one, which you have known from the beginning. The old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in Him and you,  because the darkness is passing the true light is shining.”
That John is talking about the commandment to love the Lord thy God and love your neighbor as yourself is evident in the following verses as John talks about loving your brother versus hating your brother. He also discusses love of the world versus love of the Father

We talked last week about knowing God’s will. The Lord could not be any clearer regarding the God’s will and it is summed up in this statement by the Lord:
Matthew 22: 35-38:  “ One of them, an expert in the law, tested  Him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
When you turn back to the oldest laws, the 10 Commandments- you see the actions there speak of these two commandments. You and I must understand there is something God wants from each of us. God wants my love and my worship. He does not need anything else from me – money, intellect, my talents. He desires my love for  Him. He desires I worship Him in spirit and in truth.
The new commandment, John refers to here, is the one given by Jesus the night before he was arrested after He had washed the feet of His disciples. He said, ‘ a new commandment I give unto you- that you love one another as I have loved you. By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” ( John 13:34-35) Jesus had demonstrated the type of unconditional love we are to exhibit. A love that defers to others.
But first things first- the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, thy God completely.
This may sound amazing  but A.W. Tozer says “ God wants to be wanted.”
A quick look at the 10 commandments reveals how this love is manifested in our lives:
The first four commandments deal with my love for God:
Loving Him means He is always first:


  • No other gods before Him. No false gods.
  • No idols that we make for ourselves.- for He is a jealous God. No false worship. ( most idols come from the worship of pleasure and relationships.This was the essence of Baal worship in OT.)
  • Do not misuse God’s name- take it in vain. As either a curse word or take it lightly. His name is special, holy and precious to us because it speaks of His Identity and character.
  • Remember  the Sabbath and keep it holy. How do we keep it- we worship Him in spirit and in truth. ( We humans were created by God with a desire to worship- God wants to make sure we do not worship the wrong thing and miss out on the blessings of a personal relationship with Him. )

We were saved to serve and worship. Ephesians 2:10 tells us we were created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has ordained for us to walk in.

The next six commandments deal with how we love our neighbor as ourselves. Starting with parents – whom we are to honor and obey. The only exception being when obedience to them would  mean disobedience to God. To honor them means to respect them and treat them with courtesy. We are not to give false testimony about our neighbor in gossip, half-truths or lies.
We are not to murder, commit adultery or steal. Nor covet your neighbor’s spouse, or possessions. Envy begets resentment. In fact a covetous person is also an idolator.
If you want more clarification on who your neighbor is, read Luke 10 the story of the Good Samaritan. Or read the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
So here is a recap:

  1. We are to love God more than anyone or anything else in the world. It is all about Him. It is not about me. How do we show love? Not just to God but to anyone?  We defer to them. We spend time with them. We sacrifice for them.
  2. We must love God completely. With all our heart, soul, and mind. All our hearts- how can you trust God with all your heart if you do not love Him with all your heart?  Romans 10: 10 says: “ If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with the heart that that you believe and are justified and with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”  Your heart is your emotional center. If believing in the heart is a critical element of salvation and justification- then the heart of matter is the matter of the heart.
  3. Love God with all our soul. Your soul is the essence  of who you are- your personality, your temperament. God created you as a one-of-a-kind, unique person. He desires your love, devotion and worship. You worship in spirit and truth- you worship Him in your own style with all your personality.
  4. Love God with all your mind. This is your intellect, where the thought process takes place. The mind can be renewed and we can have the mind of Christ as we transform it with the Word of God. A reprogramming process.  The heart is where love takes place, expressed with and through our unique personality(our souls)- it is with the mind and our thoughts that are absorbed with thinking of the one we love. It is a natural process. When you love someone- you think of them constantly.

Therefore let us discuss the heart- for it is mentioned often in the scripture and just so I am clear we are not talking about the miraculous physical organ known as the human heart. We are talking about our emotional center. As quoted earlier- this is where all the issues of live spring from.  This is where intimacy, romance and love take place. This is where adventure, meaning and purpose dwell. This is where joy and courage and sacrifice live. As well as sorrow and pain.
The heart is also where desire is formed. Desire is defined as a strong impulse to have, be or do something. It is thing that dreams are made of- athletes feed on- coaches preach on and parents look for in their children.
Desire is a powerful force. Who gives you desires?  God or the world, the flesh and the devil.
So desire can lead us to the life God wants for us or it can get us into a heap of trouble. James speaks of the evil desires of our sinful nature that drag us away into sin. God wants to give us the desires of our heart. This desire from God will lead us – will be our guide to the life God has for us. It is His love for us that places this desire in our hearts and it is our love for Him that leads us to discover this desire.
God never lays out His whole plan for us but do you know why that is? It is to build our faith in Him.
Desire and love are intertwined. What you desire in your heart is what you treasure- for Jesus said where your treasure is there will your heart be also.
The desire can be discovered and can be ignited or fanned into flames by the One who created you- by the One who knows your every thought. Remember the disciples on the road to Emmaus? When they finally realized the stranger who had joined them was the Resurrected Lord and He shared the scripture with them- what was their reaction?

“ Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?”
Coaches, athletes, successful people talking about a ‘burning desire.’ Let me ask you this question: Do you have a burning desire to be all the Lord wants you to be? Why do we not have burning hearts- hearts aflame with desire?


  • Don’’t spend time with the Lord and in His word.
  • Live as if defeated by sin. We do not obey Him.
  • Live self-centered lives- the ‘ what’s in it for me life’.
  • We are luke warm- apathetic. You know how someone or something becomes luke warm? They get away from the source that made it hot.

When I look back at the gospels, I realize Jesus quite often asks this question in several different ways- ‘ what are you looking for?’ What do you want me to do- he asks the two blind men.

Ask, Jesus says and it will be given to you.

Seek, He says and you will find.

Knock and it will be opened.

Do you see how Jesus arouses the curiosity, the possibility, the potential to desire- to have hope- to dream. Jesus is saying to us – think about it- what do your really want in your life?
Hope deferred makes the heart sick says the scripture.

Dreams can turn into nightmares.

Don’t get your hopes up- well meaning people tell us. Until finally we decide it might be safest not to hope at all. Tina Turner has a point- who needs a heart if hearts can be broken?

I only quoted the first half of the verse regarding  hope deferred. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. ( Prov. 13:12)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. ( Hebrews 11:1)

My hope  and your hope should be built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
Know the song from Les Miserable- “ I Dreamed a Dream.”? It is the song of the show- that captures the essence of misery. A young single mother fired from her job at a factory for refusing the sexual advances of her boss finds herself on streets without the means of supporting herself and her daughter.
I Dreamed a Dream.
I had a dream in time gone by

When hope was high

And life worth living

I dreamed that love would never die

I dreamed that God would be forgiving

I had a dream my life would be

So different from this hell I’m living

Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.
“ The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” ( John 10)
Jesus said to so many and in so many ways has said to us: ‘what do you want? What do you desire?    Do you thirst for something you do not have- then come to me and I will give you to drink from a well that never stops flowing so you will never thirst again- I will quench your desires.
Andrew and John went home excited that day they met Jesus-  they said – ‘ we have found Him- the Messiah.  The woman at the well ( John 4) went back to the village and said I have found a man who told me everything I ever did.  Have you made that discovery? Have you found the One who can give you the desires of your heart?
David give us the instructions for receiving the desires of your heart in Psalms 37. It is a passage about trust- patience and obedience.
David,  via inspiration of the Holy Spirit instructs us:

  1. Don’t worry or fret or be envious of evil doers’ success. It is short lived- it will wither like the grass. This is also true of difficult times in our life- they will pass.
  2. Remember God is faithful. We experience His faithfulness when we : trust Him and do good. We experience His faithfulness also when we: delight ourselves in Him; commit our ways to Him; when we are still and wait patiently.
  3. Lord will lead us. He delights in a man’s way- He orders our steps and though we stumble we will not be utterly cast down- for He upholds us with His right hand.


Don’t  know about you- but I have a couple of problems here: committing our ways to Him; being still and waiting patiently. We want to help God arrange our lives don’t we?
Again it is directly related to the matter of the heart- do you really trust God with all your heart? If you love Him with all your heart- then you can trust Him with all your heart. Not saying this is easy.
You may be asking what does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord? And how do we do this? Delight means to take great pleasure; or a source of great pleasure; or to satisfy greatly.  To delight yourself in the Lord means to take great pleasure in His company, His presence. You can’t do that with sin in your life- so obedience is a must.
You cannot delight yourself in someone you do not know and you cannot know anyone except by spending time with them. Once you begin to know God – you begin to experience what life was meant to be. The fog lifts, the sun shines brightly- the things of this world grow strangely dim.  They no longer hold the fascination they once did. “ This is eternal life ( real life- what life was meant to be) – to KNOW the true and living God and the One whom He has sent.” ( John 17:3)
Remember God will not command you to do something He will not empower you to do.
So if these two commandments are what everything else is based on- let’s concentrate on Loving Him first.  Guess what- Jesus said those things you are worried about- trying to arrange- He will provide those if you seek Him First. ( matthew 6:33)
Now about loving your neighbor as yourself. About loving- not hating your brother. These verses are not talking about liking or disliking a brother or sister in the Lord. There will always be people we like better than others because of personality, temperament, or behavior. For those people we find less likable- we must remember we have a choice and a source. We have within us- power. We have access to His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.( Ephesians 1) We have access to that power.
We also have access to His love- the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts. ( Romans 5) In fact, in I John 2: 5 we are told” “But if anyone  obeys my word, God’s love is truly made complete in him/her.”  Complete implying maturity. Spiritual maturity comes through obedience and one of the fringe benefits is the love of God being made complete in our lives- filling in the crevices of personal dislike that comes from our flesh.
And we have His word and His Faithfulness.
“ Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” I Thess 5:24
So when tempted not to care or be concerned with someone we do not like- ask God to give us wisdom- which He promises to do. So we can choose to  behave and express love in the way He wants us to express it in our deeds, actions and words. This type of love is always a choice not a feeling. Just because you do not feel like it- does not make it hypocrisy- because you have chosen to depend on God to do as He wants you to do based on your love for Him and His love for the other person. Affection for the other person does not have anything to do with it.
So listen to what Jesus says as He softly and tenderly calls you.

“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
Is he knocking on the door of your heart?
Then open the door and let Him into your heart.
For the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

I John- ( I John 2: 15-18) “ The Last Hour”

It is recorded that W. C Fields was lying in the hospital in his last days. His wife came into his room and caught him reading a copy of the Bible. Why Bill, she asked, what are you doing reading the Bible?  “ Looking for loopholes, he is quoted as saying. He realized he was running out of time.
Voltaire, the avowed atheist who predicted the Bible would be obsolete in another 100 years is said to have told his doctor he would give him ½ of all that he owned if he could live another six months. Time was now more important than possessions. His nurse, a Christian woman, is quoted as saying his screams at the end so bothered her, she vowed she would never care for another dying infidel.
“ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father but of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abideth forever.”

(In the NIV, verse 17 reads:  “ The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”)  Dear children this is the last hour;  and as you have heard the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.”
John writes with a sense of urgency. An urgency that comes from realizing life is short and we must make the most of it. Accumulating stuff takes money and as we all know- time is money. We exchange our time for money so we can get more stuff. Why?
Jesus told us to not lay up treasures for yourselves here on earth, where rust and moths corrupt and thieves break in and steal but instead to lay up treasures for yourselves in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and thieves do not  break in and steal. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6)
Jim Elliot, the missionary killed by the native tribe in South America said : “ a man is no fool to give up what he cannot keep for that which he can never lose.”
Want me to sum this up?  Life is not made up of stuff. Life does not consist of the abundance of your possessions. Stuff ends up in the junk yard, in  a garage sale or in storage. Someday your life will be put in three piles of stuff- stuff  someone else wants to have, stuff to be sold and stuff to be thrown away or given to Good will. Walk through your house- and put a blue tag on everything that will last and a red tag on everything that is temporary.  We have played the game of life by the world’s rules for the most part. We have raced around the game board of life which is a calendar and all of a sudden we come to the end of the game and we realize it is all going back in the box. What really matters? This is what John is trying to tell us- this is what Jesus was telling us about treasure and the heart. Now as you place the tags on everything that is temporary- what is eternal?  God.His Word.  Other People. My soul. Deeds of love.
How did we get in this situation we are in today? How did we come to develop an  economy that depends upon people acquiring stuff? What is it about the human nature that wants to keep score? What can we do to make sure we are not wasting time on things that do not matter. Isn’t it sad that we seek to make our lives happy and fulfilled with stuff. And for those who cannot afford the stuff – they can borrow the money to get stuff that will be worn out before they finish paying for it.


First let us understand what is meant by the word- ‘world’ in these verses. John is not talking about the earth, the seas, the trees and mountains. The physical world that was created by God. He is talking about an organized system.  We are talking about a culture and civilization, a society. This system is headed by Satan, thus the title the prince of this world. A title given to him by none other than the Lord Jesus.  In fact, he offered this world system and its kingdoms to the Lord Jesus if he would bow down to him. It is this world  we are not to love. It is this world that is anti-Christ except for what is a shrinking minority for few enter the narrow gate.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:2 we used to ‘ walk according to the course of this world.’ What is the ‘course of this world’?  It is a world filled with greed, lust, selfish ambition, fleshly pleasures, deceit, lies, danger and evil. It is a godless world, that hates the Bible. This is our contemporary culture and civilization that we live in.  Many of us were shocked when our President speaking  in a foreign country described America by saying- ‘ we are no longer a Christian nation.’.  But he may have been closer to the truth than we would like to admit.

Do you understand what this world system is becoming? And how it  came to be?
When our forefathers,( the Puritans and Pilgrims who were devout Christians) came to this country they soon referred to it as the ‘new world’ in comparison to the ‘old world’. The old world was  Europe mainly from which our ancestors and forefathers came. They came for the most part to get back to the basics of Christian faith which they saw as being deserted, perverted and abandoned in the ‘old world’. Today Europe, the old world, is fast becoming the nation of Islam. Mosques out number Christian churches and their impact on society is evident in everything from their schools to their legal system to the treatment of women In England, they have their own separate judicial system, called ‘sharia.’ You see wherever  God is left out- the enemy will come in to fill the void. The enemy gets us to leave God out and in His place acquire possessions that appeal to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life.
Islam  is not just a religion- it is a political ideology. The very word Islam means submission.  Islam wants to control and dictate every area of life from what one eats, drinks, when they pray, to what they wear. They intend to rule the world and they are doing it by mass immigration and higher than normal birth rates. It will result in Europe being 25% Muslim in just 12 years. In another generation, there will be 50 million Muslims in the USA.  They have already become a group that politicians and government must contend with in Europe. They will soon become an important ‘swing vote’ in our country.
Islam is a false religion. Satan knowing that man has a desire to worship has always been very clever at devising religions that feature worship that man can seemingly control or enjoy. Whether it is worship of self and pleasure or the worship of a religious system- we see he is clever at creating the religions of the world that offer alternatives that fit man’s sinful nature. Atheism does not have much to offer mankind. Besides Satan desires to be worshipped so he wants to have a religion that he is the one who is worshipped. Islam is a religion that appeals to man. For man is in control of  his wife and his children. He is the king of his household the master of his domain.  A woman is considered a second class citizen, she cannot be educated, drive a car or show her face in public in many of the Mid-East Muslim nations. (Police who look for violations of these laws.)  In their holy wars, a man who dies in holy war against infidels- he is immediately transported to heaven where he is tended to by 72 virgins.  To use  a religion to attack another is as old as the Pharisees who cried out for the crucifixion of Jesus. It is as old as Baal worship which featured pleasure as the object of it zeal. It is as old as Sodom and Gomorrah whose citizens told Lot to mind his own business- this was their society and he had no say or right to tell them what they could or could not do.
Now what has this tangent to do with this scripture.  Because we are seeing what the love of this world is bringing upon us- that our children and grand children will face. For you see when you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you.


I believe the enemy is making his move that will lead to what John calls here 2000 years ago- ‘ the last hour’.
The enemy’s three prong attack has always been since the Garden of Eden – the lust of the flesh- a preoccupation with satisfying our physical needs; lust of the eyes- a craving for things- materialism, the love of money; and pride- an obsession with our status and importance.  The enemy always attacks the Word of God. He attacks the authority,(did God really say); the accuracy; and acceptability.
Why would a born-again believer be attracted to a world system that is anti-Christ, anti- God, anti- Bible?  Because we have become conformed by the world. We are compromising the truth- re-interpreting things in light of today’s society and culture. We go along to get along. We don’t want to rock the boat or be criticized or ruin our chances for a life of peace and success. We are busy accumulating stuff and keeping score and we do not want to be kicked out of the game.
Are you familiar with the term ‘post modernism’?  Post modernism is the philosophy of our world today including in America. Simply put it is a philosophy that affirms there is no objective or absolute truth, especially in the area of religion and spirituality. When we as Christians confront this world system and belief with a truth regarding the reality of God, His Son Jesus, creation, sin, the cross and resurrection and salvation, heaven and hell- what is this world’s system response?  Their philosophy is exemplified with this statement: ‘ that might be true for you – but not for me.’  While this statement could be appropriate when discussing favorite food or other such opinions- it is not true when applied to reality because it confuses opinion and taste with truth.
Postmodernism has as its goal to correct what it views as being wrong with the world by eliminating absolute truth and making everything relative to an individual’s beliefs and desires. As a result it has become increasingly popular to say that one religion is as good as another and you cannot say your faith, Christianity is better than another faith, such as Islam or Buddha, or Hindu or whatever. Is it working in the USA? Well consider that in the last two years one of the best selling non-fiction books was written by a professed atheist entitled:  God Isn’t Great Anymore.  Can you imagine a publisher publishing such a work a generation ago? And can you also imagine it would become a best seller?
Why this fascination with this philosophy? (Which by the way is as old as the Garden of Eden.) Because it eliminates sin and guilt. It provides mankind with a loophole for his sinful actions- by claiming there is no absolute truth- there is no one religion superior to another. It allows man ( sinful man) to justify his actions and not be burdened with guilt.
So here are the dangers we see arising from this world system:


  • Relative truth vs. absolute truth. No longer believing in absolute truth- truth is relative. As a result- the Bible is banned from schools as is prayer. Sin is no longer sin. Man has become enlightened – professing himself to be wise, he has become a fool.
  • Loss of discernment: no absolute truth- make up your own rules; no standard by which to measure. No distinctions between right and wrong. A generation ago- abortion was considered a crime punishable by law. Today it is considered a woman’s legal right. They claim they have the choice whether to have a child or not. The truth is  they have a choice about whether to have sex or not; after they become pregnant the only choice they have is to have a live baby or a dead one- but they will have a baby.
  • Pluralism: You cannot say one faith or religion is superior to another- for one’s opinion is as valid as another. ( Fox commentator – Tiger Woods try Christianity for what it offered that was superior to his Buddhism. Remember how he was attacked by many for suggesting Christianity was a superior religion .(Reminds me of what Paul said to the Galatians:  “Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Galatians 4:16)

With pluralism, no religion has the right to pronounce itself right or true or the only way. But from the Book of Genesis to Revelation- there is no other way to obtain salvation Jesus said :” I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, NO MAN comes to the Father except by me.”  You cannot make it any clearer— the world system denies this truth- does not want Christianity to proclaim this truth.

Jesus knew this 2000 years ago when he said: “ This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
Today they do not even bother to do their deeds in darkness- they do them in broad daylight because of their pride and vanity they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. We have become a world out of control. Paul writes in Romans 1:32:  “ Although they know God’s righteous decree that those  who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do those very things, but also approve of those who practice them.”
What we are seeing in the world today is the extreme of sin where men and women applaud sin rather than regretting sin.
This is the world we are not to love.
What must we do as Christians to turn this tide?  2 Chronicles 7: 14 calls us to do the following:
“ When I ( God speaking) shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people who are called by my Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  This is God’s way to renewal.

  1. Humble ourselves before God. Bow down to Him. Humble yourself brings about a broken and contrite spirit. Need to meet  His conditions.
  2. Pray to God and seek His will. Seek His face means to seek His approval. Align our will with His will.
  3. Turn from our wicked ways. Stop doing what we know is wrong.
  4. Result is God will hear our prayers, forgive our sins and heal our land.


Do we believe this?
In the meanwhile how do we resist the pull of this world system? How do deal with temptations?
Jesus shows us how in Matthew 4 where he is tempted in all the same ways we are tempted but without sin. When we speak of being tempted the same way we are talking about lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life.
Notice first of all in Matthew 4:1 that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted/tested by the devil.  God permits temptation. A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.
Here are some observations regarding this encounter:

*First  of all notice the little conjunction ‘if’. If is defined as : “ in the case that; whether something is or was true.” Do you realize that sin or obedience rests on hinge-“if” That little word is like a hinge that swings either way. It can create doubt – make one waver. When the serpent saw Eve waver- he  swept in with boldness and called God a liar.
Elijah asked the people ‘how long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; if Baal is god follow him.” ( I Kings 18).  Elijah placed a clear choice before the people. Our Lord Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. It is impossible.
Notice that Jesus did not enter into an intellectual argument with the enemy. He was the Son of God but he defeated satan with the same weapons we have at our use. The Word of God- which is powerful and alive. He met all three temptations with Scripture.  It Is Written followed by a specific scripture that dealt with the temptation. Jesus met the enemy head-on and get this…he did it as a man, not God, with the weapon we have at our disposal, the Word of God.
All our effort to resist temptation will be weak and ineffective- powerless unless they are powered by the Holy Spirit through the constant reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God.
This is how we transform our mind. So we are commanded to set our mind on things above. Without the Word’s influence on our minds, we are open to anything the enemy throws at us.
Watch and pray  warned Jesus lest you fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. ( Matt 26)

Proverbs 4 makes it clear:  Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it. Do not pass by; turn away and pass on. We need to avoid the path of the world that lead us into temptation. That is why we were taught to pray by the Lord Jesus- lead us not into temptation- but deliver us from evil.
You know what we have to do as individuals? We have to decide what is the object of the game?  What constitutes winning and losing in life? Why don’t we ask the One who invented the game of life?    Jesus told us not only in Matthew 6 where to invest our lives he makes it clear in a parable we call the parable of the rich fool. ( Luke 12: 16-21)

The object of life is to be rich toward God. Don’t spend your life racing around the monopoly board acquiring stuff, it all goes back in the box. It is temporary. You can’t beat the house. But you and I can be rich toward God. Your life and mine can be rich toward God with God’s help we can be a pleasure to Him, we can enjoy His company and you and I can make God smile as He calls us not only His children- but His best friends.  You see when the game is over, all that matters will be God’s assessment of our lives. The Hollywood star, the rich and famous will stand on level ground before God with the school janitor. (Read Luke 16 account of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar)

Being rich toward God begins with a personal relationship with Him through faith in His Son’s finished work at calvary.

Being rich toward God means loving Him with all your heart, soul and mind and loving your neighbor as yourself.

Being rich toward God means discovering your gifts and passions and doing good work to improve this world.

Being rich toward God means sharing your stuff with others.

Being rich toward God means making the temporary the servant of that which is eternal.

Being rich toward God means every day is a gift to be cherished and not wasted on that which will not last. Live as if it is your ‘ Last Hour.’

So do not be sad- be sober and vigilant.  Do not be discouraged – be determined.

I John 2 19-29 Practice, Practice, Practice.

Story of Pablo Casals. A writer showing up to interview world-famous cellist, Pablo Casals was told by his assistant Mr. Casals was practicing. He learned that he practiced everyday from 3- 6 hours. Amazed, he asked Mr. Casals why he still practiced so much. Mr. Casals said: “Because I think I am making progress. If I do not practice one day, I will know the difference. If I do not practice the second day, the critics will know the difference. And if I do not practice the third day, the audience will know the difference.”
In the first chapter, John tells us in verse 6: “ If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (Another version reads- “ we do not practice the truth.”  Practice means : ‘ to do or perform frequently; to apply.”  Then in the second chapter, John writes ( verse 29): ‘If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has  been born of Him.’ Another version of this verse states- ‘everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.”  Practice, Practice, Practice. Why? Because Practice makes perfect. But we must practice what is right in the right way.
We need a teacher to show us the truth and  righteousness and the right way to practice those.. God has provided our teacher in the Holy Spirit.

John tells us, his readers in the opening of his letter we must as believers maintain fellowship with the Father and the Son. How do we do this? John tells us the key in maintaining this fellowship is walking in the light. Abiding in Him and His Word. Obedience to what we know is the truth.
John cautions there are three dangerous areas:

  1. Ignoring the light.
  2. Denial of sin.
  3. Rationalization of sin.

John further tells us we maintain this fellowship when we love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbor as our self.  He also tells us we will not hate our brother nor will we love the world and the things of the world which we also previously discussed.

In our last lesson we read in John’s letter to the church his concerns regarding the last hour. John wrote: “ Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that The Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”
Let us keep in mind the purpose of John’s letter. He wrote this letter to believers to get them back on track- back to the basics of Christian faith. John is a mender of nets. The Gospel that they received from Jesus which would make them fishers of men has developed holes in it. Heresy has always been one of the enemy’s attacks on the Word of God. John wants believers to recognize truth and error, which he refers to as light and darkness. He wants them to grow in genuine love for God and one another. In fact, in I John 5:13, he clearly states: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW you have eternal life.”
The AntiChrist is the one coming at the end of the age who will declare himself to be God as we read about in Revelation.  But the fact is from John’s time to this day, many antichrists have come and these are a sign of the last hour approaching. A study of church history will show that many antichrists have come and gone through the ages. There are two meanings that go along with the prefix anti. One meaning carries the thought of ‘instead of’ or ‘a substitute’. A false Christ. The second meaning of anti is ‘ against’ so an antichrist would be ‘ against Christ.’  In fact John describes those in chapter 2 verse 22: “ It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is an antichrist- he denies the Father and the Son. And John concludes in verse 23: “ No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” So John has referenced to the coming AntiChrist, the world leader who will in the future rise to power who will be the very embodiment of evil, empowered by the devil himself. He will be both political and religious leader of the world. But there will be and have been many- antichrists through the years, those who walk away and do not return.
John next describes the actions of those who are antichrist in a very disturbing verse:

“ They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”  Who were these people? How does this apply to us today? What about loved ones who have professed faith in Christ having asked Him into their hearts and made public professions and been baptized…sometimes more than once. Is once saved- always saved also known as eternal security true?  The short answer based on many scriptures is yes. Here is one  of my favorite examples of the promise of eternal security: “ He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.: ( Hebrew 7:25) So you see as a believer I am not depending on my perseverance but on the perseverance of the Savior.
One might wonder about loved ones and family members who profess to be Christians but their profession does not match their walk. They are not regular in attending church, Bible study or other things that we as born again Christians consider to be the actions and behavior that are identified with the Christian life and walk.  They may be carnal, or they may have never experienced true salvation. Those who have never experienced true salvation may be counterfeits- tares among the wheat. But here John is referring to those who started out with professions – but have since stated they do not believe Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
Certainly no one  individual can judge another’s heart. We can challenge another and our selves as professed believers to examine ourselves to see if we or they are in the faith. ( 2 Corinthians 13:5); it is entirely another matter to set oneself up as another Christian’s judge. We are told in Matthew 7: Judge not or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, and with the same measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s  eye and pay not attention to the plank in your own eye?   (Gina is reading a book where the author said when you begin judging others you are ‘ whistling for the devil to come after you.’ )
We are however, commanded to maintain purity in the body of Christ by exposing those who profess to be Christians who live in  CONTINUAL sin. The Lord gives explicit instructions what to do with such a person in Matthew 18.  We go first privately to that brother or sister we know is living in continual sin. If he or she refuses to hear, we go again with one or two more people from the church; if this fails we are to tell the church. If this person then fails to repent- let them be as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer- that is treated  as an unbeliever.
Since John is writing to help believers know their faith is genuine and they have assurance – let me do likewise by these very words from our Savior recorded by John in John 10. “ My sheep listen to my voice.( Do you listen to His voice?) ; I know them and they follow me.( Are you following Him?) I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Note also in these verses of assurance are two truths regarding a believer- if you are His sheep are you listening to his voice? If you know Him are you following Him? Do you have a desire to do these things?

This means that Jesus Christ will see to it that the one who is born again will not go back and live in sin. He may fall into sin, he may fall into gross sin,(look at King David’s sin with Bathesheba) but Jesus Christ has undertaken his recovery. He will go after the lost sheep until He finds it. And some shepherds have had to result to breaking the leg of a lamb that was prone to wander to teach them to stay close to them. The Lord will do likewise- because sin always has consequences. It is interesting in the Luke 15, the shepherd went after the lost sheep; the woman swept the house and shone the light to find the lost coin; but the father did not go after the prodigal son. The Lord knows what action to take and sometimes He lets us hit bottom….the pig pen in order for us to come to our senses.
In the section we are looking into today, John is addressing another critical area: maintaining the truth. He tells us how to recognize heresy and how also to know that you know that you know the Truth. And remember that Truth is a person, the Lord Jesus is Truth.
Now let’s look at what we know based on scripture is going to occur and has been occurring since Jesus ascended to heaven over 2000 years ago and the Church began on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell on the people like fire and 3,000 were saved. ( Acts 2)
Listen to what the Lord Jesus said, what Paul warned us of and what John is telling us.

The Lord Jesus said in this world you would have trouble- but rejoice, for He has overcome the world.

Listen to this prophetic word from the Lord in the Upper Room:

‘ In fact, the day is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. They will do such thing because they have not known the Father or me.” (John 16:2,3)

Paul told us about the end times:  “ There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Always learning but never coming to the truth.” ( 2 Timothy 3)
Paul also told us: “ I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock, Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on guard.” ( Acts 20:29,30)
And the Lord Jesus told us in His parables about the sower and the seed. He told us in Matthew 13: “ The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But at night while he was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds (tares) among the wheat and went away.” He is telling us this is going to happen. We can expect heresy, distortion and perversion of the truth.
Today there are millions of fanatical Muslims who would kill a Christian or an infidel and believe they are doing a service to Allah, their god. Jesus said it is because they do not know nor believe that He is the Son of God and they know not Him or his Father.
We can certainly identify our times as close to what Paul describes as the behavior of mankind in the last days in 2 Timothy 3. Wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. Speaking in similar sounding language as we Christians do- using some of the same terminology but with different meanings.
John tells us how to recognize heresy. And we are to be on guard for it often comes in wrapped in half-truths.
First he is telling us as are these other truths I have quoted all tell us this will be a repetitive cycle. It has been happening on regular cycles since the first century of the church . If you study the history of Christianity, you realize there have been attacks from various sources.
From the first century with the heresy John was dealing with to the third century where Christianity was recognized as the official religion of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church. The rise of the Muslim faith and its leader Mohammed in the 7th century, the Crusades, the Holy Wars, the Dark Ages until the Reformation, Martin Luther and on it goes up the 20 century and the God is Dead movement, the New Age until the 21st century where once again we see blood continuing to be shed among Muslims, Christians and Jews. And the popularity of not believing in God and the Bible is growing. Also we see people picking the god of their choice who fits their belief system. And we see where false teachers in wolves in sheep’s clothing now have large churches and even larger television audiences.
So the first sign or trademark of heresy is it comes in repetitive cycles always denying the Word of God as the absolute truth.
The second sign of heresy is it begins within the Christian church. The tares among the wheat. The wolves in sheep’s clothing. They started out with us- but they did not belong. Adrian Rogers says a faith that fizzles was flawed from the first. They looked like us- they were hard to tell apart from the real thing until they left and did not come back. Judas was not suspected of being anything but the real thing. In fact, they chose Judas to be their treasurer. Peter denied the Lord, cursed he ever knew Him, but Peter came back, didn’t he?  Judas did not.
The third sign is they use Christian terminology but with different meanings. They reinterpret certain words whose meaning they change in subtle ways. Jesus did not resurrect bodily, His Spirit was resurrected and the spirit of his teaching lives on. Almost sounds good and religious, doesn’t it?  But be careful, for Paul tells us “ if Christ be not risen, our faith is in vain.”  Bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the proof He is who He says He is. They also substitute evangelism and the presentation of the gospel by doing good works, like the Peace Corps. Feeding the hungry and providing for those in need is important- but it should come with the gospel not instead of the gospel. The word prayer has come to be identified with you are in our thoughts… prayer is going on our knees and on our face before a Holy God not thinking positive thoughts about someone who is in need, or sin or lost.
Finally you recognize heresy, because they will finally leave. They went out. They had built such a following by watering down the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation. They talked less about sin, hell and punishment and talked more about : “ how to live your best life now”; how to discover the Secret of Life and tap into the Power within. As far as confronting the absolute truth about sin- their reply is- ‘ we just don’t go there. People are hurting and we don’t want to add to their hurt.
Now here is a real danger. Imagine the person seeking for truth who watches one of these wolves, these antichrists on television or walks into their church and hears what sounds good. Since they do not have the Spirit to guide them in truth- they are depending on this false teacher. It sounds good- it promises much and it is not all that hell fire and damnation and scary stuff. What’s not to like? Here is the danger, they are ever learning but never coming to the truth. God wants all men to come to the truth.  They will try as best they can to discover how to live their best life- but without any power to do so, they will become frustrated and decide that this ‘Christian stuff doesn’t’ work.” They have been led astray by a false teacher and false teaching- and will continue to turn from one philosophy to another. They have looked at what they thought was Christianity and have decided it has nothing  to offer or what it offers does not work .
Gandhi is quoted as saying about Christianity:  “ I like your Christ- but I do not like your Christians.”
But we have the Truth. We should be shouting it from the housetops— but somebody else is shouting it from the rooftops. And if we don’t wake up and get up we will hear the call for prayer that they are hearing now in predominately Muslim Europe, England, Canada, Asia, Africa as the fastest growing religion which is anti-christ in its denial that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one, the Son of God is calling out from the very roof tops.
Of course there is a large percentage of people who are just plain apathethic..don’t care, don’t want to  know about our Jesus- think they know already or think it is all foolishness.
But John says you and I as believers know the truth. It has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit..  Without being born again of the Spirit – the Word of God is a puzzle we cannot figure out. But when we are indwelt by the Spirit we are anointed by the Spirit. John says : “ I am writing these things to you about those who will try to lead you astray. 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.” Abide in Him and His Word and He will abide in you. Make His Home in your life. Be the guiding light and truth.
When I came to my senses  on September 16, 1977, I look back and realize I had been searching for something that would make me whole, happy, and successful.  At first in my immaturity, I was like the Prodigal Son. I wanted to have fun, be happy. I did not want to hurt my parents or disappoint them. I wanted to be successful, but I also wanted to have fun, enjoy life, – eat, drink and be merry was as close as I had to a philosophy. But that might be fun for a while- but it also destructive. I believe I was saved when I was about 11 years old. I base this on the Word of God and my experience. Never base anything on your experience only, but judge your experience in relation to the Word of God. I made a decision, walked down an aisle, was under conviction, knew Christ was the Son of God and I confessed with my mouth the Lord Jesus, believed in my heart that God has raised Him from the dead. The Word of God says something interesting with that verse in Romans 10 – it says ‘ thou shalt be saved.’ Salvation is immediate, sanctification a process and glorification the end result. This phrase- thou shalt be saved reflects the perseverance of my Savior who saves to the uttermost. It is a unique use of the future tense with an emphasis or command directed at that person. That person being me, that command coming from the Lord.
You see the Parable of  The Prodigal Son is a three part parable all having to do with the rejoicing in heaven over the repentance of a sinner. It states the prodigal came to his senses ( Niv) the KJV states ‘ he came to himself.” He came to his real nature. He was the son of his father, not a pig. The dog returns to his vomit, and the sow who has been washed returns to the pig pen to wallow.(2Peter 2) In other words, their nature had not been changed. Mine had. The Lord let me come to a place where I would come to my senses -to myself. Why did it take so long? Because sometimes prodigals get to a far place that takes a while to get back.
But just as most mothers and fathers don’t’ give up on their children ; we have a Savior who does not either. He saves to the uttermost.

And so from 17 until 27 I wandered off to the far country. But at my 10 year high school reunion, I realized that I was not what I wanted to be as I looked at the life of my fellow classmates, many of whom I had grown up with. I was determined at that time to become successful. To put away childish things- to grow up. I began to work hard and when the opportunity arose soon after I was determined to be a success- no mediocrity for me. If you had looked at my book shelf you would have found the books that reflected by new philosophy- how to become successful, how to tap into the power within and all those self-help books that I read, underlined and practiced.
But remember about practice?  If you are practicing the wrong thing, the wrong way- you are going to be come good at doing the wrong things.  In other words- what you believe does affect your behavior. The object of your faith is more important than the amount of faith you have.
So I did experience some success according to the world in those few years after I started my journey of self help philosophy. But the object of my faith was my faith in me and my abilities. But as my life began to unravel, I found myself out on a balcony of a 10th floor hotel room. I was ready to end my life. Then like the prodigal son, I came to my senses. I got down on my knees and prayed a desperate prayer. The Prodigal had come to himself  to his true nature.
I now had a new self-help book to read, called the Word of God. It was absolute truth. It was no longer a puzzle. I discovered that only the Word of God revealed to one as a believer by the indwelling Spirit will allow one to live a changed life. Here I would discover how life was meant to be lived by the One who created life.
So like Pablo Casals I need to practice the truth and righteousness every day.

Like Pablo Casals- I believe I am making progress.

But like Pablo Casals I know if I take a day off from practicing I will know the difference. Take two days off- and you will know the difference.
John says continue practicing.

Continue in Him, so that when He appears, we may be confident and unashamed before His coming.
Practice, practice, practice. For practice makes perfect. And when we see Him, face to face we will be like Him. PERFECT!  “thou shalt be saved- to the uttermost.”