Fellowship with God #17: Obedience in the last days Pt6 1Jn 2:26-29
As John concludes this chapter in which he has been teaching the need for obedience of Christ’s commands in order to have fellowship with God, he brings us to the climax of the age—the return of the Saviour and its implication for the Christian in this context.
He has already indicated the character of the ‘last hour’ with the working of the anti-God agenda of all that composes the world to produce ‘the antichrist’. Despite this, the little children of God are to press toward the mark of His return, seeking to obey Him and walk with Him at every step. This is the course that God’s people are called to walk.
I AN EVIL AGENDA TO WAYLAY THE CHRISTIAN.
The Scriptures identify our enemies, v26. Those meant by them are those he has spoken of in the immediate context. We are to connect them to the world, the many antichrists who have departed from their number, those who are liars because they deny Bible truth, the antichrist himself. It is the purpose of God that we identify/know our enemy! We can only do so by the written word. It alone is to define the threat faced by God’s people.
An agenda of seduction into error. Cp Matt 18:12, 24:4-5, 2Tim 3:13. The plan in view is to entice and deceive God’s people out of the straight path of obedience that is marked by fellowship with God and leads to a blessed experience of His return. This is the pressure of the last days.
The Christian is the target. You are the object of this focus. You are not immune! The vulnerability of the Christian is suggested again by the use of little children, v28.
II THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT PRESERVES FROM ERROR AND MAINTAINS FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.
The gift of our Father, v27. It is He who gives the Spirit to His children. Cp Luke 11:13. The Father gives the Spirit in the new birth. He also gives the Spirit in an ongoing sense for the obedient life that He has called us to. It is in this sense that we are to actively ask for the Spirit. How much we need His unction and power in the last days!
The ministry of the Spirit, v27. This is clearly to apply truth to God’s people.
A unique impact of truth produced by the Spirit. Clearly, this is not ruling out the need for instruction under Biblical preaching. Simply, the Spirit does what no man can do! Cp Matt 16:17, Gal 1:11-12. There is an instinct for the truth of God in the new man that is not the result of human instruction.
Fulness. He teaches all things that compose the truth.
He applies truth only—no lie.
Continually and without change. He teaches as He has taught in the past. His teaching does not waver or vary. Some will seductively try to justify error by claiming that the truth has changed. Note that He is said to abide, v27. Where the Spirit enters He remains. The child of God has the resources of the Spirit to combat the deduction of the age!
The end result. The product of the Spirit’s teaching ministry is fellowship with God. Cp v24.
III MOTIVATION TO AN EXPERIENCE OF THE SPIRIT AND THUS TO ABIDE IN CHRIST.
He is coming again, v28. This truth must never be far from the mind of the Christian in the last days. It will stabilize the believer in the face of powerful seduction.
We will stand before Him. Cp 2Cor 5:5-10. John indicates that this appearance will either be with confidence or shame. Confidence is primarily a boldness to speak. It is a readiness to answer for our work done in the Master’s absence. To be ashamed is to feel and exhibit a sense of disgrace. Cp 1Cor 3:11-15.
To abide in Him is the only way to serve Him acceptably. We abide in Him through the experience of the Spirit’s work, applying truth and energizing obedience of that truth. It is only in this way that we can expect to stand before Him, confident in the acceptability of our labours.
Righteous living is the evidence of the new birth. Doing righteously is to be equated with abiding in Christ and experiencing the power of the Spirit. This is an important aspect of the motivation to seek the power of the Holy Ghost and so to abide in Christ. It is evidence that we are born of God! This is for our comfort and assurance. Those who wander into error and are seduced by the world, by losing out with the Spirit and with Christ, lose out on assurance.