2 John 7–11 (NRSV)
7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! 8 Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. 9 Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; 11 for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.
This is my study passage for today. I’ll make a few observations:
- The letters of John are the only biblical documents that use the term “antichrist”. Most people envision something like the beast of Revelation when they hear “antichrist”, but John has in mind something much less obvious and much more insidious.
- The antichrist is any false teacher, more specifically, any false teacher who denies the true humanity of the Messiah. Read it for yourself.
- Christians are susceptible today to the antichrist just as Christians were 2000 years ago. The varieties of heresy have only increased. We need to guard against false teachers who are continually infiltrating the church. Most of these false teachers began in the church, but somehow decided to go beyond the traditional teachings of and about Jesus.
- There is no such thing as secret teachings or advanced content or the key to Christianity. There is only the teaching that has been handed down. We must reject any teaching that goes beyond that and claims to be super spiritual. Therein lies the antichrist.
- These false teachers are not to be received in the church, even in these days of tolerance. This is not about little things that we disagree on, but it is about the very truths of Christianity. People who exceed the speed limit are to be shunned.
- This is a very real threat. We must take it seriously. As a church, we rise and fall together. The work we have done (someday I must write a post about redeeming the reputation of “work”) will be wasted if we allow the antichrist to come to the front.
- If we allow the false teachers a base of operation, we are participating in their deception.
Rather harsh? I suppose. John said it, so I feel comfortable going with it.
God help his church!