What about 1 John 1:9? Part four.
1 John 1:9
The opponents in chapter 1
This week we continue our look at the opponents of John in the letter of 1 John.
Last time we examined 1 John 1:6-10 in this regard. Verses 6, 8, and 10 give statements that the false apostles had made. John uses their own words as evidence to prove that they are frauds.
Right away in chapter 1, John establishes his game plan for exposing the false apostles. Use what they say and what they do as evidence that reveals who they really are.
How to spot a false prophet
How do you expose a fraud? By showing that he is a liar and a hypocrite. What he does contradicts what he says.
Jesus taught his closest disciples – including John - how to identify a false prophet:
21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 " Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
False prophets disguise themselves to look like real prophets. They will tell you that they come from God and that they have a special, close relationship with God.
How can we see through their disguise?
We will know them by their fruits. The real apostle will produce good fruit, while the false apostle will produce bad fruit.
Good and bad fruit
What fruit is good fruit, and what fruit is bad fruit?
Good fruit is doing the will of the Father in heaven.
Bad fruit is practicing lawlessness.
This is exactly what John points to in exposing the opponents as false teachers. They do not obey the commandments of God, and they practice lawlessness.
Jesus says more about good fruit and bad fruit in Luke chapter 6.
46 " Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?
The hypocrite says one thing but does the opposite.
This passage teaches that you can spot an evil man by the things he speaks. His mouth speaks of that which fills his heart.
It’s black and white
So, you can spot a false prophet by observing the things he says and the things he does.
Does he practice the truth, or does he lie?
False prophets are liars and deceivers. They disguise their lies with sweet words, hoping people will swallow them whole. A little bit of black mixed with a lot of white until the whole thing comes out as gray.
The only way to unmask them is to make it clear that this is black and this is white No shades of gray.
In other words, you speak in absolute terms so there is no confusion.
Pretty much the entire letter is written this way. We’ll see more of this.
After all, this is war. When you’re on the battlefield, you better know who’s with you and who’s against you. It’s no time to put too fine a point on things.
You are either a child of God or a child of the devil. It’s one or the other.
THE controversy of the letter
The conflict between the apostles and opponents is the controversy of the letter. It is the hub around which the entire letter revolves.
Each of the five chapters in 1 John contains a section that is devoted to exposing the opponents as false prophets:
These sections represent about 40% of all the verses in the letter.
We have already examined the passage in chapter 1.
So let’s continue by looking at the other passages in 1 John that deal with these false prophets.
We will use the technique of “mirror reading” to see that certain statements in the letter mirror claims that the opponents had made.
We’ll look for what they say (their claims , their teaching), what they do (their behavior), and who they really are (their real identity).
What they say and what they do reveals who they really are.
The opponents in chapter 2
In chapter 2, John goes after the opponents with a direct counter-attack. It appears in 1Jo 2:18-26.
In the last verse of the paragraph, John tells us why he has written this passage.
1Jo 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
You can’t miss it. There are people who are trying to deceive the flock. John wrote to expose these wolves in no uncertain terms.
He gives a sharply-worded denunciation of these opponents.
We learn a lot about the opponents from this paragraph. It sets the stage for the other things said about them in the rest of the letter.
25 This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
Liars, unbelievers, antichrists
John calls them “antichrists”(2:18,22). He is not fooling around. There is Christ, and there are antichrists. White and black. You either belong to Christ or you are against Him.
The opponents (referred to as “they” and “them” throughout the letter) went out from John’s community. This showed that they were not really believers, much less teachers with authority from God. (1Jo 2:19)
Here are the lies they were peddling about Jesus Christ. Watch how John turns them around to expose the opponents as frauds.
The opponents denied that Jesus is the Christ. They claimed that Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah .
This shows that they are liars.
They denied the Father and the Son.
They speak about God but deny the Son of God. In other words, they denied the deity of Christ.
This makes them antichrists.
In Joh 10:30, Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." But the opponents rejected this. This proves that they did not believe in Christ. They were not of His sheep. They did not have eternal life (Joh 10:24-30).
Remember: the apostles’ fellowship is with the Father and the Son (1Jo 1:3).
The opponents deny the Son – Jesus Christ – and therefore do not have God.
They had no relationship with God at all.
Even though they had broken away from John’s community, these savage wolves continued to attack John’s flock with their heretical teachings (1Jo 2:26). These attacks were corrosive, eating away at these believers’ assurance of salvation.
So John reminded them that God had promised them eternal life (1Jo 2:25). And God (unlike the opponents) does not lie.
Evidence and inference
John gives evidence – what the opponents say and do -, and draws the inference – who they really are. The mouth speaks of that which fills the heart.
There are two additional passages in chapter 2 of 1 John that further expose these opponents as frauds: 1Jo 2:4, 2:9-11.
These passages focus more on the behavior of the opponents. What they do contradicts what they say, and reveals who they really are.
Recall that light in John’s writings means the life that is in Christ. Darkness is the place of death. Everyone who believes in Christ will not remain in darkness. (Joh 1:4-5, 3:18-21, 12:35-36, 12:44-46).
The one who is in the darkness is an unbeliever.
The opponents profess to know God, but by their deeds – not keeping God’s commandments and hating their brother - they deny Him.
Next time we will continue our study of the opponents in chapters 3, 4, and 5 of 1 John.
Until the next time, we’re all ….
In His grip,
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