Detecting Heresy
Tim Temple

Introduction

One of the terms that is heard from time to time in Christian circles is the word heresy . Webster's dictionary defines heresy as “an opinion or a doctrine that is at variance with the orthodox or generally accepted doctrine, particularly in a church setting, but sometimes applied to other areas as well.”

We probably hear the term heresy less today in a church context than we used to. I believe that is because our society has deteriorated to the point that there is very little these days that is considered heretical, and sometimes among Christians there is less and less that seems completely off the way and out of bounds.

One of the major focuses of our day, as you know, is tolerance—that we should just be accepting of anything that anybody believes or thinks, that it doesn't matter what people believe. What matters really is what they do and how they live and how they treat other people. Let me tell you something: it does matter what a person believes because whether we want to admit it or not, all action is based on belief. If a person has a certain belief system, his actions are going to be ordered by that. That will become evident sooner or later.

That is why in the epistles of the New Testament, we find always the doctrinal section first. The epistles all begin with a third to half of the book devoted to doctrine (the truth of the various principles of God's Word), and then they always include a second or third section which applies to action and how we should put that doctrine into effect because action is always based on belief. Sooner or later that will become evident. A person can claim to believe certain things and claim that he is a certain kind of person, but eventually the truth comes out because action is based on belief. The Word of God is built in that way, and in each of the epistles we find the word therefore and some practical application of the things that God asks us to believe.

As we have seen in our study of this first epistle of John, John was called to be a mender, one who mends things that were broken spiritually, just as he was when he was a fisherman and mended his nets. Everything that John writes that is recorded in the New Testament has to do with reminding us of basic truths and calling us back to that basic truth.

Toward the close of the first century when John wrote this letter, Christian truth was already coming under attack and heresies had come into the church. John's function as an Apostle was to call these early Christians back to the fundamental issues, back to the essentials that Jesus had taught while He was on earth and which those Apostles who lived after Him had continued to teach and develop. John is calling even those first century Christians back to the truth and God preserved His writings for us who are living now two-thousand years plus later because that is still a problem even in this day. People are getting away from the original, orthodox true teaching that God gave.

Underlying Theme Is Fellowship

The underlying theme of this whole epistle is fellowship, and he sets the stage for that in chapter one: Our fellowship is with God and with His Son Jesus Christ, and out of that comes fellowship with each other. Chapter one develops that foundational theme in great detail. Then based on that, in chapter 2, he develops the theme of the conduct that that fellowship with Christ will produce.

To get today's passage in its context, we need to remember this overview of chapter 2. In verses 1-11, he gives us the definition of Christian conduct and that has to do with doing what Jesus would do. What Jesus did was to do always the things that pleased the Father. In verses 12-17, we talked about the distinctiveness of Christian conduct, the thing that sets it apart from just doing good and being good. The distinctiveness of Christian conduct is that it is always motivated by love for Jesus Christ, by obedience to His Word, and so it is not just a kind of doing good and doing right and being the best that you can be. The distinctiveness of Christian conduct is that it is based on Jesus Christ and based on the Word of God.

Doctrine Of Christian Conduct

In verses 18-29, the first section of this chapter at which we want to again look, we have the doctrine of Christian conduct. By that, we mean that all conduct has to have a standard. All decisions, not just conduct, but all of life has to have a standard by which we base our decision-making or whatever. Again, using our own country as an example, one of the underlying reasons for all the unrest in our nation today is that thirty years ago we began, little by little, throwing the standard of God's Word out of our public schools and then, little by little, out of our whole society. Today in our society, even though there are notable exceptions, there are notable politicians and lawmakers and governors who are believers in Jesus Christ and who want to go by the standard of His Word, but on the whole, our society today does not have a standard to go by. The standard of God's Word has been abandoned, and so now it is just whosoever can get the most people on their side to do things their way. We can see the chaos that that is causing in our society.

John says here in these last verses of chapter 2 that the same thing is true in our church relationships—really in all of our relationships, but the focus of these verses is on the church relationships. The first thing we want to look at as we think about this doctrine of Christian conduct is the need for a doctrine about heresy. Look at verse 18:

Need For Doctrine About Heresy

I John 2:

18Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

This whole passage which continues on to the end of the chapter is a great study on how to recognize a heretic. I think there is nothing more needed today in this age of increasing confusion about truth and about what is right and what is biblical. This whole passage which really continues on to the end of the chapter is a foundational study on the difference between truth and error, particularly in the church in religious matters, but really principles that we can apply to all areas of life. This verse sets the stage by giving us two reasons we need to be on guard in this day in which we live and in John's day, too.

There is the time in which we live in verse 18. Then in the middle of verse 18, going on into verse 19, is the trouble that comes from the time that we live in. Let's think first about the time in which we live. In verse 18, he says, “Little children, it is the last hour…” These terms about the last days and the last hours are terms that really get some of us confused, and there is a lot of misunderstanding about this whole concept of last things. I want us to think about what these kinds of terms mean.

John would have been personally present when the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, speaking of the fact that He was going to die but that He was going to come back again. Jesus said in Matthew, chapter 24, verse 26, and John probably had this in mind when he wrote this section:

Matthew 24:

36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

He was talking about the fact that He would come back, but it would be at an unknown time. John would have been present also after the Resurrection. The Lord gathered with His disciples and one of them said to Him, “Are you going to restore the kingdom now?” He said in Acts, chapter 1, verse 7:

Acts 1:

7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

John would have been there that night when He said that. Then in Luke, chapter 21, verse 28, John would have been there again when the Lord added these words:

Luke 21:

28And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

All of those passages taken together indicate that there will be certain indications that Christians particularly will be able to see about the coming of Christ, but no one knows the exact hour and day and time. That is something that God has reserved for Himself. Even Jesus, in His earthly, human body, did not know. But now in I John, chapter 2, verse 18, John says, “It is the last hour.” What does that mean? To understand that clearly, we need to remember that Hebrews, chapter 1, verses 1-2, says:

Hebrews 1:

1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Those verses contain one of many statements about the fact that the last days began when Jesus Christ was on the earth. Jesus Christ spoke in the last days. From the standpoint of God's overall timetable, the end of His program began when Jesus Christ came to the earth. We think about that as a long time ago, literally 2000 plus years ago. We think, “My goodness, the program has been winding down for over 2000 years, and it is not over yet. What in the world? How could we be in the last days for over 2000 years?”

You have to remember that there was some five or six thousand years covered in the Old Testament and perhaps longer than that. So when Jesus Christ came, it was the beginning of the completion of all His plans of redemption of bringing people to Himself, so the last days is a very general term even though when you think about it, in terms of God's overall plan, we can see that the plan is beginning to come to an end. As you read your Bible and you come across the term the last days , you need to remember that that doesn't necessarily mean the last few hours before Christ comes back or the last few days before Christ comes back.

Already in this letter John has said two times that the age to come has already dawned. He says, “The darkness is passing away and the true light now shines,” so we are in the last days of God's program and have been for quite some time.

Turn with me to Matthew, chapter 24. We are not going to read a lot of these verses, but this chapter is an important chapter for you to know about in terms of biblical prophecy because in Matthew, chapter 24, we have a great summary of what will take place during these last days. Jesus was talking to the disciples and He gave them a general outline of what the future was going to be like. He was getting them ready for His death and the fact that He was going away, so He gave them a general outline of what the future was going to be like. In verses 1-8, Jesus said that there would be a period, and He didn't specify how long it would be, of what for the purpose of outline I call the birthpangs of His return . It would be like the beginnings of the contractions when a woman is about to give birth. He said that there would be wars and rumors of wars. There would be nations rising against nations. There would be famines. There would be pestilences and earthquakes. But He said in verse 7, “All these are the beginnings of sorrows. The ending is not yet.”

We can see that many of those things are characteristic of the day in which we live and really have been all through the last two-thousand years. There has hardly been a time in human history since the time of Christ on earth when there hasn't been a war going on somewhere. During that time, we have had two worldwide wars, and we have had other times when virtually the whole world was at war. We have had famines. We read about terrible pestilences and famines even in this day of all the modern agricultural equipment that we have, some parts of the world have terrible famines where thousands and thousands of people die. There is a debate about whether we are having more earthquakes now than we have ever had before or whether we just have the ability to detect where the earthquakes are. At any rate, we can see clearly that we are living in the birthpang age because of these things that He used to describe that.

He also says in those verses that a major feature of that period will be “many who will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ',” and that many would be deceived by those false teachers. By comparing Scripture with Scripture and based on the statement of Hebrews, I believe that this whole period of time in which we are living has been up to now at least, the birthpangs, the beginnings of that.

Then in verses 9-28 of Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus said that the period that would follow this period of the birthpangs would be what I am calling building pressure. It is a time when as bad as things may have gotten during the birthpang period in which we have been living so far, things will get tremendously worse and quickly worse during the next seven years after whenever this birthpang age ends. We call it the Tribulation period, a seven year period when things will very quickly get much, much worse. He describes in verses 9-28 the persecutions that people who are living on the earth at that time will go through. Then in verses 29-31, He says that at the end of those days, the tribulation of those days, suddenly with brilliance and awe inspiring presence—something that every eye will see—He will come back to establish His kingdom. I refer to that as the brilliant presence of the Lord Jesus Christ .

So from the day of John and the other Apostles down through the day in which we live, there has been the birthpangs of the last days. At some point, maybe soon, there will be suddenly a change of pace and there will be this seven year period of trememdous building pressure. It is beyond the scope of this lesson, but I believe and many other Bible teachers believe that we who have trusted in Christ during this birthpang period and are still living will be taken out of this earth just before that period of building pressure, the Tribulation. Then during that period there will be chaotic conditions on the earth of the building pressure, and then at the end of that time that will end with the rebellion against Christ and Christ will usher in His kingdom with His brilliant presence, and He will come and set up His kingdom. The specific details of this talk that Jesus gave are there in Matthew, chapter 24, and you might want to read that passage for yourself when you have the time. This all encompasses the last days. The other Apostles, Paul and Peter and John in his gospel give this same overview of history that Matthew records.

We come back to I John, chapter 2, verse 18, and notice more specifically he says, “These are the last hours.” What did he mean by that? That is a different term, isn't it? Did He mean that Christ was going to come back at any minute? Did He mean that the very last days and hours of God's program were upon them? If that is what He meant, how do we explain that it hasn't happened if John was writing by inspiration because we know that John wrote these things over 2000 years ago?

What he meant was that they were living in a particular time when it looked like the Lord could come back at any moment. If we were to look at verse 18 in the Greek text, we would find that He did not say, “These are the last hours.” In fact there is no definite article there, but the intricacies of the way the sentence is formed the word the does not appear. The sense of it is, and it would be better translated, “This is a last hour.” The article “a” is not in the text either, but the way the text is structured, it would be more legitimate to say, “This is a last hour.” In other words, all down through the years, there have been many times when it looked as if maybe this was the last hour. There have been many last hours—times when it would appear that prophecy had been fulfilled and that this would be the perfect time for Christ to come back. I will tell you from a more emotional standpoint and maybe a more practical standpoint that there have been several times at funerals when I have thought that this would be the perfect time for Jesus to come back. I don't think that at every funeral, but there have been a number of times—my mother's funeral, my dad's funeral and some other funerals where it has struck me, “What a perfect time this would be for the Lord to come back.”

There are times like that all through history, and those times at funerals are more personally based, but if we were to go through the history of the last two-thousand years, we would see there has been a number of times when it looked as if Christ might come back right then. During the first five centuries, there was so much false teaching and the Scripture was so new and so few people had copies of the Scripture in their language that at least five different times the Christian leaders from all over the world of that day gathered in what they called church councils to really hammer out and decide exactly what the Scripture meant. They were in danger of losing the whole thing if they didn't get together and decide on what the Scripture really said and what Jesus really taught. You have probably heard of the Council of Trent and the Councils Nicene and the Council of Jerusalem. Out of serveral of those came creeds that are sometimes recited in churches today. Those were last hours. It looked very much like things were so chaotic doctrinally that this would be the perfect time for Christ to come back, but He didn't.

During the seventh century, the prophet (I say that very loosely) Mohammed came on the scene. He introduced what I firmly believe are totally satanic teachings about God and about the place of Christ and that he was simply a further prophet, one that was later on the scene than Jesus. Those satanic doctrines are still wrecking havoc in large parts of the world today. A lot of the violence that we have in our world today can be traced directly to the teaching of Mohammed, what today we call the Muslim religion.

When the Muslims first began to gather strength back in the seventh and eighth century, it looked like a time perfect for Christ to come back because they were killing Christians everywhere they could, and on and on we could go down through the years. In the tenth century the power of the Roman Catholic Church was consolidated to such an extent that for the next nearly 500 years the Popes of the Catholic Church had absolute control over the world. Kings had to get permission from the Pope before they could declare war. Those were what we called the Dark Ages because the church stiffled learning and stiffled education and surely that would have been a perfect time for Christ to come back. That was a last hour. In the twentieth century, we have had two world wars, and particularly in the second world war, it is interesting how many figures in history would seem to fulfill some specific prophecies of the Antichrist and the False Prophet and the Beast, those wicked satanic rulers who are described in the book of Revelation. Mussolini, Hitler and Hirahito and those world leaders of World War II were some of those figures. The First World War also, but particularly the Second Word War, was a last hour. It looked as if Jesus would come back at any moment, and of course He didn't. So the picture that we get is that there are many last hours down through the years. One of those is what John is writing about.

That illustrates how careful we need to be about setting dates and naming times that God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ has told us no man knows the day or the hour. Often it is done in great hopefulness that the Lord is about to come back. It is done to encourage each other, but many times people will say, “Oh well, we can't know the day or the hour, but we can sure know the season, and we can know the general time.” We need to be careful about that because Jesus said, “Don't waste your time trying to figure that out. No one knows the day or the hour.” Even Jesus Himself, when He was on earth in His human form, did not know the day or the hour. As God, He knew it; but as man, He did not. It is that important; and I think that a lot of energy has been lost in the Christian church down through the years by people saying, even though they meant well, “The Lord is going to come back by next September,” or whatever date they may say.

In preparing for this study, I came across the fact that in Europe in the year 999, in the major cultural center of the world, things were paralyzed for the entire year of 999 because people had the idea and promoted the idea that the Lord would return at the end of that millenium, and commerce apparently was stalled. There was almost a depression, what we would today call a recession, businesswise in Europe because people felt like that would be the time for Christ to return. I hear some talk like that these days and even though I like to be encouraged by that, I am telling you that we need to be careful that we don't put too much stock in it because there have been many times when it looked as if Christ would come back. Jesus said, “When you see these things come to pass, look up,” and that should always be our reaction when we see difficult things going on in the world. We need to be careful that we don't try to be too specific and say that Christ is going to come back on such and such time because it may be a last hour, but it may not be the last hour.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the pace is speeding up. The whole world is moving faster today and the whole world is linked together, so much so that a stock market crash in Japan can affect the stock market here in the United States. So take heart; things are moving faster, and it may be that one of the last hours we see will really be the last hour. That is what John is saying. Because of the times, we need a standard to go by.

Antichrists In The Church

Come back to I John, chapter 2, and look at verse 18 again. In the middle of the verse, we have a second reason we have a need for a clear doctrinal standard. He says:

I John 2:

18,,,it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Look at the last part of verse 18: “…ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists…” Here we have the second reason we need a standard: because of the trouble that comes into our world. It was already there in John's day. Already in John's day there were many whom he called antichrists. He points out something that is probably true for us. It was already true for those first Christians. He said, “You have heard that the Antichrist is coming.” That term Antichrist , as most of you know, is a term that we use to describe the world ruler who is described in the book of Revelation who will consolidate all the kingdoms of the world and will demand worship of himself. Everyone will have to have the number of that Antichrist and all of those things about this last one-world ruler.

John says that you know that man is coming, but instead of focusing all of our attention on him, John says that we need to pay attention to the fact that we already have several antichrists. You notice that it is spelled with small letters, not capitalized. What John is saying is that there are many in the world today who try to take the place of authority in our lives and in our churches that Christ ought to have. The word anti is really just a Greek word spelled with English letters. It is a word that can have several different meanings. It can mean “in the place of.” It can mean “instead of.” It can mean “against.” The way John uses it here is, “There are many in the world today who are trying to take the place of.” They are anti Christ—not so much that they are against Christ, though they are; but they are trying to take the place of authority that Christ ought to have in our churches. That is the specific application that he makes here in verse 18 and on into verse 19. They are in the place of Christ.

Before we look at what he says about those, because he goes on to give us some characteristics of that Antichrist, let me say that even though this passage focuses in on the antichrists that are in the church that we need to be on the lookout for, there are many other antichrists in our world today who are just as damaging and just as important. These principles may help us identify them. I believe that one of the greatest sources of antichrists, those who would take the place of authority that Christ ought to have in our lives comes to us through the media and the fact that our world is so much smaller because it is all wired together now. It is an internet now of television cables and networks and radio networks.

Much of our entertainment today is focused on things that would take the place of Christ in our lives, particularly the comedies, it seems to me, but really many other programs try to tell us, “You don't need to live by the standards of the Word of God. Look at this. Here are some beautiful, attractive, funny people who live completely opposite from what the principles of the Bible are and they have a wonderful life. You don't have to worry about that. Just look at the way the beautiful people live. Just be in tune with society that is going on around you, and you don't need to worry about Christ. Let this humanism be your Christ, have the place that the Bible says you ought to give to Christ.”

There are many antichrists in our world today, but let's look at what he says about these antichrists in the church. First, he says that this will be someone who declares that he is a Christian, that he is declaring the truth of Christianity and stands for all the things that the church has always stood for. This antichrist may be a pastor or a seminary professor; and yet as we analyze his teaching, it becomes clear that what he is doing is substituting things for what the Word of God says.

Heresy Begins From Within The Church

Here in verse 18, John points out three very important things that we need to know about these antichrists. First, in verse 19: “They went out from us.” The first thing that we need to know about the antichrists that John is talking about is that they were originally in the circle of Christian truth and Christian doctrine. That is where heresies have their root. That is where false Christs get their start. John points out at the beginning of the verse that they are not true believers in Jesus Christ. “They went out from us because they were not of us.” But he said, “They do have a place among those who are believers.” Of course, that is what is so dangerous about them. We find them in places of spiritual leadership.

Jesus Himself prophesied this in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares in Matthew, chapter 13. He told the story of how the sower went out to sow the seed of the Word of God, but He said that an enemy came at night and sowed evil seed as well in the midst of the wheat, and the wheat and the tares grew up together. They looked so much alike at first that it was difficult to distinguish between the wheat and the tares. The Lord said that as those wheat and tares grew, the farmer's helpers became concerned that the tares which were really weeds would outweigh the wheat and they asked, “What shall we do? Shall we go and pull up the tares?” Jesus said, “No. Let them grow together until the harvest comes. To try to root them out would also root up a lot of wheat.”

The point that Jesus was making is that along with the good seed, there will also be some that looks good, but is not necessarily good. Paul also warned that heresies would come from within the Church. In Acts, chapter 20, as he was on his way to his last imprisonment, he stopped at the island of Crete and called the elders from the city of Ephesus out. He warned them, “From your number, ravenous wolves will rise.” John is telling us the very same thing in this verse. Heresy begins from within the circle of the true Church. False teaching and false teachers come originally from within the circle of true believers. That is very clearly foretold, so don't be surprised by pastors and seminary professors or people in some kind of Christian leadership, people who call themselves Christians and move in Christian circles, who spread false doctrine. That has always been the case.

The second thing that John indicates as a mark of heresy in verse 19 is that because they are among us, they can easily use Christian terminology in teaching their errors. “They went out from us. They were within us, so they know the terminology.” They know what Christians are familiar with. They know the kinds of things that Christians would want to hear, and they sometimes even use the very terminology that Christians use, but they substitute some other meaning. Probably the classic illustration of this is the book entitled Science and Health with the Key to the Scriptures , by the founder of the Christian Science religion. Her well-known name is Mary Baker Eddy, but her full name would be Mary Baker Patterson Glover Silverstone Eddy. She was married about six times. In this book she uses standard Christian terms, but uses them in such a completely different way that at the end of the book, there is a glossary of terms to give her definition of these Christian terms. The book makes no sense at all if you don't have the glossary; if you have the glossary, it is a mishmash. It is nothing like Christianity whatsoever. Words that in the dictionary are universally taken to mean one thing, she simply redefines as something else. That is a common practice among heretics everywhere today.

Take for example the word resurrection . There are many liberal false teachers who talk about the Resurrection, but if you listen to them carefully enough or talk with them long enough, you find that what they mean by the resurrection is not that Christ bodily arose from the grave and ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. They don't mean that at all. They just mean that Jesus was such a great teacher that the spirit of His teaching was still with us and His memory is still alive in our hearts. Even though He died, He arose over all that. They talk about the resurrection in a way that we don't mean at all.

There are many other false teachings like that. The term evangelism , for example. You will hear liberal false teachers who talk about the importance of evangelism, but if you listen to them carefully, what they mean by that is going to some foreign country and doing relief work and feeding the people who are hungry and helping them get better. Certainly that has always down through history been an offshoot of Christian evangelism, Christian missions activity; but Christian mission activity is not just helping people physically, it is first giving them the gospel and helping them spiritually. Then out of that naturally grows a desire on their part and a desire on the missionary's part to help them physically. These false teachers, because they did come out from among us, use a lot of the same language; and so it is easy to be caught off guard.

There is a third mark of an antichrist in verse 19 also:

I John 2:

19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

This third mark of a heretic or an antichrist, as John calls them, is that sooner or later they will break away from true Christianity. Usually, when they do that, they then begin to insist they are the mainstream of Christianity and the rest of us are kind of in the backwaters and don't really understand the full truth. Usually, they have some new revelation from God that makes them the real Christians. But John says, “They go out from us because they were not of us.”

Let me reiterate that what we are talking about here is unbelievers. John is not talking about people who leave a church because they feel the church isn't meeting their needs, and they go out from that church and find some other church. What he is talking about here is people who are not believers in Jesus Christ, and they take some other track and they begin to teach false doctrine. They were never believers to begin with. They were there in the Church and they participated, but they were not believers in Jesus Christ. “They went out from us because they were not of us.”

The Word Is The True Standard

In the next verses, he comes back to the fact that the nature of the doctrine is the truth of God's Word, particularly as it is focused in Jesus Christ. We will talk about that in next our next lesson. Let me just remind you that down through the years, through all the Christian centuries, there have been outbreaks of heresy within Christianity that twisted and distorted and perverted the truth. They always have the same characteristics that John talks about here. They always start from within true believers and come out and add to true Christian faith, redefine it and eventually become separate and apart from it. In most cases, they call themselves the true Christians, and the real Christians are slanted off as something else. It has happened over and over again, but the remarkable thing about the Word of God is that it outlines and marks out this process for us. We look back through the years and we see that there has always been the truth of God's Word. Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” God's Word has demonstrated that truth. There have been attempts over and over and over again by the antichrists to outlaw the Word of God, and it has never succeeded. The Word of God has always been there as our standard for what is true, and John is going to develop that theme much more thoroughly in the verses ahead.

It is important for us because we see the same kinds of things going on today, not only in the Church, but in the culture around us—denial of God's truth and of God's standards and substitution in its place of other completely different standards. Those standards are always very comfortable and very appealing to human beings. There are standards that say you do not need to worry about a holy life. You can live any way that you want to, and they make a religion out of that.

The wonderful thing is that the Word of God is there, always giving us the true standard, and that is what we need to come back to because God has given us His Word so that we can understand Him and can understand the world around us. We can be warned about these kinds of things and our own individual lives can be brought into line with God's principles which produce not that which is passing away, as John talked about in our study last week; but we have the opportunity, because of the truth of the Word of God, to invest our lives in that which is true and solid and that which lasts. No matter what the heresy around us may be, we can be engaged in that which abides and that which will end up finally fulfilling the purpose of God and history and all along the way, satisfying our souls, giving us stability and peace and joy.

Conclusion

Let us commit ourselves again today to the study and the understanding of the Word of God. Much more important than that, having come to know the Word of God, we need to commit ourselves again today to living by the principles of God's Word and not be distracted by the antichrists in their various forms who are all around us, but protected by the Word of God and the truth in our lives of the Word of God.


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