Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who Is This Antichrist?

You will notice that my blogs will be published a little later each day for the summer period as our school year has come to a conclusion. Now my only responsibilities are to pastor my church and to play with my children so I will take the opportunity to regain my rest. I hope this is not too much of an inconvenience for you.

Someone has recently said, "We live in interesting times", which I believe was a great understatement. It seems every day we are hearing about natural and man-made disasters. We are witnessing greater political unrest. Our weather has gone all wacky. Earthquakes seem to be a daily occurrence now, even touching where I live yesterday. It seems we are sitting on a huge bomb that is about to go boom! Add to this the crazy teaching that is being propagated in and outside of the Church. There are actually people who call themselves Christian who deny the deity of Jesus Christ. They deny his virgin birth. They attack the accuracy of the account of the cross. They scoff at the empty grave. They perpetuate their own teachings which is nothing more than lies and speculation and what is sad about it is the fact that people are falling for it.

In the past we have heard much about the Antichrist and Hollywood made a bit of money off of it, playing on some people's fears. However, now that the real danger is at hand we are not hearing much about it because instead of it being one person it is a great many people who have that "antichrist" spirit. John describes it for us:

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:22-23)

We can deny Jesus with more than just our mouth. There are "ministries" that acknowledge Jesus but then never rely on him and promote positive thinking and self-will. They lift up the power of the individual, our ability to save ourselves, and promote self determination. They use a lot of visualization and proclaiming and claiming. They use little cute phrases such as, "I am a success and will do successful things today". Some use religious jargon to try to camouflage what they are but it all boils down to a self-centered attitude that promotes self and individualism. We who follow Jesus know that our strength is not found in us and our abilities, no matter how much we visualize, proclaim and claim. Our strength is found in Jesus Christ and him alone.

Remember the temptations Jesus faced from Satan. All of them involved Jesus denying himself and falling into the trap of self; taking care of his own needs, self-preservation by avoiding the cross, and drawing attention to himself with the spectacular. However, Jesus never denied who he was, never left the Father aside as he pursued his self-interests, never strayed from the will of our Father. He fought back with the truth, with the Word, which demonstrated to us how we can stand our ground against the spirit of the antichrist. John told his readers:

I am writing these things to you about those who are trying 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. (1 John 2:26-27)

We have been anointed with the Holy Spirit so that we may have the mind of Christ to understand the will of the Father. We have no excuse for falling into the trap of the antichrists. If we fall into such a trap it is because we decided to listen out of our own selfish nature. Everything about the followers of Jesus is about the denial of self and living a life of service. We love and hope for everyone, enemies as well as friends. We desire blessings over everyone and work to allow people to see Jesus in us. Our greatest desire is for people to experience the heart of the Father. Not so with the antichrists; they just want to see people's dependency on Jesus broken by people's dependency on themselves. Take a good look at yourself today and determine who is influencing you and for what purpose. Be sure that you are standing on the only Rock who can save us; Jesus Christ.