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Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to 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.[1]

Who is John writing about when he called a man who denies Jesus is the Christ an antichrist? Read the context of the letter, for he is talking about those who didn’t just leave the fellowship of believers to start another fellowship or because of change of address. If that is who he meant, then every Christian who ever left a fellowship to join another or start a new fellowship is an antichrist. He is speaking specifically of a group who were once believers of Jesus Christ. And why does he call them liars just because they deny that Jesus is the Christ? There are multitudes of men and women who are not habitual liars, but speakers of the truth who deny the Lord, but are not liars as such, just unbelievers in the Name of the Son of God, and are subject to condemnation. But they are not liars. A man whose character is such that he speaks the truth when asked, but does not believe that Jesus is the Christ, such a man may deny Jesus Christ, but he is not a liar.

So, who are these liars who deny that Jesus is the Christ? They are a group of a type of Christian who went out from the church. The reason that they are liars, as John would call them, is because whilst in the church, they had professed testimonies of experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ, but now they deny Him. They are liars because they deny their own testimony of Jesus Christ. They are not liars because they did not believe the testimony of others. They are liars because when they left the fellowship then denied Jesus is the Christ, they had in truth said that they were lying all along when they were testifying about Jesus during their time in the church.

Whatever reason brought them and made them leave is irrelevant. What they never had was loyalty. Their faith had no loyalty at all to Jesus, and as such, they are the true betrayers of Jesus. That is why John said, “Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son,” after he has testified that the Father and the Son had saved him.

Some immature fellowships might misuse 1 John 2:19 for those whom the Lord calls out and sets aside to be with Him, like Paul and Barnabas were set aside by the Holy Spirit, calling such brothers antichrists. They are in error, because they do not know the scriptures or the power of God.[2] In fact, they may be so ignorant of Jesus’ words that they do not realize that Jesus once rebuked Peter when Peter enquired of John, “Lord, what about him?”, to which Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me.” [3] Many sincere brothers and sisters have been unjustly hurt in this way.

No, what we are now speaking of is a creature that has fellowshipped in our midst, who has testified to us about his faith in Jesus Christ and how he has experienced the Lord’s power in his life through signs, wonders and miracles, and how he has heard the voice of the Lord instructing him the way he should go. And then leaves, going out from us to be found later denying that Jesus is the Christ. Such a creature is an antichrist, a creature that has drunk of the blood and eaten of the flesh and been witness to the power of God, yet denies the Christ.

That is why I have always said the false prophet is one of us who sells out to the beast. It would now appear even the beast, or rather the antichrist, the person, not the system, is also a man who has been in fellowship and has testified for Jesus only to deny Him later without repentance. A man who says, “I have done nothing wrong!” has nothing to repent of, and a man who has nothing to repent of cannot practise the words of Jesus, even if he hears them. And a man who cannot practise the words of Jesus is like a man doomed to build his house on sand. The journey of practising the words of Jesus begins with the first word, not words that are in the middle or at the end, just because it suits you. The group to whom Jesus said, “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from Me, all you evildoers!”[4], never entered the Kingdom by the way of repentance, but jumped the wall by faith only. Loyalty is tested when after you have received everything, would you still deny Jesus?

As such, what is ‘proof of loyalty’?

It is amazing that it is James the Younger who wrote to the Jews in his letter: You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.[5] It seems that despite his costly mistakes and his obvious love for the Law and the heritage of Israel, James the Younger had a side to him that is called redeeming loyalty. He wrote to the Jews: Is any of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him…[6] I don’t know if James was deliberately bagging the Jews to send their sick to the cult of the Heretic, Jesus Christ, so that they would be healed. But, in a way, he was showing loyalty to the church, although I don’t know if he had understood the consequences of his blunders in the book of Acts.

John puts it this way and more reliably so: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.[7] It is obvious that John is not speaking of the world that “God so loved that He sent His One and only begotten Son to save it.”[8] For John describes the world as everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does…[9] which has nothing to do with the world God created. One does not have to be a Greek scholar to see that John is speaking of the world of man—not the world created by God that we are not to love.

As such, friendship with anyone who loves the world of men and seeks to perpetuate it is disloyalty to God—even treason. Now, it is one thing to pray for forgiveness of the sins of those we hold something against because they have hurt us personally. However, what do we say or do to those who have not wronged us, but have denied the Lord Jesus Christ?

You see, for the sake of political and cultural etiquette, it is no longer the ‘right thing’ to say or do in the eyes of men, that those who do not believe in the Name of the Lord are condemned. As such, rather than offend them, we deny the parts of Jesus’ teachings that may be offensive and portray us as uncivilised, fundamentalists, narrow, religious, or whatever term they may use. Herein lies the cut-off point—herein lies the test of Peter, the true test.

Peter testified he would never deny the Lord, but he did when the crunch came. Many would say that was the test that Peter failed. Yes, it was one of the tests of loyalty that Peter failed. However, the real test of loyalty came much later. To understand this, let us look closer at Peter and Jesus’ relationship.

Peter declares, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” to which Jesus blesses him, saying, “Blessed are you, Simon…”[10] and even gives him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Now, if you are Peter, this would have been a high point in your relationship with Jesus. The Father has given you a revelation and Jesus has blessed you and given you something called the ‘keys of the Kingdom’. You as a person must now feel close to Jesus the Man—you have every right to think that you are His friend, perhaps closer to Him than the others. You are glowing inside with love for the Lord. So, when Jesus starts teaching about His betrayal and suffering which is to come, you feel obligated, and you may even feel you have a right to take Him aside to rebuke Him saying, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” And for your well-wishing and good effort, you cop this: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men!”[11] – Probably said loud enough for the others to hear. How would you feel? How did Peter feel?

You get over that. So later on, when Jesus says, “This very night you will all fall away on account of Me,” you try to make amends, saying, “Even if all fall away on account of You, I never will,”[12] to affirm what you had said earlier at the supper when Jesus said probably the scariest thing you have ever heard, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers!” To which you had replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with You to prison and to death.” And Jesus had replied to Peter, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today; you will deny three times that you know Me.”[13] Now on the way to the Mount of Olives, Jesus says the exact same thing again to your effort to reassure Him in front of the other ten: “I tell you the truth. This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times.”[14]

Worse than that, it comes to pass. He (you) do deny Him three times. Even though He prayed for you, it is as if He did not pray for you not to deny Him. You also remember you walked to Him on water and you fell in, in front of the eleven, and now… what would you be feeling? The crucifixion happens—but worse that that—the resurrection happens, and you miss it! It is a woman who comes with the news, not you! Imagine what Peter is like by now—you seemed to have drawn close to Him, close enough for you to rebuke Him when He said those foolish things, and look at what you have received for your troubles! Some friendship you have!

The resurrection days are passing in front of you like a dream and to clear your mind, you go back to what you know, to what you did before this Man called Jesus Christ came into your life and turned it upside down. Then, even despite that, you catch nothing, and there He is on the shore. John says, “It is the Lord,” and you become so excited that you jump out of the boat and swim to shore not wanting to wait for the boat to be brought in. You want to show Him you love Him. When He said, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught!” you are the first there to climb aboard to get the net ashore. The boys had not even bothered to drag the net ashore.[15]

Then suddenly at the end of the meal, Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you truly agape (love) Me more than these?” What can you say? What do you say? After all that you have said and done, you say, “Yes Lord, You know that I phileo (love) You.” [16] What does He expect from you… agape? No, phileo will do for now. Peter failed the test of loyalty… A test so hard I doubt anyone of us would have passed it either, without proper preparation.

The ‘proof of loyalty’ is this… not that you do not deny Him… not that you do not speak out of turn… not that you do not make a fool out of yourself… no, the ‘proof of loyalty’ is that despite all the ups and downs of your relationship with Him, you only have agape for Him. That your love for Him is not dependant on revelations from God, compliments from Jesus or rebukes from Jesus, not affected by the display of your weakness, which Jesus did not prevent even though you know He could.

The test of loyalty is whether you can say, “Lord, you know I agape You.” But what is the proof? That proof lies in being what the most disloyal of people are not. The most disloyal of people to Jesus are those of 1 John 2:18-23. John continues to speak of them in his second letter saying: Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.[17]

The ‘proof of loyalty’ then, is to be the person who acknowledges to the world that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and will be returning soon in the flesh, even if it is not the politically or socially acceptable thing to say, even if it loses you your so-called friends, your family or your job. And your loyalty to the Lord is then truly seen in your attitude to these people and your friendship with them. Who do you agape more… the Lord or the world? That’s the test and the proof. Sadly, not many of us can even begin to qualify to be asked that question by the Lord, for we never even drew near enough to Him for the Father to give us a revelation or featured so highly on the enemies’ radar that Satan would seek permission to sift us.

At best, we may have phileo love for Him, then it is easy to be good-times friends when all things work out the way it should. So, do not scatter what has been given to you to the dogs or pigs from now on; those creatures that fellowship with you and impress you with their testimonies only to prove themselves to be the liars that they are when they deny Jesus Christ.

Better to be a liar who never denies that Jesus is the Christ, for all men will be proved liars, than a man who prides himself on telling the truth but denies his own testimony about Jesus later. No one compelled you to testify in the first place, so why deny it later.

Those of you who seek better days and things for yourself, do not shrug back the challenge of the Lord, waiting to prove your loyalty with a test and then to ask you to your face, “Do you truly love Me more than these?”


 

[1] John 2:18-19,22

[2] Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24

[3] John 21:21-22

[4] Matthew 7:23; Luke 13:27

[5] James 4:4

[6] James 5:14

[7] John 2:15

[8] John 3:16

[9] 1 John 2:16

[10] Matthew 16:16-17

[11] Matthew 16:22-23

[12] Matthew 26:31,33

[13] Luke 22:31-34

[14] Matthew 16:30,34

[15] John 21:7-11

[16] John 21:15

[17] 2 John 1:7

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