Surrounded By Antichrists

Title: Surrounded By Antichrists

Bible Book: 1 John 2 : 18-19

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Antichrist



Before our Lord ascended to the Father He challenged Simon Peter to feed His sheep. Most Bible students can fill in the blanks here as they recall the exchange: “Simon, do you love me?”

“Yes Lord, you know I love you.”
“Feed my sheep.”

This is where most sermons on the passage seen to end, but it is not where Jesus stopped. He added:

Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish (John 21:18).

I have heard people stop with this verse and suggest that Jesus was telling Peter that in his old age some would have to lead him around because affirmatives associated with aging. Again, this is not what Jesus was saying. He continued:

This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me" (John 21:19).

Now, let’s continue with John 21:20-21:

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man (John)?”

Now, let’s see how Jesus responded to Peter (John 21:22-24, (NASB):

If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple (John) would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”

Even though he does not use his own name, John here gives us that little something extra we have come to expect from the beloved apostle. For example in the account of the feeding of the five thousand men plus women and children, John tells us that the grass was green. A small detail, but one that tells us he was there. Here, John adds an editorial comment:

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things..., and know that his testimony is true.

John did not remain until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but he did remain alive and active until he fulfilled the purpose for which the Lord called him - and preserved him. After all the other Apostles had been martyred, John was inspired to write the Fourth Gospel, the evangelistic Gospel account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. That was somewhere around A. D. 86-88. He followed that with the three small epistles around A.D. 90, and the Revelation around A.D. 96.

The First Epistle of John was not afterthought on God’s part. It is an integral and essential part of the New Testament. The message was one that was needed at the time it was written to expound sound doctrine and to combat heresy. It was God’s inspired, authoritative response to the heresy known as Gnosticism, and it is still an adequate response to all similar heresies today, including New Age, or postmodern religious movements as well as the so-called Christian cults.

The elderly John was kept alive to write this epistle. While the Gospel of John was written to prove that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and to persuade people to trust Him as Savior, the First Epistle of John was written to combat false doctrine, and to give believers assurance of their salvation. If you ever have any doubt about your salvation you will want to spend a lot of time with this little epistle. But while you are reading it you will learn sound doctrine - which is nothing more that the truth God reveals in His Word and through His Spirit.


“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.”

A. John Calls It the Last Hour.

1. Paul warns us about the last days, 2 Tim. 3:1-5.

But realize this, that in last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these (NASB).

2. The writer of Hebrews refers to this period as the last days, Heb. 1:22.

In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

3. The last hour covers the time between the first and second coming of Jesus Christ.

B. There Is an Awesome Antichrist Coming, Rev. 13:1-10.

1. The Antichrist is the beast from the abyss, Rev. 11:7.

2. He is the man of lawlessness (man of sin), 2 Thes. 2:3.

C. There Have Been Many Antichrists Throughout the History of Christianity.

1. Anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ is an antichrist, 1 John 2:22.

2. The spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:3),denotes demonic forces behind the false prophets who deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

3. John is speaking of were unbelievers who were members of the church.

4. They denied the incarnation of Christ.

5. They denied the relationship of Christ to His Fathers (2:21ff).

D. There Are Antichrists in the Church Today.

I was visiting with my long time friend, Dr. William Gordon, at his Family Eye Clinic in Monroe, LA, when the popular but sometimes controversial talk show host Moon Griffon joined us. We had not visited long before we connected liberal politics to the liberalism that permeates many churches today. Moon said, “There is one church here in town that is known as the “What’s Happening Now Church!” When he mentioned the church - he didn’t say whether they accept the title or not - I remembered the list of liberal leaders they have had from the day of their inception. I added, “And when the Monroe newspaper needs a comment from a theologian...” - Moon finished my sentence - “They call that pastor.” I am not saying that the pastor is not a believer. What I am saying is that many churches are receiving an unclear message, and a church that does not know sound doctrine is a breeding ground for the antichrists of which John wrote. Now consider who these antichrists are.

1. They are members of the visible church.

a. We are not talking about atheists here.
b. We are not talking about lost people outside the church
c. We are talking about lost people in the church.
d. We are talking about satanic influence on lost church members.

2. They deny either the humanity or deity of Jesus Christ.

a. The Jesus of Mormonism is not the Christ of the Bible.
b. The Watch Tower Jesus is not the Christ of John 1:1ff.
c. The New Age Jesus is not the Jesus of Scripture.

3. Some deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

4. Others deny the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

5. Many are substituting a unitary view of God for a Trinitarian view of God.

6. The satanic forces behind these antichrists focus their warfare against Christ.

a. They are not called anti-Allah.
b. They are not anti-Hinduism.
c. They are not anti-Wiccan.
d. They are not anti animism.
e. They are not anti-New Age religions.
f. These people are adamantly anti-Christ.
g. They were not just there, they were false teachers.

Both these antichrists and the Antichrist promote apostasy. Perhaps the apostasy we are seeing today should be interpreted as an urgent warning to God’s people. The Bible Illustrator carried the following story:

In the town of Delburne, Alberta, there is an old water tower, built in 1926. Now standing empty, the building has been bought by two men who want to turn it into a dining and cocktail lounge. Plans call for a bar to be built on the second floor.

Something similar has already happened in various communities: that which was originally designed to provide the water of life has been "converted" into that which is providing resources detrimental to society. Schools were once thought of as sources of moral and spiritual benefit. In most cases they now are fountains of agnosticism and atheism. Even churches, built to convey to men and women the water of life, are now the providers of everything but the Gospel. There's bingo, and there are dances, and there are clubs. But they no longer function as conveyers of the Gospel.

Thousands today are filling mega-church plants - and small auditoriums - with a “what’s in it for” me attitude, perfectly content to sing, praise, and visit with one another. I have in mind those who enthusiastically raise their voices and their hands, but rebel at the thought of confessing sin, repenting with bitter tears, or prostrating themselves before the God Who is Holy. I am convinced that there are millions today are playing church rather than worshiping the God Most High. Was Paul warning of a time like this when he wrote:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry (2 Tim. 4:3-5).

Now consider this:

Today England is home for over one million Asian immigrants, of whom over 600,000 are Hindus. When we arrived in North Leicester as missionaries in 1973, fifty thousand became our neighbors: the families living beside us, our doctor, greengrocer, pharmacist, and best friends.

Some surmise that if geographical isolation from India does not cause Indians to forsake Hinduism, western culture will. Instead, in the European religious climate of universalism, Hinduism thrives. Empty church buildings are converted into temples. Carey Hall, the large Baptist church named after William Carey who left his pastorate in Leicester in 1783 to reach Hindus in Burma and India, now houses Leicester's largest Hindu temple. Public school buildings are rented weeknights to teach Indian languages and religions. ---- From Neale & Barbara Goetsch

This report is a little behind the times. Now Islamic fundamentalists are convinced they will take England for Allah. England is experiencing that of which Spurgeon. I sat in a pastors conference at which a leading theologian and former Baptist college president spoke on the preaching of nineteenth century England. He mentioned a number of people and when he allowed questions I asked about Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He went on as though I had not asked. The next time he asked for questions, I again asked him to comment on Spurgeon. With a slight wave of his left hand from center to the outside, he said, “Of course, there is the conservative, Spurgeon.” Then he went back to the preaching of one of the men who probably voted to censure Spurgeon.

Are we entering the time of apostasy Paul warned about in 2 Thessalonians 2:3? God only knows for sure. However, when we look at the state of the church today it is enough to bring the church to its knees before God. I have been listening to preachers and politicians alike since 1962 and 1963 who are convinced that what we need in America is to get prayer back into our schools. I am convinced that if we get prayer back into the church they cannot keep it out of our schools! Maybe a start would be getting prayer back into Christian homes.


They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

A. John Draws Some Conclusions About These False Teachers.

1. They were members of the local church.

2. However, they were never really a part of the true church.

3. If they had been truly saved they would have continued in the faith.

4. Their leaving the church proved they lacked a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

B. We May Draw Some Conclusions About Antichrists Today.

1. We can expect them to teach false doctrines.

2. We can expect them to be practical atheists, even if they claim to be theists.

3. We can expect them to seduce others if they have the opportunity.

4. If they remain in the church we can expect them to cause trouble.

C. We Can Expect Them to Leave the Church Under Certain Conditions.

1. If they are exposed they will leave the church.

2. If they cannot run it or ruin it, they will leave.

3. If Jesus Christ is truly glorified they will leave.

4. Some people should leave the church.

a. If they are not “of us” we can expect them to leave.
b. We must not try to keep some who would leave.
c. If they do not repent and confess Jesus Christ as Lord they should go.
b. If the Holy Spirit is really in control we can expect them to leave.

5. Some people should be asked to leave the church.

a. There was a time when churches practiced expulsion.
b. Some had rather run others off than to leave themselves.
c. If Satan is in charge of church you cannot expect antichrists to leave on their own.

d. Because of some abuse, most churches ceased to discipline members.

From time to time one hears some preacher lament the fact that churches no longer discipline members. It is understandable that some would ask why few if any churches vote our members who are guilty or a moral failure or doctrinal heresy. Possibly some began to wonder why bother when there is always another church down the street that will be anxious to take the in regardless of what they have done. If you major in nickels and noses you may not ask any questions when someone “comes on promise of a letter” from another church.


Your faithfulness is a testimony to the value you place on your relationship with Jesus Christ. What you understand about Jesus and what you teach about Him testifies to your personal knowledge of Christ as Lord in your life.

Jesus Christ died publicly on he Cross for your sins. He expects you to profess Him publicly as the Lord of your life. That does not mean that you make one profession of faith in Jesus and they go on your way with no daily commitment to walk in the light. If you have received Jesus Christ as Savior, God placed His Spirit in your heart. If you were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, you need to be continually filled with the Spirit. If you are both indwelt with the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit, you are empowered to walk with Jesus in the light, to witness for Him, to worship and serve Him. If you really know Jesus Christ you will want to be faithful to Him. If you are faithful to Him, other people will know it, and your life and your words may bring them to faith in Him.

Simply stated, if you want people to believe your faith is genuine, you must live a Christ-like life before them. That includes being faithful to His church. By remaining faithful to His church you offer proof that you know the Lord of the church.

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