Although the apostle John wrote his letter to the churches two thousand years ago, I find his words seem to be particularly relevant for today, as I read the news about what is happening around the world. John is warning his readers about a world system that is opposed to God and revealing how unseen spiritual forces are guiding people’s speech and actions. He is reminding them that they have the Holy Spirit within them to distinguish God’s truth from the lies of the devil.
There is a surprisingly strong aversion to Jesus Christ today, even the democratic societies of the west, which had Christian values in the past. It is seen in the many attempts to silence and intimidate Christian believers working in the field of politics, education, law, medicine, sport, entertainment and news media. The open proclamation of the Gospel message is being opposed more fiercely than ever before, as Christians have spoken out the truth of God’s word. I have heard of teachers, nurses, university lecturers, and even a magistrate, being falsely accused and dismissed from their professions. University students have been thrown out of courses. Street preachers have been arrested and fined.
In the UK, these people have had resort to going to Christian lawyers to fight their case in the law courts, not only to protest their innocence, but to try and stop discrimination against Christians having evangelistic events in public venues or expressing biblical viewpoints. Even after winning their cases, the sober reality is that these attacks do not show any signs of decreasing in the future.
John spoke of testing the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1). ‘By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is form God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:2-4).
How encouraging that John said we have overcome the antichrist spirits in the world! The Holy Spirit within us is greater than them. We are to push back the powers of darkness, as we proclaim the name of Jesus and stand on the promises of God.
‘Standing on the promises of Christ, my King, through eternal ages let His praises ring. Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, standing on the promises of God. … Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord, overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, standing on the promises of God’ (Russell Kelso Carter, 1886).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I be able to discern antichrist spirits and be able to resist them in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour. Help me, each day, to stick close to Jesus and to focus on the plumb line of truth in Your word. Amen.
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