Tuesday May 29, 2018
Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - Our home with Christ in the word “abide” - no compromise.
We left off with the attacks against the truth by Satan. We must remember that Satan’s goal is not to remove Jesus and the Bible from the world, but to diminish their value.
The most effective attacks against Christ and the gospel acknowledge them while claiming they are not sufficient to save.
1JO 2:24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning (the doctrines you heard at the start over the falsehoods that came later). If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
This is the first time John uses “abide” as a command - be sure that the sound doctrines of the word of God remain in you.
The beginning doctrines are the foundational doctrines of the person and work of Christ, the gospel, and the gifts given to every believer.
The most effective attacks are against Christ’s person and work, and hence the gospel is attacked. When the gospel is altered the doctrines of creation, justification, election, predestination, and glorification are all swept aside. They are replaced with the traditions or elementary principles of man, which are useless, but at the same time very dangerous.
Last time we saw Paul in Miletus, in Act 20, warning the pastors from Ephesus to be on their guard for all the flock. That was around 50 AD. There will be wolves among us, he said, and Jesus said the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount.
However, about ten years later, the Gnostic heresy had poisoned many.
The Gnostic heresy that began in Asia swelled to a landslide.
You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me,
Yet, after Paul’s death, there was a glimmer of hope - John.
Just a few years later, in the late sixties of the first century, Asia Minor saw a welcome revitalizing of apostolic Christianity. A number of Christians from Palestine migrated there once the Jewish War broke out in 66, and it could be that the apostle John arrived there at that time.
The ministry of John is almost all unknown to us. Polycarp, professing to be a student of John’s, declared that John died in Ephesus. John’s last book, Revelation, opens with addresses to the seven churches in Asia. Whether John was there or not, we know that the truth was there, so for the sake of our narrative, we will conclude that John was there.
It is easy to imagine how powerful a ministry John would have had in Asia as the last surviving apostle who had close contact with Jesus. We know of two leaders in the Asian churches in the first half of the second century who never forgot what they had heard from John - Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis.
Gnosticism, which looked to include all schools of knowledge, would see Christianity as just one more type of knowledge to incorporate into their so-called higher learning. It was easy to place Jesus somewhere in the hierarchy of angels and spirits. But they would have to refute that He was God and certainly refute that God could become flesh.
When we understand that all ancient pagan religions practiced syncretism, allowing other gods from foreign lands into their pantheon, and that Israel also practiced syncretism, we then see this method as one of the go-to schemes of the devil.
Syncretism, a favorite scheme of Satan, is blending false beliefs with the truth to make a product that claims superiority to its parts.
The Galatians, right next door to the Phrygians, were overrun with Judaism of the old covenant, slightly different that the Gnosticism that overran her neighbors, but with the same effect.
GAL 5:2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
GAL 5:3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.
GAL 5:4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
GAL 5:5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
The Holy Spirit works in us, as we set our minds upon His things, producing hope, i.e. expectation of righteous life and ultimate glory after death.
We are to set our minds on the things of the Spirit. A fruit of the Spirit is hope. Paul seems to be referring to the return of the Lord, or our own death, whichever comes first, when we will be fully righteous in body as well as spirit. Yet, the context of the book is about Christian living, which is clearly seen in the use of “love” in the next verse. There is another hope that the Holy Spirit raises up within us, and that is the confidence and joy of holiness, experiential righteousness, or living sanctification.
And so, we are to have both. Confidence in further growth to the mature man, to the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ, as well as the confidence of what I will be with Him in resurrection body after my death, which is ultimate glory.
The insidious attack that came upon the Galatians is that Christ, the word of God, and the indwelling Spirit all in accordance with the grace of God, were not enough - the Law had to be also followed.
Paul points out that to return to the work of the Law, in which you are responsible for the whole Law, and not just part of it, is to fall from grace. Grace and works cannot coexist. Much work can be done by the grace of God, but one cannot work for anything from God.
Paul states, “through the Spirit by faith:”
GAL 5:5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
GAL 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
GAL 5:7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
GAL 5:8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.
GAL 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
GAL 5:10 I have confidence in you in the Lord, that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
Today, Christianity is often blended with popular opinion, so-called scientific knowledge, societal conforms, among other things, and all are chosen so that they appeal to the intellect and pride of man.
Gnostic thought would spread and claim to know the truth about Jesus and about heaven. But when John came through Asia, one who had closely lived with Jesus and known Him, his testimony had a special importance.
But what were Christians to do when someone, or one of their own influenced by this falsehood, claimed to have special revelation from God about Jesus and about heaven? Remember that they do not yet have Bibles that they can reference. The scriptures have not all been collected, and of what copies of letters they may possess from John, Paul, and Peter, there are other letters in circulation claiming to also contain divine authority.
It would not have been sufficient to simply say that what you were hearing was not what you had previously been taught. The false teachers would simply state that they were bringing to them part of the “all things” that Jesus said the Holy Spirit was going to lead them into.
Moreover, the new brand of doctrine would probably be so completely in accordance with the prevailing climate of opinion that in the eyes of many thinking people this was manifestly the way in which the gospel was to be restated for “their day.”
The same type of thinking, a gospel that fits the times and not the outdated one, is prevalent in our day.
If you revise the gospel, you have to revise many sound doctrines.
But the revised gospel had to revise other sound doctrines. At the end of the first century, Gnosticism evolved to include Docetism which was the belief that Christ’s body was not human. Matter was viewed as essentially evil and so Christ couldn’t have a body made of earthly matter. Due to this, the doctrines of the original creation and resurrection had to be modified.
One can see what it was of tantamount importance for John to write 1Jo as well as the fourth gospel. Christianity in Asia and all over the Empire was being bombarded with falsehood.
The revelation of the dual nature of Christ as both God and Man was clearly taught “in the beginning.”
These falsehoods, ultimately from Satan, are designed to make the Christian saint believe in something other than the home that he has with Christ.
1JO 2:18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists [false teachers] have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.
1JO 2:19 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, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.
1JO 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
1JO 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
1JO 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
The prevalent lie at the time was that Jesus was a man and that the Christ was a spirit that descended upon him and left him before he died.
In our day, no one would take you seriously if you said the man Jesus never existed, but plenty would take you serious if you only attested Him to be a prophet, a wise man, a moral man, or a good man.
1JO 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
In the view of the false teachers one could ascend to the Father through the various stages that ran the length from earth to heaven, all of which were guarded by angels. “If you deny who the Son is, then you do not have the Father, period.”
1JO 2:24 As for you, let that abide [command] in you which you heard from the beginning [correct Christology and Soteriology]. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1JO 2:25 And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
1JO 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
And this letter has survived, by the faithfulness of God and the remnant of Christians in all ages, to this day.
1JO 2:27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
1JO 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
1JO 2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.