“Conflicting Spirits” [Love Letters]
Texts: 1 John 2:18-27; 4:1-6
February 25/26, 2012
Pastor Matt Erickson
“No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23)
Don't Be Surprised (1 John 2:18-19)
- 'the last hour'
- The end and The END
Don't Be Deceived (1 John 2:18, 22, 23; 4:1, 3, 5)
- Antichrist, antichrists and false prophets
- The message of falsehood
- The consequences of falsehood
Do Be Discerning (1 John 2:26; 4:1)
- The danger of ignorance and gullibility
- The appropriate place of unbelief
Do Know the Truth (1 John 2:20-25; 4:2, 6)
- The message of Truth
- The community of Truth
- The results of Truth
Do Live by God's Spirit (1 John 2:20, 26, 27; 4:2-4)
- The anointing, or chrism, of God's Spirit
- The teaching of God's Spirit
- The power of God's Spirit
1. There is a lot of talk about God and spirituality in the world today. What do you think it means to be ‘spiritual’?
2. This week, we are bringing together two sections of 1 John, 2:18-27 and 4:1-6. Both of these sections talk about truth and falsehood, and the importance of discernment. Take time to read these two sections. What words or phrases do you see repeat throughout these sections?
3. The word ‘antichrist’ only occurs in the 1 and 2 John, but this concept appears in other New Testament writings (i.e., 2 Thessalonians 2; Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Revelation 12-13). It can sometimes refer to a precise individual at the end of human history, but at other times refers to those who reflect ways contrary to God. Who is John talking about here in 1 John 2:18-27?
4. What is the simple, yet definitive, test of whether someone is of God or the antichrist?
5. What would you describe as John’s main concern or impulse in these sections of 1 John?
6. In these two passages, John uses a variety of words to talk about the Holy Spirit of God: ‘anointing’, ‘Spirit of God’, and ‘Spirit of truth’. What characteristics of the Holy Spirit do you notice from John’s words here?
7. What do you think it means to hold to the truth in the face of deceiving spirits or teaching? Is there a time in your life when you encountered this sort of conflict?
8. Name one specific way you will respond to the message and study this week? Write it down, reflect on it, and put it into practice this week. If you are in a small group, discuss this with one another.