SBTS chapel live blog: Tom Nettles – 1 John 2:18-29

Communications Staff — November 5, 2009

Preacher: Tom Nettles, professor of historical theology at Southern Seminary

Text/title: 1 John 2:18-29 – “The Antichrist and the Peril of the Unanointed.”

John is writing to teach his audience about the Christian life. He is writing to tell them that those who are Christians have certain changes in their life. Changes that result in a conduct that reflects a knowledge of God, an awareness of God and leads to living unto God.

This book is like a tapestry: it starts and presents several ideas and then returns to those ideas as it goes along, winding them tighter and tighter, until you get to the end and see things that will characterize every believer to some degree. Those who are characterized by these things are born of God.

It is a gracious act of God to remind us of these things, simple things, that we are son prone to forget. The greatest of all knowledge is that we are children of God who know God. Have you woken up in the morning and thought, “I know God?” This is the greatest knowledge: nothing else matters.

Certainty of the success of the anointing

The distinguishing factor between those who are antichrist and those who are not is the anointing. John makes this very clear. We may have flashes of motivation for altruism, for love of neighbor, but eventually we would all return to selfishness, were it not for the anointing.

Jesus is the one who brings all the blessings of God to us. There were some who were denying that Jesus was the Christ, John writes, and those who denied Christ, did not have the Father. John is describing those who are, in some sense, antichrist. And he describes them in this way: there is something definitive in the life of those people that marks them as a group that does not know God.

If this group had been of those who know God, then they would not have gone out from the people of God. As it is, they went out, which made it clear that they did not know God. There is a certainty that those who deny the truth of Jesus Christ will remain with God’s people: those who went out were not of us. If they had been of us, they would not have gone out.

In contrast, those who know God have been anointed by the Holy One.

The reason people know the truth is because they have the anointing from the Holy One. Truth and lies cannot exist together. The Holy Spirit is the one who anoints people. The Holy Spirit always works in concert with the Father and with the Son. The Holy Spirit subjectively applies the anointing to people.

Usually, we think of anointing as something we don’t want any part of. We associate it with being pushed over, forced to the ground, things that we question the validity of. But John assumes that all of us have the anointing. The Spirit coming to us and anointing us insures that everything Christ has done for us will come to us.

By the power of the Spirit, Jesus Himself loved righteousness and hated wickedness. From His conception to His resurrection and ascension, everything that Jesus did, He did by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and all of that has been given to you.

The anointing that we have from the Holy Spirit teaches us everything.

  • The Holy Spirit shows us our need for Christ.

The Holy Spirit awakens our mind, showing us our need for Christ and we respond by running to Christ.

  • The Holy Spirit gives us a right view of sin.

We have a right understanding of our sin and need for Christ.

  • The Holy Spirit gives us a right view of obedience.

We know that those who know God should keep His commandments.

  • The Holy Spirit gives us a right view of love.

We see a flowering of the new covenant: we are now able to love our brother from our heart. We have been born again by the living and abiding Word of God. We have a new understanding of what it means to love.

  • The Holy Spirit gives us a right view of righteousness.

Anyone who is born of God knows that he is righteous. We know that we have an Advocate before the Father. We develop an increasing distaste for the things of the world. He who has been born of God overcomes the world.

These are things you know. These things that cannot be learned in seminary and cannot be impressed upon you by any preacher. These are things that are impressed upon your heart by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

Apply now for summer or fall studies

Classes begin in June & Aug.