If you are just now joining us for our study on 1 John, grab your reading guide here!
Reading: 1 John 2:18-27
In September 2006, Dr. Randy Pausch heard news that radically changed the course of his life. He was diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer and in 2007 was only given a few months to live. Dr. Pausch received the devastating news and turned it into an opportunity to reach the world around him. He delivered a speech entitled “The Last Lecture” to over 400 students at Carnegie Mellon University in September 2007, inspiring to achieve their dreams and live with purpose. Dr. Pausch passed away only a few months after his speech that went viral and touched millions to live fearlessly and courageously.
The world greatly received Dr. Pausch’s speech because he had some validity to his words. During his last hours of life, he chose to speak inspiration to those around him. He responded to imminent death with a certain hope for others. Similarly, the apostle John was responding to the church in 1 John 2:18-22 with an exhortation and encouragement. John begins this section of his letter with “Children, it is the last hour…” The word for last used here refers to the final hour. Those who heard this believed that this meant Jesus was coming again soon! Dr. Earl Palmer, a commentator on the book of 1 John, said “We have been living in the last days since the time of this letter at about 70 AD.” The church understood that the times were hastening and their purpose was clear: they must live to know Christ and make Him known.
Just like Dr. Pausch was given a health diagnosis, so has the church been given a diagnosis of this world. As believers, we have hope in Christ that He is coming again for His bride, the church. The exhortation and reminder from John that it is the “last hour” was said like a father to a child. He calls his audience “children” because he wants them to truly understand that he tells them the truth in love and in haste. There is no time to waste listening to those who deceive, living for things that won’t last and allowing the Enemy to steal our joy. Generation after generation there have been deceivers who fill the world with fear. Simply turn on the news tonight and watch the headlines – there is no good news on the news.
However, Jesus came to bring the world the hope of the Gospel. Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Theological Seminary defined the Gospel in this way:
“I define the gospel…as being the good news that Jesus Christ came from heaven, died on the cross having lived a perfect sinless life, bore then in His body the full penalty of our sins, was raised from the dead. Those who repent of sin and place their faith in the perfect work of Christ can and will be saved. There’s the gospel “
Christ left Heaven to embody the hope of the gospel – that we could have new life in Him if we repent of our sins and believe in Him (Romans 10:9). We have no need to fear what the world speculates about the end times because we have the hope of Christ. John reminds the believers that they have been “anointed” by the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for “anoint” is “chrisma”, and this word comes from the root word for “Christos” which refers to Christ. Did you get that? We have come from Christ and been anointed by Him. If you are having an identity struggle, let this fact settle it.
John’s reminder that we live in the end times was purposely placed in the Scripture to give the believers hope and purpose, rather than fear and anxiety. The truth John gave the church in 70 AD is just as applicable today for you and for me. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reveals to us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away and the new has come.” We are literally in Christ forever, protected by the One who conquered death and saved our souls. Because we know who we are and Whose we are, we can abide (make our dwelling place) in Him because He is our home. As believers in Christ, we know that we are:
- anointed – by Jesus with the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit guides us, teaches us, gives us discernment, directs us, comforts us, establishes us and leads us into truth. We are to “abide” in Christ as the Spirit abides in us.
- hopeful – because we know Jesus, we have hope, security and all things. Verse 25 says that those who believe are promised eternal life! You have no need to ever fear, because you have been promised life unending in the presence of God. Can I get an amen?!
- purposeful – we have a hope and a future, therefore we live with purpose. The “last times” are even closer than they ever were before. Do we live with the end times in mind? Do we live for eternal things?
Sisters, the time is hastening and your identity is secure in Jesus Christ. Live with purpose, looking ahead to eternity with Jesus instead of the fleeting moments of today. Do things that matter most. Abide in the truth of God’s Word. Make your dwelling place in the hope of your Savior. Each moment is precious. Let’s us our seconds of each day to make much of Jesus!