Have you ever thought about trees? From giant sequoias to that “weed bush” that keeps coming up in your yard, plants can be incredibly hearty. But if you think about it, they establish themselves in a single place and they are wholly reliant on getting all their needs met by remaining in one location. They don’t move because the sun is brighter down the block or because the soil seems more lush over near that super cute butterfly maple. They stay put, but they grow. Under the soil, roots journey out and down on a slow trek to find their way to stability and sustenance that ensures growth. Above ground, they grow up and outward to harness the rays of the sun and to blossom for a future generation. On the other hand, people are highly mobile. We commute. We travel. We go out to dinner. Sometimes I think our culture teaches us that “remaining” anywhere is a bad thing—go ahead, take that new and better job, to get a new and bigger house in a new and better neighborhood. Our wanderlust tells us “the grass is always greener...” John is singing a different tune. He knew about trees like we do. In this section, John explicitly references the “separatists” and how they “went out” from among them. He knows that his hearers have been surrounded by multiple voices and some of those voices were pointing to a “greener pasture” of knowledge that John knows is not true. Throughout the whole letter, but heavily in this section, he is reinforcing that they have everything they need in God and his righteous Son. He wants them to “abide” permanently in the soil of the gospel.
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
South Valley Community Church was established in Gilroy in 1984, by founding pastors Eric and Carol Smith. It began with a few faithful families, but by God's grace grew to the church it is today. Eric and Carol pastored faithfully for 31 years, and now serve SVCC as pastors emeritus.