God So Loved the World
A Weapon to Use against Anti-Christ
Ever since I wrote about the perfection of love a couple of months back, the conviction has grown in me that the most advanced weapon against any adversary is the love that comes to us from God. Jesus told us in no uncertain terms: Love your enemies (Matt 5:44). This means anyone who is hateful or hostile toward us. It could be someone who is very close or someone we don’t even know.
I also believe we are approaching the time when anti-Christ spirits will pull out all their stops against us. This weapon of Love will be, even then, far and away the most powerful weapon available for our use as we confront these spirits as they attempt to rout us from God’s Kingdom.
Before we can adopt this weapon of love, we must acknowledge that we cannot simply decide ourselves that we’re going to start loving people in return for their attacks on us. In fact, God’s Love is not for us to use. As it comes to us from God, it brings its own energetic power. Then, as it moves on through us, the Love of God itself will touch the lives of others who, whether they know it or not, long for that Love’s power to be at work in them.
As powerful as love’s effect can be on us, it can be just as powerful on those with whom we engage in the battles of our everyday lives. It is for us to remember that it was God’s love through Jesus that conquered and changed us.
The Love of God is ready to show its power whenever we might get caught in any snare set for us by the wicked one. This is what both David and Paul called the anti-Christ. Let us just remember that this wicked one studies our moves and waits for the opportune time to throw something at us that will reach our most vulnerable point. He is ever waiting to draw us into failure. He holds the expectation that he can throw something at us that will leave us discouraged. He wants to wear us down in our commitment to win our battles by allowing God’s Love to move through us.
I John strengthens my personal conviction about the power of love in conflict with anti-Christ. An unusual structured outline of this little Epistle came to my attention in the Companion Bible. As I have studied John’s Epistle, the understanding God gave him has begun gradually to come upon me.
Take note how John linked Christ, anti-Christ and Love.
I JOHN •Christ 1:1—2:17 •anti-Christ 2:18-29 •Love 3:1-24 •anti-Christ 4:1-6 •Love 4:7-21 •Christ 5:1-21
While we cannot examine the whole of this Epistle here, there are significant words in it that do take our attention. We will cover the whole in this month’s “prayer starters” book.
The prayer we follow this month is from Paul in Philippians 1:9,10a. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment (perception); that ye may approve things that are excellent... The above word knowledge is from the Greek epignósis. We have shared before that it means full knowledge. John lets us know in clear terms that the Love that is to abound yet more and more in us flows like a spring of living water from God. We will see this.
Now, to help us gain from John’s Epistle regarding Christ, let us see I John 2:5,6. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected (is completely organized and brought to its goal): hereby know we that we are in Him (that is, in Christ). He that saith he abideth in Him ought (is bound) himself also so to walk (to live in one’s daily life), even as He walked. The preceding little word as is from the Greek kathoś which means “just exactly as.”
If we conscientiously observe the spirit and letter of this Word from John, we will discover how the Love of God revealed in Christ will accomplish its work in us. With God’s Love working in us, every circumstance—even those that try our grace and patience to their end—becomes an opportunity for His love and grace to move through us. It is our abiding in Christ that enables us to walk …even as He walked.
The secret to His Love finding expression today is that Christ will live His Life in us. Paul discovered this. He said, …I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20). The word gave is from the Greek paradídomi which means, to hand over, or to abandon one’s self.
What has the Son of God done? He has abandoned Himself to us. Think on this! Can we not now abandon ourselves to Him?
The Apostle Peter had his take on this. He said that Jesus has left us an example that we should follow his steps. See this: For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example (leaving behind a pattern for us to imitate as He went back to His Father), that ye should follow His steps (that you should follow His line of conduct as the sequel to His presence among men on earth)—I Peter 2:21.
There is something powerful about the Love that God extends toward us that makes us able to live this new kind of Life in Christ. The essence of what we become in Him can be expressed in one word—Love.
John tells us, Beloved, let us love one another: for Love is of God—I John 4:7. The Greek word from which of comes is ék. It means “out from.” Love proceeds to us out from God. Let us emphasize it. God is Love’s ultimate source. We cannot discover, or substitute any degree of human love that will measure up to, or have the power, that the Love coming from Him has. His Love is a transforming Love. Once it enters us, something becomes known in us that our humanity could never discover on its own.
You may ask just how does one get this love? How does it become active in me? Well—you could just simply ask God for it. That’s the best way I know.
Two things are to be known about this Love from God. First—it must flow into us, then throughout us like water in a pipe. After it flows all around inside us, causing us to love ourselves, it can then move on through us to others. SECOND—we must know that anti-Christ despises this Love and will do what he can to contaminate its flow, both in us and from us.
Now, see this Word that begins John’s discussion of the anti-Christ. Little children, it is the last time (it is a final hour): and as ye have heard that (the) antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists (literally, “many anti-Christs have come into being”); whereby we know that it is the last time (a final hour)—I John 2:18.
The above passage always reminds me of the brother who told me years ago that there are Scriptures for the last years. There are Scriptures for the last days. And there are Scriptures for the last hours. It does, indeed, seem that I John is a Scripture for the last hours.
In the verse addressed affectionately to his little children, John says, ...it is the last time. In the Greek the words are escháte hóra estin. This means, “it is a final hour.” We can know this because many antichrists have come upon the scene. They are spirits, even demons, whose intention it is to inhabit persons and carry out the work of that one who through the ages has been defined as the serpent (Genesis 3:1); the wicked one (Psalms 10:2); the man of the earth (Psalms 10:17); a little horn (Daniel 7:8); a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences (Daniel 8:23); the prince that shall come (Daniel 9:26); a vile person (Daniel 11:21); that man of the sin (II Thessalonians 2:4); the son of perdition (II Thessalonians 2:4); that wicked one (II Thessalonians 2:8) and the beast (Revelations 13:4). There is much Scripture about the anti-Christ. But, only John called him anti-christ specifically—I John 2:18; 2:22; 4:3 and II John 1:7.
Studying the context of the above Scriptures, we find that anti-Christ’s presence in the earth will call forth a profusion of spirits that emulate his character. These spirits will carry out his devices in whoever is susceptible to receiving them. Many who have confessed the Lord Jesus as their Savior, but who have allowed grounds to remain in them attractive to these spirits, may not always be aware when they are under an anti-Christ influence. His work is always clandestine, done like that of an undercover agent.
From time to time, some persons have arisen on the world scene in whom there is so great an anti-Christ influence that it has caused some to regard them as THE anti-Christ. These have been exceedingly wicked men through whom Satan has exerted his influence. It always becomes apparent, however, that the son of perdition himself has not yet appeared.
When someone ascends into the anti-Christ estate—this is Daniel’s reference to anti-Christ’s office—large numbers of people will give themselves over to the spirits that work in collaboration with the anti-Christ. When we discern what is happening, it is for us who know Christ to renounce any anti-Christ spirits that may be trying to meddle in our lives and abandon ourselves over to Christ Jesus.
As the anointing increases in us personally and corporately, so also the spirits that oppose the anointing will increase their activity around us. They will attack us with the intention of wearing us down. When we have discovered any new dimension of Life from out of God’s Kingdom, most particularly His Love-Life, the wicked one will come on with increased determination to stop it.
Sometimes things happen that show us how fragile we are spiritually. But, we can always know this: the Love that comes upon us from God has within it a greater strength than any device from the realm of anti-Christ. Built into God’s Love is that most powerful Kingdom “element” called faith.
Paul discovered that faith ...worketh by love (Gal 5:6). That powerful word worketh is from the Greek energéo. This confirms to us that love has within it the energetic force that brings faith into action.
Jesus told His disciples, If thou canst believe (if you have the ability to put faith into action), all things are possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:23). If you discover that you have the ability to believe, then there is nothing that can restrain you from living in the authority and power of God’s Kingdom. This is where the authority and power of His Love is known.
How do we make advances toward becoming strengthened for the last hour? There is some insight that comes to us from the third section of I John. This is a section of the Epistle that has to do with love. It covers all of chapter 3. All we can take in here are a couple of verses that set us on our way.
The word beloved means “loved one.” That we are called this is significant. This word is built on the Greek word agápe that we have learned defines that kind of Love that was introduced into the world by the Lord Jesus. In the context of the whole of I John, we come to know that the Love by which we become beloved is that Love that has come to us from God. Being thus loved settles with us that we are secure in the highest Love there is. Any attack that may come against us, any slight that we may suffer, is immediately overcome by the Love that has become ours through Christ. Oh, what a security this is!
The word translated sons in I John 3:2 is from the Greek tek’na, “those who are born into a family.” See how the NIRV interprets these two verses I John 3:2,3.
Dear friends, now we are children of God. He still hasn’t let us know what we will be. But we know that when Christ appears, we will be like him. We will see him as he really is. He is pure. All who hope to be like him make themselves pure.
While we are but children in the family of God, it is our time to learn the ways of the family. Here is our main discipline: ...that we should love one another—I John 3:11.
The next section of I John brings us to consider more about the anti-Christ. John begins this with that precious word beloved. This is an example for us who minister to others. We should keep them constantly aware that they are loved, especially by God. John is concerned that we remain strong in our understanding as to Who Christ Jesus is. This is of prime importance because, he says, …many false prophets are gone out into the world (I John 4:1). They are dispatched to bring confusion with regard to Christ.
Presently, there is a subtle band of anti-Christ spirits dispatched around the world to lead would-be Christians away from the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus, …Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25).
Propitiation is that wonderful word that is being lost to many new believers today. It declares that the penalty for sin has been satisfied by the death of Christ on the Cross.
Believers are facing the same subtle deception today that came upon the early Church. Church historians called that early movement gnosticism. Its primary teaching about Jesus was that He was but a man who “achieved” the status of being Christ. This subtle deception creeping in upon the Church makes use of Scripture, meditation and prayer. The idea is that we may attain our own christ status. Deceived believers, by reaching their own “christhood,” miss the profound Love of God manifest for us in Christ Jesus. Herein is that Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins—I John 4:10. Those who miss the propitiation keep their sin.
It is an anti-Christ intrusion that seeks to overstep the Covenants by denying that Jesus Christ came …in the flesh (I John 4:3). That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world (Revelation 12:9) intends to draw the company of would-be Christians to be his disciples. It’s his design to cancel the ancient Word that came to him from God, recorded in Genesis 3:15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it (literally “He”) shall bruise (crush) thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel. Anti-Christ cannot endure the thought that Christ, the Seed of the Woman, shall crush the head of the seed of the serpent. That’s himself. This first promise of redemption in Genesis points to the final conflict between Christ and the anti-Christ. All Scripture, from that earliest promise to the final triumph of Christ’s return, is summed up in those powerful words, God so loved the world...John 3:16.
Be sure you read this month’s “prayer starters.”
They take us all the way through John’s first Letter.
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