Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK
I John 2:1-29
Now let’s get right back into our study in I John chapter 2.
I John 2:15
“Love not the world, (now the word world here is the Greek word ‘cosmos’ which means the whole world system. Don’t fall in love with this world system) neither the things that are in the world. (in other words, if that’s preeminent in our thinking and all we work for are these things of the world, then) If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
I’m going to stay with Christ’s earthly ministry for the most part because that’s where John is tied to, and the Lord Himself put it how? “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and then all these other things can be added unto you.” So it’s a matter of priorities. Where are your priorities? Are all your concerns wrapped up in a better home, or a better car, or better business? We were talking again this morning around our breakfast table, about the wealth that is seemingly out there and the pursuit of it. All people are concerned about is how many millions they seemingly can put together. Well, as long as the Lord is first, sure the Lord can bless a believer. But for the most part we should be concerned with spiritual things first.
There was a young lady who told me here just the other day, after just suddenly realizing, “You know, this life of 70 or 80 years is a blink of the eye compared to eternity. Just a blink of the eye.” Well that’s so true. And then they work and they labor and they connive – I even think about the world leaders. Oh, they can almost lay their lives on the line. They let their health almost be ruined and yet, when their 70 or 75 years are up, where do they go? Off the scene. Unbelievable isn’t it? And yet they act as though they’re going to run it for eternity. No they’re not. Just a little while.
All right, so “Love not the world nor the things that are in the world because if the love of the world is preeminent, then ‘the love of the Father is not in him.’” Now here it comes, verse 16.
I John 2:16
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, (now remember the lust of flesh isn’t just sexual, but rather anything can take our desires) and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Now we get the very first instance of this, where? Genesis 3. Right at the beginning of the human experience. So let’s back there, where poor Eve, and I do I feel sorry for her; she got caught in a moment of weakness and was bamboozled before she knew what had happened. And she got hit with all three of these at one time. Most of us get them one at a time, but she got all three of them. All right, remember what they are now. “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.” All right, now let’s see how Eve had to deal with it. Dropping down to verse 5.
“For God (Satan says) doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, (that is of the forbidden fruit) then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”You’ll go beyond your innocence and you’ll become knowledgeable of other things that you now know nothing of. Now verse 6.
“And when the woman saw (what did that involve? Well, her eyes) that the tree was good for food,.…” Now I don’t know whether Eve was hungry at the moment, maybe she was, to compound things. And so, as her appetite was ready to be satisfied, the eyes saw something that was appealing and I’m thinking that the fruit on that forbidden tree wasn’t an apple, but whatever it was I think it had an intrinsic beauty to it. I think it was just something that looked luscious. And as that eye beheld it and Satan is now tempting her that this is good for food, her appetite began to be compounded and so now with the lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh to satisfy her appetite – and then the crowning one would be the pride of life, if she would eat she could become what? ‘A god.’ And she would be up in a higher plane even than what she and Adam were enjoying in the Garden. So you put those three things together, her eyes saw that beautiful fruit, her appetite hankered for it, and then on top of that if she’d eat it she’d become like a god – it was more than the poor girl could handle and she succumbed. And so she ate.
All right now, it’s interesting then that when you jump back up to the Gospel’s account in the temptations, Jesus faced the very same things. And you start right out with Matthew chapter 4 and verse 1. And so we have these two primary examples of what John calls ‘the things of the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.”
“Then was Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God (“and since you’re hungry” – I don’t think I do any violence to Scripture to put that in there) command that these stones be made bread.”
Now remember when I taught this a long, long time ago? I think all of us will agree there is no more tantalizing aroma than the aroma of fresh baked bread. Am I right? I mean it is tantalizing and it’s never been any different. We can go to the Middle East, and when you smell those bakeries putting out that bread, it just makes your mouth water. All right, now Satan knew that. Jesus is hungry, He’s coming off of a forty-day fast. And so he tempts Him with the thought that, “Well now, instead of waiting until you get to somebody’s home and they offer you a piece of bread and a fish or something, just command that those stones be made bread and you can have your appetite satisfied right here and now.
Well now, could Jesus have done it? Absolutely! With a thought. And He could have had a loaf of hot bread. What was it? It was temptation to fulfill the lust of the flesh, to satisfy His hunger. But you see, He didn’t give in and He answered:
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” So He overcame that temptation with the Word of God. All right, but now you go on:
“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, (do you see that tantalizing? If you’re who you say you are) cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: (see how Satan knows Scripture. Sure he does and here he’s quoting it) and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt (or test) the Lord thy God. 8. Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9. And saith unto him, All these things(remember – things of the world, they’re part of the world system) will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
All right now, back up at the pinnacle of the Temple – and if He would have done what Satan said, just to get the acclaim of the multitudes down below (now it’s a little bit harder to comprehend this than it would be Eve looking at the fruit, but nevertheless), what lust is Satan trying to get Him to appeal to? The eye. My what a show that would have been for the multitudes down on the streets of Jerusalem if Jesus could have just jumped off the pinnacle of the Temple and then had the angels snatch Him up at the last minute. Now that would have been show fit for anybody and it would have just satisfied the desires of the eyes of the multitudes, but Jesus withstood it. All right, then the third temptation is, same way with Eve, you could become as god, only here Satan tempts Him with having all the kingdoms of this world. Now when I taught this several years ago, I asked the question, “Were these kingdoms Satan’s to give?” Sure they were. The kingdoms of this world are under the control of the god of this world, and he could offer them.
But isn’t it ridiculous when we think about this. Satan – you know there’s something I can’t understand – how much knowledge Satan does have and doesn’t have. Have you ever thought of that? How could Satan be naive enough to offer Him the kingdoms of this world, if he truly knows that one day Christ is going to have them anyway? Ever thought of that?So he must not know as much as we sometimes think he does. And so here he tries to offer the world’s kingdoms as a part of the temptations of all these three, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.
And so the Lord could just simply ignore him and reject it knowing that one day, these kingdoms of the world are going to be under His control and He doesn’t have to wait for Satan to give them to Him. Well anyway, back to I John then – this is simply to tell us that all of these temptations are part and parcel of our everyday experience. Every one of us believers (or unbelievers alike, makes no difference), we’re all constantly beset with these temptations, which involve the lust of the eye, the pride of life and the lust of the flesh.
So on the way to I John again, stop at I Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13. Now this is Paul. But nevertheless, Paul knows that we’re dealing with these same three categories of temptation. They started in the Garden, and they have continued with the human race right up until our present time. Every sin that you can imagine, everything, will be in one of those three categories. It’ll either be the pride of life, the lust of the eye, or the lust of the flesh; but here’s our rescue.
I Corinthians 10:13a
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:.…” No one can say, well I was tempted with something that no one else has ever been tempted with. Impossible. We have all faced these same categories of temptation. But, here is our loophole.
I Corinthians 10:13b
“…but God is faithful, who will not suffer (permit) you to be tempted above that ye are able; (that is to withstand) but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Now you rest on that. Temptations are going to come. We’re in the world and they’re all around us. But the promise is that if a temptation comes, God will provide the way of escape if we will take it. And that’s why again God’s going to hold us responsible. So with the temptation, He will make a way to escape, “So that we will be able to bear or deal with that temptation.” That’s why we can live victoriously. We don’t have to fall. And of course, we shouldn’t fall.
All right, now that’s Paul. Now come back to I John again, chapter 2 verse 17. All these three categories of temptations are going to come our way day in and day out. Maybe not all three at once like poor old Eve, but we’re going to have a temptation of one sort or another, in these three categories. But, now go to that next verse.
I John 2:17a
“And the world passeth away,.…”
Now for the average individual, after how long a period of time? Seventy, eighty, ninety; for a few, a hundred years – and it’s nothing. Except when I put it with Iris, you know we celebrated our 50th anniversary here a while back, I said, “Honey, do you realize that’s only forty segments of time since Christ? Not very long is it? But, on the other hand for someone who can live to be a hundred that’s only twenty segments of time since Christ. But nevertheless, in the light of eternity, whether it’s fifty or a hundred or something in between, it’s nothing compared to eternity. Eternity is forever, and forever. It’s beyond us, and we can’t comprehend it.
I John 2:17
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: (Naturally, dead people don’t have the desires of the flesh. Dead people can’t have any desire of the eye. Dead people no longer have any need for pride. It’s gone) but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
Now, you know I get questions all the time, “What are we going to be doing in eternity?” We don’t know. And I’ll just tell them, “You’ll think of this as a cop-out but I can’t tell you what we’re going to be doing in eternity. I don’t know whether we’re going to be living in houses or sleeping in beds. Are we going to be eating three meals? I can’t tell you. The Bible is silent.” All I can tell anybody is that eternity is going to be Glorious! Eternity is going to be glorious!
Now, use your own imagination as to what glorious is, but that’s as far as we can go because the Scripture is silent. We just do not know how we’re going to be functioning in that eternal state. Now I suppose some people will write and tell me what they think, but that doesn’t mean anything. Because the Book doesn’t tell us.
All right, now I guess we’re ready to go on to another thought. Verse 18, and again he uses that “term of endearment” as I call it.
I John 2:18a
“Little children, (oh, he loves these Jewish believers. And so he says) it is the last time:.…”
Now, remember when we started James and I went on into Peter. I kept emphasizing that all three of these writers are writing as if the Lord is going to be coming in their lifetime. And you remember I went back and showed you all the verses that we used concerning the Rapture, written by the Apostle Paul – and who did he include in the Rapture? Himself. Remember? Such as, “And we who are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord and so shall we ever be.” Well, the same way with these Jewish writers, as it’s inspired by the Spirit – there is nothing yet to indicate a break in the timeline with the Church Age. As far as Scripture goes, it’s going to flow right on through to the Second Coming and the Kingdom. All right, so here he says it:
I John 2:18
“Little children, it is the last time: (the days are short) and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” All right, what’s the Anti-christ? Well it really has two connotations. One, of course, can mean he’s against Christ. But I put that way down the list.
The primary meaning of the word ‘anti-christ’ is a ‘counterfeit’ Christ. He’s going to be so much like what the world thinks the true Christ will be that they’re going to be taken in. And they’re going to think that he is indeed the promised Messiah. Remember he can perform miracles also. And so he’s called then, the Anti-christ. Now if I’m not mistaken, John is the only writer of Scripture that puts this name on this coming world ruler, the Anti-christ. Paul calls him the son of perdition, and the wicked one. But John here refers to him as the Anti-christ.
All right, now just to show you that Jesus was speaking in this same vein, come back with me again to Matthew 24. I call this chapter the Tribulation chapter because everything that Jesus is referring to is concerning this coming seven-year holocaust or horror that’s coming on the world. And let’s just start at verse 1. Now this is toward the end of His earthly ministry and remember the Twelve are convinced that He’s the King, or at least the Eleven do, I don’t know about Judas. But the Eleven are convinced He’s the promised Messiah, He is the King and He will shortly be setting up His Kingdom – driving the Romans out. That was their hope. But they didn’t know when.
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples (the Twelve) came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.” In other words, the complex. The Temple was more than just the little edifice, it had apartments for the priests and so on.
“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now what does Jesus know is coming? Seventy AD. He knows that Titus is going to be coming in and destroying the city. But He doesn’t reveal that beyond saying that it’s going to be destroyed. Now verse 3.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, (in other words, no crush of crowds, no other onlookers or listeners, it was just Jesus and the Twelve)saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? (that you’ve been talking about?) and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?” (or this age) What’s going to be the sign. Now remember what the Scripture tells us? The Jews require a sign, as we see in I Cor. 1:22. They were always asking for signs. So again they say, “all right, what’s the sign of all these things that you’ve been talking about?”
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man (and I always tell people, underline that next word) deceive you.” So what is one of the first signs of the end-time? A mass deception. Are we seeing it? Oh, you’d better believe it! The world is just simply being hoodwinked with deception of one sort or another. It’s a sign that we’re close to the end. Now we don’t set dates. And in God’s thinking you know, a hundred years is nothing. But in our view of time and Scripture, we have to feel we’re getting close. The world is just getting taken with deception today. And that’s one of the signs.
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
Now, if you kept your finger in John, just flip back to it. What does John say? “That there will be many ‘false Christs.’” There will be many false Christs and what does Jesus say? “There’s going to be many claiming to be the Christ.” Well what are they? False Christs. See how they fit?
All right then, you come back to John’s little letter, and he says, “you have heard that there are many false Christs whereby we know it is the last time.” We’re at the end, John thinks. And I still maintain these fellows all thought it was going to happen in their lifetime. All the language supports that. And so he says in I John 2:19.
I John 2:19
“They (that is these false Christs, these deceivers) went out from us, but they were not of us: For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
Well now, you remember when we were back in II Peter and we were dealing with all the false teachers that Peter was warning those believing Jews about? And now John comes right back and he says the same thing. A sign of the soon coming of their Messiah was the fact that there were so many false Christs appearing. And it should be a sign for us today.