The Spirit’s Protection Against Spiritual Deception
1 John 2:26-27
September 29, 2013
It’s always good to have a little protection — that’s why we have health and life and disability and car and house insurance, among others. But we don’t always realize the things that are protecting us. Like the little sister of Patricia Opfel. Patricia tells the story about their growing-up years:
My little sister, always a problem eater, was stalling one night at supper by asking about the various things in the salad.
Exasperated, my father finally explained, “It’s good for you! The green things prevent scurvy, the yellow things prevent poor eye-sight, the white things prevent weakness, and the rest of the things in there prevent spankings!”
Smart dad. And now, an informed child. She didn’t know just how well-protected she was.
We like protection — including protection from things like spankings. But there are things that are more significant as well.
When I first moved out of my parental home, I remember thinking, “I’m preparing for ministry, but do I know what will make a good church? How will I be protected from bad, or even worse, false teachers? Will I be able to make a good decision about a church?”
The sad fact is that there are many teachers in many churches who are bad, false, and intentionally deceiving. What is our protection? The Lord has given us faithful commentaries and similar kinds of resources; there are godly teachers in godly schools and there are wise pastors and elders.
But John points to something else in this passage — the gift of the Holy Spirit. In John 14, Jesus promised,
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16–17)
And the verses before us this morning are a reflection of those verses, though John now sees what was promised as having been fulfilled. So he says, yes, there are those who oppose the truth of God (vv. 18-19, 26). But the Lord has also given us provision against those who are in opposition: He’s given us His truth (v. 21), He’s given us Christ Himself (22-25), and He’s given us the Holy Spirit (20, 27).