Who are the beasts in your life?
Once in a sermon, Augustine asked his people if any of them was antichrist, as in opposing Christ, in character or unfaithfulness. The 1 John definition of antichrist, the only place in Scripture this term appears, simply means anyone who opposes Christ. It isn’t about an ominous opposing personality rising up and tricking us; rather, it is about our willingness to be tricked. God gives us a mind and incredible resources of His Spirit and Word; we have no excuse to be disloyal to our Lord. The call here is to heed the warning, not engage in vain speculation; rather, we are to make sure we are lined up to Him, loyal to our LORD! This means that as we lead our lives and run our churches, we have to seek Him and ask, are we being disloyal to our Lord? If so, guess what? The antichrist is not a political figure; it is you! We are the ones who are opposing Christ! This aspect is far more important that the speculations, because it all comes down to one thing, loyalty. Are you devoted to Christ or a slave to your will and to the manipulations of others?
This passage could also mean that Christians may think that as long as they are not worshipping in a pagan temple, they are OK; but, to be loyal to evil or compromise God’s Word is worshipping something that is not of God! What we can do is trust Christ and be prepared, and that is John’s message to us. Stand firm in faith and do not be carried away with trivialities or intense persecution.
Questions to Ponder:
- Why do these sings and wonders astonish people and, in turn, greatly deceive them? Do you believe people are personally responsible for allowing themselves to be deceived?
- What do you think this image is? What do you think the purpose is for the statue/image? How would you react to see this image come to life and speak? What would be the motivation for people to worship it?
- What do you see as the danger of the beast to us today, either personally or to the Church? What about relativism, diminishing values as Christians, replacing biblical teaching with faulty trends, and faulty logic and thinking?
- Why are there countless speculations on the mark and the number 666? Why would a pastor desire to preach by his personality and ignorance and not out of the Scriptures?
- What does it mean to you, as a Christian, to be watchful and loyal? Do you believe that when the beast does come there will be no mistaking of his identity? Then, how and why will Christians be tricked? What can we do to prevent ourselves from being deceived?
© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org