Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming,even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
1 John 2:18-28
Sometimes churches are not easy! It may feel that we want to give up on it all. Within our churches there are people who hurt others, get angry or grasp at positions of power. Often when they don’t get what they want they leave but leave a trail of destruction behind them. In today’s reading John is writing to the early church which seems to have just such problems. He strongly says that those who have left are anti-christ (they are opposing Jesus). We may not want to use such language for those in our churches who cause pain and hurt. Instead perhaps we should look at the next part of the reading which encourages the church to seek the Holy Spirit. John reminds us that the Holy Spirit is within us, to show us the Father through Jesus Christ, that even in the midst of hardship and pain God is with us and his truth shall overcome.
Holy Spirit, Rest on us and fill us. We pray today for churches which are facing difficulties caused by hurt, power struggles or persecution. Help us to see you at work in those churches and understand your truth in these situations. May we continue to seek your unity in the bond of peace in your church and the world. For Jesus Christ sake. Amen.
Stuart Nixon is a Special Category Minister in Salford
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