1 John 4:3 …but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
For just over nineteen hundred years, the words of the Apostle John have alerted Christians to the fact that there are forces in the world which pro-actively work to diminish Christ and eradicate Christianity. In John’s time, it was the Roman emperors who tried to eliminate the faith. Four centuries later, barbarians tried to do the same. And in the sixteenth century, Islamic jihadists all but destroyed the Byzantine Empire and tried take over all of Europe. If they had succeeded, the Pilgrim Fathers would never have set sail and all of our succeeding history would have been wiped out forever.
Throughout the twentieth century, evangelicals declared that the Anti-Christ was manifested in the Kaiser, Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin. Latterly, Saddam Hussein was meant to be the Anti-Christ and now whoever wins the Whitehouse in November may be given that same dubious title by religious fanatics.
But John doesn’t necessarily mean a person in this scripture. He is writing about a spirit, a movement, perhaps even a cultural change. If his words could be applied today, then perhaps militant atheists, secular humanists, and New Age gurus may be considered anti-Christian spirits. And because they are becoming culturally popular, we have to be prepared to explain, express, and even defend our beliefs on a regular basis. The old days of resting in our Christian comfort zones are coming to an end. The world wants to set Christ aside and make His followers ineffective and redundant. We are in danger of becoming antiquated and archaic, especially in Western society.
So the challenge for us today is this: let’s make our faith relevant in our daily activities and show others that Christ matters to us and to our culture.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, there are so many distractions in our world that it is getting harder to remain focused and committed to You. As Christians, we are often pressured to let go of our faith and show to others that we are just like them. Remind us that the purpose of our faith is to try to be like You, which is why we are called Christ-ians. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.