The First 15

Friday May 29, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

Don’t Drift Away


I John 2:18-29

18 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. 19 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.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 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. 22 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. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

24 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. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 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.

28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.


In one of C.S. Lewis’ better-known works, The Screwtape Letters, a senior demon and instructor, Screwtape, mentors his young demon apprentice, Wormwood, on the ways and means to tempt people and undermine their attempts to live according to God’s word. Here is one lesson from Srewtape to Wormwood: “You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy [God]. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts” (C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters).

The line that jumps out at me is, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one…” The Apostle John is warning his brothers and sisters against denying Christ like the previous antichrists and the more that will surely come. Some have left the ranks of the faithful and never returned. “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us” (verse 19). Lewis believed it wasn’t normally a great, persuasive argument or singular event that leads people to abandon faith. The journey away from God is subtle, gradual, without neon lights saying we’re going the wrong way. The cumulative effect over time is significant. Unattended, even those sins we consider small and insignificant can, over time, lead us away from God and straight into darkness.

But you, dear friends, have the anointing of Jesus Christ! You know the truth and live in Christ. You can be confident and unashamed when he comes again! So let’s press on and run the marathon of faith set before us. You don’t need others telling you what is true. Don’t be persuaded by new theories or fads. Here is what is reliable and true: “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” (verses 24-25). Repent and believe the gospel.

Prayer for Today

‘Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.
Come Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will thy glory be!

Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.’

The First 15

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