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Friday, February 21, 2014

Some People Have to Leave the Church to Prove They Never Were of the Church

1 John 2:19-20 (ESV)
19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
20  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

Before anyone responds what I learned from this passage, I would like to say I understand the conditions under which it was written There had been people in the church who at one time were considered upstanding members who had left the church to teach a heresy. The heresy had something to do with saying Jesus was not the Christ. They were antichrists because of this. They opposed Christ.

However, I also saw something else. I saw how easy it is to say that someone is a believer when he really just knows the right words to say. John didn't tell the church the believers that they needed to appease these people so that they would come back to church. He called them what they really were: antichrists.

I also find it interesting that the subjunctive use of the verb in v. 19 reveals that their leaving was in accordance with God's purpose. They left so that they could be revealed as antichrists. Think of the damage they would have done if they had tried to woo away the members from the inside. They would have gotten much more traction in their efforts. So many in a church have the gift of mercy which can result in a lack of discernment if unchecked by others. The gift of mercy is a necessary gift but must be used under the guidance of the Holy Spirit or no one will know the justice of God. Leaving the church revealed to everyone clearly who these antichrists really were.

John also notes that these people may have gone out from them in location but were never really a part of them in faith. These people have never known Christ so that their antichrist teaching reveals that they never knew Christ.

I once did the funeral of a very godly man whose son asked to make some remarks. Of course, I assumed it was appropriate that a son speak of his father's godliness. That's not what happened.  The son gave an antichrist type of teaching instead of speaking of his father or of Jesus. He tipped his hat to Jesus in saying that becoming a Christian was better than not becoming a Christian. He was a universalists who said that Jesus death was really unnecessary for salvation. The rest of the man's family was embarrassed. They all knew the Lord. The son who spoke had heard of the Lord but his words revealed that he really didn't know who Jesus is. Why would he think that God would send His only Son to die such a horrible death if it was not necessary?

Those who believe are anointed by the Holy Spirit. He is the seal and assurance of our salvation. He is the one who holds onto believers  and who works in believers.  He reveals who Jesus is. Thus, believers have the knowledge but not as those who merely know in part. Believers have the total knowledge found in a relationship. The one known only be reputation or by what others have said is two dimensional. Getting to know the person fills in the gaps. Getting to know the person reveals the character.  The believers relationship with the Lord is like a marriage. The believer knows the Lord intimately and knows Him more and more.

Thus, each of us knows people who came to our churches but are no longer with us. They are telling a different story of Jesus than that of the Bible. They are saying things about the Church, His Bride, that is against Him. They are saying that He doesn't matter as they stay so far away from Him. Maybe they had to leave the Church in order to show that they were never a part of the Church.


Anthony Chia said...

Indeed, you touched on a number of important issues that are needed to be considered, but I suppose it would NOT be appropriate for me to comment on them all here. After meditating on this, I think the balance and moderation I wish you to see, can be received in, from the meditation on the Parable of the wheat and tares (Matt 13:24-43). I decided to quote from an article from on the parable. But before I do that, let me say a few words:

1. Why “the wheat AND TARES”? Because there are the tares in the “setting”. So, firstly, you are right (your comment on my comment on the blog entry, previous to the current one), we share the same observation – there are tares, those NOT believers but who are like believers, in our midst. Tares are like the wheat but NOT wheat, and so, we agree there are “false believers” who are like believers, but they are NOT believers (As to “in motivation, we differ”; I really don’t know what that is!). This parable (Wheat and tares) of Jesus said that; the only thing is that, some argue the setting is the world, while others, take it that it could be applied to the Church or the local church.

2. Why does the Lord said NOT to pluck out the tares from the setting? He said if you do that, you may pluck out the wheat along with the tares. In other words, the difficulty is real, and the Lord is advising against it – don’t pluck out or “chase out” the “tares” from the church, or if you only think the setting can only be the world, don’t kill them or send them off, to some distant planet!

3. Furthermore, wheat and tares were used by Jesus as a metaphor, only to highlight certain truth(s) or way(s) of the Kingdom or the Lord; the reality is that we have NOT, the knowing in full but in part (sorry, I have to say, we know in part – Apostle Paul said that, too); and really, you and I were tares turned wheat! In nature, wheat are wheat, and tares are tares, but we, turn from a sinner (tares?) to be a believer (wheat). Some of us transform so quickly, others, not after donkey years, so to speak, but you and I cannot say for sure the latter was NOT a wheat in those donkey years; only the Lord knows (The Lord knows those who are His). And the Lord is long-suffering and faithful. We could be unfaithful to our commitment but the Lord cannot, for He cannot disown Himself (2 Tim 2:13). We can be like this Malay proverb, “Hangat-hangat tahi ayam”, but NOT the Lord. The literal translation of the proverb is “Hot-hot chicken shit!” (Warm only for a while-lah!) Used on a believer, we see the initial spurt, after that “no music, no sound”, so to speak, but the Lord is NOT like that; He is working away still – Phil 1:6

The quote below from :, I agree with:

“For one thing, we don’t know if immature and innocent believers might be injured by our efforts. Further, one has only to look at the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and the reign of “Bloody Mary” in England to see the results of men taking upon themselves the responsibility of separating true believers from false, a task reserved for God alone. Instead of requiring these false believers to be rooted out of the world, and possibly hurting immature believers in the process, Christ allows them to remain until His return. At that time, angels will separate the true from false believers.

In addition, we are not to take it upon ourselves to uproot unbelievers because the difference between true and false believers isn’t always obvious. Tares, especially in the early stages of growth, resemble wheat. Likewise, a false believer may resemble a true believer.”


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

I know as undershepherds of the Great Shepherd, at times, we have to protect the sheep (real sheep), yet surely, turning out a prima facie sheep, must NOT be taken lightly, for the parable of the lost sheep is telling us that the Lord would leave 99, and go find the 1 sheep; what more when we are facing many such, amongst us. It is NOT a matter of me fearing to hurt other people’s feeling with a hard stance, but it is the Lord has given His take of such a situation, and I will NOT easily be turning out a prima facie sheep, to the Lord’s disappointment. Now, if this parable of the wheat and tares is NOT enough to persuade a moderate stance, the Lord, in the answering the disciple’s asking of “how many times must we forgive a person?” told us that, as a working guide, so long as there is prima facie repentance, we are to forgive (Luke 17:4). In short, the Lord is saying, give them the benefit of doubt.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions