1 John 2:24-25
That Which You Have Heard from the Beginning
Nobody figures it out on their own. Nobody sits down at their kitchen table, reads the Bible and puts together what has taken twenty centuries to unfold. Oh, I do believe in the perspicuity of Scripture. There are portions that are clear enough for even a child to understand. And certainly an adult can pick up a Bible and understand its words and stories. But all of this is far different from the believer who reads the Scriptures with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit within, and it is certainly different from the one who has been raised in a family of faith where he was taught to rightly understand the sacred writings.
So here the Apostle warns his readers against the “deceivers” they have around them—those who are in the camp of the antichrist who deny that Jesus is the Christ—to “let what you have heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.” And what is that which they have heard from the beginning? In a word, the apostolic teaching. These had received the word from the apostles, and those who came after, that Jesus Christ is he who was from the beginning, that he became man and was seen, heard, and touched by the apostles, that he died for our sins and rose again, that he now sits on the right hand of power, that he shall someday return to judge the living and dead and to bring to completion the Kingdom opening the gates of heaven to all who believed. This is what they had heard. This is what they believed. This is the doctrine that was to abide in them so that they would likewise abide in the Son and the Father and enjoy eternal life.
We need to hear this message today. Americans are forever chasing the next thing, the newest thing, the freshest thing, the hot-off-the-press thing. Americans have a built in distrust for the old, for tradition, and unfortunately, for what they were taught by their parents, grandparents, and the church of their youth. Americans bend to the culture and are quick to jump on the train before it leaves the station without thinking where it will take them. Assuming that what you learned was the apostolic word clearly recorded in the Sacred Scriptures, here is John’s word again: “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you.” And we have this apostolic word coming down to us from a course of two thousand years, a train which includes the greatest minds of the Ancient Church to the lowest peasant of the Middle Ages to your beloved Grandma. It has worn well. Do not be deceived by those who contradict that word. Abide in it—and thereby in Him.