Beware of Deceivers

2 John 7-11

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. NKJV


Things are not always as they seem. A rather well-built man saw an advertisement for a job at the zoo. When he went there, he was horrified to find that the only job they had open was for somebody to play the part of a monkey. A lot of children were coming in the next few days, and the zoo, having no monkeys, needed someone to impersonate one. Since money was tight, the man decided he would take the job.

He arrived before sunrise, got into the monkey outfit, and slipped into his cage. Finally, day dawned, and the children came. All he had to do was pensively pace the floor, look rather adept at swinging between trees, and eat the peanuts and bananas whenever they were fed to him.

After eight or ten hours, he became thoroughly exhausted. The bananas were getting the better of him. As he swung from one tree to another, rather nauseated, he slipped and fell into the lion's den next door. He shouted, "Help! Help!"

The lion leaned over and said, "If you don't shut up, we'll both lose our jobs." -- Ravi Zacharias, "The Lostness of Humankind," Preaching Today, Tape No. 118.

  1. The certainty of deceivers "For many deceivers have gone out into the world"
    1. We do not live in a perfect world.
      1. The world was only perfect before the fall of man.
      2. After God's perfect creation Cain killed his brother Abel.
      3. And the world became so corrupt that God choose to destroy it.
    2. There are two opposing forces that will never be reconciled.
      1. Someone asked me the other day how it is that Satan doesn't realize his end and just give up.
      2. Satan is the very personification of evil and does not reason as to his winning or losing, it is rather that he opposes God at every turn.
        1. He has a kingdom and is called the god of this world.
        2. He desires the worship and honor that are due only to God.
        3. He is insatiable in his opposition to God.
        4. Do look for him to surrender any time soon.
        5. He may even be deceived enough to think that he will win in the end or maybe just satisfied that now he has what seems to be the upper hand.
      3. God is in the business of reconciling people to Himself and taking them from the kingdom of darkness and placing them into His kingdom of light.
        1. Eph 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. NKJV
    3. Sometimes the most effective person is a double agent.
      1. God doesn't utilize this type of thing but Satan does.
        1. You might think so by the way that some Christians live.
        2. But God calls on His people to always follow Jesus, His perfect Son.
      2. But Satan is the father of lies.
        1. He is the chief of propaganda.
        2. He wrote the book on deceit.
      3. Satan is the arch deceiver.
        1. 2 Cor 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. NKJV
      4. We must never forget that Satan is our formidable enemy.
      5. Eph 6:11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. NLT
  2. The nature of deceivers. "who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh"
    1. The meaning of the word.
      1. By the very nature of the word, this implies that these are not simply mistaken but are out to delude others into their erroneous ways.
      2. Strong: NT:4108 planos (plan'-os); of uncertain affinity; roving (as a tramp), i.e. (by implication) an impostor or misleader; KJV - deceiver, seducing. (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
      3. The same word is used in a somewhat strange fashion in 1 John 1:8 Vincent says, "We deceive ourselves. Literally, "we lead ourselves astray." Not only do we err, we are responsible for it." (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
    2. Theirs is a two fold denial here.
      1. First is those who claim that Jesus was not the Christ.
        1. We dealt with this early on in this series.
        2. But briefly, it means that those who question the deity of Jesus.
        3. Those who deny the virgin birth would fit into the category.
        4. Those who claim that Jesus was a good man but no more.
        5. Those "scholars" who deny the miracles of Jesus fit into this group because if you believe He is God, you have no problem believing that He can do miracles.
        6. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, God in the flesh and we will not take the time to restate those positions we used when we covered that part of the letter.
      2. The other denial is that God came in the flesh.
        1. The Gnostics taught that God was separated from His material creation by His spiritual creation and they there could be no joining of God and man in the Person of God's Son.
        2. They believed that everything material was inherently evil and that God could have nothing to do with the material.
        3. They developed an elaborate structure of angel hierarchy that spanned the great gulf between God and His creation.
        4. Thus God could never become man.
    3. "This is a deceiver and an antichrist"
      1. Regardless of what people say, you cannot deny Christ and be a Christian.
        1. I remember reading one time were a major denomination was brought to the proposal that they should not support or send missionaries who could not confess that Jesus was virgin born and the motion lost.
        2. Now I am not being judgmental, I am just stating what is obvious to the plain reading of the Bible.
        3. If they deny the plain New Testament doctrines that Christians have always agreed on concerning the deity or the humanity of Jesus, they are deceivers and antichrist.
      2. Adam Clarke, "Of these he had spoken before, see 1 John 4:1, etc. And these appear to have been Gnostics, for they denied that Jesus was come in the flesh. And this doctrine, so essential to salvation, none could deny but a deceiver and an antichrist." (from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)
      3. To deny either the manhood of Jesus or His deity places you in the realm of a deceiver and antichrist.
        1. We do not need to dialogue or find common ground.
        2. Paul says that Jesus is the foundation and that without Him there is not foundation.
      4. Notice that a departure from the word of God is a departure from God Himself.
        1. You cannot deny the teachings of God and not deny Him.
        2. You cannot oppose the teachings of His Holy Word and not oppose Him.
        3. Our human reasoning alone isn't enough to discern truth from error. The best protection against deception is to know God's revealed truth, the Bible. -- Ruth E. Van Reken, Christian Reader, Vol. 35, no. 2.
    4. We must be aware of those who pervert the truth of God.
      1. Acts 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? NKJV
      2. Just as there were in that day those who pervert the truth, so there are today, those who pervert the truth.
      3. The most important thing you can ask about any religion is, What do they say about Jesus.
        1. If they deny Him-
        2. If they minimize Him-
        3. If they exalt someone else to be His equal-
        4. If they simply avoid Him.
          1. Notice in these verses that it does not say that they outwardly denied Him.
          2. Rather it simply says they would not confess Him.
          3. Anyone who will not openly, willingly confess Jesus both as the Lord God Almighty and as the humble servant man, has no place in Christianity.


This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at