[1 John 2: 17- 18]
 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.  Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 12th lecture on 1 John.
1 John 2:17 says, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts.”
Just like the passing winds, this world and the lust of the world will just pass away.
Even the unbelievers in this world say life is meaningless.
Before I explain the above verse, let me introduce to you a Chinese story telling us about the meaninglessness of life.
One day a man laid down under a tree. He was drunk and he fell asleep, but somebody woke him up.
A messenger from another country invited him to come in the name of their king.
He followed the messenger. The king of that country welcomed him, let him marry one of the princesses and gave him a position in the government.
He suddenly became a noble man, and he became a mayor of a certain area.
He had a beautiful wife and lovely children, and he was loved by the king and the people for 20 years.
But one day, some unhappy happenings began to overshadow his life.
They lost a battle with a neighboring country, and he had to take the responsibility for it.
To make it worse, his beloved wife also died of a disease.
The king found no favor in him any more. He now had to go back to his hometown as a commoner.
He was so heartbroken. Suddenly, he came back to his senses while he was suffering in heart. He was still under the tree where he had fallen asleep drunk.
The 20 years of life with many vicissitudes was just a moment’s dream.
From this story, a saying was made, which says that ‘life is but a dream’.
Other than this, there are so many other stories or tales that talk about the meaninglessness of life.
People enjoy fame and honor and many other things in their lives, but one day they just wake up from their dream.
I believe the senior citizens must feel very vividly that life is meaningless.
Once we are born into this world, how much do we toil and suffer-
But after time goes by, we will be left with only an old body that has many wrinkles.
All things of this world pass away, and the body of men also returns to a handful of dust.
Psalm 90:10 says, “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away.”
James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Even though you have so much wealth, fame, and knowledge, and enjoy so many things, nothing lasts forever.
Even the unbelievers realize this fact, too.
But they just don’t realize or understand how to gain an eternal and meaningful life.
They just vaguely say we have to empty our heart, forsake meaningless greed, and do good.
On the other hand, some people think they will just enjoy as much pleasure as possible because everything will end once they die and it is all over.
Because they think all things are meaningless, some people easily kill themselves when they are faced with some difficulties.
But you believers here know the way of life that is not meaningless.
1 John 2:17 says, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever,” and as written, the life that does have meaning is the one that follows the will of God.
People in the world commit sins because they follow their lusts.
They do the things that they should not do to fulfill their lust for what they want to get, what they want to take; what they want to see, touch, and feel; and they satisfy their desire to be recognized and lifted high.
If they have hope for Heaven by really understanding that the lust of the world is meaningless, they will live by the word of God.
They do and keep the things that God tells us to do and keep.
They don’t do what they shouldn’t and cast away the things that God tells us we should cast off.
For those who diligently do the will of God, the lust of the world will not come into them even though they come in contact with the worldly things.
Because they are filled with the hope of Heaven, there is no room for the worldly lust to come in.
Brothers and sisters, just think about the believers in the early church.
In the view of the worldly people they lived the most wretched and pitiable of lives.
Numerous believers had to go into underground hiding to protect themselves from severe persecutions.
They did not deny the Lord even though they lost all their wealth, fame, family, or even their lives.
Many of them kept their faith while undergoing brutal tortures and execution.
When a nationwide persecution took place once in a while, many believers were executed. The prisons were so full of believers that there was no more room for actual criminals.
After such persecution was over, it is said people could see those who became blind, whose limbs were amputated and who had crippling disfigurations because of various tortures.
They did not learn about the way of the cross in as much detail as you do now.
They did not experience the many powerful works that you have known.
They risked their lives just because they had the assurance that Jesus Christ is their Savior who died for them, and because they had hope for Heaven.
They were convinced that even the best things of the world are meaningless, and they could not forsake Heaven no matter the cost.
Now, today, what kind of attitude do you have in your life of faith-
Our attitude should be the attitude of martyrs even though there is no persecution like in the early church.
We have to struggle against sins to the point of shedding blood, standing up against the enemy devil and Satan that deceive the believers.
How much do you try to live by the word of God and to cast away sins-
Are there any of you who think, “I want to have and enjoy worldly things, and I want to see and touch good things, but in the church they tell me to stop all those things, and it’s so hard!”-
I hope none of you will have any lingering attachment to the world and the lust for this world that will perish.
I urge you to engrave the grace of God deep in your heart and always remember the glory of Heaven that will soon be revealed before our eyes.
I challenge you to practice the truth with happiness because you love God the Father so much and because you long for the eternal Heaven so much.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, now let us look into 1 John 2:18.
It says, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
This word of warning applies to all believers, but the emphasis is put on the children.
‘Children’ here does not refer to physical children but the children in spiritual sense.
Those who know only a very basic relationship and understanding about God the Father and the Lord and who have reached the second level of faith are children in the spiritual sense.
Those with the faith of children try to practice the word, but there are many circumstances and situations in which they cannot do it.
They don’t have a thorough understanding of the Bible, and they don’t hear the voice or receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit clearly.
Those who have the faith of young men and fathers will not be tempted by the antichrist.
But those who have the faith of children are in danger of being deceived by the antichrist if they are tempted with tricky lies.
That is why the above verse addresses ‘children’ especially.
Because they don’t stand on the rock of faith yet, this verse is emphasizing that they have to keep their faith well so that they will not be deceived when the antichrist appears.
Also, it tells them that they should try hard and grow up to have the faith of young men and faith of fathers.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, now, when is this ‘last hour’ that is mentioned-
The ‘last hour’ or the ‘last days’ in the Bible is from the time when Jesus came to this earth to the time when He will come again to take the believers.
Namely, the last hour already began at the time Jesus was born into this world.
The era in which we are living now is the end of the last hour, end of the end, the final minutes.
Now is the time when the Lord’s second coming, or the ‘end of world’ is ever so near.
So, the signs of the end time are not just vague symbols. They are so vivid that even the unbelievers can feel them.
Then, what kinds of signs are there at the last hour-
When the disciples asked a question about it, Jesus answered them, and it is written in Matthew chapter 24.
It’s a little long, but let’s go through each verse of Matthew 24:5-14.
It says, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” I will explain about this one who will mislead when we get to the antichrist.
 “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.” I explained previously that the rumors of wars refer to the 1st and 2nd World Wars.
 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.  But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” There were such disasters before, but there is a very serious increase in the number and severity of disasters now.
About the things that will take place until the end in relation with nations rising against nations, I believe you know that things have been fulfilled as I prophesied for last several years.
There are more and more news of famines, earthquakes and other disasters around the world.
So many things happened just in this year.
When this year 2010 began, people looked forward to the new year with a new hope, but God said this year was going to be like hell on earth.
And beginning mid-January His word was fulfilled.
On January 12th, Haiti had a 7.0 magnitude earthquake and they had more than 230,000 casualties.
In February, Chile had a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake. They said the axis of earth was moved because of this quake.
In April, Mexico and Indonesia had earthquakes with 7.2 and 7.7 on the scale respectively.
China also had a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that resulted in thousands of casualties.
Especially, because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the ash clouds caused the airports in Europe to close down. It caused the worst airway blockage in history.
In addition to these events, every week we hear about different magnitudes of earthquakes, typhoons and hurricanes, landslides, storms and heavy rains, extremely hot or cold weather, and floods.
Even though the disasters are so great, the more people hear about them, the more insensitive they become towards such things.
After some time, they may even forget about them completely.
But even though people may forget, God is certainly showing us the signs of the end time, and the end of days will certainly come one day.
Matthew 24:9-14  “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.  At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.  Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.  Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.  This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
As written, the gospel has already been preached to the whole world, even in Israel, the ‘end of the earth’.
2 Timothy 3:2-5 talks about the sins of the end time.
It says “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,  unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,  treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.”
These words of God have been fulfilled as prophesied, and today, this world is so full of sins.
In the newspapers, there are so many heinous crimes that are difficult even to mention.
There are such sins even in the churches.
Therefore, it is truly the end time when the believers have to be awakened and be on alert.
But people just ignore the warnings about the end time.
Even when Peter was ministering there were people who tried to deny the warnings about the end time.
2 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,  and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming- For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
But there was something they didn’t realize.
Even if we suppose the Final Judgment will not take place until one thousand later, there is not much time left for each individual.
When we die, each of us will face the end of the world at that moment!
It is very difficult for any man to live for just a hundred years.
Furthermore, nobody knows about tomorrow.
You think you are healthy, but you can be diagnosed with a terminal disease today.
There are many who die as a result of accidents, but they don’t know they are going to die until they actually die.
So, regardless or the age or time, we have to prepare for the ‘last hour’.
Especially for us who are living in this end of last hour should be on alert even more.
Another sign of the last hour is the appearance of the antichrist, and I will explain about it in the next lecture.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 says, “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.  While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”
1 Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”
Those who are in spiritual slumber think that the Lord will not come soon.
They will face the end unprepared, as if they were robbed by a thief.
But for those who are spiritually awake, it will not be a surprise for them when the Lord comes to take them.
By living in light every day, God will allow for them to be prepared for the end and receive the Lord with joy and happiness.
I hope all of you will all be on alert and remain in the bosom of the Lord with joy.
That is why I am preaching again and again that you have to cast away sins.
As the days go by, the day of the Lord’s return is drawing nearer.
I hope all you believers will pray being on alert and being awake.
I urge you not to fall into sins again, and adorn yourself as a bride by pulling out the sinful natures from the bottom of your hearts.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that, you will live forever being in the bosom of the Lord our bridegroom.