2:20 can be misunderstood and misapplied, as if believers can know all things without teachers. Such a view contradicts the rest of the Bible, proving it a false view. The first word of the verse, But, limits the extent of the verse and passage to the limited threat of Jesus-denying antichrists in context!
2:20-27 is to be understood as John's kind encouragement to his readers against the antichrist and seducing liars corrupting the doctrine of Christ in those times. They knew the truth and needed no help to identify and expose the heretics that had gone out from them but had never truly been of them.
2:17-19 ends John's warning against the world, for it is opposite God, and He will soon destroy it; the obedient live forever. His readers knew about the pope antichrist, but he warned of heretic seducers already at work. Many believers would leave even churches started by the apostles for heresy.
Between Malachi and Matthew there were things happening. A king of a segment of the Greek Empire violently abused the Jews and tried to overthrow the worship of Jehovah. God raised up some men that feared Him and used them to drive this enemy out of Jerusalem and to rededicate His temple.
The lusts of the eyes is the second bucket of sins John warned against. The world pushes visual things at us constantly, so they enter our hearts and minds by our eyes. We must commit, promise, and pray against sins by our eyes. We must be willing to sacrifice temptations like plucking out our right eye.
The pride of life is the third bucket of sins John warned against. Lust of the flesh requires a body need or desire. Lust of the eyes requires your eyes to see something. But pride is with you 24/7 and infects every thought, word, and deed. It is the greatest sin (self-righteousness), and God hates it.
Every Christian young man should know God his Father loves him and desires his success more than anyone else. He chose a son of David, gifted him with supernatural wisdom, and inspired him to write the book of Proverbs as a manual for perfect living to prosper in blessed favor with God and men.
This world is the enemy of God, and He has called us to hate it, if we truly love Him. All Christians must face the fact we live in a place that hates God and promotes sin to us every day that God hates. We show our love of Him by denying the worldly lusts that they love. Ye that love the LORD, hate evil.
John by the Holy Spirit reduced all sins that tempt Christians down to three buckets - lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life. These things are not of the Father but are of the world. This sermon uses Bible examples and a long list of things you face daily your own body wants. Rule your body.
God put us in this world, and we have to be part of it until He gets us out of here. He allows and encourages His children to use the world, as long as we do not get caught up in its distractions or lies. The Bible has many examples of great men using the world in many different ways for their profit.
This simple graphic is a little tool to see all that is in the world we must not love. It is too easy to hate the bottom tier and forget our own lives at the top, which Jesus also said for us to hate. The tiers in between are the other things we must keep in their proper place to love God as He expects. The 3-minute video might help you further understand the graphic.
2:12-14 identifies three levels of spiritual maturity, not biological age. After warning about false professors, John comforted and assured new converts, strong Christians, and old saints by their virtues. The context on both sides are two crucial commands - love of brother and love of God over world.
2:15 begins a three-verse list of rules for an evil world. The world is God's enemy, and Christians must hate it from several angles, but especially its evil passions that find a friend in our depraved old man. Everything in life should be assessed constantly as to whether our affection detracts from God.
2:8-9 used the N.T. era as a reason to love one another. The darkness of hateful and violent living under Satan's universal rule had been broken, as the apostles took the loving religion of Jesus to the nations. A new world order arrived 2000 years ago. Will you walk in gospel light or pagan darkness?
2:9-11 teach love or hatred toward a brother has serious consequences on the soul. Love will give internal light by the Spirit to avoid errors in life, but hatred blinds and deceives men to make errors without knowing why. Hatred is damning and leads to other sins. Love is enlightening and helpful to the soul.
Your best life requires you to give up selfish interests for Christ. If you do, you will enjoy life to its fullest as God intended. If you will not, you will lose offered joy and prosperity. Jesus repays followers 10,000% in this world and eternal life in the world to come. Follow and obey Him at any cost! It is win-win!
2:7-8 began a five-verse lesson about loving the brethren. Two introductory parts of the lesson are special. First, the command to love one another is old as coming from Christ and new as emphasized by Christ. Second, John appealed to brotherly love on the basis of the new era of Christianity.