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What You Believe Matters
2 JOHN 1–13
When Jesus was in the “upper room” with His disciples the night before His crucifixion, He made a number of profound and lasting statements. One concerned truth; another concerned love.
John 14:6 reports that He said,
John 14:6 KJV 1900
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
And John 13:35 records, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35 KJV 1900
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Truth and love are the rails on which Christianity runs.
They bring authenticity and balance to our Christian confession and conduct.
Yet both are endangered species, especially in a post-modern twenty-first-century world where relativism and sentimentalism reign.
The apostle John was so concerned about the issue that he penned an entire letter to address the problem. We call it 2 John.
Second John is a tiny and much-neglected epistle filled with wisdom and insight. It addresses both the heart and the mind, both love and truth. Despite being so short, it is striking in its comprehensiveness.
The letter, though anonymous, was almost certainly penned by the apostle John.
It is 245 words in Greek, making it the second shortest book in the Bible (3 John is 219 Greek words).
John is short and to the point in this letter, and provides several words of encouragement and instruction for those who care for truth and love.
It is no surprise that both themes are tied to the gospel, particularly to the person of Jesus Christ.
Several key themes and contrasts weave this short epistle into a beautiful tapestry of spiritual significance.
First, there are the key words and their repetition.
The word “truth” occurs five times in verses 1–4;
the word “love” occurs four times in verses 1–6;
the word “command” occurs four times in verses 4–6;
the word “walk,” which addresses one’s entire lifestyle and behavior, occurs three times in verses 4–6;
and the word “teaching” occurs three times in verses 9–10.
Second, the letter is linked by three commands:
the command to continue to love each other as the Lord had said from the beginning (vv. 5–6),
the command to be on the lookout for false teachers (v. 8),
and the command to reject false teachers (v. 10).
Third, there are several contrasts that tie the epistle together:
(1) those who walk in truth (v. 4a) versus those who deny the truth (v. 7);
(2) the command from the beginning (vv. 5–6) versus those who go beyond (v. 9);
(3) deeds worthy of a full reward (v. 8) versus evil works (v. 11); and
(4) those who reject antichrist (v. 10) versus those who receive antichrist (v. 11).
Second John’s major point appears to be that we must walk in the commands of Christ as we love the truth of His teaching.
Truth is eternal.
It has its source in God (cf. 1 John 5:20).
Though truth is not really defined in this letter, it seems clear that John uses the word theologically and practically, not philosophically.
He has in mind the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ as God’s self-revelation in the incarnation (John 1:14).
John’s purpose is not to denigrate whatever truths we have gleaned from reason, experience, or tradition.
It is the case, however, that John’s Epistle foundation is rooted in Christ and the teachings and testimony of the apostles to that historical manifestation.
God has revealed His truth supremely in Christ.

We Must Love the Truth

2 JOHN 1–3
John does not identify himself by name. He is simply identified as “the Elder” (Gk presbuteros), an introduction unique to 2 and 3 John.
It emphasizes the position and personal relationship he has with the recipients of the letter.
The title “elder” carries the idea of an aged man, but also a man who has earned authority and respect by virtue of his experience, character, integrity, moral standing, and reputation.
The recipient is also simply identified as “the elect [chosen] lady and her children.”
This refers to a local church and its members (the best view).
Elect lady is a term of respect, endearment, privilege, and protection.
God chose this community of faith as His very own.
They belong to Him and He cares for them personally and individually.
John is telling his readers that truth is something that needs to be loved because, truth is God and comes from God.
Now, how are we to love Truth?

Embrace the Truth

(2 John 1–2)
John’s statement, “whom I love in the truth,” is emphatic
He truly loves them.
“Love” also is a present tense verb denoting continuous action.
Love and truth, as we noted earlier, dominate this letter
John expresses his love for this local body of believers in the context of truth, a love that is grounded in truth and shared by all who know the truth.
Further, this truth abides or remains continually both in us and with us forever.
Truth in the biblical sense is
essential not optional,
eternal not relative,
consistent not changing,
and permanent not perspective.
It flows from the One who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6),
who is Himself “the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20),
Because truth is in God, of God and is God, we must have a consuming passion for this truth, that is truth that is bathed in love.
300 Quotations for Preachers (Unless We Love the Truth, We Cannot Know It) Blaise Pascal
Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”
The apostle Paul echoed this same concern in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 when he wrote of those deceived by “the lawless one” (i.e., “the Antichrist”),
2 Thessalonians 2:10 KJV 1900
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Enjoy the Truth

(2 John 3)
Truth has wonderful companions who accompany it.
Truth also has a definite and exclusive source from which it originates.
Truth’s companions are threefold in our text.
They are grace, mercy, and peace.
Grace is God doing for us what we do not deserve (unmerited favor and divine kindness).
Mercy is God not doing to us what we do deserve (God’s compassion, pity, and tenderness).
Peace is personal wholeness and well-being in all aspects of life.
Regarding this peace, Romans 5:1 reminds us,
Romans 5:1 KJV 1900
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
And Philippians 4:9 says,
Philippians 4:9 KJV 1900
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
These three Christian virtues have a very specific and distinct source, as do love and truth.
Grace, mercy, peace, truth, and love all flow into our lives “from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father” (cf. 1 John 1:3).

We Must Live the Truth

2 JOHN 4–6
Vance Havner (1901–1986) was a wonderful North Carolina evangelist and preacher. He was also a reservoir of wisdom and wit. He often said,
“What we live is what we really believe. Everything else is just so much religious talk!”
Wow! Ouch!
Jonathan Edwards said
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) said it this way: “The informing of the understanding is all vain, any farther than it affects the heart, or, which is the same thing, has influence on the affections” (Some Thoughts, 367; emphasis in original).
The apostle John agreed.
He was convinced that unless truth reaches and affects the heart, the inner man, it is of no real value, regardless of what it may do in the head.
Truth should grab hold of head, heart, and hands.

Be Concerned with What You Believe (Creed)

(2 John 4)
John extends words of both joy and encouragement.
He was rejoincing that they were walking in truth (as we have recieved from the Father)
Verse 5 informs us that this command is “that we love one another.”
Moreover, when John talks about truth, he is not interested in philosophy.
He focuses on the gospel and the transformed life it makes possible.
He is interested in a right understanding of the incarnation (v. 7).
He is concerned that we “remain in Christ’s teachings” (v. 9).
He focuses on that truth of the gospel that extends “grace, mercy, and peace” (v. 3) to all who come to God as Father by way of the Son, Jesus Christ.
John knew well the source of His spiritual authority, of his life’s authority.
Tragically many today do not.
As a result we are awash in spiritual, moral, and religious confusion.
There are basically four options when it comes to the source of the authority to which we will submit.
We will either submit to
1. reason (what we think),
2. tradition (what we’ve always done),
3. experience (what we feel),
4. revelation (what God says).
For John, God had revealed Himself in Jesus Christ His Son and in His Word. The matter was settled. We don’t debate Him or the Word. We proclaim both.

Be Concerned with How You Behave (Conduct)

(2 John 5–6)
Wrong thinking inevitably leads to wrong living.
If the mind is confused, the heart will be corrupted.
Right thinking, however, is the right soil from which emerges the fruit of right living.
For John, right living is a life of love that is the supernatural response to the love one experiences in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Next, John urges this local body of believers in Jesus (called “dear lady”) to “love one another.”
He says it is not a new command, “but one we have had from the beginning,” that is, the beginning of their Christian experience, and a command given directly to John by Jesus (John 13:34–35).
False teachers may have a new, an additional, word for this elect lady and her children (v. 1), this dear lady (v. 5), but John simply reminds them of an old word. What they heard from the beginning should stay with them to the end.
In verse 6 John tells them to demonstrate their love for God not only by loving one another (v. 5), but by walking “according to His commands.”
This is something they also heard from the beginning: “you must walk in love.”
Verses 4–6 are so simple; they are almost poetic.
Walk in the command to love, and love the commands in which you walk.
Truth is something we believe.
Truth is also something we live.

We Must Look for the Truth

2 John 7–11 KJV 1900
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
G. Campbell Morgan said
300 Quotations for Preachers (One Sure Guide to Truth)
There is one sure and infallible guide to truth, and therefore one, and only one, corrective for error, and that is the Word of God.
The only hope humanity has for peace and rest is in wholehearted devotion to the pursuit of truth in God.
Al Mohler says,
“Where truth is denied, only therapy remains.”
John was confronted with the spiritual, mystical theology of his day,
(1) salvation is by (mystical) knowledge, and
(2) the material world is evil or inferior to the spiritual.
Christ-spirit came on the man Jesus at His baptism but left Him at the cross.
John knew that Christology is the heart of Christianity. If you are wrong on who Christ is, you will be wrong everywhere.
John therefore issued a strong warning to be on the lookout for anyone who challenged the full deity, true and perfect humanity, sinless life, and completed work of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.

Recognize the Deceivers

(2 John 7)
Verse 7 is closely connected to verse 6.
We must walk in the truth because “many deceivers” have gone out to evangelize in the evil world system.
These spiritual defectors are Satan’s missionaries on assignment.
Their message is that Jesus is not the Messiah, the Son of God coming in the flesh.
Their message is a denial of the true gospel, attacking the factuality of the incarnation and the genuine uniting of deity and humanity in the person of Jesus.
The heart of all false teaching will be a defective view of Jesus.
It will distort who He is and what He has done.
It will without exception, deny His full deity and reject His perfect work of atonement through His crucifixion and resurrection.
To such opinions John fires back, “This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
While interest in this sinister figure’s coming is as popular as ever, John informs us that his minions are here and have been here since the first century.
The deceivers, John says, are many and their message is destructive.
Look and listen carefully, for their true colors are revealed in what they say and in the One they oppose: they are enemies of the truth about Jesus.

Resist the Destruction (2 John 8)

“Watch yourselves” is a present tense imperative. It means to continually be on guard.
It is intended to come across as a strong warning.
John implores his readers to not be lulled into a spiritual stupor.
Why? Their “full reward” is at stake.
What does this mean? loss of some reward. given the context and that it is a “full reward” that is mentioned.
While the exact meaning of the reward is unclear, what we do know is this: John believes perseverance is the proof of possession (cf. 1 John 2:19).
As Vance Havner said,
“Faith that fizzles before the finish was faulty from the first.”
There is a theological tension here we must understand. For those who have been born from above by the Spirit of God through faith in Christ, it is certain that you will persevere.
It is also essential that you do persevere.
Day in and day out, we must be on guard and resist destructive persons and philosophies that deny the truth about Jesus and that would take from us our full reward.
Such spiritual destroyers will deny the complete truthfulness and sufficiency of the Bible.
They will deny the person and work of Jesus Christ—His full deity and/or perfect humanity; His work of atonement on the cross as the perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for our sin.
They will deny His sinless life, virgin birth, bodily resurrection, and future return in glory.
They will deny that salvation is a free gift received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
And they will deny Jesus as the only Lord and Savior of mankind.
Knowing these things, we must recognize the decevier and resist the destruction

Reprove the Destitute

(2 John 9)
Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but leaves it is not of God.
They leave the basic, biblical truths about Jesus and claim to offer something new and something better.
John’s judgment on such persons is quick and to the point: they are lost.
That person “does not have God.”
John is clear. There is no ambiguity. When you take Jesus as your Savior, you get God as your Father.
But if you say “No” to Jesus, you are also saying “No” to the Father who sent Him.
The two always go together.
They are one and they cannot be separated.
Only one road leads to the living and true God. That road, that way, is Jesus.
What does the theology of the destitute look like? You only need to look at the thousands of cults and the liberal theologies and modern ideologies of our day and you have a fairly accurate picture. Yet they are not as complex as they appear. All deceivers, all false teachers, practice a very similar “spiritual mathematical strategy” (Walker, personal correspondence).
The Mathematics of the Cults
Addition (+)
They add an extra-biblical source of authority by prophet, pen, or professor.
Subtraction (−)
They subtract from the person and work of Jesus Christ the Son of God. They deny His deity and find inadequate His work of redemption.
Division (÷)
They divide our allegiance from God through Christ alone to others.
Multiplication (×)
They multiply requirements for salvation. All advocate some form of works salvation.
These four simple principles will enable us to spot and expose those spiritual movements that, regardless of their profession, do not know or have God.

Reject the Dangerous

(2 John 10–11)
John’s use of “anyone” here is comprehensive. And the “teaching” John referred to is our doctrine, what we believe and confess concerning the gospel and the person and work of Jesus.
John commanded his readers to “not receive” a false teacher.
We are not to give them a base of operation from our home, nor are we to “welcome” them as friends and fellow laborers for the truth of the gospel.
To do so is to “share in his evil works.”
What was John saying?
He was instructing them to not provide support and assistance to these false teachers.
Do not help them along in their evil assignment because if you do, you go with them (cf. 3 John 8).
John was not unloving or unkind.
He was being both pastoral and practical.
We cannot pray God’s blessing on those who deny our Lord and reject the teachings of God’s Word.
What is John not saying?
He is not saying that we cannot allow them in our home for a visit whereby we share the gospel of Jesus with them.
Indeed, we most certainly ought to be doing this.

We Must Long for the Truth

2 JOHN 12–13
John has shared his heart but there is much more that he wants to say. Paper and pen have been sufficient for the immediate situation, but they are a poor substitute for a face-to-face meeting. In closing, John reminds all of us of two precious truths never to be taken for granted.

Experience the Fullness of Joy

(2 John 12)
“Face to face” is a beautiful Greek idiom, which is literally “mouth to mouth.”
When believers who love the Lord Jesus and each other come together, there is indeed a fullness of joy (cf. 1 John 1:4) that words on paper cannot express.
John loves this people and they love him.
Their coming reunion was something all looked forward to.
It could not happen soon enough.

Experience the Fellowship of the Family

(2 John 13)
The letter closes with a greeting either from the elect lady’s sister or more probably a sister church.
They stand with John in what he has said.
Indeed, the truth about Jesus brings together brothers and sisters from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev 5:9; 7:9).
We are one big family with the same Father, Savior, and Spirit.
Nothing should tear down the walls of sinful bigotry and prejudice like the gospel of Jesus.
Love and truth flow freely from Him to us all.\
Love and truth should flow freely from all of us to one another.


Ravi Zacharias says that former television talk show host Larry King was once asked who he would like to interview from history. One of the persons he named was Jesus. When questioned as to what he would ask Jesus, Larry King said, “I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin born, because the answer to that question would define history” (Can Man Live Without God, xviii).
I believe Larry King is right. When the virgin birth is wedded to His resurrection, Jesus of Nazareth, the eternal Son of God, does define history. He also defines eternity.
We must love this truth. We must live this truth. After all, it is Jesus who said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
I ask you this morning do you Love the Truth
Do you live the truth
do you look for the truth
do you long for the truth
If not, I beg you this morning, Come down and be saved today
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