ABIDING In The DOCTRINE of Christ

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THE SECOND LETTER OF JOHN – (With an Emphasis on verses 7-11)

When John wrote this letter, there were many false teachers as there are today.

These men and women argue that Jesus was not always the Son of God.  They didn’t think that Jesus was both God and man through his whole life.  So, they taught that Jesus became the Christ only for a short time.

The FALSE TEACHERS thought they had a new knowledge (“Gnosticism”).

The word “Gnostic” comes from the Greek word, “Gnosis” meaning to know. Gnosticism taught that man’s body, which is composed of matter, is evil and that God, who is spirit, is totally good.  Also, that SALVATION is attained not by faith in Christ but by special knowledge.

This new knowledge, GNOSTICISM, had replaced what the apostles taught.  The false teachers said that their MESSAGE was new and different, a really new idea. But it was the wrong idea.  They had added their own ideas to the TRUTH, and thus, the CULT beliefs began and our flourishing today.

In the Gospel of John 14:6, Jesus says He is the personification of the TRUTH:

[16]  “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.”  (Amplified Bible)

Jesus is “the TRUTH” incarnate.

And yet “the TRUTH” is under fire today.  The current fad led by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code is nothing new.  His false information comes from the cultic beliefs that were rejected by the true church long ago.

The same is true regarding the so-called Gospel of Judas.  Those false Gospels written long after the fact were quickly rejected by the church.  So contrary to what Mr. Brown wrote, the church overwhelmingly rejected the Gnostic teachings.

Many of the New Testament letters were written to combat false teachings that threatened the church.  The Epistles of John are no exception.

The letter of 2 John is the shortest letter in the New Testament.  Yet, this little letter speaks powerfully to our generation, especially concerning our relationship to the TRUTH as it is in Jesus.

John begins his 2 letter by telling his readers, 

[1] “…not only I but also all who are [progressively] learning to recognize and know and understand the TRUTH– [2] Because of the TRUTH which lives and stays on in our hearts and will be with us forever” (AMP).

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VERSES 7-11 dealt with the basic Gnostic heresy that was beginning to put a negative influence on the early church.

BELIEVERS in Christ Jesus are to possess the TRUTH (vv 1-3) and practice the TRUTH (vv 4-6) and we are to protect the TRUTH (vv 7-11) as our responsibility.

I have been engrossed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro this year.  I particularly enjoy hearing  the backstories of the athletes from the nations gathered for one purpose in mind.  To be victorious in representing their country.

Stories of sacrifice, of vigorous and sometimes painful exercise of their sport.  If we, as believers in the TRUTH, can also apply the same unbending dedication to being victorious, not for medals around our necks, but out of LOVE for our God and Savior.  That my friends, is LIVING IN THE TRUTH!

IN VERSE 7, John calls those who follow the Gnostic movement DECEIVERS, or as the Amplified Bible calls as “IMPOSTERS” and the antichrist.

[7]  For many imposters (seducers, deceivers, and false leaders) have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge (confess, admit) the coming of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) in bodily form.  Such a one is the imposter and the antichrist.

Peter Jones is the author of the book,  “The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back” movement, calling today’s church to spiritual warfare.  Mr. Jones points out how gay rights are promoted in popular magazines, public radio and Hollywood.  Feminist spirituality is making inroads into Christianity.  Christian students are being silenced in the name of religious tolerance.  Mystical techniques for achieving well-being and self-knowledge are being adopted in the business world and in the military.

Merely coincidental trends?  No, this is spiritual warfare and are expressions of an ancient heresy reasserting itself today.

IN VERSE 9 John encourages his readers, and that includes us, to “ABIDE” in the Doctrine of Christ.  Don’t panic, when you read or hear the word “doctrine.”

DOCTRINE simply means “the teachings of Christ.”

[9]  Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son.

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In other words, those who follow the teachings of the antichrist spirit and denies the person and the deity of Christ, is separated from God.  They are lost and destined for destruction in hell, according to God’s Word.

The word “abide” means, “to continue,” “to remain,” “to dwell” in the teaching, or doctrine of Christ.

READ the words of Jesus  (John 15:4-8 NIV translation):

[4] “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  [5] I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  [6] If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  [7] If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  [8] This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Looking at 2 JOHN, verses 10 and 11 for a moment, John writes [10] “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught], do not receive him [do not accept him, do not welcome or admit him] into [your] house or bid him Godspeed or give him any encouragement.  [11] For he who wishes him success [who encourages him, wishing him Godspeed] is a partaker in his evil doings.”

John isn’t saying that we are to refuse hospitality to the lost–unsaved people.  In fact one of the best ways of sharing Jesus to others is to invite lost people into our homes.  John is saying that we are not to show hospitality to false teachers who can, and will, DECEIVE the church.

During the first two centuries and beyond, the gospel message was carried from place to place by traveling evangelists.

Looking back into my family history, I found in the records, on my mother’s side of the Family Tree, a Circuit Rider.  A clergyman who travel on horseback in early America from church to church, especially within a rural Methodist circuit. Believers by the way, were to show them hospitality and allow them to stay in their homes.

The FALSE TEACHERS also had this practice.  They would often visit a believer’s home in pretense of being a Christian.  The believer would unwittingly show them hospitality.  Yet to willingly show hospitality to false teachers was to participate in their actions.  I always remember my parents’ warning growing up:  “Hang around in a bad crowd, and people will believe you’re part of that ‘bad crowd.’

CHRISTIANITY is about TRUTH.

imagesJesus says. “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.”  There is God’s TRUTH and an eternal TRUTH.  We must possess the Truth in receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior of our lives.

WAIT, there’s more!

We also must practice daily the TRUTH by exercising Christian LOVE.  And, we must protect the TRUTH by “abiding”- in the Doctrine of Christ.

What about you?  Have you made your commitment to Jesus as Lord of your life?  Or, are you following after the false teachings so prevalent today?

As for me and my house, we have made our choice!

 


SOURCES & CREDITS:

Bible Translations Used:  The Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.

Credits:  The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back on the Truth XChange. Preface published by P & R Publishing.

Commentary:  2 John – Free Bible Commentary in Easy English.

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