We have become used to politicians glossing over unpleasant facts in their backgrounds, hoping beyond hope to win our vote. Celebrities plead in the tabloids for us to forgive their inebriated blunders, trusting us to overlook the dozen times they’ve stumbled over the same character flaw.
We have to search for someone we can trust. Our spouse? We have private detectives who tell us otherwise. Our dog? The stains on the carpet scream betrayal. Our religious leaders? Just ask the Catholic Church what they’ve been through.
The book of 2 John is the shortest book in the New Testament, yet it carries one of the most profound messages within the covers of that leather-bound tome. This small book is the sword that divides truth from falsehood; right from wrong; the upstanding from the downfallen.
The truth we find in 2 John is that we must be careful who we allow to be our spiritual leaders, for to be led astray by those who do not follow the teachings of Christ is to follow after the antichrist.
Let’s break down John’s message in Verses 5-11:
Verses 5-6 tell us we are to love one another.
How do we know that we have love? We walk in obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ.
We can read the Bible and check off each instruction Jesus gives us, and when we reach the final box, we can be assured we love our fellow man.
Verses 7-8 caution us to watch out for deceivers who do not acknowledge that Jesus Christ came to earth as God incarnate.
We who have come to Christ have earned a reward in heaven. However, if we follow the deceiver who claims to be a believer but does not base that claim on the teachings of Christ Immortal, we will lose our full reward in heaven.
Verses 9-10 are very explicit. If a teacher comes to us teaching anything other than the words of Christ, we are not to extend our hand of welcome or even let him or her cross our threshold.
If our spiritual leaders teach the message of Christ, it is proof they have the Father and the Son within them. However, be careful of those who claim the knowledge of Christ in order to raise themselves up before man.
Verse 11 slices to the heart of the truth. If we welcome false teachers into our midst, we put our stamp of approval on their teachings, and we share in their wickedness.
What appears as right and good unto man is foolishness before God. A man may claim many good works, but without Christ, those good works rise as a vile and wicked odor before the Almighty God.
God has no patience with evildoers. Neither should we.
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Throwback Thursday: Originally Published July 15, 2013 in Discipleship