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Devotional - Second John - God's Love Letter To The Church

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. This letter is from John, the elder.I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children,whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth— because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever. Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love. - 2John 1-3 (NLT)



    Tucked away towards the end of the New Testament, we find the Epistles from the Apostle John. The second epistle is very short, spanning only 13 verses and 332 words. Yet within this short space, John uses the words love and truth five times each. That is because these two words are inseparable to God. There is no love without truth and there is no truth without love. Not coincidentally, these are two of the most abused and confused words in Christendom today. Truth has become flexible in the mouths of those who seek to build earthly kingdoms, using God to achieve their own designs. Love has become a catch phrase for people hiding behind doctrine-less Christianity, stripped of the truest act of love - the cross. On this Valentines Day, which supports the false love the world offers, let us look at this love letter God has written to His church and see what is truly important when we consider both love and truth.



    I say that this letter is written to the church and I do not mean simply because the Bible as a whole is intended for the Body of Christ. Scholars agree that this letter is specifically written by John to the church that was under persecution at the time of its writing. The key verses refer to the letter being written to the "chosen lady and her children" but that is in all likelihood code for the church as a whole and the congregation as her children. It is in fact the church that is the chosen lady of God; the Bride of Christ. Note from the key verses John starts by stating his love for the church in the truth. Once again they are inseparable. John goes further though boldly stating that if one knows the truth that they too must profess to love the church because the truth of God must live in us if we are to be followers of Jesus Christ. Mind you, this is not speaking of the vast majority that refers to itself as the church today. It is referring to the true Body of Christ. Those that do as the Master says. Those that do not distort the truth as we will see later in this letter. The things we desire and need the most - grace, mercy and peace - will continue to be with those who live in truth and love. Not those who have an unblemished tithing record. Not those that serve in purpose driven ministries. Not those that speak their faith into existence. Not those that speak the loudest, sing the prettiest, or have the most warm bodies occupying pews across this land. No beloved - those who live in the truth and love. Let us now continue with the love letter from God to us today:



    How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. - 2John 4-6 (NLT)



    This is the portion of the letter dealing with love. This is not a new commandment. It is at the heart of the golden rule and when Jesus gave that rule He described it as being the essence of the entire law and prophets! If you asked people what love means I am sure the answers would be quite varied. Many would focus on deep unconditional affection. Others would speak to more intimate or even sexual desires. The sad thing is if we asked people in church the answers would not be much different. If there is any one area that Christians defer to the worldly way of thinking on the most - it is about love. But look here at these verses and we will find the secret. Love means doing what God has commanded us! What God has commanded us is in the Bible. The Bible is the absolute truth we are to live by. Coming full circle again, love is truth.



    I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what wehave worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son. - 2John 7-9 (NLT)



    Wait a minute! Why is there a warning about false teachers and prophets in the middle of God's love letter? Because that is how important the matter is to God beloved! We have seen a concerted effort over the last couple of decades to marginalize doctrine. To make doctrine a dirty word. We have huge mega-ministries that exist virtually devoid of true doctrine. We have other huge mega ministries built upon poisoned doctrine. But remember, you cannot have love without truth. There is no claim to love someone as a Christian and yet be compromising the truth. We need to be watching out more diligently than we have to not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. The sad truth is that far too many believers welcome the spirit of antichrist into their churches with open arms, citing unity and not wanting to make waves. Just like not everyone who says Lord Lord is getting into heaven not everyone who claims the mantle of Jesus Christ is actually serving Him. We are supposed to be Bereans and test everything. We are called to discern and evaluate fruit. There is an old anecdote that says if you place a frog in cold water and slowly raise heat under it to boiling the frog will never jump out and die completely unaware that its surrounding conditions were slowly killing it. That is the state of the modern church today. Far too many of us sit in churches that are slowly killing us; seemingly oblivious to it. When someone points out the heat that is boiling the water they are greeted with choruses of "Pharisee" and "Discord." No matter how much you think it is loving to not call what is false, false, you are mistaken. There is no love without the truth. There is no truth without love.



    Take a good hard look at these verses and realize what they are saying. Anyone who wanders from the Gospel has no relationship with God! None! While we are on the subject, you cannot claim divine impartation to teach things different from the Gospel. That is the schtick from people like Joseph Prince who claims God gave him the revelation of the gospel of grace even though the Bible teaches any other gospel is anathema! He has wandered from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as such has no relationship with God. Joel Osteen preaches word faith heresy, positive confession heresy, and false prosperity heresy. He has wandered from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as such, has no relationship with God. You can line them all up after them. The entire false preacher brigade that abuses tithing, cheapens grace, or promises earthly prosperity - they have no relationship with God. Now I know what some people think. They look at the size of these ministries and their relative success and think how can so many people be wrong?



    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. - Matthew 7: 13-14 (NIV)



    The road that leads to hell is broad for a reason - there are a lot of people on it. Do not confuse carnal success with spiritual affirmation. The reason why the Joel Osteen's of the world see 45,000 people on a weekly basis is he is telling them exactly what they want to hear. That there are seven steps to a better you and God wants you to be rich. The Joseph Prince's of the world garner such a great following because everyone wants to hear that they do not have to concern themselves with the law and their own sin. The ears are itching and these preachers are more than willing to scratch. There is however no truth in it. There is no love in it. They have no relationship with God.



    Isn't that who this whole thing is supposed to be about? I know that flies in the face of a lot of modern preaching that seeks to make this about us but it really is supposed to be about God. No greater love than God who sacrificed His only Son to die in our place for our sins. That is truth but you will not hear it preached from seeker friendly pulpits anymore. You will hear plenty of pop psychology, self help, motivational speaking and hipster pastors but precious little truth. The problem of course is without the truth, there is no love. There is no love in holding your hand as you are driven off a cliff while crying unity. The reason why there is no love in that is there is no truth in it. They are inseparable. The Apostle John however was not quite done yet. God saw what was going to be happening today and He addressed it in this letter:



    If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work. - 2John 10-11 (NLT)



    Whoa. Read that again. I have been writing for awhile about the dangers of what I refer to as "Kumbya Christianity." That is where everyone who can spell the name Jesus correctly is referred to as a brother or sister in Christ and thus free from criticism. There is truth and there is untruth. There is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and there is the spirit of antichrist. There is pure doctrine and there is the doctrine of demons. There is no middle ground. There are no shades of gray. When we look around the landscape of Christendom we see it littered with false teachers, false prophets, and false healers. Millions of people follow them and there is plenty of room on the broad path. It is hard enough to take a proper stand against this without what is true propping up what is false. I know that someone like Francis Chan thought he was doing the right thing when he appeared at the IHOP conference in December and publicly gushed over the known false prophet Mike Bickle. Despite publicly declaring that he loved Bickle's heart, after meeting him one time, he also claimed that God wants them to see each other as brothers and love each other.



    Not without the truth Pastor Chan. Not without the truth.



    The falseness of Mike Bickle is well documented. From his belief that the second apostolic age began in 2001 to his claiming to be taken to heaven in a golden chariot, the jury is in. His movement at IHOP is largely built upon false worship that is erotic and mind numbing in nature to a clear dominionist theology that teaches they are equipping an actual end times army to take over the world for the second coming of Christ. What Chan did is take his own personal credibility, of which he had garnered a lot, and gave it to someone who did not deserve it or earn it. Bickle immediately created self promotional videos of Chan endorsing him.



    This is not to pick on Francis Chan, as he is just the most recent. Dr. Michael Brown is a respected theologian who recently spent an entire week on the Benny Hinn program. I have tried speaking to Dr. Brown but to no avail. Many have tried reasoning with him but to no avail. You can talk all day long about "loving each other" but without the truth involved it is not love at all. What John is teaching here is very plain and quite clear. We are not supposed to give ANY encouragement to someone who does not teach the truth about the Gospel. When Joseph Prince wrongly teaches that repentance is merely "consenting to be loved" he is not entitled to ANY encouragement. When Mike Bickle has spent decades warping the Gospel he is not entitled to ANY encouragement. When Joel Osteen spends every single week preaching word faith and monetary prosperity he is not entitled to ANY encouragement. There is no love without truth.



    Because here is the truth. The actual Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto the salvation of men. When you preach a contrary gospel - you remove that power. Paul warned Timothy that keeping his doctrine pure assured the salvation of his listeners! Beloved this is not about the individual false teachers and prophets. It is about the swath of lost souls they leave in their wake. The point John is making here cannot be any clearer. When you choose to provide encouragement for those who are not entitled to it you actually become a partner in their evil work. That makes perfect sense. The people who follow Francis Chan are led to believe now that following Mike Bickle is acceptable. The people that follow Dr. Michael Brown are now led to believe there is credibility with Benny Hinn. The same is true for any other correct diviner of the Word who chooses to cozy up with what is false.



    The time draws near. Jesus is coming back soon and it is time for people to decide what side they are on. To love means doing as God commanded us. It is not love to prop up what is false to God because love cannot be separated from truth.




    Reverend Anthony Wade - February 14, 2014
     

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