A Short Letter on the Truth
A Short Letter on the Truth
Hidden towards the backs of our Bibles are these small books that don’t often receive much of our attention. For the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of studying one such book: 2 John. The Second Epistle of John is written to encourage believers to walk in the truth while guarding themselves against error. This short letter (13 verses) is truly a treasure in the way that it exalts the truth and exposes error.
The warning section (verses 7-11) is particularly helpful; in these verses, John exhorts the reader to take great care because of the false teachers that were conducting ministry in that region. It seems that about every other weekend I have individuals walking my neighborhood preaching a false gospel and this passage gives an excellent pattern as to how we are to respond to these false teachers:
First, we need to recognize them. In verse seven John calls these false teachers deceivers and antichrists. These were individuals who were proclaiming a counterfeit Christ (one who had not come in the flesh) and were leading their followers towards a path of destruction. It is incumbent on us as Christians to be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) searching the Scriptures to see if the claims made by any teacher are true. As we seek to know the Scriptures, false teachers will easily be recognized.
Second, we need to resist them. In verse eight John uses a strong warning to be on guard. There is an inherent danger with false teachers that they can severely hinder the work of the church and do damage to souls. Paul expressed similar concern for the Corinthian and Galatian churches (2 Corinthians 11:1-4, Galatians 3:1-3). Believers must be discerning and resist false teachers in order to preserve the legacy of the veracity of the Gospel that has been handed down through the generations and to not be infected with their vicious doctrines.
Third, we need to reject them. In verses nine through eleven John writes that is not enough to simply recognize and resist the danger of a false teacher. False teachers must be treated as enemies of the Gospel and completely rejected. In a time where Christian hospitality was necessary for itinerant preachers, John commands the reader to offer no hospitality or even a greeting to such a person. The command remains in effect today.
Warren Wiersbe makes great application to our day in those that might come to our door preaching a false gospel stating that there is great danger in offering them hospitality:
- We don’t want them to think their false doctrine is acceptable.
- We don’t want to become infected with their false doctrine.
- We don’t want to give them ammunition to use as their next stop, where they can use our hospitality to give their message credibility.
My brothers and sisters, I’d urge you in light of 2 John to love and live the truth of the Gospel and to recognize, resist and reject false teachers.