Thursday, March 2, 2017, 7:16 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Heart’s Desire.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 John 1 (Select vv. NASB).
The Truth (vv. 1-3)
The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
The truth is critically important, obviously. In just a few sentences, John mentions “truth” four times. Truth is honesty, sincerity and it is kind, if said in love. It is the opposite of what is false (a lie). Lies are NEVER kind! God’s truth is holiness, righteousness, purity, integrity, and honor, etc. It is HIS WORD. It is the gospel of our salvation. And, it needs to be coupled with love. Also, love is truth (honest). If we lie to one another, even if it is so we don’t “hurt one another’s feelings,” it is still a lie, and that is not love. This is not to say we need to go around being opinionated with everyone, for that is not kind, but that we should not willfully lie to people for whatever reason.
Walking in Truth (vv. 4-6)
I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
As followers of Jesus Christ, it is essential that we walk (conduct our lives) in truth. It saddens me greatly to see so many professing Christians buying into the lies of the world which tell them it is ok to tell lies. Remember here that even false compliments are lies. Withholding information that is required and necessary is also telling a lie, like if a married person commits adultery against his or her spouse, even if it is a light flirtation or looking at pornography, it is still sin, and it is sin against the spouse, and it needs to be confessed. Some people withhold the truth, they say, in order to spare others’ feelings, but lies hurt much greater than the truth told in love. Leading people to believe something is true that is not true is also a lie.
Yet, walking in truth is not just the absence of telling lies. We have to put off telling lies, and we have to put on telling the truth. We need to make it our practice to tell the truth. As soon as we realize that something we said was not true, even in the slightest way, we need to confess it and correct it.
Also, walking in truth means conducting our lives according to THE TRUTH, which is the gospel of our salvation, the WORD OF GOD. This means that we need to know the truth through serious time spent with God in his Word, and via having ears willing to hear and to obey the truth that our Lord shows us. Truth makes no compromises with the world. It does not blend lies and truth together to make people feel more comfortable about living in their sins. It doesn’t allow just a little bit of dirt into our lives so that we identify with the world, either, or so that people will like us and not think we are “goody-goodies.” There is a lot of pressure out there to conform with the world, and it comes even from within the church and from church leadership.
Notice here that the definition of love is that we walk according to Christ’s commandments (his instructions to us). If we obey the Lord, we are walking in love, because love does no harm to its neighbor. So many people compromise truth, they think, in order to “show love,” but that is not love. It is pure selfishness! It is not loving to tell lies, which includes withholding the truth so that people won’t be upset with us, so we won’t get rejected. Too many professing Christians are all about doing what will make other humans “feel good,” but they are not concerned with doing what will please God. They know that if they follow the Lord, and if they do what his Word teaches, that they will have to give up all of their sinful practices, as well as they will have people hate and reject them, and they don’t want that.
The truth is, though, that if we do truly walk in truth, that we will be hated, rejected, mocked, ostracized and persecuted (ill-treated). If we walk (in lifestyle) in truth, people will think we are stuck up, i.e. that we are “staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior” (Google). They will think that we think we are better than them just because we choose to follow the Lord and to not participate in sinful practices. Our lifestyles will be an offense to those who are compromising with the world, and so we will not have many friends. We may have very few friends, in fact.
The closer we walk with our Lord in obedience to his commands, and that we walk in truth, and do not compromise with the world, the more the people of the world (even worldly Christians) will pull away from us, so we need to be prepared for this eventuality. Yet, we need to be willing to suffer for the sake of the truth – for the sake of the gospel of our salvation.
Denying the Truth (vv. 7-11)
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
Who is a deceiver? He is one who not only practices telling lies, but who does so calculatingly, with the full intention to lead others to believe what is false. Deceivers usually do this for their own evil intent, usually to gain some advantage over another person, or to achieve some intended evil purpose for his own benefit. A deceiver may even make a show of being a Christian, i.e. a follower of Christ, in order to lead others to believe that what he is doing is righteous, but it is a cover-up for evil. He may even fake religious activity all the while he is doing what is pure evil, wicked and impure.
A deceiver, by the very nature of the word, may verbally acknowledge Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh, but not truly honor God with his life. He (or she) may be one who professes Christ as Savior, and even claims to be brought from darkness into the light, but who is still walking in darkness. And, this person may do this in order to lead others astray. These deceivers tell enough of what is true in order to lure in those who do know the truth, but who don’t know it well. And, then they stealthily and cunningly insert clever lies into the truth in such a way that the unsuspecting and the naïve do not notice, because it sounds like truth. And, thus, they catch people in their net of deceit and trick them into believing lies disguised as truth.
The antichrist is anyone who is against Christ and who is opposed to him in lifestyle, not just in words. Many people can fake Christianity, because they know the lingo. They can talk a good talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Yet, we are antichrist if we deny him by our lifestyles, i.e. if we willingly, knowingly and obstinately reject God’s grace to us, and if we persist in unrepentant sin and rebellion against God and the truth of his Word. And, by God’s grace, I mean the grace that sets the sinner free from slavery to sin, and which frees him to walk in truth and in Christ’s righteousness, and which teaches him (or her) to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25).
So, we need to watch out that we don’t become prey to deception and thus fall away from following the truth as Jesus and his NT apostles taught it. We must abide (remain, stay) in the teaching of Christ, in steadfastness, if we want to have God, and be found in him. This means that we need to be students of the Word of God, so we know the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles, so that we can walk (live) in TRUTH. If we are spending most of our time in the pleasures of the world, but we are spending very little time in the Word, and in obeying what it teaches us, we are ripe for deception, and may easily be led astray from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ.
The truth is that Jesus died, not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die, though many teach this. The truth is that a mere confession (verbal) of Christ as Savior is not enough to save us, nor is a mere intellectual assent to what he did for us in dying for our sins. Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow him. He said if we hold on to our lives (sinful lifestyles), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life with God. Paul said that if we walk according to the flesh, we will die (in our sins), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh, we will live (eternally with Christ). And, John said that if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we lie and do not live by the truth (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6).
So, we need to reject lies and walk in THE TRUTH!
My Heart’s Desire / An Original Work / June 29, 2013
Based off Rm. 10; Lu. 9:23-26; Ep. 4:20-24
Loved Ones, Oh, my heart’s desire
Is that you might come to Jesus.
Many appear zealous for God,
But they do not trust in Him.
They have not submitted to the One
Who saved them from their sins;
Not forsaken their sins,
Nor have they obeyed their King.
The word of the Lord is near you:
The word of faith we’re proclaiming:
That you must confess your faith
In Jesus as your Lord and King:
Believe in Him as your Lord,
And follow Him where’er He leads.
Share the gospel; be a witness,
And meet others’ needs.
Beautiful are the feet of those
Who bring the good news of Jesus:
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself today;
Die to sin and self, and
Let the Spirit transform you in heart;
Put on your new self in Jesus,
Yielding to the cross.