2 John 9
Truth and love are frequently discussed in our world but seldom practiced.
From politicians to salesmen, people conveniently ignore or conceal facts and use words to enhance positions or sell products. Perjury is common, and integrity and credibility are endangered species. Words, twisted in meaning and torn from context, have become mere tools for ego building. It is not surprising that we have to “swear” to tell the truth.
And what about love? Our world is filled with its words: Popular songs, greeting cards, media counselors, and romantic novels shower us with notions and dreams of ethereal, idyllic relationships and feelings. Real love, however, is scarce—selfless giving, caring, sharing, and even dying. We yearn to love and be loved but see few living examples of real love. Plentiful are those who grasp, hoard, and watch out for “number one.”
Christ is the antithesis of society’s prevailing values, that is, falsehood and self-centeredness—for he is truth and love in person. Therefore, all who claim loyalty to him must be committed to these ideals—following the truth and living the truth, reflecting love and acting with love toward one another.
God’s Word and God’s Spirit provide what we need to detect false teachers.
The devil is declared by Scriptures to be an enemy of God and of all good men. Because he is a spirit he is able to “walk up and down in the earth” at his pleasure.
While we must not underestimate the strength of our foe, we must at the same time recognize that we need not live in constant fear of him! If he cannot make skeptics of us he will make us devil-conscious and thus throw a permanent shadow across our lives, for there is but a hairline between truth and superstition.
We should learn the truth about the enemy, but we must stand bravely against every superstitious notion he would introduce about himself. The truth will set us free but superstition will enslave us!
… The best way to keep the enemy out is to keep Christ in! The sheep need not be terrified by the wolf, they have but to stay close to the shepherd. The instructed Christian whose faculties have been developed by the Word and the Spirit will practice the presence of God moment by moment!
(From Renewed Day by Day by A. W. Tozer)
In order to resist Satan and his false teachers, Christians must know God’s Word and depend on the Spirit for discernment. Study the Scriptures daily and become involved in a Bible study with other Christians.
A true man, says the objector, should believe in virtue for virtue’s sake. All talk of reward, here or hereafter, savors of the quid pro quo morality – the “contract” idea of religion – which disfigured Judaism at its worst and from which Christians have not always kept themselves free. How shall we answer?
We all like the suggestion of the hymn:
Whatever, Lord, we lend to Thee
Repaid a thousand-fold will be.
Should we not rather agree:
My God, I love Thee; not because
I hope for Heaven thereby,
Not yet for fear that loving not
I might forever die?
Yet that does not mean that we should wholly reject the idea of reward. Indeed, in a universe directed to moral ends good action and character must issue in some kind of satisfaction; and in the highest ethical systems it is arguable that there must be satisfactions. The real questions are: What is to be the nature of the rewards? And how far are they held out as inducements – as bribes.
… C. S. Lewis says … the proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation. So it is with the Christian doctrine of reward. The rewards offered by Jesus to the righteous are simply the inevitable issue of goodness in a world ruled over by a good God. Those who have attained the Beatific Vision know that it is no mere bribe but simply fit consummation of their earthly communication with God.
— From A Pattern for Life by Archibald Hunter
Which is easier for you to do – “walk in truth” or “walk in love”? In love.
Have I ever been involved in a deep relationship that had to be terminated because of an overriding issue involving your faith? Yes. What happened? A theological debate over baptism.
How do I distinguish between those missionaries I ought not to support and those I should? Match’s my “Statement of Faith.” How can I exercise truth and love in that decision? Share my faith if they would like to discuss it and gently break off the meeting if not.
When was the last time you had someone over who was really hurting lonely or needing help (no names)? Last Tuesday my wife and I met with someone at a coffee shop. Should you do this more often? Yes. What’s stopping me? I take every opportunity God offers me.