"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN" Warning Against Receiving False Teachers (7-13) INTRODUCTION 1. In our brief survey of 2nd John, we have seen that John stressed the importance of "truth" and "love"... a. Four times in the first six verses he uses the word "love" b. Five times in these same verses he uses the word "truth" 2. Indeed, our last study observed that in verses 4-6 we have: a. A commendation for walking in truth - 2Jn 4 b. An exhortation to walk in love - 2Jn 5-6 3. But what if someone comes our way, teaching doctrine contrary to what we have learned from Jesus and His apostles...? a. Should our desire to "walk in love" permit us to receive and support those teaching error? b. Can we do so, and still be "walking in truth"? 4. In the remaining portion of this short epistle, John (the "apostle of love") is very explicit about such things... a. He tells us to beware of deceivers and antichrists - 2Jn 7 b. He tells us to look to ourselves lest we lose those things we have worked for - 2Jn 8 c. He tells us of the danger of not abiding in the doctrine of Christ - 2Jn 9 d. He tells us we cannot support teachers who fail to teach the doctrine of Christ without sharing in their evil deeds - 2Jn 10-11 In this "Warning Against Receiving False Teachers", then, John warn us about several things worthy of our careful consideration. Let's take a closer look, beginning with the need to ...] I. BEWARE OF DECEIVERS AND ANTICHRISTS! (7) A. JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES HAVE GIVEN US AMPLE WARNING... 1. In His sermon on the mount - Mt 7:15 2. In His discourse on Mt. Olivet - Mt 24:11, 23-25 3. Paul, in his farewell address to the Ephesian elders - Ac 20:29-31 4. Paul, in his first epistle to Timothy - 1Ti 4:1-3 5. Peter, in his second epistle - 2Pe 2:1-3 B. EVEN IN JOHN'S DAY, THEY HAD BEGUN TO ARRIVE... 1. Deceivers had gone out, denying that Jesus had come in the flesh - 2Jn 7 2. Many false prophets had gone out into the world - 1Jn 4:1 3. Denying that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, they were "antichrists" - 1Jn 4:3; 2Jn 7 [With such ample warning, and seeing that they had started to come even in John's day, we should not be surprised to see many such deceivers and antichrists today! To guard against being misled by such deceivers, we do well to consider the next important theme in our text...] II. LOOK TO YOURSELVES! (8) A. THIS ADMONITION ALSO STRESSED THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPTURES... 1. Several times on one occasion by Jesus - Mk 13:5,9,23,33 2. By Paul in writing to the Corinthians - 2Co 13:5 B. THE NEED IS THERE, BECAUSE THE DANGER IS REAL... 1. John was concerned that they not lose the things they worked for - 2Jn 8 2. The writer to the Hebrews was concerned that we not fall short of entering our heavenly rest - cf. He 3:12-4:1 [With the real danger of falling short of our eternal reward, and with the ever present deceivers who can make it happen, it is imperative that we fully understand the basis upon which our relationship with the Father and Son rests. John is clear about what that entails as he stresses the need to...] III. ABIDE IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST! (9) A. THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST: OBJECTIVE OR SUBJECTIVE GENITIVE? 1. Is it the doctrine about Christ, or the doctrine taught by Christ? 2. As pointed out in the Expositor's Bible Commentary, the question is of little importance for John holds equally to both positions a. It is fundamental to the faith to hold to the proper views about Christ - cf. 2Jn 7 b. It is fundamental to the faith to obey the commandments of Christ - cf. 1Jn 3:24 3. Thus what John says here applies in either case B. THE NEED TO ABIDE IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST... 1. Those who do not abide, do not have God - e.g., 1Jn 1:6; 2:3-5 2. Those who do abide, have both the Father and the Son - cf. Jn 14:21,23 -- Note: This verse strongly supports the concept of the Trinity, in which there is only one God, but three distinct personalities in the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) [As long as we abide in the doctrine of Christ, keeping His commandments, we have no reason to fear being misled by deceivers, nor losing our reward. That brings us to the theme which may have prompted the writing of this letter...] IV. DO NOT RECEIVE FALSE TEACHERS! (10-11) A. THE CONTEXT IS LIKELY THAT OF SUPPORTING THEM IN THEIR WORK 1. It was common for first century missionaries to depend upon the hospitality of the early Christians - cf. Philemon 22 2. In his third epistle, John commends Gauis for this sort of hospitality - 3Jn 5-7 B. TO SUPPORT THEM IS TO SHARE IN THEIR EVIL DEEDS... 1. Supporting a teacher made one a fellow worker with him who taught a. That could make one a fellow worker for the truth - 3Jn 8 b. But if his teaching was contrary to the doctrine of Christ, supporting him would be to share in his evil deeds - 2 Jn 11 2. Therefore the admonition to the elect lady not to receive or greet such false teachers... a. Not we should never seek to study with those in error who may come our way b. But not to receive those false teachers who seek only our acquiescence to their doctrine and our support to help them spread it! CONCLUSION 1. With this "Warning Against Receiving False Teachers", John purpose in writing is fulfilled 2. He then signs off with a brief farewell... a. Having so much more to write, but desiring to speak in person - 2Jn 12 1) Why? "...that our joy may be full" 2) Despite the convenience of remote communication (e.g., writing letters, talking on the phone, sending email), nothing surpasses the joy of talking face to face b. Sending greetings from "the children of your elect sister" - 2 Jn 13 1) How one interprets "the elect lady and her children" in verse 1 determines one's understanding of verse 13 2) Either members of another church, or relatives of the "elect lady and her children" 2. As we close our perusal of this epistle, I hope that we are left with a strong sense of need... a. To walk in the truth b. To walk in love c. To be very careful about those teachers to whom we give our support How is our walk today? Are we walking according to the doctrine of Christ concerning truth and love? Remember the words of John... "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son."