October 8, 2023

2 John: True Christian Fellowship

Speaker: David Jordan Series: Journey Through the Bible Topic: Fellowship Scripture: 2 John 1:1

Download the 2 John Bible Journal Outline

Open your Bibles, if you would, to the book of Second John. We've been going through every book of the Bible; I've been preaching an overview of entire books in one sermon. So, this is an overview of the book of [Second] John. You'll notice it's one of the shortest, it's actually the shortest in English. Third, John has a couple more English words. But hopefully you will get a lot out of this little book, it packs quite a punch. Second John is about true Christian Fellowship, true Christian Fellowship. So, the question is: what is fellowship? What is true Christian Fellowship?

Well, let's go back to the birth of the church to find out. In Acts 2, Peter gives a sermon at Pentecost. Now, this is after Jesus's life, his death, burial and resurrection. After he has appeared to many, after he has been resurrected. And the disciples and the apostles are told to go and wait for the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is poured out and Peter here in Acts 2 is preaching the gospel. Acts 2:36 says this, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” So, he identifies who the Lord is. Okay, there should be no doubt that he is Lord of all. That he is the Messiah, the one they nailed to the cross; and is now ascended. Acts 2:38, he goes on, he says, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

So, this is not advocating that baptism is a work. Notice right there in the verse it says, receiving the Holy Spirit is a gift, not something earned, it is something graciously given. But you are to repent and be baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. In other words, in the name of everything that he is, that he is the Messiah. If he's your Messiah, you need to turn from your ways and follow him. Acts 2:41, “So those who received his word were baptized, and they were added that day about three thousand souls.” They were about to have some really busy elders. 3,000 people!

I remember, years ago, when I first came to the church, and everybody in the whole church could have fit on the first two rows here. And I looked at them and I said, “What would you do if God sent just a lot of people, even today?” And it was bizarre, because either that week or the next – my memory is a little fuzzy – we had as many visitors as we had regular attenders. And it was kind of like, you know, did another church get invited? Imagine, not just 3000 baptisms but 3000 legitimate baptisms. 3000 souls whose eternal destiny was now set forever. The Apostle Peter is preaching the gospel. People are repenting, getting baptized, and they're giving their very lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, what do they do next? And we're trying to figure out what fellowship is here. Acts 2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship,” reading out of the ESV, “to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

Now, they were devoted to “the fellowship.” This verse, what does it sound like? It sounds like church, right? They're devoted to each other, that's koinonia, that means a participation in something. They're participating with each other in a fellowship of the gospel. Only those people who agreed to and gave their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ were part of the fellowship. Okay, this is how they are participating. They were devoted to teaching, to fellowship. The breaking of bread could be a simple meal, could also be the ordinance that our Lord gave of Communion. And to the prayers. Church. But it was more than once a week. Right? Acts 2:46 shows that their devotion was daily, was daily. And don't worry, we're not advocating for seven worship services a week. Okay, we're sticking with the one, but I want you to see their devotion. Acts 2:46, “And day by day,” there it is, day by day, “attending the temple together, and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.” We’re normally good at that part [Acts 2:47], “praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Who were added to their number? The “saved,” right? Day by day, they shared meals, they went to the temple, they were praising God, and people were getting saved. Christian Fellowship includes these things from the very birth of the church. The church is called a “mystery” in the New Testament. Fellowship was also more than these things, it was formal, it was formal. Now, if you became a member at a conservative church, you know, 15 to 20 years ago or more, you probably remember what they used to call membership. And most churches – some churches don't even have membership anymore – but those that do, they would call it “the right hand of fellowship,” the right hand of fellowship. Maybe you are familiar with that phrase? It comes from Galatians 2:9, Galatians 2:9. This is where Peter, James and John, recognize that Paul and Barnabas are one of them. Okay, so the established elders and leaders are now recognizing new leaders, Paul and Barnabas. And they gave to them “the right hand of fellowship,” it says. Signifying that they were one of them, one of them.

We can think of that as maybe a handshake, but obviously, it signifies so much more than that – that they were legitimately Christians bringing the right message. So, fellowship includes a formal affirmation, that certain people are in the fellowship, and have been added to their number. Paul also uses this word, koinonia, in Philippians 1:5 to describe this fellowship even more. To be more specific, he says this in Philippians 1:5, Paul says, I thank my God for you. Right, always in every prayer of mine for you all. But he says “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” That word “partnership” is koinonia, that's fellowship. “Because of your fellowship with me in the gospel.” So Paul, directly equates this fellowship, this partnership, this participation together, as being formalized by the same gospel. By the same gospel.

1 John 1:3 describes fellowship as well, “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Preached a lot about our community of faith and the gospel as told in First John last week. So, fellowship, at a minimum, according to Scripture, is centered on the gospel truth. Now turn to Second John. You knew we would get there soon. You won't find the word “fellowship” in Second John, but it's all about fellowship. It's all about fellowship. Look at [Second] John. There's only one chapter, but if it makes you feel better, [Second] John, chapter one. Look in verse one. We're going to read the whole book today. Okay? So, if you're a Bible Study checklist person, you're loving this.

2 John 1–13 (ESV)
1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:
3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

This small little letter is typical of letters in the first century. It has an opening, a body, and a conclusion. It is written by the Apostle John. It’s from “the elder” [2 John 1:1]. At this point, there's only one “elder” like him, the rest have probably died. He's the only one alive. So, it's from the Apostle John, “to the elect lady.” This could be a woman, and her children, or a local church. And it was written around AD 90, probably not long after First John, and probably not long before Third John.

So, let's look at this fellowship and what Second John is all about here. And this is the first point, “that fellowship is defined by truth and love.” Okay, fellowship is defined by truth and love. You may be wondering about “the elect lady,” and who that is. So let me just address that with you first, so you're not wondering if this is some kind of letter between the Apostle and this lady whom he loves. It certainly could be written to a lady. What would be odd about that is, one, no other book of the Bible is addressed to a female. But more specifically than that the lady is not named. It's just “the elect lady.” And even at the end of the book, “your elect sister,” [2 John 13]. Right? So, there's no name associated with it. That would be highly unusual for the Apostle John to create a new way of discussing a specific individual without naming her. Third John is written to an individual but that person is named. And there are other people named in Third John as well. The pattern then in Scripture – Paul follows this as well – if you're writing to an individual, like Timothy or Titus, is to name that person. So, most commentators think that this is actually a way of describing this, probably, small church that the Apostle John is writing to.

Now I wouldn't be 100% dogmatic, probably the first time you've ever heard me say that, on this. But I think this is most likely written to a church. When it says finding “some of [her] children walking in the truth,” [2 John 4] that probably just means that the Apostle John has run into some of the people from the church that he is naming. And they are, indeed, their lives are matching their profession. And you're going to see that type of correlation in this letter, as well. So, I think church fits best. It would also be a little uncomfortable for the Apostle John to write to a woman who might be a widow, with her children and to say, “you whom I love.” That might be a little awkward, it would certainly be unique. So, for all of those reasons, I think Second John is most likely written to a church. And you can see, as you'll hear in the message, all of these principles fit with being written to a church.

So, point one is “that fellowship is defined by truth and love.” Look at verse one again with me. And notice how many times John uses the word “truth.” [2 John 1-2] “The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever;” 2 John 3, “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” John loves the church in truth. All who know the truth, also love the church in truth. That truth abides in us and will never leave us. And what we have from God comes in truth and love.

So, you can see there's really no way around the parameters of Christian Fellowship, in this short but powerful little letter. And in fact, some commentators have said that this short letter would appeal to the whole person. Love would appeal to their hearts. Truth would appeal to their minds. The heart and mind controls the whole body. Notice also what he says all people who love the truth have, look in verse three [2 John 3], “Grace, mercy, and peace.” Who will grace, mercy, and peace be with? Right? “with us,” he says, “will be with us.” Those who love the truth, know the truth, abide in the truth. That is just a very simplistic way of saying, “true believers.” It defines those who are in fellowship, they have grace from God, grace from God. That's a clear distinction. You might be wondering, “So how do truth and love go together?” Well, 2 John 4-6, make the connection for us, “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady – not as though are writing you a new commandment, but the one 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, so that you should walk in it.”

A faithful Christian life demonstrates you understand the proper truth and you live that out in love. They demonstrate a godly life by walking in the truth. This protects the church. This protects you. You should serve others because you serve, know, and love Jesus Christ. That should be the primary reason why you have fellowship with certain people because you share and enjoy the same truth. And here's the key: love obeys the truth. Right? “That we walk according to his commandments.” 2 John 6 defines love. We thought 1 Corinthians 13 was the only place that defines love, but it says this, “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments.” John 14:15, says, “If you love me, you will [obey] my commandments.” Love can be seen. And that totally goes against the world's definition of love. Love for the world starts as this, you know, butterfly moment, right? And then the butterfly just gets killed from there. But at least it starts with butterflies, right?

But here, we see that love is actually keeping the commandments of God. When you think of love, do you think, “Oh, the commandments of God”? See, you thought this was just the letter you would agree wholeheartedly with, and in everything, and have just in place. But out of his love, he's saying here, that we should think, “I just love obeying the commandments of God.”

“You know, a doctor or a lawyer may do good work without love. But God's work cannot be done without love.” That’s a quote from D.L. Moody. The church functions well around love. We all know this. When the church gets off base, they have first deviated from truth and love. To simply have arguments about ancillary things. Somebody said this, somebody said that. And to let that well up into bitterness shows that we don't really live out the truth, the way we say we do. I think many people in the world today have tried to pit truth and love against each other. And I can understand why because the camp that leads towards love is always concerned about how the truth camp talks, their attitude. I can't hear a word you're saying because of how you're saying it. And the truth camp looks at the love camp and just sees like, you know, I don't even know how to describe how we think about that camp – that they know no truth. And yet the love camp is trying to follow the greatest attribute, the greatest communicable attribute, that we have from the Father. That is, love. And these two things are not antithetical to each other, they are not opposites. You can't make that case and read Second John. It cannot be done.

The world has turned love into something which turns a blind eye to sin. We think it is loving to hug someone engrossed in sin and say nothing about the stains on their life. Which even back in Isaiah, you'll be what? Washed, white as snow. It's not a new thought that just came up in the New Testament. And you'll see the Apostle John even wrestling with that thought, “Am I giving you a new commandment by telling you to love?” And he says that in here, it's a new commandment, but it's really an old one.” The reason why it's a new one is because we now have the perfect life of Christ to witness what real love looks like. To love like Jesus is new, that was not specifically seen in the Old Testament.

So, the world just wants us to go to this kind of ooey, gooey, you know, heart emoji kind of life. And think that is the greatest thing we could achieve is just to simply, you know, sing kumbaya around a fire. They would even go to First Corinthians 13. They say, “We are nothing without love.” Is that true? See, now you're thinking, no one wants to raise their hand now. It is true. The Bible’s specific, without love we’re just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. They say, “Love is the more excellent way.” Is that true? Yes! See, now you caught on. Yes! Love is the more excellent way. That's the end of the last verse leading into First Corinthians 13. It's more excellent than any other gift.

The world, that doesn't really know the Bible, would also quote 1 Corinthians 13:4, and only verse four. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant, [1 Corinthians 13:5] or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.” Who puts those into practice? Right? I mean, that is an incredibly powerful statement. Love is not irritable. How many of you this morning need to repent? It is not resentful. Yeah, I'm seeing more and more hands. It is not resentful! You can't resent other believers. You are breaking fellowship with them purposefully which goes against the Word of God. So, you just go back to, “It's kind; I’ll be kind when they are kind.” Right? That's what we think. But some define love as kindness, without truth. But what does 1 Corinthians 13:6 say? “It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” Rejoices with the truth! Truth and love go hand in hand. How do I know if I'm being loving? My love is full of truth, my love is full of truth.

No one said this is easy, but easy or hard doesn't bring excuses. Right? It brings direction, it brings clarification, about how we're supposed to live, and how we're supposed to speak, and what the direction of our life is. It's to live in love and to speak the truth. That defines fellowship for those who believe the gospel. Does that define your fellowship? Love rejoices with the truth, not with error –
those who practice and live in sin. Which First John says, those do not have the Son nor the Father. Right? We don't rejoice with that.

How could we rejoice as believers with someone who denies Jesus by their life. We have fellowship with those who rejoice in the truth. And we have fellowship with those who also have grace, mercy, and peace from God. We rejoice with those who have Jesus. We rejoice with those who have the Father. 1 John 3:16, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” There's specificity there. To whom do we lay our lives down for? The churches that think our mission is to feed the poor and the hungry around the world, do not understand the purpose of the church. It is to lay our lives down for the brothers. Now if you see someone in need and just say, you know, “be warm and filled,” that religion is worthless. But that is not the mission of the church. The mission of the church is the salvation of sinners. Right? It is the evangelism of the lost, the edification of the body, and the worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. What we have done as a Christian society, at large, is to redefine love so that we can rejoice with anyone.

And now if you're thinking, “Well, I've got unsaved children, so I just like sit them on the side, while I'm happy over here?” No, of course not. You follow what Scripture tells you to do to bring them up in the instruction of the Lord. You give them the gospel, that is your job so long as they live. Same thing with spouses, or friends, and other people, we give them the gospel. But we do not rejoice over the lifestyle that Jesus died for. That would be a break in fellowship, a break in biblical fellowship. So there is a difference in Christian Fellowship, which is specified in the Word of God, which we cannot share with others who do not know our Lord. You know, really, this is like telling a chef to eat tasty food, this is just what he does. Christians who live in truth and love, this is just what they do. It just comes through, their lives are changed, and they love Jesus, and they love other people. And yeah, we all have sharp edges. And we’re trying to rub those, dull them a little bit, and get them off. And, you know, you can't stack a bunch of bricks that have spikes coming everywhere, you got to have smooth surfaces, and, you know, then you can build together. But we should be wanting to apply these things to people, to live this way. And it's a command.

You know, we enjoy fellowship as a church. And we love it, we love it. I will say, you know, growing up, I thought fellowship just meant dinner. Because, you know, the church’s – love you Baptists – but [the church’s] would build Fellowship Halls, and all you would do in them is eat. Right? And so, in my own mind – I didn't know the Bible very well – I just thought, “Well, that must be what fellowship means. It means chicken dinners and pink Jell-O, identifiable Jell-O, you know, it's what we do.” But we do break bread together, but it is more than that. But you guys enjoy fellowship. At Grace Equip, you love the truth. You are here, you love hearing the truth. You enjoy fellowship before the service. It's kind of comical, in my mind, I think, “How many times is it going to take today, this Sunday, to get everyone's attention?” You're all talking, and you know, enjoying breaking bread together. Sugar-coated frosted bread, and your coffee, and your water. And we like that. You guys are in each other’s lives. And we have fellowship after the service too. You know, we like that. We stand around, and we talk, and we say, “How are you doing? And how are things going?” And, you know, we don't just bolt out the door. Now, if you have to leave quickly today – nobody, you know, give them the, “Oh, they're not fellowshipping.” You know, we've got things going on. But most of the time we hang out for quite a while. That's good fellowship. Next week, we're going to hang out for hours after the service at our Fall picnic. And we're going to give the kids as much sugar as possible and give them a bounce house and all kinds of stuff. And, you know, we're going to talk and enjoy each other's families. We're going to enjoy one another, that is Christian Fellowship. As we believe the truth, we live out that truth, we show concern for those who are hurting. We have joy with those who are in a sweet time of life. You call each other, you send each other cards. We have all of this because we've received grace, mercy, and peace from God. Which means that our fellowship originates with God, it comes from God, and is directed to God.

So, the first point is that “fellowship is defined by truth and love.” It's defined by truth and love. But as you know, 2 John 7, not all are of the truth. And this is where we part ways. Point two, “Fellowship is impossible with unbelievers.” I think I should say, “Christian Fellowship is impossible with unbelievers.” Look at 2 John 7-11, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves,” one of only two commands in these 13 verses, “so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abiding in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching 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 or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”

This is about who to have fellowship with. This isn't about sticking our nose up to unbelievers. Or what to do with, you know, those given to our charged who haven't yet professed faith in Christ. This is about Christian Fellowship and who is someone that we fellowship with? And it calls for discernment, it calls for discernment. Deceivers, according to these verses, reject the plain truth of Scripture. It says in verse nine, they do “not abide in the teaching of Christ.” Not just the gospel, but the teachings, all the teachings, of Christ. Who he is: his person, his work, his resurrection. His teachings: that he is the way, the truth, and the life; that no one comes to the Father except through him. And anyone who describes a way to the Father, different from what Jesus has described, is not following the teaching of Christ.

Deceivers then do not believe what the gospel says. It must be discerning, we must be discerning. Bruce Wilkinson says, “Love without truth leads to blind sentimentality.” “Love without truth leads to blind sentimentality.” “Believers must not show hospitality to false teachers who distort the central teaching of Christianity.” Again, from Mr. Wilkinson. Simply put, a wrong view of Christ is a wrong view of salvation. A wrong view of Christ has to be a wrong view of salvation. You want to know how to talk to those who knock on your doors or those who stand in the market and have these tracts to hand out? Are we with them, are we not? It's about Christ. Who do they say Jesus Christ is? Is he the divine Son of God? Or is he merely a son, like an angel? Right? Who is Jesus Christ? Is he the Lord of all? Or is he just the lord of those who know the name of Jesus? Right? Are there other ways to God? The classic case may be in a jungle somewhere. Well, everybody had to be told miraculously, at some point, about Jesus Christ. Right? God gave us the Word that was a deliverance of the Word, through the prophets, through the fathers, down to us. Now we have the complete Word of God, once for all, as Jude says, handed down to the saints. We need no other source of truth. But if you don't have Jesus, you don't have the Father.

Let me ask you a question, I was asked this not too long ago, what if a Jewish person obeys everything in the Old Testament, are they saved? Well, 2 John 9 says, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.” So, there's your answer. Jesus and the Father are One. A person cannot deny One, without denying the Father. Now this pulls on our heartstrings, especially this week. Right, as our brothers over there, we have Jewish Christians – right, Messianic Jews, those who believe Jesus is the Messiah – and they have been saved by grace through faith, as any are. And it pulls on us because Israel is at war right now. Not with another nation, but with a terrorist group called Hamas, which is backed by Iran. And Iran’s stated purpose is, “to wipe Israel off the face of the planet.”

Hundreds have died. It's a tragedy. This Gaza Strip is about 50 miles southwest of the city of Jerusalem. Okay, the Gaza Strip is about 25 miles long. It's anywhere from four to eight or nine miles wide. And it's one of the most densely populated cities in the world. I mean, Manila has more density. But there's 2 million people in that little square. 2 million! We pray for peace. We support Israel, we have incredible ties with the nation. But do we have Christian Fellowship? We do not have fellowship with those who do not believe the truth. And if we're going to use “fellowship” in a biblical way, as we've already defined, it's about those who abide in the truth.

Now, do we have commonalities with them? Do we want to support, anyone for that matter, who's attacked by terrorists, of course we do. It doesn't mean that we're not sympathetic to tragedies of people who don't believe. It doesn't mean that we're not sympathetic to wars. By the way, there's always war going on in the world, always. What do we do then if we don't have this Christian Fellowship with them? Well, we pray for them. You want to help support the war against those who are fighting them, you can. But mostly we do with them what we do with anyone who doesn't have the Son, we share the gospel with them. That is their greatest need. That's the greatest need of any human on the earth. You have the capability to deliver [solution to] the greatest need anyone has ever had. You have the ability to deliver the message, which allows God's Word to work in them, to well up within them new life. At any moment, any of those people could give their life to Christ. Whether they're in Hamas – who use millions of people as shields. Or whether they're Jewish people who don't believe in Jesus Christ. Whether they're Russian or Ukrainian, or any other people group in the world, they will all eventually have, at least some of them, come to faith. Right? Every tongue, tribe, and nation will be seen and will be represented in heaven forever.

You know, Gaza is in the Bible. In Acts 8:26, remember Philip was told by the Holy Spirit, go down to Gaza to the road, that leads away from Jerusalem. And there he found the Ethiopian eunuch. Right? Same Gaza, same location. What did he do with someone there? Well, he found the eunuch reading from Isaiah. Shows the eunuch, at a minimum, had incredible wealth, to have his own personal scroll that he could take with him. Incredible wealth. And so, he's reading this. And so, Philip explains to him, from Isaiah, the coming Messiah in whom he needed to believe. And he believed and he was baptized, they found some water, he was baptized. Now they have fellowship! I mean, the Holy Spirit did take Philip and took him away to another city quickly. So, it was very short lived, their fellowship together. But they had fellowship after the Ethiopian eunuch believed. This is what we do. We think about the truth, we think about Jesus, we think about the gospel.

And that doesn't mean that we aren't kind or nice or have a different kind of relationship with others. Your coworkers, your neighbors, people that you know; you can love other people, right? That's Scriptural. Love your enemies, okay, there you go. And you can love other people who aren't in the faith, and you can be incredibly kind to them. And Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of those who nailed him to the cross, while he was there bleeding, about to bleed out. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He has set the example that is kindness to its extreme.

But 2 John 10-11 tells us what we are not to do, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching,” the particular teaching about Jesus being the Christ, “do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” This isn't just saying, “Hello,” right? You open the door, “Hello,” have you now sinned against the Bible? Or do you open the door and have to do a rundown of anyone who knocks on your door to see if they're Christians, before you can greet them and say, “Hello”? No. Greeting there is to receive them into your house and to allow them to be helped on their way. You know, like you're a hotel or something. So, there is a line drawn there about how you are supposed to support people who bring a different teaching. Notice this isn't just any unbeliever. This is a believer who comes with a different teaching. Okay. So these are people promoting a false gospel, promoting a way that deviates from the true gospel.

2 John 9 says, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ.” This part that’s going on ahead, means someone who goes beyond what is written. They are saying things about setting up fences that aren't given in Scripture. Someone who adds to it. Many religions add to the gospel, as though it's the gospel plus. All of those, we are not to receive and help on their way and we're not to help them in their ministries, not to support their ministries, not to support their teachers. We have to be very careful as we think through, what are we doing with our money? Are we supporting false teachers with our money?

This does not mean pagan companies who are obviously acting like pagans. It’s talking about people who come with false teachings about the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not welcome them. You obviously know I can't get through a sermon like this without naming somebody. Right? No, I'm not going to name you, I hope you don’t name me. But we have one of the most popular pastors in the history of the last 30 years of our country, specifically generated millions of sales on his book back in 2002, when it was published. All about the purpose of our lives and “The Purpose Driven Life.” And you may think, “Ah, it’s just an overreaction.” Well, let me tell you what he said in that book, “God won't even ask you about doctrine.” Do you know what doctrine means? It means teaching. God won't ask you about the teaching in Scripture? Does that sound like someone who's going beyond? I’m not saying the guy never said anything good. Just saying it's mixed, it's laced with error. And we have to be discerning. They say, “Oh, that's not loving.” We already talked about that. Right? We already talked about that. Truth and love, not just love.

He also says this – now I don't know where you're at. Well, I know if you're a member here where you're at. But if you're not a member, you know, we don't believe that the Bible teaches women should be ordained as pastors, can’t be elders. Very clear in Scripture. Some toss that out to the cultural winds. But Rick Warren also adds this, he said, “I was sinning when I held women back.” Sin to not ordain women. If you do not ordain women, you, according to him, are in sin. Now, he has crossed the line. Right? Truth and love.

The favorite whipping post, Andy Stanley, here recently – who continually redefines love to broad circles. He's in this verbal back and forth with Dr. Al Mohler. And he said, “Jesus drew circles not lines.” You know, when people say a lot, but they don't really say anything at the same time. Just watch out. You know, he's making room for homosexual relationships within his church, specifically. So, you're going to let the children's class be taught by two men who are married. I mean, that one kind of gets our emotions going a little bit. But he's crossed the line, or the circle, whatever you want to call it. He has. But we need to be discerning, be discerning. And when we see someone that we love, who may use the name of Jesus, ad nauseam. That doesn't mean that they're saved. Do they use it according to Scripture? Is it according to truth? Lots of false religions use Jesus's name, a lot, but they are false. And, not my words, but in 2 John 11, participating with them, supporting them, means we participate in their “wicked works.” Right? So, we need to be discerning.

Our goal is not to come up with novel teachings that promote church growth. Doesn't matter how big or small the church is, we just read in Acts. I mean, that one grew by 3000 people in one day, that was a big church, right? By any stretch of the imagination. But the goal is to abide in the teachings of Christ. And that's why you come, you want the teachings of Christ. You say, “Give me the goods, give me the meat, leave off the fluff. Just give me the goods, help me to learn to live in love according to truth.” The teaching is finished in Scripture. It's not in progress. We don't need to add to it. In fact, if we do add to it then you'll be removed. Right? Because that shows that you're going beyond the teaching. You don't have the father and the Son if you're teaching something else. The purity of the church and the fellowship of believers is at stake.

As we wrap up here maybe you're here today and you desire greater Christian Fellowship. Maybe you've had a, you know, just an unsatisfying fellowship in the church. I want to encourage you to look over 2 John here again. Just read it and compare your life to it. Are the things that brought you to this church, and will keep you at this church, the things described in Second John? Or is it something else? We all know how churches can deviate and have so many programs that everybody's ear gets tickled some at some point. But is it just the teaching of Christ, and the fellowship of believers, and the grace and the peace that we share, is that what drives you? And if you want more fellowship, then you want to know the truth. You want to know your Bible and talk to other people about the Bible. You want to center your conversations on Scripture. And with your non-believers, the ones that you know, and maybe some that you love, you want to center your conversations on Scripture and the gospel. Not that that's all you ever talk about. But they should know that you are always ready to give a defense for the hope that is within you. Why? Because that's who you are.

If you've been saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you've said, “Lord Jesus, I need your forgiveness. I need to know you.” If Jesus is your Lord, we invite you to have fellowship with us. And I pray that we can enjoy a great sweet fellowship together in truth and love. Let's pray.

Father God, maybe there's someone here who doesn't know this fellowship, maybe they don't even know you. They're on the outside looking in and they don't know if they're saved. They don't know if they've been saved by your grace, Lord, or maybe it's obvious they haven't. Father, we pray that you would get a hold of their heart this morning. That they would confess their sin to you and turn from their world to yours. I pray that you would save them, Lord, by your grace this morning, even now.

Dear Lord, we also pray that you would give us this fellowship.

Let's just take a moment, right now, and ask God to help us to have this fellowship in truth and love.

Lord God, we love you. We know we are frail creatures. And we need your grace every single day. I pray that you would well up within us this joy of sweet Christian Fellowship together. For your glory, Amen.