Walking in Truth

“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.” (2 John 1:4-6)

Nowhere in the letters of John does he give clue as to which Church he was writing to. Because it is known that John lived in Ephesus and that Paul and Peter visited him there it would not be a far off assumption that John was writing to the Church in Ephesus. I must state that there is no factual evidence to support my assumption.

In text that we are looking at today we see that John is giving thanksgiving that some of the children of the Church are walking in the truth. This may be the children of the Church or those of childlike faith that all must have to follow Jesus, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) or it may be the adult believers that are as all believers children of God. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

John is happy that some were walking in the truth. The use of the word some means that not all in the Church were walking in the truth and this I am sure was a concern for John. It may even be one of the reasons for this letter to have been written. Love by word and deed was the strong message of Jesus and John was heavily impacted by this. At the forefront of all of John’s three Church letters was the theme of love for one another. This was love not only for the brethren of the faith but also for the enemies of the faith. John was an Apostle of Jesus who walked in the truth of God’s love.

“Walking in the truth” referrers to the way that the children conducted themselves, truth was at the core of their behavior and living in the truth was their way of life. Walking in the truth is a discipline, we are not born into the truth, we have to learn it. When we are born we are baby’s that have to grow into adults. Some of us continue to grow until we leave this world and others achieve a plateau and reach no higher. It is the same with our spiritual lives as with our physical. At conversion we are not fully sanctified but grow through the power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately some reach a plateau and reach no higher.

The disciples of Jesus spent three years under His teaching and even on the night of the Last Supper did not fully grasp the truth of His teaching. They tried, they were willing to follow, but the words of Jesus were too different than all that they had previously be taught that they could not completely connect the dots. Then on the Day of Pentecost the promised Spirit of Truth indwelled them and they received power to turn the world right side up. “For the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.” (1 John 1:2)

John now carries his statement walking in the truth to the next step. John says that he is writing a new commandment but that it is a commandment from the beginning. From the beginning of the world, well that could be read into it, as God was in the beginning and is all truth. (Genesis 1:1) But I believe that John is referring to the commandment that Jesus gave His disciple during His teaching. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34) It was urgent for John to stress this point as the Church was facing great opposition from false teachers that had come into the Church. In all three of John’s letters to the Church, and particularly the first, John was warning them against the false teaching. It was important then for those who were to be steadfast in walking in the truth and love one another that others would turn away from the false doctrine. The obedience of the true believers to love one another was of great importance to John. And the command that John had given them was from the beginning, before any false teaching had come into the Church.

John is trying to protect the flock from the false teachers who are progressives that have gone too far. “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.” (2 John 1:9) The false teachers were introducing false doctrines of twisted truths and denying the deity of Jesus as the Son of God. If you take Jesus out of the Christian faith there is nothing in it that can offer salvation. There is no righteous life lived to be offered in sacrifice for the sin of the world. There is no perfect holy blood to be offered to cleanse the sin of a soul. There is no resurrection that we can obtain eternal life. There is no hope for man. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3)

John now brings his two concerns together Love and obedience. Love consist of obedience to God’s commands. It is an expression of love to be obedient to our parents. It is an expression of love to be obedient to those who lead us at work and play. In the Church it is an expression of our love to be obedient to our King. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

Our love for the Lord should cause our obedience to His commandments, as love consists of obedience. We walk in His truth by walking in His commandments and He has commanded us to love one another. If we love our Lord and are obedient to Him, then we should also love our brother. “And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” (1 John 4:21) This is the expression of our love for Jesus our Savior and Lord that we follow His commandments in love for Him and love one another. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 21, 2016

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