The Community of Truth & Love
II Jn 1:1-3
1 The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth-- and not I only, but also all who know the truth--
2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:
3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love. (NIV)
Now some may look at this passage and say that Christians are supposed to love everyone. In one sense that is true. But in another sense Christians are to love each other in to a much greater degree than they do those who are not Christians.
1 Peter 1:22-23 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
I think I can say without question, that it grieves the heart of God when His children do not love one another. Now that does not mean that they have to agree on everything, it just means that they love each other in spite of their differences.
I figure that if I expect people to overlook the crazy way I am, I can surely overlook the silly way they are. I was talking to Nancy uncle yesterday and he was telling me about a very large Baptist church in the Peoria area that less than 15 years ago must have had that largest Sunday Schools in Peoria that now has, according to him, about 50 people attending on Sunday morning. Now they did not get that way in 15 years because everyone was loving each other and had put their own selfish desires aside so that they might love one another fervently with a pure heart.
We must never forget that when feelings of animosity flood our hearts toward other Christians, that it is never the work of God but Satan that is working in us.
This is a reacquiring theme for John the beloved. Let us listen to the one who knew real Christian love and practiced it.
- The Fellowship of Christian Love is Universal; and not I only, but also all who know the truth-
- What John is saying:
- He is telling us that he not only loves this lady but all those who know the truth love her.
- Now some commentators try to make this a matter of acquaintances, saying that this lady was so nice that everyone who had ever met her loved her.
- I think that John is stating a maxim.
- That is that if anyone has known the truth they cannot but love those who have known the truth.
- John will deal with this later in 1 John where he says, "If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? I Jn 4:20 (NKJ)
- In John's theology for a Christian to not love other Christians is incompatible with the Spirit that indwells the believer.
- All Christians form one fellowship, rejoicing in one another's spiritual prosperity. `The communion of love is as wide as the communion of faith' (Alford).
- It makes no difference race or nationality
- It makes no difference social standing or education
- It is not dependent on our agreement with them.
- The power of God in our lives overcomes everything that hinders love or John is saying we have not known the truth.
- Christian Love is Grounded in the Truth
- The Truth here spoken of is the person of Jesus Christ
- John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (NKJ)
- He is the only true vine and all branches are connected to Him.
- And there can be no true fellowship of love unless each of us is grounded in the Truth.
- Unless we have know the Truth we are in bondage to sin and our own corrupt nature.
- Unless we have know the truth Satan has blinded our eyes so that we cannot see the Light of God.
- Unless we have known the truth we cannot understand the things of God, the Word of God because it is spiritually discerned.
- Christian Love is Sustained by Our Connectedness to the Truth
- It is because that we know that God loved us that we can overcome the natural tendencies of the heart and love all those who are fellow believers.
- It is because Jesus' own love for us brought Him to Calvary that we can love other Christians even to death.
- I Jn 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (NKJ)
- In the days of the writing of this little letter, there were two extremes. One was love without truth, the other was truth without love. The one is liberalism the other is legalism.
- I Jn 4:7-12 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. (NKJ)
- In Second John he writes of those who are doing well (2Jn.4), and by implication infers that there are others who are not so satisfactory. He further makes it clear that there are itinerant teachers in the district, some of whom are preaching false and dangerous doctrine, and he gives orders that such teachers are not to be accepted and not to be given hospitality (2Jn.7-11).. Barclay
- It is of great interest to note how in this passage love and truth are inseparably connected. It is in the truth that the elder loves the elect lady. It is because of the truth that he loves and writes to the church. In Christianity we learn two things about love. Barclay
- (I) Christian truth tells us the way in which we ought to love. Agape is the word for Christian love. Agape is not passion with its ebb and flow, its flicker and its flame; nor is it an easy-going and indulgent sentimentalism. And it is not an easy thing to acquire or a light thing to exercise. Agape is undefeatable goodwill; it is the attitude towards others which, no matter what they do, will never feel bitterness and will always seek their highest good. There is a love which seeks to possess; there is a love which softens and enervates; there is a love which withdraws a man from the battle; there is a love which shuts its eyes to faults and to ways which end in ruin. But Christian love will always seek the highest good of others and will accept all the difficulties, all the problems and all the toil which that search involves. It is of significance that John writes in love to warn.
- (ii) Christian truth tells us the reason for the obligation of love. In his first letter, John clearly lays it down. He has talked of the suffering, sacrificing, incredibly generous love of God; and then he says, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1Jn.4:11). The Christian must love because he is loved. He cannot accept the love of God without showing love to the men God loves. Because God loves us, we must love others with the same generous and sacrificial love. Barclay
such who are born again by the word of truth, love not only him that begot them, but all those who are begotten of him: this shows in what sense the word "all" is sometimes taken. Gill
The linking of "truth" and "love" is of great importance. Because John's readers are in the truth--i.e., they know Jesus as the Christ, the Father's Son--they are also the recipients of God's love as it is known and manifested in the community of faith. And the love received by the community comes from all who know the truth. The community of love is as encompassing as the truth that is believed and lived. Expositor's
The key note of this letter is in the word "truth." The truth known binds together in closest fellowship all who know Him. Having the truth necessitates walking in the truth. One who claims to have the truth but does not walk in it shows he does not know the truth in his heart. Anyone who brings not the doctrine of Christ robs God of His glory and man of His salvation. Remember that those who are in false religions are generally there by personal choice and because they have denied the truth of the Word of God. Explorer's Bible Study
Christian love is by no means mere sentimentalism or humanistic compassion, but is motivated by a knowledge of the truth which has been revealed in Christ. Truth is the basis of love. It is precisely this truth, on account of which the church is loved, that the church must be careful to guard. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament
In phrases reminiscent of 1 John, he encouraged her to practice Christian love and be faithful to the truth (1:5-6). We can never separate love and truth:
Truth without love leads to legalism.
Love without truth leads to liberalism.
Paul likewise combines the two (see Eph. 4:15).
Willmingtons Bible Handbook
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com