For the Truth's Sake

II Jn 1:1-3

1 The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

2 for the sake of the truth which 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 Son of the Father, in truth and love. (NAS)

Jesus told Pilate that He came to declare the truth, to which Pilate question, "What is truth?" In no generation has the question been debated than in our own. We suppose that truth is as subjective as each individual and each person is free to choose their own truth. And God help the poor uninformed Christian who has the audacity to claim that his way to God is truth to the exclusion of any other way.

Today truth is unknowable because it has become a fog. It is out there somewhere but you can't quite get hold of it. No longer is it the accepted norm that the Bible is God's word, His final revelation to us, much less can it be considered the truth. Today we here phrases like, "The Bible contains the Word of God." Or "The Bible must be interpreted in reference to the life of Jesus Christ" as though Jesus lived contrary to the rest of the Bible and if we just follow Him we can dispense with the parts of the Bible we do not want to receive.

Jesus always honored the Bible and said that not a letter of it would fail. He declared that it would remain forever and by it we would be judged in the end.

Let us consider this passage.

 

  1. It is because of the truth that remains in us that we love others who know the truth.
    1. We talked about this a couple of weeks ago.
    2. God working in us is the only way that we can live the Christian life.
    3. 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
  2. It is also for the truth's sake itself.
    1. In the area of religion there is no more room for absolute truth.
      1. Everyone has their own truth, (as if such a concept is possible)
      2. Christians run head long into the fray when they claim that Jesus is the only way to God.
      3. Many people think that Christians are narrow minded bigots for simply proclaiming what the Bible claims to be God's revealed will.
    2. For the sake of the truth "means a defense of the truth." We need to recognize that the truth needs to be defended. We need to stand for the truth of God for the Word of God. J. Vernon McGee
    3. In a day when you can't believe the politician, the college professor, etc. You can believe Jesus Christ.
    4. "The truth's sake" means "on account of the truth, that is, to serve and promote it."
  3. The Truth
    1. A system of belief v-9-10
      1. Bible Worshipers
        1. When we hold to the importance of the Bible some will call us a book worshiper instead of worshiping Jesus.
        2. But everything I know about Jesus, I know from the Bible.
        3. Even the children learn the song, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."
        4. To try to separate Jesus from the Bible who proclaims Him has an ulterior motive.
        5. Many such people just don't believe the Bible although they claim to believe in Jesus.
      2. There is a system of faith that the early believers understood as "the faith.
        1. 1 Tim 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (NKJ)
        2. Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (NKJ)
        3. If there is such a thing as a true faith there must of necessity be what could be called a false faith.
      3. This system of faith was first derived from the teachings of Jesus.
        1. II Jn 1:9-10 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. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into {your} house, and do not give him a greeting; (NAS)
        2. Since John wrote these words years after all the other writings of the New Testament, I think he would have exposed the writings of those who were not in concert with that of Jesus.
        3. To me it makes no sense to argue Jesus against Paul as though Paul taught some different "faith" than did Jesus.
        4. Paul does interpret some of the teachings of Jesus but Jesus allowed for that and for further revelations to be given to the Apostles.
          1. John 16:12-13 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (NKJ)
          2. Now I heard an important "Baptist" leader on Larry King claiming that these verses apply to people today and that in all actuality, the Bible is still being formed and we are still writing the book, so to speak, concerning the interpretation of the teachings of Jesus.
          3. Jude seems to have another idea about this when he says, "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."
          4. Jude 1:3 . . . when I felt the need of writing at once to encourage you to fight on for the faith which once and for all God has given to his people. (TEV)
      4. If the truth, i.e. "The truth's sake" is so important, than we can surely expect that the truth is discernable and knowable.
        1. I believe the Bible is the summation of truth.
        2. I believe that it is inspired.
        3. John 17:17 "Sanctify them through the truth, your word is truth."
        4. At the ABC they firmed up their confession in regards to the Bible being God's inspired word.
        5. One of the "moderates" made this statement. He that while the Bible is "true and trustworthy ... the Bible is still just a book."
        6. I am here to tell you that the Bible is not just a book, it is truth.
      5. But truth in the writings of John is identified with God, especially through the persons of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
        1. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (NKJ)
        2. John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
        3. John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 36 "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (NKJ)
        4. 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)
        5. I Jn 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (NKJ)
        6. Rev 3:7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, `These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": (NKJ)
        7. Rev 19:11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. (NKJ)
        8. John 14:17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (NKJ)
        9. John 15:26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (NKJ)
        10. I Jn 4:6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (NKJ)
        11. I Jn 5:6 This is He who came by water and blood-- Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. (NKJ)
    2. The "God presence" in the believer
      1. While truth certainly has a doctrinal aspect in this context, the following phrase that resides in us and will be with us forever suggests more than doctrine is involved. A close parallel is John 14:16-17 where Jesus promised his disciples that the Spirit (Paraclete) would be with them forever: "He remains with you and will be in you." The "truth" the author speaks of here is a manifestation of the Spirit of Truth who is permanently with the believer. The NET Bible
    3. The Holy Spirit
      1. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of truth (see above)
      2. But this same Holy Spirit is promised to all who believe, to become a part with them and to seal them and to indwell them forever.
      3. That is God in our lives.
      4. His Holy Spirit works in us and through us to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ.
      5. John 14:17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (NKJ)
      6. 1 Cor 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (NKJ)
      7. I Jn 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (NKJ)
    4. Or Jesus
      1. We have those passages that speak of Jesus being in and influencing the believer.
      2. John 14:20 "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (NKJ)
      3. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (NKJ)
      4. John 15:4-5 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (NKJ)
      5. John 17:22-23 "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (NKJ)
      6. Rom 8:10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (NKJ)
      7. Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (NKJ)
      8. Gal 4:19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, (NKJ)
      9. Eph 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (NKJ)
    5. Is all really God
      1. Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (NKJ)
  4. Abides in us
    1. In our hearts
      1. To affect our affections.
      2. To warm us to His sympathetic care for people.
      3. To stir us to love Him more and more.
      4. To put down ungodly affections for those things that are destructive to the soul.
    2. In our minds
      1. To keep us pure.
      2. So that we might set our minds on things above. Col 3:2
      3. So that Satan might not discourage us.
      4. To increase our faith so that we will not doubt.
      5. So that Satan might not deceive us as he did Eve in the garden.
    3. In our lives
      1. In real daily living.
        1. If we are in Christ and He is in us we are new creatures, old things are past away and our whole lives are different. 2 Cor. 5:17
        2. If the power of God living and working through us cannot be seen in our daily lives then it could be God and His transforming power are not there.
      2. In our devotional lives.
        1. If Jesus Christ lives in us then we will spend time with Him.
        2. If there is little love there will be little devotion.
        3. Jesus said those who have been forgiven much love much.
        4. If we do not love appropriately we either have not experienced forgiveness or do not appreciate the depth of our sinfulness.
  5. Will be with us forever
    1. Eternally
      1. God never gives up on us.
        1. Phil 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (NKJ)
        2. 1 Pet 5:10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (NKJ)
        3. Its abode with us is not for a night or a day; not for a month or a year; not for the few years that make up mortal life; it is not a passing stranger that finds a lodging like the weary traveler for a night, and in the morning is gone to be seen no more; it has come to us to make our hearts its PERMANENT HOME, and it is to be with us in all worlds, and while ceaseless ages shall roll away. (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
      2. In the good times as well as the bad.
      3. When we are up and when we are down.
      4. He is always a constant companion. Ps 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. (NKJ)
    2. To influence
      1. There are many harmful influences in this life.
        1. The flesh is contrary to God.
        2. The world is contrary to God.
        3. Satan and his forces are contrary to God.
      2. But God works in His people to accomplish His own plans and purposes.
        1. Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (NKJ)
        2. Heb 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (NKJ)
    3. To convict
      1. He speaks to us even in our sin to urge us to repent.
      2. He lets us know in our heart what is right and wrong.
      3. The worst thing God could do is leave us to our sin and not convict us of it. That is why it is so important for us to not grieve the Holy Spirit, but rather to forsake our sin and to repent.
        1. Isa 63:10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them. (NKJ)
    4. To guide
      1. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to guide us in our lives.
      2. He guides us to make good decisions.
      3. He guides us how to live and what to do.
    5. To teach
      1. God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth.
      2. The things of God, including His word can only be comprehended by the aid of the Spirit of God.
      3. 1 Cor 2:12-14 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (NKJ)
    6. To sanctify
      1. As God's children we are in a process of being set apart exclusively for Him.
      2. This is called sanctification.
      3. It is a process by which we are brought to a greater dedication to God throughout our lives.
      4. We never get to the point that there is no further need for improvement.
      5. But God continues to work in us and it is our responsibility to cooperate with God as He changes us to be more like His Son Jesus Christ.
      6. 1Thes 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
      7. John 17:17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (NKJ)
    7. To preserve
      1. The Spirit uses the Word of God to keep us preserved by continuing to work in us.
      2. Without the Spirit applying God's principles from His word in our lives we would wander away from God and His plan for our lives.
    8. To comfort
      1. The Word of His truth always brings comfort, even in the darkest days.
      2. His word is the assurance we need in times of trials and troubles.

Do you know that the truth is with you and abides in you. Or are you still in darkness and in falsehood. Has Satan still blinded your eyes so that you cannot perceive God's marvelous grace.

Jesus said that He was the way, the truth and the life. He said if you know the truth the truth will set you free. He said that if you come to know Him you would be truly free.

Only Jesus can bring peace to your life today. Do not wait any longer.  

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com