How to Overcome the Dangers Facing Christians Today — 2 John

Perhaps more than at any other time in recent history, Christians and the Church face dangers very similar to those the early Christians faced in the days of the Apostles. I remember when the predominate culture where I lived in America supported those who tried to live according to the Bible’s teachings. At worst, Christians were simply ignored, or Bible-believing Christian students were teased for believing in God when they went to college.

But now, perhaps especially in the United States, the current predominate culture no longer ignores those who believe in and try to live according to the Bible and the teachings of Christ; instead, the loudest voices in the predominate culture fight those who claim to live for Jesus and according to Biblical teachings. In America, the loudest voices try to shame and silence Christians by placing all sorts of unjust labels upon them, or they take them to court, or they try to put them out of business, or they try to get them fired from their jobs or keep them from getting a promotion at work.

In some countries, the persecution of Christians is much worse. Christians are imprisoned and killed by the godless politicians who control their country. Roving gangs attack Christian villages and churches and try to intimidate those who go to church or who want to become Christians. Christians are tortured before they are murdered. In various places, such persecutions and worse have occurred since the coming of Jesus—think of the apostles who were imprisoned and later martyred. Jesus himself was crucified, but He rose again and ascended into heaven, where He now prepares a home for all who trust in Him as Lord and Savior—until He comes again.

But there are even greater dangers facing all Christians around the world today. In his Second letter, the Apostle John wrote, “Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9). The greatest danger for Christians today is allowing persecutions of any kind, whether subtle or severe, to influence them to turn from believing in and following the truth or to influence them to deny or go beyond the teachings of Christ—to not have God, to not have the Father and the Son, to not have eternal life now and forever.

Jesus declared that He was the truth and He spoke the truth. John recorded Jesus’ teachings as the truth, and John taught that the children of God needed to remain in the teachings of Jesus Christ as reported in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. John would have agreed with the Apostle Paul that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). To overcome the dangers facing Christians today, we must keep believing in Jesus and the Bible’s teachings no matter what is said or done to us. We must not subtract from or add to the Bible’s teachings and thus distort the truth on how to live for Christ.

John rejoiced every time he found God’s children “walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father” (2 John 1:4). John said that abiding in the teachings of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible is an indicator that someone has the Father and the Son. Therefore, John told everyone to abide in or remain in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ teachings are the truth, and John warned that the children of God faced the danger of being deceived and going beyond the teaching of Christ, of reading too much or too little into His teachings and their application. To overcome the dangers facing Christians today, we must remain committed to learning, studying, and practicing the truths we have learned and continue to learn from Jesus and the Bible.

Churches face the danger of thinking that some of Jesus’ teachings need to be changed to conform to a changing or predominate culture. Some in the church are, or will begin, teaching that Jesus’ teachings need to be changed. They may begin teaching that parts of the Bible no longer apply to people today, that parts of the Bible are obsolete and contrary to the current culture and must not be taught any longer. John warned that despite what some people may claim there are indications when someone “does not have God,” and those noted above are only a few of them. To overcome the dangers facing Christians today, we must acknowledge the fact that some people inside and outside the church simply do not have God; so, we must not follow them but keep following Jesus.

The Apostle Paul warned that some people suppress the truth: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). One of our greatest dangers as Christians and as a church is the temptation to suppress the truth in order to escape the dangers or inconveniences of truly living according to the Bible and following Jesus. To overcome the dangers facing Christians today, we must continue to live according to the truth, especially the truth as found in Jesus, no matter what we may face or hear from others.

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Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.
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