Listen to sermons at




Sermon #7 — 2nd John Series


            Title:                           “Look to Yourselves”


      Text:                                  2 John 8

            Subject:                     Perseverance

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — August 19, 2014

      Readings:           Bobbie Estes and Merle Hart



I will be a few minutes getting there, but you will find my text in the book of 2nd John, if you want to be turning there. While you are turning, let me talk to you about faith in Christ.


Faith in Christ is altogether spiritual. Faith in Christ is a heart matter. It has nothing to do with physical posture or physical deeds. You cannot come to Christ by walking a church aisle, kneeling at a mourners’ bench, going to a confessional booth, counting rosary beads, or saying the sinner’s prayer.


Motions of Faith


I repeat myself deliberately. —— Faith in Christ is altogether spiritual. Faith in Christ is a heart matter. It has nothing to do with physical posture or physical deeds. “Faith is,” as John Gill puts it, “a motion of the soul unto Christ.” Yet, terms referring bodily actions are often used in the Word of God to represent faith in Christ. — Let me show you.


Seeing Christ


Faith is called seeing Christ in John 6:40. — “This is the will of him that sent me,” says our blessed Savior, “that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life.”


If you would see Him He must be revealed to you, revealed in you, by God the Holy Ghost. You must be given eyes to see Him. And when God reveals Christ to you and in you by His almighty grace, when God gives you eyes to see Him, you will see the Son; and seeing the Son is life everlasting.


Faith is is the sight of the glory and excellence of the crucified, risen, exalted Christ, of the fulness and perfection of His grace and righteousness, and of the completeness and suitableness of His salvation. It is seeing Him as the Author and Finisher of faith, as “altogether lovely,” and “the chiefest among ten thousand.”


Faith is created in us by God causing light to shine out of darkness into our hearts, revealing Christ in chosen, redeemed sinners (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).


(2 Corinthians 4:3-6) (3) But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


Coming to Christ


Faith is spoken of as seeing Christ; and faith is called coming to Christ, — “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious” (1 Peter 2:4; Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 11:28-30; Revelation 22:17; John 6:35-37).


(Isaiah 55:1) Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.


(Matthew 11:28-30) (28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


(Revelation 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


(John 6:35-37) (35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. (37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.


Fleeing to Christ


In Hebrews 6:18 faith is described as fleeing to Christ. Sinners in need of mercy, as “prisoners of hope” flee for refuge to Christ to lay hold upon the hope set before them in the Gospel.


Illustration: The Cities of Refuge


Receiving Christ


Faith is seeing Christ, coming to Christ, fleeing to Christ, laying hold of Christ, leaning on Christ. Esther’s venturing into the presence of King Ahasuerus, saying, “If I perish, I perish,” is a beautiful picture of faith.


“Venture on Him, venture wholly,

Let no other trust intrude!”


Sinner, unlike Esther, you are invited, yea, even commanded, by King Jesus to come to Him. So there is no venture involved! — If you come, you are welcome!


Come humble sinner, in whose breast

A thousand thoughts revolve;

Come with your guilt and fear oppressed,

And make this last resolve.


“I’ll go to Jesus, though my sins

Like mountains round me close;

I know His courts, I’ll enter in,

Whatever may oppose.


“Prostrate I’ll lie before His throne,

And there my guilt confess;

I’ll tell Him I’m a wretch undone

Without His sovereign grace.”


I’ll to the gracious King approach,

Whose scepter pardon gives;

Perhaps He may command my touch,

And then the suppliant lives!


Perhaps He will admit my plea,

Perhaps will hear my prayer;

But if I perish, I will pray,

And perish only there.


I can but perish if I go,

I am resolved to try;

For if I stay away, I know,

I must forever die.


But if I die with mercy sought,

When I the King have tried,

This were to die (Delightful thought!) —

As sinner never died!”


Another bodily motion used in the Word of God and employed by men to speak of faith in Christ is receiving Him.


(John 1:11-13) (11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.


Christ is received, not merely into the head, but into the heart. — With the heart man believes in the Son of God unto righteousness. A sinner made to know his need of Christ and His righteousness, and of salvation by Him, comes down from his tree of self-exaltation and self-confidence, and “receives Christ joyfully,” as Zacchaeus did.


Faith receives a whole Christ, not parts only, but the whole Christ. He is “altogether lovely.” All of Him is lovely! The whole of Christ is amiable and desirable in the sight of a believing sinner.


“As the passover Lamb was to be eaten wholly by the Israelites, no part of it to be left, so faith feeds upon a whole Christ.” (John Gill)


Faith receives the whole Christ.

  • God and Man
  • Prophet, Priest, and King
  • Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption
  • Lord and Savior


Bowing to Christ


Faith is bowing to Christ. If you would be saved you must bow to Christ the Lord (Psalm 72:9; Matthew 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35).


(Psalm 72:9) They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.


(Matthew 16:24-25) (24) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.


Looking to Christ


  • Faith is seeing Christ.
  • Faith is coming to Christ.
  • Faith is fleeing to Christ.
  • Faith is receiving Christ.
  • Faith is bowing to Christ.


But, perhaps, looking to Christ is used more commonly than any other physical, bodily motion, to portray faith in Him. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to look to Him.


(Isaiah 45:22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.


(John 3:14-16) (14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


Proposition: In our text, God the Holy Ghost tells us that looking to Christ necessitates looking to ourselves.


(2 John 1:8) Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.


Divisions: Four times in this Book we are commanded by our God to look unto a specific thing. May God the Holy Spirit give us wisdom and grace to obey these four commands of mercy.

  1. Look unto Me” (Isaiah 45:22)
  2. Look unto the Heavens” (Job 35:5)
  3. Look unto the Rock” (Isaiah 51:1)
  4. Look to Yourselves” (2 John 8)


“Look unto Me”


First, in Isaiah 45:22, our Lord Jesus calls for sinners to look unto Him and be saved.


(Isaiah 45:22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.


Look unto me!

  • Not to idols.
  • Not to the works of your own hands.
  • Not to your own righteousness.
  • Not to your mourning and sorrow.
  • Not to your repentance and reformation.
  • Not to your graces and evidences.
  • Not even to your faith!


Look off all other things and look to Christ alone for righteousness, for pardon, for all supplies of grace here and for glory and eternal happiness hereafter.


  • When in the dark, look to Christ for light.
  • When dead and lifeless, look to Christ for life.
  • When weak, look to Christ for strength.
  • When sick, look to Christ for healing.
  • When hungry, look to Christ for food.
  • And when disconsolate, look to Christ for comfort.


And be ye saved! — The Lord Jesus Christ is set forth in the Gospel and in the preaching of the Gospel as the singular object of faith. Here Christ Himself calls and commands sinners to look to Him, promising salvation to all who look! —— Hear God’s promise and understand this: —— If you trust the Lord Jesus Christ, salvation is yours!


Look at the next line. —— all the ends of the earth. — The Son of God calls for sinners to look to Him. He sends His Gospel in the mouths of His servants to find them out and publish salvation to them!


(Isaiah 52:7) How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!


And He gives us this next declaration to assure us that we may confidently rest our souls upon Him and believe His word to us. — For I am God, and there is none else!

  • Because He is God, there is virtue enough in His blood to pardon and cleanse sin.
  • Because He is God, there is virtue enough in His righteousness to justify from all sin.
  • Because He is God, there is virtue enough in His sacrifice to expiate sin and make atonement for it.
  • Because He is God we may safely look to Him and trust souls to Him.


“Look unto the Heavens”


Second, Elihu instructs us to “Look unto the heavens” (Job 35:5)


(Job 35:5) Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.


Elihu is here reproving Job, and rightly so, because Job spoke too much of his righteousness. Here, we are reminded that God is infinitely above us. Read the first eight verses of this chapter, and learn that God has no need of us!


(Job 35:1-8) (1) Elihu spake moreover, and said, (2) Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s? (3) For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin? (4) I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee. (5) Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. (6) If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? (7) If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? (8) Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.


  • Our sin does not hurt the Almighty.
  • Man’s unbelief does not defeat God or hinder His purpose (Romans 3:5).
  • Our goodness, our righteousness, cannot reach the throne of His holiness (Psalm 16:2-3).


(Psalm 16:1-3) (1) Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. (2) O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; (3) But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.


When we read this Psalm, we should always remember that these words of David were spoken prophetically of our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.


(Psalm 16:8-11) (8) I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. (10) For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (11) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.


Understanding that these are the words of our blessed Savior, we have reason to rejoice. His goodness, in righteousness and redemption, extended not to God in heaven (who is eternally and immutably the same), but to God’s elect upon the earth, made good, made righteous, justified and sanctified by His grace.

  • Made Excellent by Him!
  • His Delight!


Elihu’s admonition is also an admonition to us, as it was to Job, to look not on our woes but upon God our Savior in heaven (2 Corinthians 4:17-5:1).


(Job 35:5) Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.


(2 Corinthians 4:17-5:1) (17) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (1) For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.



“Look unto the Rock”


Third, in the 51st chapter of Isiah’s prophecy, God’s faithful prophet calls for every saved sinner to “Look unto the rock” (Isaiah 51:1)


(Isaiah 51:1-2) Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. (2) Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.


Abraham, the father of the faithful, was originally an idolater. Sarah was a daughter of Eve. Both were of that stock of fallen Adam, of whom it is truly said, there is none that doeth good, no not one.


When the Lord God commands us to look back to the rock from whence we are hewn and the hole of the pit whence we are digged, He is saying…

  • Look up to Me, your God, from whom alone comes all grace and goodness!
  • Don’t ever forget who you are and what you are by nature. — You and I will never rightly value the Lord’s righteousness, until we are convinced that we have none. Then Christ will be a precious Savior to our souls, when we are convinced that we are poor lost sinners without Him. — “Unto you, therefore, which believe, He is precious” (1 Peter 2:7).
  • Don’t ever forget what I have done for you (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 19-20).


(1 Corinthians 6:9-11) (9) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) (19) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.


“Look to Yourselves”


Now, fourthly, in 2nd John 8 God the Holy Spirit says to us who believe on the Son of God — “Look unto yourselves” (2 John 8)


(2 John 1:8) Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.


Look to yourselves! — With these words of exhortation, the Lord God urges this elect lady, this local church, every child of God, and every preacher of the Gospel to persevere in the faith of the Gospel, in the doctrine of Christ, giving no heed to the countless deceivers, the countless antichrists, who have entered into the world denying the Gospel, denying the doctrine of Christ.


You, my brothers and sisters in Christ, must look to yourselves. You must continue in the faith. You must make your own calling and election sure. You must not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel. You must persevere in the faith. When people abandon the Gospel, when people depart from the faith of Christ, they make manifest the fact that they never knew the Savior, where never taught of God, were never born again, and never had faith in Christ (1 John 2:18-20; Galatians 5:1-4).


(1 John 2:18-20) (18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (20) But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.


(Galatians 5:1-4) (1) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (2) Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.


That we lose not those things which we have wrought.” — Carefully read the text. John says, “Look to yourselves.” You “look to yourselves.” Then he says, “that we lose not those things which we have wrought.” Obviously, this has a distinct and particular reference to pastors and Gospel preachers, those who labor in the Word of God and the Doctrine of Christ for your souls’ everlasting salvation. God’s servants, faithful pastors genuinely care for the souls of men. They genuinely care for those to whom they preach and for whom they labor (2 Corinthians 6:11).


God’s servants look upon the people they serve, for whose souls they labor, as their own sons and daughters. I look upon the loss of any of you for whom I labor as a miscarriage of labor, the loss of a child. That is exactly how Paul spoke to the Galatians and to the Corinthians (Galatians 4:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:11).


(2 Corinthians 6:1-13) (1) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. —— (2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) ——(3) Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed: (4) But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, (5) In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; (6) By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, (7) By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, (8) By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; (9) As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; (10) As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. (11) O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. (12) Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. (13) Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.


Look at 2nd John 8 again. —— “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” Obviously, John is not suggesting that some of God’s saints will have a full reward in heaven and others will suffer loss of reward. That absurd, God dishonoring doctrine is nothing but the papist’s doctrine of purgatory dressed up in different language.


John’s doctrine here is exactly that of the other Apostles. He is saying, “You who are born of God, you who are taught of God, you who trust the Lord Jesus Christ are our reward and our crown of rejoicing.”


(1 Thessalonians 2:19-20) (19) For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (20) For ye are our glory and joy.


  • Look unto Me” (Isaiah 45:22)
  • Look unto the Heavens” (Job 35:5)
  • Look unto the Rock” (Isaiah 51:1)
  • Look to Yourselves” (2 John 8)


Look to yourselves,” my brothers, my sisters, my family, “look to yourselves,” lest you be moved away from Christ and the blessed hope of the Gospel.


(Hebrews 3:12-4:3) (12) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (13) But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (14) For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (15) While it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (16) For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. (17) But with whom was He grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? (18) And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not? (19) So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.


(1) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (2) For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.


Oppressed with guilt, beset with snares,

To You, dear Lord, I call;

On You, I cast my woes and cares. —

Oh, do not let me fall!


I seek Your grace and trust Your pow’r,

While earth is my abode;

Uphold me in each trying hour,

In Zion’s narrow road.


How many who once seemed so safe,

Have given up their race!

Hold Thou me up, I shall be safe!

Uphold me by Your grace!


Though bitter sorrows fill my cup,

And loads of guilt oppress,

I’m safe if Jesus holds me up,

And joyful if He bless.


Hold Thou me up,” shall be my cry,

While I have life and breath;

And, oh, may Jesus Christ be nigh,

To hold me up in death.





Don Fortner








Pastor Fortner’s


Audio Sermons

Video Sermons