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Sermon #5 — 2nd John Series
Title: “For the Truth’s Sake”
Text: 2 John 1-4
Subject: Truth and Its Effects
Date: Tuesday Evening — July 22, 2014
Readings: Cody Henson and Mark Henson
My text this evening is 2 John 1-4. In these four verses John gives us his purpose in writing this epistle. It was the Apostle’s desire to establish the people of God in the love of the Truth. He wrote to this elect lady “For the Truth’s Sake”. And that is the title of my message this evening — “For the Truth’s Sake”. In the first four verses of this brief epistle, John uses the word “Truth” five times. This is the subject of his third epistle also. In writing to Gaius, John’s great concern was for the Truth. In that epistle, he spoke no less than six times of the “Truth”. Surely, we are not mistaken when we assume that John was deliberately pressing upon us the importance of divine Truth.
Nothing is more important to the servant of God and to the church and people of God than the Truth of God. Nothing is more important to the kingdom of Christ than the Truth of Christ.
Doctrinal Truth is not an option for us to take or leave. It is vital. Without it we have no purpose.
Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us plainly that it was his mission in coming into the world to reveal and establish the Truth. This is the witness which John gave concerning the Lord Jesus in his Gospel narrative. — “The law was given by Moses, but grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ.” — John the Baptist said, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” — Jesus Christ came into this world to reveal to us the God of Truth and the Truth concerning God. He is the embodiment of God. This is what our Lord told Pilate. “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the Truth. Everyone that is of the Truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37).
1. Now, I want to know the Truth.
When I say that I want to know the Truth, I mean specifically that I want to know that which is the Truth of God. I want to know the saving Truth of the Gospel. Solomon the wise, said, “Buy the Truth and sell it not…Let not mercy and Truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart” (Proverbs 23:23; 3:3). I want to know the Truth…
If you and I would know the Truth in a saving way, it must be revealed by God and experienced in our hearts (Matthew 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
(Matthew 11:25-26) (25) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
(1 Corinthians 2:7-10) (7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: (8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
(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.
2. I want also to be saved and set free by the Truth (John 8:32).
It is not enough to know the Truth in theory. We must experience it. Like the son of man of old, the Lord says unto us, “Eat the roll” (Ezekiel 3:1). It is not enough to have the Truth in our heads; it must be written upon our hearts. It is the Truth experienced in the heart that sets a man free...
3. And I want to preach the Truth.
Am I called to the work of the Gospel? Am I the servant of Christ? If so, it is not my privilege to choose what I will preach to you. I must preach the Truth of God. That which I know to be true, I must preach from the housetops, with boldness, confidence, and clarity. I must tell you the Truth in such plainness and simplicity that you cannot mistake my meaning (2 Corinthians 4:1-2).
(2 Corinthians 4:1-2) (1) Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; (2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the Truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
· I must tell you the Truth, whether you like it or despise it (Galatians 4:16). The Word of God must not be bound. — It must not be bound by tradition. — It must not be bound by personal ambition. — It must not be bound by pride. — It must not be bound by religious custom. — It must not be bound by men.
This is the great burden of my soul. — Most people today have never heard the Truth. The prophets of God used to gather people in the streets and proclaim to them “thus saith the Lord”. But it was not so in the days of Isaiah; and the old prophet lamented, crying, “Truth is fallen in the street!” Even so, there was once a time when the servants of God used to gather men in the house of the Lord to preach to them the Word of God. But it is not the custom today. Like Hilkiah the priest, we need to take down the Book of God, and proclaim the Word of the Lord (2 Chronicles 34:14-21).
It is my purpose and desire this evening to raise my voice “For the Truth’s Sake”. May it please the Lord to give me clear speech and free utterance, so that I may tell you the Truth. And I pray that he will give you hearts to hear what I say.
Let’s read 2nd John 1-4 together.
(2 John 1:1-4) (1) The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the Truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the Truth; (2) For the Truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. (3) Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in Truth and love. (4) I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in Truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
Proposition: Truth is vital, vital to true faith, vital to true religion, vital to true Christianity, and vital to the salvation of our souls.
I have been studying these four verses for weeks, trying to seek from God the Holy Spirit the right way to convey His message in these verses to you. Let’s simply look at the way John uses the word “Truth” in this passage.
First, I hope you understand that our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is “the Truth” (John 14:6). When John addressed this “elect lady,” this congregation of chosen, redeemed, saved sinners, he said “I love you in Christ, the Truth”.
· Christ is the Truth, the true God, and eternal life.
· Christ, the Truth, dwells in us, abides with us, and shall be with us forever.
· Christ is the Truth in, with, and by whom we are blessed with grace, mercy, peace, and love from the triune God.
· Christ is the Truth in which we walk.
This “elect lady”, as John was inspired to call her, had in in and by her election all the blessed fruits and effects of God’s electing love. As the bud contains all the flower, God’s election contains all his salvation! With God’s sovereign, eternal, election comes redemption, regeneration, justification, sanctification, pardon, resurrection, and everlasting glorification with Christ (Romans 8:28-31; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Timothy 1:9-11).
(Romans 8:28-31) (28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
(Ephesians 1:3-14) (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
(2 Timothy 1:9-11) (9) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel: (11) Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
“Truth” is one of the many precious names our Savior takes to himself. What a sweet, fragrant name it is! When our Lord Jesus declares, “I am the Truth, it is like ointment poured forth in his house. He is the sum and substance of all divine Truth.
· In his divine nature he is the true God and eternal life.
· In his human nature he is the true man.
· As our divine Surety it behoved to be made like unto his brethren in all things; and in the union of his divinity with his humanity, he is the true Glory-man and only Mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus!
He is indeed “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life!” No man comes to the Father but by him. And all that the Father gives to him shall come to him. And those who come to him he will in no wise cast out! — Christ is the Truth. That is the first and primary point of John’s epistle and the first and primary point of my message.
Love and Truth
Secondly, John was inspired by God the Holy Ghost to make a clear connection between love and Truth. He says, “whom I love in the Truth.”
· Those who love the Truth love one another because of the Truth (Galatians 6:1-2, 10; Ephesians 4:30-5:2; Philippians 2:1-5). Some love like Isaac loved Esau, for the venison he got from him. Those who love in Truth love because of the Truth.
(Galatians 6:1-2) (1) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (2) Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:10) As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
(Ephesians 4:30-5:2) (30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (1) Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (2) And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
(Philippians 2:1-5) (1) If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (3) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
Believers do not love one another because they always find one another lovely and loveable. Believers love one another because they are one with Christ and one with Christ.
· Those who love one another in the Truth truly love one another (1 John 3:16-18).
(1 John 3:16-18) (16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in Truth.
Knowing the Truth
Thirdly, John speaks about knowing the Truth.
(2 John 1:1) The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the Truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the Truth.
Do not miss what John says here. He tells us, by divine inspiration, that all who know the Truth love one another. That is precisely what he stated in 1st John 5:1.
(1 John 5:1) Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
What does John mean when he speaks of people who have “known the Truth”?
· He is talking about people who know Christ, sinners saved by the grace of God (1 John 1:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17).
(1 John 1:1-4) (1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (4) And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
(2 Corinthians 5:14-17) (14) For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (15) And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (16) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. (17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
· When John speaks of those who “have known the Truth”, he is talking about people who have known and experienced the Truth of God in their souls, the Truth by which Christ is revealed in his people in the saving operations of his grace.
Is there any place in the Word of God where that Truth which John calls the Truth is specifically identified and clearly stated? Indeed there is — John 16:7-11.
(John 16:7-11) (7) Nevertheless I tell you the Truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Fourthly, John tells this elect lady that he loved here and God’s people loved her “for the Truth’s sake” (v. 2).
(2 John 1:1-2) (1) The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the Truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the Truth; (2) For the Truth's sake.
Our motive, our inspiration, our rule of conduct regarding all things ought to be “for the Truth’s sake”.
· Gospel preachers ought to be motivated by nothing else (1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:11; 12:10). — “For his name’s sake God’s servants go forth” preaching the Gospel, seeking nothing for themselves (3 John 1:7).
(1 Corinthians 9:19-23) (19) For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. (20) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; (21) To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. (22) To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (23) And this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
(2 Corinthians 4:11) For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
(2 Corinthians 12:10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
· “For the Truth’s sake” — God’s saints ought to be motivated by nothing else. — Let us do all things, endure all things, suffer all things, overlook all things “for the Truth’s sake”. — If you are wronged, take the wrong. — If you are offended, take the offense.
(Ephesians 4:32-5:2) (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (1) Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (2) And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Fifth, God the Spirit speaks to us in our text about indwelling Truth. — “For the Truth’s sake that dwelleth in us” (v. 2)
Christ dwells in us.
· He is our Life.
· He is our Sanctification (Righteousness Imparted — “Made partakers of the divine nature!”)
· He is our Peace.
· He is our Hope — “Christ in you, the Hope of Glory!”
Our Savior’s Word, the Word of God dwells in us (Psalm 119:11; Colossians 3:16).
(Psalm 119:11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
(Colossians 3:12-17) (12) Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (13) Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (14) And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Look at our text again. Not only does the Truth dwell in us, the Truth “shall be with us forever” (v. 2).
· God will never leave himself without a witness.
· Christ, the Truth, is forever ours and shall forever be with us! — Through all the days of our lives! — For all eternity!
Blessed in Truth
Sixth, 2nd John 3 tells us that God’s elect, all who are the objects of God everlasting love have been, are, and forever shall be blessed in Truth.
(2 John 1:3) Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in Truth and love.
· Grace, mercy and peace are ours — in Truth and love (Ephesians 1:3-6).
· This grace, mercy, and peace are ours “from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ”, — in Truth and love.
· Christ our Savior is “the Son of the Father”, — in Truth and love.
Walking in Truth
Seventh, in verse 4, John speaks of “children walking in Truth”. What a blessed thought! — “Children walking in Truth”. This is every faithful Gospel preacher’s delight! — This is every heaven-born parent’s delight!
(2 John 1:4) I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in Truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
Walking in Truth is walking by faith, trusting Christ, believing the Gospel. — Nothing can be more delightful to a child of God, than to find others who also his children.
(Psalm 127:1-5) (1) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (2) It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. (3) Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (4) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (5) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
· Children of God, let us love one another in the Truth.
· Seek grace from God to know the Truth.
· Brothers and sisters in Christ, do all things “for the Truth’s sake”.
· Walk in the Truth.
· O needy, lost, ignorant sinner, come to God by Christ the Truth!