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Sermon #8 — 2nd John Series


            Title:                           No Compromise!


      Text:                                  2 John 1-13

            Subject:                     Need for Stedfastness

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — September 9, 2014

      Readings:           Lindsay Campbell and David Burge



Open your Bibles once more to 2nd John. The title of my message is — No Compromise! May God the Holy Ghost, whose Word you hold in your hands, be our Teacher as we conclude our study of this instructive Epistle.


The Apostle John wrote much about the love of God for his elect, wrote much about the love of saved sinners for their Savior, the Lord Jesus, and wrote much about brotherly love. But he was concerned that some of those under his pastoral care might be led to compromise the truth of the gospel in the interest of demonstrating Christian love. Therefore, he wrote this Epistle to tenderly, but firmly, warn us not to compromise the gospel, even in the interest of brotherly love.


John’s purpose in this Epistle was to preserve those whom he loved, those for whom and to whom he devoted his life in the labor of the gospel, in the purity of the faith. That is my purpose in preaching this message to you.

  • How quickly and easily men and women are moved away from the gospel of Christ to another gospel!
  • How easily people are persuaded to compromise the truth of God!
  • How often I have seen local churches abandon the gospel!
  • At what great costs preachers compromise the truth of God!


My subject this evening arises from this concern. — NO COMPROMISE! I am personally very concerned about the dreadful lack of unity among professed believers. We want unity, but not at any cost!


Yes, there are some areas about which we ought to be willing to compromise for the sake of unity. By compromise, I mean only this: — There are some things which are not essential to the faith of the gospel and the glory of Christ.

  • Prophetic Theories
  • Church Government
  • Matters of Indifference


But concerning those things that are essential to the truth of the gospel, those things that are fundamental regarding the doctrine of Christ, there can be no compromise! No, not even for the sake of charity and Christian unity. Unity can be purchased at too high a price.


The basis of Christian love is truth. The special bond of love is the special bond of truth. The bond of peace is the bond of truth. John stresses this fact by his five references to truth in the first four verses of this Epistle.

  • Believers do not love each other because we are temperamentally compatible.
  • We do not love each other because we are naturally drawn to one another.
  • We love one another because of the truth we love.
  • That love of the truth inspires and enables us each to esteem the other better than ourselves, as we each esteem our brothers and sisters in Christ.


So long as the truth remains in us and with us, our love for one another shall remain firm. When something else becomes more important than Christ, the Truth, when something else becomes more important than the gospel, all pretenses of love are a lie and peace is gone! But understand this: — True brotherly love can never be increased by diminishing or compromising the truth we hold in common. God the Holy Ghost tells us that love “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” Bearing these things in mind, let’s take one more look at these thirteen verses.


Proposition: This is the thing that I want you to see: — We must steadfastly adhere to the faith of the gospel for the glory of Christ, refusing to compromise the truth.


God will never use a proud, divisive, religious sectarian. A contentious man of strife is no servant of the Prince of Peace. But any man who is used of God in his generation is a man of boldness who refuses to compromise the truth.

  1. Moses refused to compromise with Pharaoh.
  3. Joshua refused to compromise with Israel.
  4. Nathan refused to compromise with David.
  5. Elijah refused to compromise with Ahab.
  6. Jeremiah refused to compromise with the prophets of peace.
  7. John the Baptist refused to compromise with Herod.
  8. Our Lord refused to compromise with the Pharisees.
  9. Peter and James and John refused to compromise with the chief priests.
  10. Paul refused to compromise with the Judaizers.
  11. Augustine refused to compromise with Pelagius.
  12. Luther refused to compromise with the Pope.
  13. John Knox refused to compromise with the Queen of Scotland.
  14. Those early martyrs refused to compromise with Bloody Mary.
  15. John Bunyan refused to compromise with the Church of England.
  16. John Gill refused to compromise with this most wealthy supporters.
  17. Augustus Toplady refused to compromise with Wesley.
  18. C. H. Spurgeon refused to compromise with the Baptist Union.


Those men could not in good conscience compromise, neither for earthly gain, nor for comfort, nor for life itself. Too much was at stake — the truth of God, the glory of Christ, the souls of men. God give us such men today — Men of No Compromise! God make me such a man!


Divisions:      Let me make three statements by which I will summarize John’s doctrine in these thirteen verses.

  1. We can make no compromise concerning the truth of God (1-4).
  2. We can be no compromise of the gospel, even for the sake of brotherly love (5-6).
  3. We dare not compromise, not even a hair’s breadth, the doctrine of Christ (7-13).


The Truth of God


In the first place, I want you to understand that we can make no compromise concerning the truth of God. That is what we are told in verses 1-4). These first four verses form John’s own loving and tender greeting to this assembly. So, even in his greeting, John stressed the burden that was on his heart. His great concern was for the truth of God. Paul told us that the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” And John wanted to make certain that this church dwelt in the truth and that the truth dwelt in her.


Let me first explain the verses as they stand. The Apostle John was a tender hearted and gentle man; but gentleness and tenderness are not inconsistent with firmness and boldness. John was also a man of firm conviction with regard to the gospel and boldness in declaring it. He is both gentle and firm.


Here is the pastor’s gentle address (vv. 1-2).


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, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.


John addresses himself gently and humbly to this congregation for the truth’s sake. He humbly identified himself as a loving pastor“The Elder”. Though he was an apostle, John does not here assume the authoritative position of an apostle. He simply calls himself “The Elder”. He did not want to speak so much from the authority of his office as from the authority of his sincere love.


Then, he assured this assembly of his love for them and of the love of the saints at large for them. — “Whom I love in the truth; and not only I, but also all they that have known the truth.” — In this opening statement John shows us that the basis of his love for God’s saints was the truth which he and this church held in common. — “Love rejoiceth in the truth!


Then the Apostle identifies that which was the subject of his letter. His concern was for the truth (v. 2).


2 John 1:2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.


Christ, who is the Truth, dwells in his people, revealing the truth to us and in us, causing all who are born of God to know the truth. Faith in Christ is not a leap in the dark. Faith in Christ is walking in the Truth. Where Christ the Truth once takes up residence, there he will dwell forever.

·      It is the knowledge of Gospel truth that sets us free (John 8:32).

·      And it is the belief of the truth that identifies us as God’s elect (2 Thessalonians 2:13).


Illustration: Six Blind Men from Hindustan

                                                            Elephant’s Side — Like a Wall

                                                            Elephant’s Tusk — Like a Spear

                                                            Elephant’s Trunk — Like Snake

                                                            Elephant’s Leg — Like a Tree

                                                            Elephant’s Ear — Like a Fan

                                                            Elephant’s Tail — Like a Rope


The story has its roots in Eastern religions, but in the nineteenth century John Godfrey Saxe drew the predictable conclusion…

So, oft in theologic wars

The disputants, I ween,

Rail on in utter ignorance

Of what each other mean,

And prate about an Elephant

Not one of them has seen!

A profession of ignorance is then equated with humility, so any assertion of biblical truth is seen as proud, ignorant, and even dangerous. But there are two problems with that…

  1. God is not an elephant!
  2. And I am not blind!


In verse 3 we see Pastor John’s great desire and ambition for God’s elect.


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.


Here John assures this assembly that he desired nothing but good for them. He had no hidden motives. He was seeking nothing from them. But he did want to secure to them every blessing of grace.

  • He wanted these saints to enjoy a sense of God’s free grace — The Sense of His Favor.
  • He wanted them to be constantly aware of God’s mercy to them — His free pardon and complete forgiveness of their sin.
  • He wanted his brethren to enjoy peace — The sweet tranquility of spirit and serenity of conscience that flows to sinners with a saving knowledge of Christ.

These rich blessings do abide wherever truth and love are found.


Note: John seems to seize every opportunity to assert the deity and eternal sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout all his writings.


Here is every faithful pastor’s great joy (v. 4).


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.


Nothing causes a pastor’s heart such great joy as seeing the children of Zion walking in truth. This is every true pastor’s joy. I rejoice, my brothers and sisters, when I see you walking in the truth.

  • Walking in the knowledge of Christ, who is Truth.
  • Walking in submission to the Word of Truth.
  • Walking in obedience to gospel truth.
  • Walking in the truth implies settled peace.
  • Walking in the truth displays the fact that we are comfortable with the truth.


The Lesson


Now this is the lesson we are to draw from these verses. — We cannot compromise the truth of God. To compromise that which we know to be the truth is the same as denying it. And to deny the truth is to ruin my own soul and the souls of all who are influenced by me. Surely, this cannot be called “Christian love” (Hebrews 10:38; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2).


1 Corinthians 15:1-3 (1) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.


Hebrews 10:35-39 (35) Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. (36) For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (37) For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (38) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.


There are some things which we know to be true. These are not trivial matters. They are vital. For me to compromise, or deny them, would be damnable. For my soul’s sake, for your sake, for the truth’s sake, for the sake of Christ’s own glory, we must stand by these things.

1.    Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God the Father.

2.    This Book, the Bible, is the Word of God.

3.    The God whom we worship is absolutely sovereign.

·      He is sovereign in creation.

·      He is sovereign in election.

·      He is sovereign in providence.

·      He is sovereign in redemption.

·      He is sovereign in salvation.

4.    The blood of Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.

5.    The only hope of a perishing sinner is Jesus Christ. You must sue for mercy. Jesus Christ, the Sovereign King, has the power in his hands to save you or to damn you.


Truth and Love


In the second place, I want you to see that — We cannot compromise the gospel, even for the sake of brotherly love (5-6).


2 John 1:5-6 (5) And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. (6) And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.


We must love one another; and all believers do. We must strive to maintain peace, unity, and joy in the church of Christ. But that is not true brotherly love, which compromises the truth. — “This is love, that we walk after his commandments.”


Our hearts are tied together with cords of love, and those cords are wrapped around the doctrine of the cross.

  • Blood Redemption!
  • Particular Redemption!
  • Effectual Redemption!
  • Accomplished Redemption!
  • Free Redemption!
  • Eternal Redemption!


We love one another, but the center of that love is Christ. We love one another, but the strength of that love is the gospel. Let me illustrate what I am saying.

  • I love this church, not because I am its pastor, but because Christ is its Head.
  • I love you, not because you love me, but because you are Christ’s.
  • I care for your souls, not because you take care of me, but because you belong to Christ.
  • I desire your fellowship, not because we are so much alike, but because we want to be like Christ.
  • The unity of our assembly has nothing to do with physical things, such as social, financial, or political class; but it is just this — We are one in Christ.
  • I pray for you, not because you pray for me, but because I desire God’s grace upon you.


Precious as outward unity is, inward unity is better. “How can two walk together, except they be agreed?” — If there is no agreement in heart and faith there can be no real unity. Dearly as I love you, I cannot compromise the truth of the gospel for you. In fact, true love for your soul forbids such compromise. For the truth’s sake, for the glory of Christ, if you or I depart from the gospel, we must part company.


Before anyone takes up the gospel banner, I urge him to count the cost. Sooner or later the cost will be dear.


The Doctrine of Christ


My third word of admonition is this — We dare not compromise, not even a hair’s breadth, the doctrine of Christ (7-13). The doctrine of Christ is the essence of divine revelation. It is the essence of the gospel. And John was concerned that some of those who had professed the faith of Christ might become entangled in the doctrines of antichrist. He was concerned that some, out of a desire to be loving and hospitable, might be tempted to compromise the doctrine of Christ.


The Apostle solemnly warns us that many deceivers have gone out into the world. Satan has his missionaries all over the world in great abundance. They go about preying upon the unsuspecting generosity and kindness of God’s people. And they deny the doctrine of Christ. There are five things in these verses that we should observe.


1.    An alarming Fact (v. 7).


2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.


There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing, who desire to devour the flock of God’s elect.


2.    The Identification of Antichrists (vv. 7, 9).


2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.


2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.


The real, essential test of a preacher is his doctrine. And the point where his doctrine must be tested is just this — What does he think and teach concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ?

  • His Person
  • His Accomplishments


Every preacher, no matter how popular, no matter how sweet and sincere, no matter how smooth sounding, every preacher who denies the doctrine of Christ is antichrist.


3.    A Real Danger (v. 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.


We must deliberately shun those who preach any other gospel, lest our own souls be ruined by receiving their damnable doctrines. False doctrine is not something to be toyed with. It is not an issue to debate. If you receive it, it will damn your soul.


4.    A Stern Warning (vv. 10-11).


2 John 1:10-11 (10) If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: (11) For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.


I will not open this pulpit, and we dare not open our houses, to those who pervert the gospel. We are not to show a false prophet any hospitality, nor are we to pray for him, support him, or even wish him well!


5.    An Earnest Desire (vv. 12-13).


2 John 1:12-13 (12) Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. (13) The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.


John closes this brief epistle by expressing his earnest desire to see his brethren in this church face to face, and speak with them more intimately concerning the things of Christ.


This is the thing I want you to see: — We cannot compromise the doctrine of Christ. We cannot deny that doctrine which our Lord taught during his earthly ministry and through his Apostles. And we cannot deny, or compromise the doctrine of which he is the sum and substance. There may be some place and room where compromise is allowable. But not here.

  • Let men think what they may about the sincerity of our love.
  • Let them charge what they will against us as being bigots and schismatics.

We cannot bend an inch here. This is the issue: — “What think ye of Christ?” (Matthew 22:42).

  • Who is he? —The Incarnate God!
  • Why did he come into the world? — To save his people from their sins!
  • What has he done? — He has saved his people from their sins!
  • Where is he now? — Yonder, on the throne!
  • What shall he yet do? — Gather his elect in saving grace and in resurrection glory!



  1. Do you believe these things? — Do you trust Christ, the Truth? — Do you believe the gospel of the grace of God?
  2. See that you stand fast in the doctrine of Christ. — Ruin by the Fall! — Redemption by the Blood! — Regeneration by the Holy Ghost!





Don Fortner








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