We believe that it is important to be thoughtful when considering God's Word, the Bible. We hope you will check back from time to time for thoughts on God's Word and how it applies to us daily.
"I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name." -3 John v.13/14
The fellowship of the saints, through our shared faith in Jesus Christ, is central to a life of discipleship. We can accomplish much through correspondence - especially in our technologically advanced age - but coming together face to face has a special way of stirring our hearts up and spurring us on towards action. We who believe must endeavor to bear in mind that we are the bride of Christ - what profound gravity! Our fellowship with the Son and with one another is holy and appointed by the God of creation for encouragement, instruction, assistance, joyful worship and common prayer. Christ meets with us when we congregate - He promises to be in our midst! May our hearts yearn for sweet communion with the saints.
"I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us." -3 John v.9
We may find it surprising, even appalling, that a legitimate eye witness to the risen Christ, one who had given so much for the edification of the saints, would now be suppressed and contended against in his own time by a legitimate poser. This truth is applicable for every age. Men will seek to exalt themselves and control the message of the church at all costs, especially when that message - the gospel - threatens their position or livelihood. It is astounding how quickly after the resurrection the church became a place for false teachers, wolves, and enemies of true scriptural doctrine. May God give us discernment in these matters and protect us from deception.
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." - 3 John v. 4
John labored for the church. He suffered tremendously for the church, for the gospel's sake, and for the name of Jesus. In fact, he also knew that those whom he called his children were called to similar suffering. He also knew that not all who take up the name Christian or disciple will remain steadfast to the end. Certainly he had witnessed his fair share of believers swept off the map by one thing or the other. I'm sure that for him to hear of the perseverance of the saints, his spiritual children, made his heart swell. The same is true today. The casualty list is long but our hearts are encouraged by those who still remain. May our Lord keep us and may we remain as an encouragement to others through our perseverance.
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds." -2 John v. 10-11
This deception, that Christ did not come in the flesh, that He was some sort of apparition or on the other hand not fully God but completely and utterly human, was already besieging the church in John's day. This heresy still exists in many forms today. What we have largely ignored is the instruction to not receive such people, those who ignore the deity of Christ and the truth of the triune God - nor greet them! We reason to ourselves that we might persuade them. In doing so we discover the fact that such people having once been presented with the true gospel have willfully taken it in their hands to distort the truth of God - ignoring both the Holy Scriptures and the Spirit who testifies of these things. May we be obedient to God's word and have no part in these lies. Certainly there is a time and place for persuasion, for calling people to be reconciled to God - to give a defense for our faith. As Peter writes, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."* This is not that. John's instruction is to beware of people peddling an alternative gospel, a mutant version of the gospel that has become mired in confusion - one that does not bring the peace of God. May our Lord grant us discernment and wisdom.
*1 Peter 3:15
Anthony is the Pastor of Living Water Christian Fellowship.