Friday, July 05, 2024

The Vision (7.5.24): Walking in Truth and Love


Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on 2 John 1-6:

“in truth and love” (2 John 3).

Whereas John’s first General Epistle (1 John) has been described as being more like a sermon or doctrinal treatise, his second epistle is clearly a letter. It begins, “The elder to the elect lady and her children…” (v. 1).  John the apostle, calls himself an elder. Peter the apostle did the same (cf. 1 Peter 5:1). His recipient, “the elect lady and her children” is likely a reference to a sister church and her members (cf. 2 John 13, “The children of thy elect sister greet thee”).

The apostle commends to this church grace, mercy and truth in the name of the triune God “in truth and love” (v. 3). Those two terms—truth and love—are in fact key themes for John.

In v. 4 he notes his delight in finding the “children [members]” of this church “walking [conducting themselves] in truth.” This likely means that he found them to be doctrinally sound. We know there were problems with false prophets or antichrists who had denied that Christ had come “in the flesh” (i.e., they denied the Lord Jesus’ true humanity) (see 1 John 4:1-3).

Friends, we glorify God when we believe right things about him. We glorify Christ when we confess right things about him. We must hold to right doctrine and walk in truth.

In vv. 5-6 John also exhorts the church to follow Christ’s New Commandment (John 13:34-35) and “love one another” (v. 5). Twice in v. 6 he uses the metaphor of walking to urge right conduct: “that we walk after his commandments” and “as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”

So, let us evaluate ourselves and our church.

Are we walking in truth? Do we have concern to hold right doctrine?

Are we walking in love? Do we seek to love one another as Christ has loved us.

The exhortations to walk in truth and love, echoes the Great Commandment taught by Christ, Love God (by believing right things about God) and love your neighbor as yourself (cf. Mark 12:28-31).

I recently read a biography of Robert Charles (better known as R. C.) Sproul (1939-2017) (Stephen Nichols, R. C. Sproul: A Life [Crossway, 2021]).

Sproul was a Pittsburg boy who in his first year of college on an athletic scholarship was converted after sitting in on a Bible study on Ecclesiastes 11:3, “and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” He saw himself as that fallen and rotting tree apart from Christ.

When he went home and excitedly told his liberal hometown minster of his conversion, the man answered, “If you believe in the physical resurrection, you’re a [darn] fool.” Yet Sproul did believe, and, thankfully, he found orthodox mentors to affirm and guide him.

He went on to develop a dynamic teaching ministry that would influence myriads and still has an impact today through his books, as well as video and audio archives of his teaching. He walked in truth.

He was also known for his personal ministry, his care for family and friends, his love for the church. He walked in love.

In fact, when Sproul died in 2017 his simple tombstone had only this epitaph, “HE WAS A KIND MAN REDEEMED BY A KINDER SAVIOR.”

Will such be said of us when we have finished our course? Might this be a fitting epitaph for us? Will we be found to have walked in truth and in love?

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

1 comment:

Phil Brown said...

Ligonier still runs Dr. Sproul's teachings, and I listen to them often. He had a way and whit about him that caused even the most skeptical to pause and consider their path. I have and still benefit from the ministry of this man. Thank you for the thoughts.