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Scripture Reading: 2 John 7-11
2 John 9-11 and Our Responsibility to the Doctrine of Christ
1. Review Part 1:
a. Multiple views of "doctrine of Christ" in 2 John 9:
1) "Core gospel" approach - basics about Christ.
2) Teaching about Christ (His divine nature, 2 Jno. 7).
3) Teaching that belongs to Christ (from Him, the NT).
b. Both context and NT usage of the phrase convince us it is the entire body of Christ's teaching.
2. Continue by noting how the text is misused and the practical impact such misuse is having today.
I. WE ARE NOT LIMITED IN OUR USAGE OF 2 JOHN 9-11 TO THE APPLICATION IN VERSE 7.
-Since John is addressing the false doctrine that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh (v. 7), some conclude that is the only allowable application of 2 John 9-11.
A. 2 John 9 States the Parameter of Fellowship with God; 2 John 10-11 States the Parameter of Fellowship with Men.
1. A specific application of this is made in 2 John 7 concerning a false doctrine about the nature of Christ.
2. The doctrine of Christ is a general statement, encompassing the whole of Christ's teachings.
B. The Specific Application of a General Statement does not Eliminate Other Applications of the Same General Statement. (Following points from Robert Turner, cited by Hafley, Watchman Magazine, July 1998)
1. 1 Jno. 4:2: Are we to conclude that only test for determining those 'of God' is the confession that He came in the flesh? No, it is one example (that was currently needed) of a broad principle (4:6).
2. 1 Cor. 12:3: Do all who say Jesus is Lord have a 'spiritual gift'?
3. Deut. 13:2: OT example of citing a specific error to teach a general principle.
II. THE CHRISTIAN'S
RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST.
A. The Christian Must Not Go Beyond the Teaching of Christ, 2 John 9.
1. We sin when we transgress the doctrine of Christ, 2 Jno. 9.
2. Sin separates us from God. Therefore, when one goes beyond the doctrine of Christ his sin causes him not to have fellowship with God, Gal. 1:6-9.
3. We incur divine wrath and punishment when we sin against the doctrine of Christ by adding to it or taking away from it, Rev. 22:18-19; 1 Cor. 4:6.
B. The Christian
Must Abide in the Doctrine of Christ,
2 John 9.
1. Do so by keeping the word of Christ, Jno. 14:23-24.
2. Done by practicing the truth - by walking in the light (fellowship with God), 1 Jno. 1:6-7.
3. By keeping His commandments the truth is in us, we are in Christ, and we have assurance of fellowship with God, 1 Jno. 2:3-6; 3:24.
C. The Christian
Must not Extend Fellowship to One who does
not Abide in the Doctrine of Christ,
2 Jno. 10-11.
1. To extend and maintain fellowship with one who teaches and/or practices error and sin is a clear violation of 2 John 10-11. It causes one to have fellowship with evil.
2. We are to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them", Eph. 5:11.
3. We are to remain separate and distinct from the sin and error of the world, 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1.
Everyone Who Teaches
Abides in the
2:7-9; 3 Jno. 5-8.
III. PARALLEL THOUGHTS CONFIRM THAT "THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST" IN 2 JOHN 9 IS THE TEACHING WHICH COMES FROM CHRIST.
A. The Common Thread of 2 John 9 Runs Throughout the New Testament.
1. John 12:48-50: He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.
2. John 14:21, 23: He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me… If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
3. John 15:7, 10: If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you...If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
4. 1 Tim. 6:3-5: If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
5. Rev. 3:20: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
6. Rom. 16:17: Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
B. Brethren Are Accepting into Fellowship More and More Teachings and Practices that Violate the Doctrine of Christ:
1. Unity in moral and doctrinal diversity (misuse of Romans 14).
a. Growing unwillingness or inability to distinguish between matters of indifference before God (meats, days) and matters that affect fellowship with God and therefore between God's people.
b. So, Rom. 14 is used to accept into fellowship those who go beyond the doctrine of Christ.
c. Yet, Rom. 14 is clearly speaking of a different class of matters (14:1, 3, 5).
2. Misunderstanding of unity and an ever-expanding fellowship.
a. "Biblical unity is not uniformity." If one is talking about liberties, that is correct. If one is talking about the revealed truth (doctrine of Christ), that is not correct! 1 Cor. 1:10, 13
b. Charges of demanding "100% doctrinal conformity" prejudice brethren and open the door to tolerating error (Gal. 2:5).
3. Wide variety of errors on marriage, divorce and remarriage. ("Never have, never will agree.")
4. Moral issues, including (but not limited to):
a. What constitutes immodest clothing (1 Tim. 2:9).
"The Bible nowhere says that we all have to agree about the standards of modesty (and for some reason, that especially applies to women's clothing in the debates that have been staged)." (David McClister, Romans 14, 8/25/11)
b. Social drinking (1 Pet. 4:3). Though rarely advanced openly, more and more brethren "look the other way" when it becomes known among them.
1. We can unite in mind, teaching and application of 2 John 9 (1 Cor. 1:10); Jno. 17:20-21.
2. As disciples of Christ, unity in Christ as we abide in His doctrine is achieved through:
a. Diligent study of God's word (2 Tim. 2:15),
b. Proper attitudes of heart (Eph. 4:1-3), and
c. An unwavering commitment to obey the word of Christ in all things (Jno. 8:31-32).