“Summer of Love” // 2 John 4-13
The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday, August 14, 2022 at our West U Baptist campus. To view the sermon in full, check out the link below.
How to videos… How many of you have turned to YouTube to fix something? You go to YouTube, type in the search bar and, “Voila,” there is something right there to tell you how to fix what ails you!
Top Google Searches: Google says the most popular “how-to” searches include: home-improvement, beauty and cooking related videos. People trying to figure out how to accomplish a home improvement project, fix their hair or prepare a recipe have helped grow YouTube’s “how-to” searches by 70 percent year-over-year.
Whether that’s changing a spark plug on a mower you can’t start, or how to change out a sprinkler head for your sprinkler system…or how to play the guitar.
And why do we turn to how to videos? We turn to a “How to Video” usually when something is broken and needs fixing, or because we want to do something we have never done before.
I have titled this message, “How to Stay True to Christ at Home & at Church.” And I have chosen this title because John wants to make sure his hearers are STAYING TRUE.
Let’s ask this question for a moment: What does it take in 21st Century America to stay true to Jesus Christ? And how might we do that in our home and at church?
Ultimately, the answer will lie in the arenas of our ethic – our behaviors – and our doctrines – what we believe.
I believe this is John the Apostle’s purpose for writing this second letter called 2 John is so that the believers he is addressing will stay true to Jesus Christ.
Let’s read 2 John 1:4-13 together.
2 John 1:4-13
4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your elect sister greet you.
This is an interesting letter. As we saw last week, it is addressed to the “ELECT LADY and her children whom I love in truth…”
Now, scholars are split on who this is. It this literally a Christian Mom and her household that John is familiar with?
Or, is this “ELECT LADY and her children whom I love…” a church and its members?
Again, scholars are split over this.
The reality is that it doesn’t really matter which one it is, as the message from John is: This is how you stay true to Jesus Christ.
So, this message could be “Staying True to Jesus Christ in your home.” Or this message could be, “Staying true to Jesus Christ in your church.”
Or, as I have titled it, “Staying true to Jesus Christ at home and at church.”
The point is this: The environment doesn’t really matter so much as the principles we find here.
So, let me give you the principles I want to share with you today on how to stay true to Christ.
Staying True to Christ Requires You to:
Let’s look at this first one: Staying true to Jesus Christ requires you to:
Notice this call to love once again. This is the ETHIC that is to embody the Christian life.
2 John 1:4-6
4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
If we take “lady” to be a local congregation, then the words that follow are for the whole body of believers. This verse is a continuation of the commendation that begin in verse 4, connected with “and now.”
John’s line of thinking is that since they are walking in truth (v. 4), then they will naturally welcome his command to love one another.
The ethic of Christian people is love. It’s to be central to our lives. It’s to be central to the church and it’s to be central to our homes.
Howard Marshall says…“Christians must love one another. This is the basis of Christian living to which all believers constantly need to be recalled. For the elder it meant practical, costly caring for the needy, even readiness to sacrifice oneself for the sake of others (1 John 3:16-18), but at the same time it included real affection for one’s fellow-believers.”
 Howard Marshall, The Epistles of John, 226.
Verse 5 tells us that this is not a new commandment, but it’s from the very beginning and John uses this phrase “from the beginning” throughout his epistle. Here is seems to be referring to the original Christian faith itself embodied in the person of Christ.
Let’s go back to John 13:34 where Jesus gives this command.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Now, let’s make sure we set this in its proper context. This commandment is given on the night where Jesus was betrayed. It’s given immediately after two big moments on that evening.
- The first moment is where he, the Teacher/Master and Lord takes off his outer cloak and washes the disciples’ feet. He then says in verses 12-14 these words…
“Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
It’s as if he is saying:
- “Do you grasp my ethic?”
- “Do you see the way of the kingdom is profoundly different than the way of the world?”
- “Do you grasp that if I am willing to lower myself like a servant or slave, you should do the same to one another?”
That’s the way of Jesus!
Then, the second big event of the evening in the upper room happens immediately before this new commandment is given.
John 13:21 says…
After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
I don’t know if you have ever been betrayed before, but it hurts. It’s brutal. It’s so painful when someone you love and trust stabs you in the back.
This is how committed Jesus is to the way of self-sacrificing love. Let’s be honest. It’s a humiliating love. It spares no expense.
If John is simply writing to a mother of Christian children, she can grasp this love. Because this is how our moms love us. They give up so so much to serve us. To care for us. To provide for us. To nourish us. To feed us. To clothe us. To honor us. To give us opportunity.
But then, before we make our way back to 2 John, notice something else with me from this very night when Jesus gives this commandment. It’s just a little later in the evening.
You see, I believe that our parting words really mean a lot. They mean so much. And Jesus is well aware of what’s coming. He is well aware of where he is headed. He is well aware of the cup that he must drink.
But notice this with me. Notice in his priestly prayer in John 17 how he prays for our love and unity for one another.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
He prays for unity. He prays for oneness.
But then notice the last sentence of his prayer. His last petition in the garden. Notice the prayer about love.
I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
What is this love that Jesus prays for?
- It’s an eternal love!
- It’s an unchanging love!
- It’s an unconditional love!
- It’s a compelling love!
- It’s a unifying love!
This is the love the Father has for the Son and it’s the love that Jesus requests would be in us.
So, as John notes, now many years later… – This is not a new commandment. No, it’s foundational to the way of Jesus and what he plans and hopes for his followers.
Now, notice this back in 2 John verse 5, John’s grammar conveys consistency. The verb love, where he says, “Love one another,” is in the present tense, so he is calling for a consistent expression of this ethic toward each other.
So, let’s stop and ask ourselves some hard questions.
- Is my life known for the way of love?
- How often am I willing to humiliate myself to convey love to those in my home and in my church? – to those in my life, frankly?
- Does my presence unify or divide?
- Is it consistent?
- Am I more concerned about being right on all the issues of our day or living the loving way of Jesus?
Another way to ask it is this: Do people feel see me as a safe place where they will feel loved?
An interim police chief was called to help arrest a belligerent motorist. After the man was arrested, other officers were speaking with his wife and the chief noticed the man’s daughter crying. He knelt down and comforted her. He answered her questions and told her that her daddy would be home soon.
He said…“She nodded, then wrapped her little arms around me, laid her head on my shoulder, and sobbed.”
After this picture and post went viral, the chief added,
“There are many things in my life beyond my understanding, plenty of failures and disappointments. But one thing has always been clear to me: I know my purpose on this Earth, …Today, God put me in a place to use it, and I am certain that sweet little girl did more for me than I could have done for her.” 
What Love Looks Like
This is what love looks like.
And guess what? I have good news for you about this way of love.
Are you ready for it?
Here it is.
1 Corinthians 13:8
8 Love never fails.
- Do you want to remain true to Christ?
- Do you want to be true to Christ at home?
- Do you want to be true to Christ at Church?
- At work?
- At school?
- At the Little League or Soccer fields?
Love. It never fails!
Because here is what it does. Are you ready?
1 Corinthians 13:7
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
You can’t go wrong loving one another! That’s the first big idea.
The second big idea here has to do with our belief.
Let’s look at our outline again together. If we are going to stay true to Christ in the 21st century, what will it require?
Staying True to Christ Requires You to:
Staying true to Christ requires you to…
What does John ask this Christian woman, or Christian Church to be on the lookout for?
Notice the warnings that John gives here in verses 7-11.
2 John 1:7-11
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Q: What are we to be on the lookout for?
A: We are to be on the lookout for deceivers.
Deceivers are those who teach a false doctrine and false gospel.
Remember, we learned this in our study of 1 John. There were those teaching a false gospel. It was probably the roots of Gnosticism. It taught that you had to have a new, special revelation. It proclaimed that all matter was evil. Therefore, Jesus could not have and did not come in the flesh.
Or it could have been doceticism.
Doceticism speaks of “appearing as.” The docetics taught that Jesus only appeared to be a man.
Now why is the teaching about Jesus being fully man and fully God so important? Why does the identity of Jesus matter?
Wayne Grudem gives us at least two reasons:
- For Representative Obedience – You see, Adam served as our representative in the Garden of Eden, and it was through his disobedience all mankind was counted guilty and in sin.
Grudem says…“In a similar way, Jesus was our representative and obeyed for us where Adam had disobeyed and failed.”
This is also conveyed in Paul’s teaching on both Adam and Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Again, asking the question: Why does the identity of Jesus matter?
- To be a Substitute Sacrifice
Grudem says, “If Jesus had not been a man, he could not have died in our place and paid the penalty that was due to us.”
Hebrews 2:16-17 says this…
For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Hebrews give us the motivation behind Jesus’ taking on flesh. He came to help humanity. He didn’t come to help angels. If so, he would have become an angel. But God was burdened to deliver humanity.
So, He took on flesh and was, “…made like his brothers in every respect.”
A: To make propitiation for our sins. That means that he would be the sin offering that would satisfy the wrath of God toward the injustice of our sin.
Jesus took on flesh to REPRESENT US BEFORE GOD and to be a SUBSTITUTE SACRIFICE to pay for our sins.
And when you mess with that, you mess with the good news!
Does that make sense? When you go and pervert that message, it becomes a false teaching or a false gospel.
Now, notice what he says to lookout for in regard to these deceivers.
- The identity of Jesus Christ
- They have gone out into the world – as if sent out to spread their message.
Let me warn you about two or three groups in particular who mar the identity of Christ and who are going out into the world to make converts to their false gospel, as we seek to keep the words of Charles Spurgeon in mind.
Spurgeon said…“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”
- Jehovah’s witnesses – The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was the First Creation of the Father. In other words, He does not exist eternally. Ironically, they twist John’s gospel to make it fit this false teaching about Jesus.
- Mormons – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints espouses doctrines that are very similar to our faith…until you dig a little deeper.
- Though the Mormon Church says… They believe Jesus is the Son of God, the only begotten Son in the flesh and that he was born of a virgin Mary in Bethlehem.
- They believe the accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry as recorded in the Gospels to be true and accurate.
- They believe in the miracles Jesus performed and that he suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and that He submitted himself to death on the cross of Calvary. He was a willing sacrifice and a substitutionary atonement for our sins.
They also believe…
a. The sacrifice of Jesus was not sufficient for our salvation.
b. Mormons don’t truly believe in the virgin birth.
c. Jesus is a separate God, the spiritual brother of the devil and married.
Bottom line: The Jesus of Mormonism is different from the Jesus of the Bible.
- Christians Scientists –
Quoting Joe Carter, senior writer for the Gospel Coalition, he writes:
Christian Scientists distinguish between Jesus and Christ.
For Christian Scientists, Jesus was a man who lived in first-century Palestine and Christ is the name for a certain divine idea: “Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ.” The invisible Christ (“the ideal Truth, that comes to heal sickness and sin through Christian Science”) became perceptible in the visible Jesus, who was a mere man and demonstrated the divine idea. Eddy once said, “If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me.”
Now, remember, these go out into the world.
You will commonly see Mormon Missionaries. You will commonly, at least prior to Covid, get a knock on your door from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
And you can find Christian Science Reading Rooms – but most often find the Christian Scientists on TV compelling people to consider their teachings.
John the Apostle warns us. He says…Watch Yourselves. Don’t go that way. Don’t take part in that wickedness.
Instead, John instructs us…He shows us how to stay true to Jesus Christ. Look at 2 John 1:9 as we close our time together.
2 John 1:9
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
The Application here is to ABIDE in the TEACHING of Jesus Christ. It’s not to chase some special knowledge…But its to hold fast to the fundamental things:
- Love as you have been instructed from the beginning.
- Lookout – that you aren’t led astray
- Remain steadfast in the teaching about Jesus we have already received…for it is enough…it is sufficient…it is complete.