“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” (II John 7-9)
One of the characteristics of many postmodern pastors and teachers in the Evangelical Church in America is that of treating the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Apostles as though those teachings were a blob of play dough.
Ignore the broader context of those teachings, abandon the great, historical creeds of the Protestant Church that expound them, and turn Jesus into whatever you want him to be. Dance around the theological doctrines taught in the inspired Holy Scriptures and make your sermons or Sunday School lessons what you think your hearers will enjoy.
After all, we don’t want to offend anyone or make them feel as though they weren’t very nice people.
Isn’t doctrine or theology a divisive matter to be left to the theologians? Fortunately, the Word of God presents a different message from what we’re hearing as “sermons” today.
The text in II John is quite explicit in its teaching regarding what Jesus Christ said in His earthly ministry. The one who “goes too far,” that is, goes beyond what Jesus actually said, adding one’s own thoughts, and the one who does not stick to what Jesus said – and I mean ALL that Jesus said – does not have God. He might have a tortilla with some refried beans, but the meat, cheese and sauce are missing. He doesn’t have the whole enchilada of biblical theology. He’s missing the meat of the precious doctrine that makes Protestantism the message of the Gospel that can save condemned souls. Without the biblical facts of Christ’s incarnation, substitutionary death, blood atonement, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension, he’s left with only a good teacher. He’s substituted the pop psychology of a Tony Robbins or Joel Osteen for the truth of the Son of God.
Jesus plainly said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven…He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent me.” (Matt. 7:21, John 14:24)
Jesus clearly taught that there would be a lot of people who thought they knew Jesus, who called Him Lord, prophesied in His name, performed miracles and did wonderful deeds. They thought they knew Him; but they didn’t – and still don’t know Him. They make their play dough Jesus and set Him up as a fine example to follow; but they refuse to believe that he is the sovereign God of the universe, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
They fail to teach that He may one day say to them, “I never knew you!” (Matthew 7:23) He will banish them from His heaven as those who practiced lawlessness. What will be their hell-deserving sin? Refusal to believe all of His teachings will banish them to eternity in hell.
I might not understand all that Jesus said. I might find some of His teachings grating against what I have been taught. But the fact remains: if I don’t believe everything He said, I do not have the Jesus who is God. And God does not have me as one of His chosen individuals from the mass of humanity.
So, if you claim to be a believer in Jesus, I would urge you to ask yourself, “Do I really believe everything Jesus said, or am I just believing in a Jesus who is compatible with my ideas about life?”
Since Jesus Christ is God, I want to discover everything He said. If “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10), I pray that I will have enough sense to be afraid of rejecting some of His words that might conflict with my ideas. I pray that God the Holy Spirit will give me grace and faith to say, “Whatever You have said in Your word, Lord, I believe. Please help me to discover more and more of Your sovereign work in the redemption of Your people. I want the whole enchilada. I want the whole counsel of the teachings of Christ and His apostles that can make me wise unto eternal salvation.