Walking in Love, Truth, and Faith

Posted: May 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

Route 66: 2-3 John, Jude, “Walking in Love, Truth, and Faith”

The final three epistles of the New Testament are extremely short, and because of that, often extremely neglected.  It’s easy to go from the in-depth exhortation of 1 John, and want to rush immediately to the incredible prophecy of Revelation.  But if we do, we miss some true gems.  These books might have fewer words, but they do not have less value than other books of the Bible.  Truly, we’d be poorer without them.

So what’s the big deal?  They are real letters from real people about real situations.  2-3 John especially so, in that they are written to very specific people about things every single Christian congregation will encounter.  Jude has a much more general audience, but is still incredibly focused about real issues for every believer.  These aren’t scholarly theological papers; they’re practical what-to-do-now letters for Christians.  If the letters to the Romans and Corinthians might have been published in scholarly journals if they were written in modern-day times, the letters of 2-3 John & Jude might have been written as Facebook posts.  Different medium, with a different purpose, but still important.

The question at hand: how do Christians deal with false teachers?  Sometimes they come knocking on the doors of our home – sometimes they bring ungodly character into the church – sometimes they bring heretical doctrine with them.  In every instance they need to be addressed, all the while not veering from our own commitment to Christ.  That’s what John & Jude write about in these short (but valuable) letters.

BACKGROUND:
2-3 JOHN
Technically, both of these letters are anonymous – but so are the books of 1 John and the Gospel of John.  How can we know that any of these works were written by the apostle?  It’s a process of elimination (which we covered in our discussion of the gospel of John), but once we figure out one, we figure out the rest.  The ties between 1 John and John’s gospel are numerous, and the ties between 2-3 John and 1 John are quickly apparent.  Thus, they rise or fall together – and the vast majority of the evidence points to the fact that John the apostle, the younger son of Zebedee wrote each of these works.

Similarly, the dating of 2-3 John rests within the same range as the gospel & 1st epistle – somewhere in the range of 85-95AD.  There is no way to date the letters directly, although it is reasonable to assume that 2-3 John were indeed written last.  Both of these letters include an identification that is absent from 1 John, with the author identified merely as “The Elder.”  Not simply “Elder” or “an Elder,” but “THE” Elder, with the definite article.  As the last remaining living apostle of the Lord Jesus, “The Elder” is an extraordinarily fitting title for John at the time of the writing, but also indicates that he was well-advanced in years.

As with his other surviving letter, it seems most likely that John wrote from the city of Ephesus, where the church fathers say John moved to, after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.  Whereas in his 1st letter, John wrote generally to all the Christians in the areas surrounding Ephesus, the other letters find John focusing in on specific congregations which were most likely in the area.  There is no possible way of knowing anything detailed about the congregations, other than the fact that they were known personally by John & they knew him well enough to receive his influence and authority.  It is obvious that he loved the people there, was personally involved in their Christian growth & increased evangelism, and he even considered them his own children in the faith.  John was pastorally concerned for them, and did whatever he could to provide for their protection and growth.

JUDE
For what little we can piece together about 2-3 John, it is vastly more than what we can definitely know about the letter of Jude.  The author does specifically identify himself – technically his name is Judas; we transliterate it as “Jude,” and for English speakers it helps us distinguish him from the infamous Judas Iscariot.  Who this specific Jude was is a matter of debate.  The only details of his identification are in the first verse, where he says he is “a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.”  If the James in question is the James of whom we have the book of James & the leader of the church in Jerusalem, then that would make Jude (like James) another half-brother of the Lord Jesus (Mk 6:3 – brothers are named).  This is debated by some, but not for any convincing reasons.  It’s true that the written Greek is better than what might be expected out of a Galilean fisherman, but that excuse is thrown around often in regards to New Testament writers, and it seems that they were perhaps better educated than what modern-scholars give them credit for.  It’s also true that James (and Judas, for that matter) were extremely common names – but the fact that Jude feels no need to describe James is a powerful argument that he is the James everyone knew.  If Jude didn’t personally describe himself as the brother of Jesus, that’s no big deal – not even James did so in his letter.  Jude likely felt far more comfortable describing himself as a slave of Jesus, just like everyone else.  His personal family relationship to Christ gave him no more spiritual righteousness than anyone else.  Everyone is a sinner needing to be saved – everyone is a slave of sin in need of the freedom Jesus offers.  Bottom line: take Jude at face value, for who he claims to be.

As to when he wrote his letter, much of that depends on the relationship of this letter to 2 Peter.  As we’ve seen already, there’s a large section of text that is almost identical in each letter, and it is fairly obvious that one read & quoted the other.  The only question is: who quoted who?  The best answer is: we cannot know.  Arguments could be made for either letter having priority.  For my personal opinion, it makes more sense for Peter to quote Jude than for Jude to quote Peter.  (1) The section in view takes up the majority of space in Jude, and it would seem strange for Jude to quote all of that, and then just add on a few extra comments.  (2) Peter would naturally be known and be read by far more people at that time than Jude.  It seems logical for Peter to have known and recognized the value of what Jude wrote, and then passed it on to a wider audience.  But again – we cannot definitively know.  We can ask Jude and Peter when we see them in heaven. J  Regarding date, if Jude quotes Peter, then he would have written no earlier than the late 60’s – if Jude wrote first, then that pushes the date back to the mid 50’s-early 60’s.  Nothing in either letter nails down the date any more definitively than that.

As for other background details about the letter, we have none.  Jude neither tells us his audience, nor his own location of writing.  Although his letter has a general address, it’s apparent that he has a specific congregation in mind, and that he’s written to them before (vs. 3), but no details of anything else are given.

2 JOHN OUTLINE
Greeting (1-3): From the Elder, to the elect lady, all in the Lord.
A command to walk (4-6): What they had begun, they were to continue.
A warning of deceivers (7-11): Practical warnings of the deceivers in their midst.
Close (12-13): Simple & sweet, with a wish for joy.

Greeting (1-3)
We’ve already mentioned how John describes himself only as “the Elder” – what has caused by far more debate is who the “elect lady and her children” might have been.  The bare words themselves point to a specific (though unidentified) woman and her children that were known by John.  The context speaks to something a bit more.  Many have theorized that the lady isn’t simply a lady, but a church congregation.  Perhaps it’s a reference to a church that met in a woman’s home (as did the church of Jerusalem when they were meeting in the house of Mark’s mother Mary while they prayed for Peter’s release from Herod’s arrest – Acts 12:12).  Perhaps it’s a veiled reference to a church congregation with nothing to do with an actual woman (“church” being a feminine word in itself).  The later reference to an “elect sister” and her children (13) is no help, since that could still be interpreted either way.  Ultimately, we cannot be dogmatic.  Personally, I tend to believe these are references to specific congregations rather than families, if for no other reason, due to the overall context of the letter.  Either way, John’s instruction remains the same.

What’s notable in John’s greeting is his reliance upon the “truth.”  In vss. 1-2, John said that he loved the lady (and her children) in truth, he along with everyone else who knew the truth, and this truth would abide with them forever.  What’s the truth?  The gospel.  John loved the elect lady because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just like all Christians love other Christians because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the truth of the gospel will remain with us forever.  The gospel never changes, and it never loses its power.  The good news of Jesus remains good news, and it will always be the power of God unto salvation. (Rom 1:16)

  • Christians never get away from the gospel.  It may sound basic to us, but it is foundational – and foundations are crucially important.  You use the foundation of your home every single day, whether you’re conscious of it or not.  The minute your foundation is in trouble, you know it & it becomes extremely costly to you.  Likewise, the gospel of Christ is our foundation.  We never get away from the fact that Jesus is God who died for our sins and the cross & rose again from the grave.  We not only preach the good news of forgiveness to others, but we need to constantly preach it to ourselves.  It is the foundation of every relationship we have within the church, and ultimately the relationship we have with God.  To depart from the gospel truth is to depart from our faith itself.  It’s vital!

John goes on to emphasize their dependence upon the Lord as he pronounces blessings upon them (grace, mercy, and peace) from God the Father & from the Lord Jesus – all “in truth and love.”  Everything we have in God, we have because of God.  He has showered us with grace, extended to us His mercy, and made us at peace – all through the gospel truth & outpouring of His love.

A command to walk (4-6)
John gets into the body of the letter by rejoicing over the lady’s children (congregation members).  He had found them “walking in truth” (4), just as God had commanded them to do.  This was wonderful!  John will rejoice over something similar in 3 John, and it causes a pastor’s heart to overflow with joy when he sees how Christians are maturely walking in faith.  When Christians are grounded in the gospel, and living as if they actually believe the gospel & are changed by the gospel, it’s a glorious thing!

John makes the point that walking in truth isn’t just a good idea, but actually a “commandment from the Father” (4).  As he wrote in his 1st epistle, this command wasn’t new, but one that had been around “from the beginning” (5).  What was it?  Simply to “love one another” and “walk according to His commandments” (6).  IOW, it was to live transformed lives.  Christians (by definition) ought to be loving people who love other people.  If we proclaim a love for God, it ought to be demonstrated in our love for others.  This isn’t legalism – the two things simply go hand-in-hand.  Those who have been transformed by the love of Christ, and been given a new nature by the Holy Spirit ought to live as if our lives have been transformed.  There should be some evidence of the work that has taken place.  It’s as if a little Kia Rio has been given an entirely new super-charged Lamborghini engine, and yet we’re still toodling around with no evidence of any horsepower.  Where’s the proof of the change?  True born-again Christians have been totally changed from the inside-out.  We might walk around with the same chassis, but we’ve been given an entirely new engine.  So where’s the proof?  Where’s the evidence?  The evidence is love, and that’s something that ought to be obvious in our lives as we continually walk in faith.

Why is it so important?  Because not everyone has that evidence.  Some claim to be Christian, but they actually deceive…

A warning of deceivers (7-11)
John couldn’t be clearer in the reality of false converts & deceptive supposed-Christians.  (7) “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.”  These are men and women who wander and rove about, looking for people to influence away from Christ.  For John’s day, these were false religious teachers preying off of Christian believers, trying to seduce people away from the faith.  Guess what?  It’s no different today.  It’s rare to find cults winning new converts among people who have never been exposed to the true gospel in the past.  Typically, they feed off of the church.  They look for people who have some sort of Christian background, but lack any real Biblical grounding.  They look for the young or immature in an effort to pull them away from the church.  Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses do exactly this thing when they go door-to-door in neighborhoods passing out their religious literature.  There are even some popular authors and speakers on TV that do something similar, when they attract people through their charisma, but do everything possible to avoid actually pointing people to Jesus.  Heresies may have changed names throughout the centuries, but their methods have remained the same. 

To be clear, anyone who does not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh (i.e. Jesus as the Incarnate God) is a deceiver and antichrist (7).  Zealous atheists are just as antichrist as any cult member.  Muslims are antichrist.  Universalists are antichrist.  That’s not being paranoid or engaging in vile name-calling – that’s just the truth.  Whatever pulls you away from Christ is anti-Christ, by definition.  And again – they don’t have to wear the label of another religion in order to engage in antichrist behavior.  We can tell it by what they teach & how they live.

John’s point is that we are beware.  We don’t want to get swept up in the deceptions of others.  We don’t want to “lose those things we worked for” (8) – we don’t want to miss out on the fullness of what God has for us in Jesus.  We want to remain in Christ – to abide in Christ.  We can know that as long as we remain in Jesus, we have “both the Father and the Son” (9).  This goes back to the idea of eternal security, or the assurance of our salvation.  How can we know that we know we are truly saved for eternity?  When we remain in Jesus.  Anyone not completely grounded in Christ has no assurance; those who are, do.

Practically speaking, we need to be careful how we interact with these deceivers.  For John’s readers, he warned them not even to receive them into their house or greet them (10).  It wasn’t that John was telling them to be rude to others out on the street, but to zealously guard what it was they were taught as a church.  For a home church, to bring someone into their home & allow them to talk is to allow their false doctrine to be taught from the pulpit.  That wasn’t to be allowed, even in the slightest.  We are to be careful with what we allow ourselves to be taught.  What we receive, we’ll believe, so we want to always believe the truth.

  • For us today, what does this look like?  It means we pay close attention to the doctrine that is taught from the pulpit.  We are careful about the TV shows & movies we watch & the books we read.  We ask ourselves: “Am what I’m receiving taking me closer to Jesus, or further away from Him?”  That becomes the standard to help guard us from evil.

Close (12-13)
John was a personable guy, and he preferred to do things face-to-face.  Some people love to write (I’m one of the them) – John preferred to talk.  He looked forward to a visit where he could discuss more of these things in person.  In the meantime, he passed on greetings from “the children of your elect sister” (13) – perhaps another local congregation, and gave a quick close to the letter.

3 JOHN OUTLINE
Greeting (1): Another letter from the Elder, to Gaius.
John’s joy (2-4): Rejoicing over his faithfulness
Who to receive (5-8): Describing true teachers that might come
Who to reject (9-11): Pointing out a specific false teacher who was seeking power
Who to recommend (12): Commending a specific true teacher to the church
Close (13-14)

Greeting (1)
As with 2 John, the author introduces himself only as “the Elder,” but this time he names the specific person to whom he wrote.  This was “the beloved Gaius” – obviously known to John, but unknown to us.  Gaius was a popular name at the time, and it shows up several times in the New Testament.  There’s no reason to believe that this particular Gaius was one of the men who travelled with Paul, but there’s ultimately no way to know.  Whoever he was, John loved him “in truth,” just as he did the elect lady & her children of 2 John.

John’s joy (2-4)
Again, there’s similarity with 2 John.  There, John rejoiced having found some of the elect lady’s children walking in truth – here he rejoices over Gaius doing the same thing.  John does pray for Gaius’ good health & prosperity, but it’s in the context of Gaius already doing so well spiritually.  That’s what it was that brought John the most joy: knowing that his spiritual children walked in truth (4).  Pastors truly love hearing of the spiritual maturity of their congregation – and why not?  Parents rejoice when they see the success and maturity of their kids.  At that point they know that whatever it was they poured into the lives of their children was worthwhile & used.  That’s the same way it is with faithful pastors (and obviously, faithful apostles as per John).

BTW – if it’s that way with pastors and parents, how much more with God?  If we rejoice over the maturity of those in our care, surely God must rejoice over our maturity all the more.  He is our heavenly Father – surely it truly brings joy to His heart to watch His children walk faithfully.  What does that tell us?  Walk faithfully!  Bring a smile to your heavenly Father, and give Him glory by abiding in the gospel of Christ, and walking obediently to His command.

Who to receive (5-8)
How did John know that Gaius was walking in truth?  Because the testimony that was given of him told of a generous man.  Gaius cared for other Christian brethren & even for strangers (5).  Apparently he showed them hospitality (as was appropriate for the culture), and helped them continue on their individual journeys (6).  Whoever visited Gaius was able to glorify God, not needing to rely on non-Christian (Gentile) help along the way.  IOW, when they visited the church (i.e. Gaius), they could know that the church was enough.  The love of the church was enough for the needs of others, and they looked to the God of the church & not the systems of the world.

Remember that John is writing to a specific man about a specific thing – but the general idea applies to all.  The church of God ought to reflect the goodness and glory of God.  That doesn’t mean that every financial ask is to be provided for (or whatever) – it means that people can know that the God of the Bible is enough.  The world cannot provide for our spiritual needs, but Jesus can.  The world cannot provide for our forgiveness, but Jesus can.  The world’s version of love is twisted and temporary, but Jesus’ love is true.  The world simply cannot offer what it is Jesus offers, and what Jesus’ offers is enough.

  • The question then for us is: how do we as a church reflect that?  How am I, as a Christian, portray that?  If we know that Jesus is sufficient for everything, what can we do to help others know of His sufficiency so that they stop seeking the satisfaction of the world?  Food for thought.

Who to reject (9-11)
Gaius may have walked according to truth, but not everyone did.  One man in particular was called out by John: Diotrephes (9), who was apparently power-hungry & did not care about the love of Christ.  This man wanted to be thought of as being important, and he even downplayed the role of the apostles to lift up himself (9-10).  In fact, he thought himself so important that he could decide who did & who did not have the right to enter the church congregation as a believer (10).  This kind of divisive person was to be identified & disciplined.  Due to John writing a letter to Gaius about it, it would seem that perhaps Gaius was a local pastor/elder with some ability to address the situation.  Division would only fester and spread until the leadership stood up to this kind of bully, so Gaius was to imitate the good (11) and do the right thing.

  • Centuries may have passed, but people don’t change.  There are still people today who look to local churches as ways to build up their own influence or power.  Instead of loving people through the gospel of Jesus, they bully people in the name of Jesus.  They try to break up churches & draw unnecessary lines over minor issues.  Beware of the bullies!  Don’t follow them in their division.  When in doubt, err on the side of love.

Who to recommend (12)
If Diotrephes was someone John rejected, Demetrius was someone John recommended.  Seemingly this was a travelling Christian teacher, and John sent him on to Gaius with full commendations and blessing.  (And if the apostle John gives someone a good recommendation, you know it’s got to be good!)

  • Application: We’re often quick to point out the bad & those in error, but what about those who teach the truth?  How good it is when we’re able to offer our recommendations to someone else of a teaching or teacher with whom we were blessed!

Close (13-14)
3 John closes much the same way as 2 John.  John preferred to say these things in person & hoped to soon visit Gaius.  Greetings were sent from other Christians and congregations, and that was the end.

 

JUDE OUTLINE
Greeting (1-2): Jude’s identification, and his address to believers
Thesis (3-4): Why did he write the letter?  To exhort people to contend for the faith.
The ungodly (5-16): What they’ve looked like through history, what they look like today, and what God has in store for them.
The beloved (17-23): How true believers are to act differently from the ungodly.
Benediction (24-25): Prayer for God’s protection & praise for His glory.

Greeting (1-2)
As we mentioned earlier, he describes himself as James’ brother, but as Jesus’ bondservant (slave – δουλος).  Not only do we see Jude’s humility, in that he doesn’t promote any special relationship to Jesus – but we also see his faith.  After all, how many siblings would willingly identify themselves the slave of his/her brother, calling their brother the Messiah/King of Israel/Lord God Incarnate?  If James and Jude were convinced of Jesus’ deity, the evidence regarding Jesus’ resurrection had to have been powerful.

As to his audience, Jude’s description is very general: “to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” (1)  That opens it up to every believer in the Lord.  Again, the general context of the letter (as well as mentions of previous letters) indicates that Jude had a specific congregation(s) in mind, but there’s no doubt that what he had to say applies to all Christians.  If we’ve been called out of the world & called into the church of Jesus Christ – if we’ve been set apart by God & declared to be holy – if we’re being kept and preserved by none other than the Lord Jesus – then we need to pay attention to what is being said.  The good news in all of this is that it is plain that we are saved by the work of God alone, and that it is God alone who keeps us saved.  Our security is in Him & Him alone – thus it is in Him that we need to stay.

Thesis (3-4)
What was Jude’s reason for writing?  He states it up front.  He was exhorting them “to contend earnestly for the faith” that they had received (3).  Ungodly men had crept in among them stirring up trouble (4), spreading false teachings about the Lord Jesus, and thus true Christians need to guard the gospel that has been entrusted to us.

Nearly 2000 years have passed, and this hasn’t changed.  Christians still need to contend for the faith.  We need to guard the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Some try to water it down – some try to wish it away – some try to deny it outright…we are to keep it.  The word Jude uses is a strengthened form of the word from which we get “agonize.”  We are to exert ourselves intensely concerning the faith – holding onto it with all that we have.  Pressures will come against us & cultural politics will make the gospel unpopular – and we as born-again Christians need to be prepared.  We need to be (like so many around the world) so utterly committed to the Lord Jesus that we are willing to take up our own painful and humiliating crosses and follow Him…to death, if need be.  The gospel is precious…guard it!  Hold onto it – cling to it.

The ungodly (5-16)
History (5-7)
Ungodly persons and false teachers are nothing new.  They were among the children of Israel, even after witnessing the power of God deliver them out of Egyptian slavery (5).  Jude doesn’t go into details, but the examples are numerous.  There were those who engaged in idolatry at the foot of Mt Sinai – they were destroyed.  There were those who rebelled against entering the Promised Land once having arrived there – that entire generation was destroyed.  There were others who committed fornication with the Gentiles while on the cusp of entering the Promised Land – they were destroyed as well.  Every time false belief ran rampant among the Hebrews, God sent His discipline and judgment upon them.

And the Hebrews aren’t the only examples.  Even angelic beings were historically prone to rebellion (6) – they were judged by God, chained in the bottomless pit.  The sexually immoral Gentiles of Sodom and Gomorrah experienced the same thing (8).  In each of these cases, the people (or beings) directly rebelled against God, and they each experienced doom and judgment. 

But people never learn, and it continued in Jude’s day…

Description (8-13)
Jude describes the ungodly as “dreamers” (8) who are just plain vile.  They are rude in their flesh & against others, thinking far more of themselves than what they ought to think.  Thinking upon some Jewish tradition & extra-biblical literature, Jude even calls to mind an argument between the archangel Michael & the devil (9).  Not even the most preeminent of angels assumed that he had the authority to rebuke the devil, but called upon the Lord God to do so.  Yet these false teachers & ungodly men just spoke whatever it was they wanted to speak.  They spoke out of their…ear. J  They knew nothing, but pretended like they knew everything, just saying whatever it was they needed to say to gain power, influence, and money (11).  In the end, they are selfish people without anything to offer the church except trouble (12-13).

Sound familiar?  How common this is today!  So-called “Christian” TV is rampant with this sort of foolishness and egotism.  Self-proclaimed prophets try to speak things out of thin air, call out curses upon the demons or blessings upon themselves, never seeking to truly glorify God but always exalting themselves.  Jude was right to proclaim woe upon them.  Every idle word spoken will be called into account by God (Mt 12:36).  For some, the accounting will be long, indeed!

BTW – Jude does reference some non-biblical literature both in vs. 9 (the Assumption of Moses) and in vs. 14 (Book of Enoch).  The fact that Jude references it doesn’t mean that the other books are inspired Scripture; it just means that the points that these individual quotes make are valid.  Remember Paul quoted some Greek philosophy back to the people of Athens (Acts 17:28) – obviously that was not originally inspired.  Jude does something similar here.  He quotes Hebrew references to Hebrew Christians in order to make a Holy Spirit-inspired point.

Judgment (14-16)
So what will happen to all of these ungodly apostates?  They will face the judgment of God.  Jude already alluded to this when speaking of how God dealt with ungodly people through history, but of course the righteousness of God doesn’t change.  Just like He judged them in the past, He will continue to judge them in the present & into the future.  Quoting Enoch (one of the antediluvians thought to have written at least one book of prophecy), Jude notes that the Lord Jesus will come with thousands upon thousands of His saints at His 2nd Coming, and it will signal the final judgment for those who continue in rebellion against God.

  • For the Christian, this is good news.  Although there are selfish deceivers now, they are not ignored.  God knows those who are true & those who are false.  He knows those who have caused pain to His people, and His judgment will be known.

The beloved (17-23)
The turn from Jude is wonderful.  Enough about the grumblers; “but you, beloved” have something far better!  Those who love the Lord Jesus & are beloved by the Lord Jesus don’t need to worry about judging the ungodly – God will take care of them.  As for us, we are exhorted to “remember the words which were spoken before by our Lord Jesus Christ” (17).  IOW, we are to remember the Scripture we have been taught.  Specifically, we’re to remember the warnings that Jesus and the apostles gave us about mockers, false teachers, and divisive people in the last days (18-19).  We have been told to expect these things, so we should.  We ought not to be surprised, nor should we lose heart.

Instead, we’re to be prepared and mindful.  We’re to contend for the faith & continue to be built up in the faith (20).  We’re to remain grounded in the gospel, always looking forward to seeing our Lord Jesus face-to-face.  As we do, we look to others within the church helping them to be mindful as well.  We neither want to personally be deceived, nor do we want to see other brothers or sisters get caught up in deception.  Sometimes this means speaking hard truths, but truths that need to be heard.  (Just be sure to speak it in an attitude of love.)

Benediction (24-25)
Jude’s epistle ends far differently than other letters in the New Testament, with a wonderful benediction and doxology.  God CAN keep us from stumbling – God DOES present us faultless – God IS the ever wise & glorious Savior.  AMEN!

Conclusion:
Two very different authors – three letters – one constant theme: walk in the truth of the gospel, being mindful of false teachers & teachings along the way.  Some deceivers deny Jesus came as God in the flesh – some seek nothing but power for themselves – some speak mindlessly and teach lewdness.  Each group acts contrary to the gospel of the Lord Jesus, and that is what we are to guard & in what we are to walk.  Walk in the truthfulness of the gospel – walk in love towards God & others – walk according to the faith that has been handed down to us.  Keep walking, looking towards our glorious Savior, trusting in His wonderful grace!

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