In my Bible today I read the books of First, Second and Third John and the book of Jude. These are all short books, so it was no great feat, but I was reminded of the importance our faith is and of the need to stand up when our faith is challenged by false teachers and those who deny the existence of a God who is able to promise us eternal life.
I have often heard that the book of First John is one that every newborn Christian should read. In it, John tells us that God is light; God is love; and God is life. We can enjoy a great fellowship with Him as long as we avoid two things: falling in love with the world and all it offers, and falling for the lies of false teachers. False teachers are often ones who set themselves up as members of God’s family, but then they fall away from the fellowship and start saying things like: “There are certain parts of the Bible we can’t take literally,” and “A loving God would never send a person to Hell.”
The disciples often told people that what they teach is based only on what they know to be the truth… because they witnessed it first-hand. Once we become believers, God begins to work in our lives and gives us our own personal knowledge of who He is. We have to live in the light of God’s love and share it. 1 John 3: 11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1 John 4: 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
In his first epistle, John assures us that our faith gives us confidence to ask God for anything within his will and know that we are heard. His second epistle warns us not to be over confident and to be discerning. To love one another does not mean that we should be naive, unthinking and open to anyone and anything. We must have fellowship with God and other Christians, but we must not listen to false teachers who do not acknowledge Christ as having come in the flesh.
3 John encourages fellowship with Christian brothers and expresses his love for Gaius, a man who walks in truth and welcomes missionaries into his church.
In the book of Jude we are encouraged to stand up for our faith whenever the truth of God is being attacked. False teachers have crept into the church claiming that God’s grace gives them license to do as they please. These people are reminded of what happened to an unbelieving Israel, disobedient angels and wicked cities like Sodom and Gomorrah. The people are encouraged to build themselves up in their faith in a most holy God, praying in the Holy Ghost. Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
As I read and reread these epistles and looked at how our world today is suffering from the consequences of false teachings I was encouraged and can see God’s handiwork as some of these false teachings are being proven to be just that. The truth is slowly coming to light. Though it seems to be the other way around at times. We must look at and be thankful for the positive things we see happening. Parents are standing up for their children and demanding inclusion when it comes to their education. The courts are making decisions that help to protect our rights to religious freedom. Let us thank God for these changes and seek more and better ones in the future. It took decades to get where we are today and will take that long again to get to where we’d like to be… as a country and as a church. Faith is the victory that overcomes! Let us continue to pray, and may we see more change for the better every day.