Friday, October 7, 2011

Letters of Second, Third John and Jude

The Greek word Apotosia comes from the root word
Apostasion meaning "divorce."  Those who
fall into apostasy are divorced from God.
Earnestly Contend for the Faith

Recently, I was asked a pretty straightforward I thought.  Someone asked if their sister - who had been a practicing lesbian until her death - could possibly be in Heaven, because she was also a professing Christian.

Other "Christians" had told her: "We cannot know another person's heart"..."We cannot know who might go to Heaven until the judgment"..."Jesus paid the debt for all of our sins and our righteousness is in Him alone, not ourselves."  "Once we are saved we are always saved, so that person is surely in Heaven."..."Everybody sins; that doesn't mean we are no longer saved."...Remember, salvation is not of works."  

I told her that - unless this person repented of their sin and turned in faith to Christ before dieing - then no, such cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." I Corinthians 6:9-10

When this person shared my response with the other "Christians", they told her that I was being "too dogmatic" and no one could say for sure whether homosexuals/lesbians make it into Heaven. 
dogmatic: forcibly asserted as if authoritative and unchallengeable.
Let me ask you something.  If we cannot stand unwavering, unchallengeable, and with authority on what God explicitly states in His word, then why are we claiming to belong to Him?

All of Scripture harmonizes with each other.  Just because one man does not know another man's heart (or even his own heart for that matter) does not mean that we cannot believe God when He says that such shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Just because man is not the judge does not mean we cannot believe God's pronounced judgments in His word.

If we cannot receive the plain words of Scripture as the truths of God, then we have departed from the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus and have defined our own idol of Christianity.

In these last days, there are many deceptions about Jesus Christ, with false religion being championed in His name.  Our protection against these errors is the truth, the word of God.  Even the Holy Spirit - by whom we are regenerated into newness of life - comes to bring us into the knowledge of, and conformity with, that truth (John 16:13).

When you take lightly the truths of God's word and mistakenly believe that you can pick & choose to which Scriptures you will adhere, you open yourself up to a great deception which can lead you into apostasy.

The following notes are from Pastor Zac Poonen's sermon on the Books of 2 John, 3 John, and Jude which address the importance of holding on to God's truth in these dark times.

The Book of 2 John
  • It is a great testimony when a woman has been able to bring up her children to walk in the truth.
  • Peter did evangelism.  Paul established churches.  John corrected the problems in the churches as he began to see them decline.
  • God's prophetic word to backslidden Christendom today is the same as what John preached to the church at the end of the 1st century.  
  • As with 1 John, he continues to emphasize three points for the church: Keep God's commandments; Love one another; Recognize that Jesus came in the flesh.
  • There is no compromise of truth for the sake of "love" because such is the opposite of love.  Obeying God's commandments is love (2 John 1:6).  We are to walk in truth and love another.
  • The problem with many churches is that they don't specifically recognize that Jesus came in the flesh.  We have no excuse for sin because Jesus came as a man, was tempted as we are, and did not sin.  Understanding this truth is the key to obeying God's commandments and loving others.
  • Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 12:3) and Jesus as God came in the flesh (2 John 1:7)
  • God allows deceivers so that our discerning faculties can be sharpened and we can mature in the faith.  To be protected from deception, we must have a love for the truth.
  • You can lose your reward by falling for one of the many deceptions about Jesus.
  • Stand up for the Lord in these days of deception.  It is not "Christian love" to show hospitality to those who are against Christ.  Those who greet such persons in the name of God are partakers in their evil deeds (2 John 1:11).

The Book of 3 John
  • The subject of this book could be said to be a bad elder (Diotrephes) and a good elder (Demetrius).
  • People have perverted this text to teach that it supports the false wealth/health prosperity doctrine (3 John 1:2).  Jesus is our standard.  He was not a rich man.  There were many people sick at the pool of Bethesda and He healed one person.  Jesus did not heal Paul of his infirmity (II Corinthians 12:7-10).  Jesus did not heal Timothy of his stomach ailments.  What we learn from that is that these temporary things (because everything in this world is temporary) are not the most important things in life.  We are to have health to do God's will, but Jesus did not teach that you will never get sick.
  • John's greatest joy was when he heard that those to whom he had ministered were walking in the truth (3 John 1:3).
  • We must be hospitable to the brethren, including giving them financial gifts to help with their expenses; such is an act of our faith.
  • No Godly man ever takes money from unbelievers for preaching the Gospel (3 John 1:7).  To give to God's work is an honor and privilege that belongs to His children.
  • It is possible for an elder to start out humble, but gradually come to the place where he wants to be a big man (3 John 1:9).  Such was Dotreaphes' downfall.
  • If you are blessed enough to have a Godly brother as your elder or guide - no matter how much you have grown or are being used by God - respect his advice.
  • If you want to serve God then you will be unjustly accused by others with wicked words (3 John 1:10).
  • Those churches who have dictators over the people and controlling them are in Babylon. In the church of Jesus Christ there is freedom, even while having Godly spiritual authority in the leadership.

The Book of Jude
  • The subject is to contend earnestly for the faith and do not compromise on it; such is a great necessity. 
  • The watchmen of the church have fallen asleep and as a result, the wolves have come in.  An elder must be spiritually awake and alert at all times.
  • These wolves pervert the grace of God, misrepresenting it as a cover while people continue in willful sin.  They falsely proclaim that once we are saved, we are always saved.  
  • This is why John immediately puts us into remembrance of Israel; how they were saved out of Egypt, but were later destroyed due to unbelief in the Wilderness of Sin (Jude 1:5).  Falling away from the faith was not something which was only possible in the Old Testament.  This example is quoted in the New Testament by an Apostle of Christ because the lesson is relevant to the New Testament church. 
  • Another characteristic of people who live after the flesh is that they reject spiritual authority (Jude 1:8).  The devil is preparing such for their doom.
  • Don't ever make fun of the devil.  Rebuke him, resist him, stand against him, wrestle with him, and fight against him, but don't take him lightly. 
  • Whenever a minister is jealous of another's ministry, it is because he doesn't love that person.  One with the heart of a father will never be jealous of someone else's accomplishments (like Cain), but will encourage that person to go further still. 
  • Another mark of the wolves is that they have an inordinate affection for money (like Balaam) or are rebellious against authority like Core. 
  • Contrasted against these false prophets, John points to Enoch who was a preacher of God's judgment.  Every prophet in Scripture spoke of God's judgment against sin.
  • Be like Enoch, who walked with God.  Contend for the faith.  Stand up like him for the truths of God.
  • Build yourself in the faith.  Pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourself in the love of God.
  • We may fall, but when we do don't let your faith fail.  If we keep ourselves in the love of God, then He will keep us from falling (Jude 1:21, 24).
  • Be very careful when you reach out to save those who are lost that you do not become polluted by sin (Jude 1:23).


      1. Amen! A challenge to all Christians to trust the complete word of God.

      2. I agree that, too often, we show disregard (read: hate) for folks by softening 'difficult' scriptural truths merely to soothe feelings or avoid conflict.

        That said, discernment is called for with regards to our response. The key question is whether the person asking such a question claims to be part of the body of Christ.

        What seems a blanket statement, in 2nd John 1:11, for example, i.e., the admonition not to greet a sinner "in the name of God" , must be tempered by 1st Corinthians 5:9-13.

        On a first read, they seem to contradict one another, but on closer inspection, they don't. Much wisdom can be found in the fine distinctions. is probably the same thing as what Paul expresses in 1st Cor 5:11 --" are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges..."

        Paul goes on to say that we MUST associate with those who do NOT claim to be Christians yet who are involved in exactly the same sins as the Christians.

        Second is the person's heart stance, and our delivery of the answer -- a relational 'dance' which can 'break' on either end. The manner in which we deliver singular scriptural truth, and the timing, can often be key to nudging open an almost-but-not-quite closed heart.

        Someone asking about a person already dead, may be doing so out of ignorance, temporary grief, or false hope and therefore may be open to gentle correction, whereas another may be asking to prove a point, start an argument or create division. We mustn't forget to ask the Lord, in the moment, to show us who we are dealing with, and how to handle them!

        A question about a dead person has often been symptomatic, in my experience, of someone who'd rather deal in legalism than talk about their own eternal destiny. I.e., someone not inclined to trust God, who would rather accuse him of being 'wrong' about someone they loved than understand the depth and extent of that love and His desire not to see anyone die in their sins.

        Sadly, as you suggest with the graphic, many INSIDE the church don't really want to know God. They only want a short list of His rules so they can go back to ignoring Him.

      3. Hi Newine,

        I hope you are well!

        Just to clarify, the question was not about the lesbian's fellowship with believers, but her fellowship with God after death.

        In terms of a sinner's association with believers, there is as you say a distinct difference between:

        1) Someone who is lost in sin, yet is ignorant of the Lord. We are to associate (not fellowship, 2 Cor. 6:14) with such persons in preaching the Gospel so as to set captives free by bringing them into the faith.

        2) Someone who claims to belong to the Lord yet continues in sin. We are called to separate from such "wicked" persons and have no fellowship with them ( I Cor. 5:9-13).

        3) Antichrists who deny Jesus Christ for the purposes of deceiving others. We are not to encourage such, wish him Godspeed, or invite him into our homes ( 2 John 1:7-11).

        In each instance we are to have no fellowship with such persons, and in each instance, such person will have no fellowship with God after death - unless there is repentance and a turning to Christ in faith.

        I completely agree that we must seek to be led by God's Spirit in all things, including how we witness to others about His truths. Only God knows what needs to be said (and how) in order to touch someone's heart.

        Thanks so much for pointing out these distinctions!

      4. Wow! I feel completely surrounded by those who say almost exactly what you have quoted in green above. Over the years, I have sought God to help me speak HIS Truth to those individuals. Almost every time that I speak the truth on these matters, Satan attempts to stifle me - and he has utilized numerous methods in an attempt to do so. Some of my dearest friends believe precisely what you have stated above. One of the most difficult mind battles that I have ever fought occurred AFTER I had a conversation with a dear friend regarding suicide. She stated that she believed that a person can be a Christian, commit suicide, and spend eternity with Christ. I explained to her that the Word of God in no way supported that notion - that God provides a way of escape for believers and that we are to choose life - always. Approximately an hour after this conversation, I miscarried early in my pregnancy. Oh, how Satan sought to inform me that I had sinned against God when I had spoken that those who commit suicide do not have eternal life. After many tears, fasting, and prayer, God showed me Hebrews chapters 6 and 10. I praise God for His revelation then and those He has shown me. People just want milk when learning of the gospel. I have found that so many want ONLY to retain that Jesus died for our sins. They do not want to go further in their understanding of the Spirit and especially the concept of walking in the Spirit.
        I have been reading your blog for the last week or so - What a blessing!

        1. Hi Joy M!

          What a testimony. Thank you so much for sharing it. I agree. People often don't want the narrow road because they don't want to move past their comfort zone. May God remove any such desire out of our hearts as we realize that our only place of comfort is in Him.

          Jesus, you said there were depths to knowing Satan. Well, there are also depths to knowing you. You say that the Spirit searches the deep things of God. I pray that you draw us closer, into those deep things, as we seek to be filled with more of your Spirit Lord. Give is wisdom and discernment in the days to come so that we can be watchful for our way as well as help make the way plain for others.

          Joy, I have to say that since your post above, I have been perusing your blog & Youtube channel. It has been a great blessing to me as well. It is so encouraging and refreshing when you find others who are seeking God's face and He sends confirmation of His words to you through them. Thank you for sharing what the Lord has been showing you.

          God Bless you!

      5. Praise the Lord for your response. I thank God for bringing me to your blog - your ideas are so thoroughly explained and backed up by the Word of God!


      In an effort to reduce the amount of spam received, Anonymous posts will no longer be accepted. Comments are still moderated and will appear once approved.

      If you have a personal message to relay, please use the "Contact Us" form at the top of the blog. Thank you!