John commends this body of believers for SOME of them walking in the truth. But not all of them are. Where did they go astray?
If you are ever in any doubt about your church being perfect, get rid of that doubt, because it’s NOT. I know we talked about the church being our “spiritual mother” that last time we met, but even our “spiritual mother” is NOT perfect. If “she” was she wouldn’t have only some of her children following the truth.
WE make up the church. Our leaders are human. Our congregation is made up of imperfect people. Yet our Leadership comes from God. But even the church who follow God’s word the closest will still have some among its members who aren’t “towing the line.”
Some will be there as part of their “social life.” Some will be there to try and influence others. Some may even be there to purposefully sow seeds of dissatisfaction and division. But MORE will be there to honor the Lord.
It should be fairly easy to tell the difference between the “pretenders” and the real believers. Jesus said it Himself; “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). This is the same command John is giving to this church body; love one another.
I believe that “love” is demonstrated by praying for those who are the “pretenders” in the body too. Don’t give up on them. They have some form of interest, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. But also don’t get wrapped up in their schemes. Live for Jesus before their eyes so they can see the truth in action.
Also don’t be so open and inviting that you allow Satan to walk in and sit among you. I believe this part especially applies to those in authority. They are to judge the content and hearts of those whom they bring to share with the body. If the person denies Jesus, LOCK THE DOOR IN THEIR FACE! Don’t let them bring their false doctrine into the family.
I took this command personally every time I moved to a new area. With each move we were also tasked with finding a new church home. The first thing I did was pray for direction. Then I had to carefully weigh what was being said while we attended and tried out the new churches. I withheld any kind of support to each church (offering or participation) until I was sure they were teaching the truth. My reasoning for this was that I didn’t want to take part in someone else’s bad works. “For whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (verse 11). I needed to know what I was “investing” in. It was usually pretty obvious in the first visit to tell the difference, especially as I had the Holy Spirit as my guide, but if ever in doubt weigh it out.
I believe that is what John is calling the church and each member to do. Respond to His leading with love and care while protecting your heart against those who would spread false teachings. Let Him be the leader and let the Holy Spirit give you direction.
Father God, thank You for ALL the times You provided a “mother church” for me and my children. Thank You for protecting us from false teachings. I pray they, someday soon please, return to Your truth. Once again, I leave them in Your hands. Do whatever it takes to bring them back to You Lord.
When it is time again for me to search for a “mother church” show me where to look. Find the BEST home for me Holy Spirit. One that speaks the truth and one where I can be part of in more ways than just warming a chair. Until then Lord Jesus, send me Your teachings however You can. Keep me still vigilant though in what I take in. Don’t let me become so “hungry” that I will accept anything served. Watch over my heart and mind.