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April 11, 2004 PM

2 JOHN 1:12,13

INTRO: The big books of the New Testament no doubt receive the lions share of our attention. And perhaps that is as it should be. They are filled with such important information for disciples. But the little books should not be overlooked or ignored. Perhaps they are not filled with the great theological truths or exciting events we have come to expect in the longer, larger books. But that does not take away from the deep warmth, or the practical approach, or the urgency of warning one can find in them. So, tonight we come to one of the very brief letters of John ... 2 John. What is the letter all about?

1. Its all about friends in Christ - vv. 1,12

a. we have not idea about the identity of this lady and her children

b. but it is evident that they are disciples of Christ

c. and it is evident that John and she have a very close relationship

d. friendships in Christ are wonderful ... and should be filled with joy

e. friendships in Christ have dimensions other friendships cannot have!

f. Jno 11:5 - there was undoubtedly a wonderful friendship which Jesus valued highly ... a friendship which provided solace, warmth, understanding

2. Its all about truth - vv. 2,3

a. it was John who remembered ... Jno 8:32

b. it was John who wrote these words of Jesus ... Jno 16:13

c. it was John who recalled ... Jno 17:17

d. truth has fallen on hard times - truth is defined in so many ways

e. but some things I know ... Gods truth is not relative, is not changing, is not unknowable, is not reserved for only a few, is our only hope of heaven

f. for our world to minimize the truth of Gods word is an eternal tragedy!

3. Its all about reasons for rejoicing - v. 4

a. in a recent series of lessons I talked about reasons for joy in 2 John

b. I remind you, for example, of Acts 8:39 ... rejoicing in forgiveness

c. or Rom 12:12 ... rejoicing in hope

d. in our text? rejoicing because people he loved were walking in truth

e. does the hymn Count Your Blessings challenge us to count our reasons for rejoicing?

f. do we let life drag us down such that we lose the joy our Lord intended?

4. Its all about love - vv. 5,6

a. if John has been concerned about truth, he has also written much of love

b. but he has not written of a kind of touchy, feely love

c. for example, he notes Jesus words at Jno 15:13 - love makes sacrifices!

d. or, in the text (2 Jno 6) he specifies that love walks after his commandments

e. here is one of the hardest, most needed lessons for todays religious world ... following Jesus requires, absolutely requires, obedience to God

f. and it is not a fact he mentioned only once ... note 1 Jno 5:3

5. Its all about deceivers - v. 7,8

a. I think all of us would like to believe the best about everyone!

b. but even before the 1st century closes, deceivers are troubling disciples

c. the apostle Paul wrote this - there are many ... deceivers (Titus 1:10)

d. Rom 16:18 - deceivers are not dumb! they can sound very learned, very appealing, etc.

e. thats what makes them so very dangerous ... they are often folks with whom you would enjoy friendship, etc.

f. and John, the apostle of love, warns once and again of this danger - indeed, if we are deceived and leave the truth, our reward is in jeopardy

6. Its all about abiding in the doctrine of Christ - vv. 9-11

a. Eph 4:14 suggests a very serious and real possibility

b. then, and now, there were/are doctrines of all sorts floating around in the religious world - and there will be others to come

c. deceivers fasten on to the spurious doctrines and propagate them

d. all one must do to prove this is listen to the radio and tel-evangelists ... most survive by the sensational, the anecdote, the packaging ... and their false teachings

e. we must abide in the teaching of Christ ... we must not leave it

f. I would remind you of Mt 28:19,20 with Acts 2:42 ... what Jesus taught, the apostles taught ... what the apostles taught, we must observe

CLOSE: John noted that he had many things to write his dear friend. What he did write, however, is truly worthy of our consideration. Whats it all about? Its all about our being the elect of God ... chosen!

Cecil A. Hutson

11 April 2004

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)