How to Keep the Church Focused On Its Mission

How to Keep the Church Focused On Its Mission March 9, 2020

How to Keep the Church Focused On Its Mission

How to Keep the Church Focused On Its Mission

2 John 7-13

In the video illustration, the people were playing the basketball game. The focus of the people was so much on the game that they never noticed the moonwalking bear. The announcer did a great mind trick on you by making you pay attention to what he wanted you to see first, then changing your perspective to see what you didn’t notice before. John warns about this in the second half of the letter. He warns about the danger of allowing the dancing bears to slip through our midst. The moonwalking bear becomes a distraction to the observer (that’s you and me.) But it would have been worse if the moonwalking bear had attacked the basketball players.

So while last week, we looked at growing a balanced Christian life. I want to specifically look at ways that “moonwalking bears” can distract us from doing what we are supposed to do. In the context of 2 John, and in the church today, we are called to share the love of Jesus Christ and to love one another as Christ loves us. That’s like watching the basketball game. Your focus should be on what is important. When we listen to false teachers, we are losing awareness of what we need to do. We are not paying attention to what is important.

What’s the main thing we should be doing? Balancing love with truth

I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father. So now I ask you, dear lady—not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another.” (2 John 4–5, CSB)

The “moonwalking bear” in the church is the deceiver. The deceptions that the “moonwalking bear” teach prevent you from focusing on what is important in your faith. People who prevent you from doing what you are supposed to do.

FIVE FAKE DISTRACTIONS

Fake Leaders

Many deceivers have gone out into the world… (2 John 7, CSB)

There are leaders who are fake They are leaders who are deceivers. They are actively against Jesus. The New Testaments warns against these kinds of leaders.

The MOTIVATION of these leaders is DECEPTIVE

Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7, CSB)

The MESSAGE of these leaders is DETRACTIVE

These fake leaders don’t stick to the teachings of Christ. They go beyond it. By going further than Christ’s teaching, they want to detract the believer from the true nature of Jesus’s teaching. They don’t stick to the fundamentals of the faith.

Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9, CSB)

They don’t want to stick to the Bible. They want to detract you and distract you by going further than what the Bible teaches. The reason why this message is distracting is that they have a motivation for deception. They don’t have the church’s goal in mind. They have their own goal in mind. They are not servants, but charlatans, tricksters, and manipulators. They won’t even teach about Jesus. They want to teach you something else. This is why there is a warning:

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and don’t greet him; (2 John 10, CSB)

The leaders are deceptive, their message is detractive because their morality is demonic.

The MORALITY of these leaders is DEMONIC.

“…This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7, CSB)

The teachings are related to the works of these leaders. They are leaders who are actively against Jesus Christ. Fake leaders don’t serve Jesus Christ. Instead, they want to replace Him.

Warning: Stay away from leaders who want to deceive the church.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and don’t greet him… (2 John 10–11, CSB)

The best thing a church can do is stay away from these kinds of leaders. You have to be very careful about leaders. A true servant leader won’t have an agenda. But how can you tell if the leader is true or not? Look at what they teach. Fake leaders teach fake truth.

Fake Truth

“…they do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7, CSB)

These fake leaders preach a fake truth. The word antichrist is a word that means not any against Christ. The fake teachers in John’s day taught the idea that Jesus was not a real person. Jesus appeared to be human. He was a phantom, an apparition, an illusion. He was not Word made flesh. Jesus looked human but He was not real. In essence, these teachers taught that Jesus was fake. The idea is called docetism.

This was dangerous teaching in John’s day. But we see remnants of it in Islam. Islam teaches that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, but He looked like He died.

Today, we have many leaders out there who are preaching a fake truth. They may not say they don’t think Jesus exists. Instead, they replace Christ with consumerism, communism, capitalism, commercialism.

They replace the Person of Jesus Christ in the flesh with something else.

Warning: Stay faithful to the truth of Jesus Christ

Watch yourselves so you don’t lose what we have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward. (2 John 8, CSB)

The way to fight this is to stay faithful to the truth of Jesus Christ. Here, John warns believers to watch themselves. The reason is that it is very easy to be deceived.

Fake Believers

Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it does not have God… (2 John 9, CSB)

The sense here is that there will be people who profess to be Christians but when things don’t go as they want, they will walk away from Christ.

Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God…” (2 John 9, NLT)

I know that you are saying: “Wait a minute, once saved always saved.” Yes, that is true. But there are people who say they are Christians. Yet, they don’t really follow Jesus Christ.

Have you heard these statements?

“I am spiritual but not religious”

“God is a God of love. He loves everyone”

“Love is love”

“It doesn’t matter what you believe”

“Everyone is going to Heaven”

“Don’t judge me”

These statements go beyond the exclusive claim of Jesus. Jesus was very clear that to know God, you have to believe in Jesus. Jesus made it very clear that He was God’s Son and that He is the only Son of God.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, CSB)

For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, CSB)

Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. (John 3:18, CSB)

This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill him: Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God. (John 5:18, CSB)

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57, CSB)

Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am the one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.” (John 8:17–18, CSB)

Warning: Stay faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ

“…The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9, CSB)

The way to deal with fake believers is to stay faithful to the teaching of Jesus. The teaching of Jesus comes from both Jesus the Son and God the Father. This is the reason why we rely on the Word of God. We don’t just listen to other believers for the truth of Jesus.

We don’t worry about whether they are saved. Each person is responsible for their own salvation. At the same time, every believer needs to believe the exclusive truth about Jesus – that He is the Son of God, that God is His Father, and that eternal life is only available by believing this.

Fake Community

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and don’t greet him; (2 John 10, CSB)

Some leaders promote fake community. They don’t preach Jesus, and they don’t believe in the local community that Jesus designed, called the church. Instead, because they promote something other than Jesus, they will also promote a fake community.

Many of these people are selfish and only desire to promote themselves.

The early church met in the homes of believers.

“do not receive them”

Warning: Stay away from people who want to tear up the church

“…do not receive him into your home, and don’t greet him; for the one who greets him shares in his evil works. (2 John 10–11, CSB)

Fake Connection

Though I have many things to write to you, I don’t want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to come to you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete. (2 John 12, CSB)

In John’s day, the furthest connection from two people were a letter. The closest connection was a face to face communication. Today’s generation sends an email, or a Facebook message, or communicates by video connection. These are the equivalent of paper and ink.

There is something else missing than just distance.

Warning: Stay closely connected with other true believers

“…I hope to come to you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete. The children of your elect sister send you greetings. (2 John 12–13, CSB)

The best way to deal with the fake connection is to get closer together. The closer you are, the less fake your relationship is going to be. It may be messier at times, but it will be real. Some people don’t want to stay closely connected to other believers because they don’t want accountability. They don’t want to get called out because they are sinning. They don’t want other people to know about the skeletons in their closet. Yet, if we are truly going to be the church that God wants us to be, we need to stop being fake and actually build true connections with other people.

I think one of the reasons why churches don’t grow is because they don’t want to reach out and have real connections with other people. Yet, if the church is going to stay focused on its mission, you have to build relationships with others.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

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