In his book The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis portrays a senior-ranking demon named Screwtape who mentors an inexperienced demon, Wormwood, in the art of using propaganda on Christians. Similarly, in modern U.S. military doctrine psychological warfare (also known as PSYOPS for psychological operations) is used “to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the adversarial human and automated decision making” process. And our adversary, the devil (1 Peter 5:8), has been using half-truths (lies) to mislead people since the beginning of time. In today’s passage, we find people who mixed enough of the truth with lies to make it sound right to those without solid knowledge of the gospel. And it still happens today.
- Think of a situation where someone made a statement about Christianity that you knew was not true. What was your response?
READ THE WORD: 2 JOHN 1:7-13 (ESV)
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your elect sister greet you.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- John used strong words to label certain people commonly referred to in Christianity as heretics. What did he call them (vs. 7)? Why?
- John called special attention to the teaching of Christ (vss. 9-10). What does it mean to abide in the teaching?
- In this passage, what did it mean to receive someone into your house or to greet him (vss. 10-11)? What was John’s warning?
- How do you distinguish between those who speak the truth and those who deceive?
RESPOND TO GOD
Doctrine can sometimes be heavy and hard to understand, but it is critical to the Christian life. Without clear definition as to what constitutes Christianity, it quickly devolves into one person’s opinion against another’s. If we are not grounded in the truth (God’s Word), how will we distinguish between truth and lies? John challenged us to abide in the teaching of Christ that is presented throughout the Gospels. This is our standard of truth.
- Ask God to help you commit to abiding in God’s Word. Commit to study it with purpose, and allow it to free you to love and serve Jesus.
- Pray for the courage to stand up for biblical truth when others distort or oppose it.