II JOHN 1:9-11: “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. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and don’t greet him; for the one who greets him shares in his evil works.” CSB
OBSERVATION: We live in a day of false prophets and teachers. Yet, today is not unlike the times when John wrote his second epistle. Even in the first century of the church false prophets were abundant. How can a Christian tell the difference between one who is proclaiming the truth and one who is twisting the truth to their own ends?
John makes it very simple.
- “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.”
Let’s look at this verse a little bit closer. John does not mince words. He says that anyone proclaiming anything that goes beyond Christ’s teaching does not have God. This is a very strong statement. How can this be true? It is because the spirit of true prophecy (revelation, teaching) is Jesus!
- “Then he said to me, “Write: Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These words of God are true.” Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers and sisters who hold firmly to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:9-10 CSB
This indicates that the Holy Spirit never goes beyond the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit does not add to or subtract from the teaching of Jesus. Rather, He illuminates them and makes them fully known. So, if someone goes beyond the teachings of Jesus, he is not moving by the Spirit of God. And, if he is not moving by the Spirit of God – he does not have God.
I recall a healing evangelist that was very popular a short time ago. People thronged to his meetings. Yet, there were some bizarre aspects of his behavior and message. I personally did some research and found that he was teaching principles of spirit travel to visit the third and fourth heaven. This is clearly beyond the teachings of Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul, who had these visions, refused to even talk about them because he was instructed by Jesus not to. Paul would not go beyond the teaching and revelation of Jesus!
The one who remains in the teachings of Jesus has both the Father and the Son. He is abiding in the Spirit and the Spirit is leading him into all truth. He refuses to add or subtract from the Word of God and stands as a faithful ambassador of Jesus Christ. This is the call for everyone who names the name of Jesus!
- “Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let anyone who hears, say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life freely. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book. He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:17-20 CSB
There is one last point that John makes.
- “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and don’t greet him; for the one who greets him shares in his evil works.”
We must be careful what we allow into our hearts and homes. And, we must be careful what we support with our tithes and offerings. To do any of these things with a lack of discernment is to actually share in their false teaching. We need to be more like the Bereans, who would not even accept the teaching of Paul, until they searched the Scriptures. They wanted to make sure that what Paul was teaching was the truth and was remaining in the revelation of Jesus.
The test of a true teacher is not an exhibition of power or charisma. It is not signs and wonders. It is not style of influence. It is solely in the commitment to proclaim the faithful revelation of Jesus Christ and in the refusal to add or subtract from it. It is found in the willingness to let others test their teaching by the written Word of God. And, it is found in a humble and surrendered heart that is not interested in building their own kingdom – but is fully invested in building the Kingdom of God.
Lord, in these last days before Your return, help us to have discerning hearts. Help us to test the spirits, to test the teaching, and to embrace those who proclaim and are faithful to the revelation of Jesus Christ!
In Jesus Name!