Don't Pick and Choose from God's Word

by Wayne Barber

Wayne BarberEditor's note: Brother Wayne continues his series on 2 John.

Walking in the Truth is where love for God begins to express itself. It is so easy to say the words "I love God" but talk is cheap!

We have such a watered-down understanding of Christianity in our world today that it's shameful!

Loving God involves guarding, cherishing, and obeying His Word! Jesus said in John's Gospel: "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love" (15:9). Then He answers the question of how we do that: "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love" (v. 10).

I sometimes want to ask so-called believers, "What part of "keep My commandments" do you not understand?"

If we truly love God, we will love His Word, and our love will be revealed by the way in which we choose to live in obedience to it-or as John would say, "walk in the Truth." We cannot leave God's Word out of our daily life if we are going to love God and walk in the Truth. Isaiah tells us: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord" (Isa. 55:8). In order for us to know His ways and to know His thoughts we must be yielded to His Word, where they are revealed to us. To love God; to love Christ; is to love His Word by obeying His Word-which is once again what John calls "walking in Truth"!

In this article we want to see that the priority of avoiding taking a "cafeteria approach" to it. If we love God, we won't pick and choose what we will obey and what we won't.

Let me illustrate: In John 6, many of the disciples who had been following Jesus everywhere, and who had been enamored by His miracles, now heard Him speak some difficult things, and they walked away and did not follow Him anymore. When this happened Jesus turned to His twelve faithful followers and asked them. "You do not wish to leave me too, do you?" How sad that this is so often the truth about believers who just don't like the hard things!

In 2 John 4 John says "I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father." The phrase "I was very glad" is aorist indicative active. The aorist points to the time when he learned about their walking in Truth. When John got the news of these believers walking in the Truth, experiencing God's love and grace; mercy and peace he was ecstatic!

"To find" in Greek is heursko , which means to discover something that you didn't know before. He found "some" [inferred from the Greek ek, "out of"] walking in Truth. "Some" tells us that some, but not all, of the church were obedient, or else that he only had news of some of the congregation. I personally believe that the latter is the case: The ones that he found out about were walking in the Truth. Peripatéo , "walking," literally means to walk around but figuratively it refers to living one's life on a daily basis.

Their walking in the Truth was a continuous practice, because the verb is in the present tense. Further, the use of the active voice tells us that this was their daily intentional choice to do so. So John had learned that the lifestyle of these believers was to daily and consistently walk in the Truth. En, "in," completes the picture of believers who are "fixed in or under the sphere of Truth" and therefore live under it's influence.

Now, what is truly exciting is that these believers were obedient to the whole Truth-which we learn from kaths, "just as," referring to action that is the exact equivalent to something. Just as what? "Just as we have received commandment to do so." The word "received" is the Greek word lambno , and it, of course, refers to two actions: To receive something means first of all that something must be offered-in this case, the Word of God. This Word that is offered to all must then be received, as we are commanded.

There is no option to a commandment. We are commanded as God's children to receive His Word. We are commanded to allow it to totally influence the way we think and the way that we live! "I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father."

These believers that John learned about received the commandment which came from the Father exactly as it was given: no questions asked; no "yeah but's," even to the hard things that we are commanded to do. The fact that they didn't pick and choose what they were going to do in their lives blessed John. They obeyed exactly as God had given them the command.

What has God told you that you are unwilling to do? Do you really love Him?

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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