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2 JOHN 10.

“IF there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.”

What is this doctrine without which one cannot be received into the houses of the church and without one cannot be bade Godspeed? Doctrine is here declared by the inspired apostle to be the essential thing, the real test of one's being a true follower of Jesus. Without this doctrine, one lacks the necessary qualification for the fellowship of the saints. Since, then, this doctrine is so important, let us inquire what it is. In doing this, we shall not do better than to consider other expressions in this second epistle of John. For instance, in the seventh verse: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” Here it is plainly stated that not to confess the coming of Christ stamps one as being a deceiver; that is, not to confess Christ's coming in the flesh. The Scriptures plainly teach that Jesus Christ, the eternal son of God, was born of a woman, that he took not on him angelic nature, but the seed of Abraham. Now, the seed of Abraham comprises the elect family of God, chosen before the world began. This chosen seed was not elect angels, but elect human beings. So Christ was made a little lower than the angels, and came in the flesh for the suffering of death. To deny this coming in the flesh, to deny that Christ was as truly man as he was truly God, is antichrist and a deceiver and such is not to be contenanced by the house of God. However, it is not enough that we confess the coming of Christ as a historical fact. That, any one could do, just as easily as he could say that George Washington or some other man lived years ago. There must be a confession that Jesus Christ has come in one's own flesh, that he has come in the individual experience of the believer himself. In other words, a living experience of Christ is the real test of genuineness. This doctrine or teaching of Jesus, more than any other one thing, was the test of discipleship when Jesus was here in the world as a man among men, and this teaching of his caused many who had been following him to withdraw from him. For proof of this, turn to the sixth chapter of John and read the wonderful discourse on the bread of life, from the thirty-second to the fifth-eighth verses. In these words Jesus taught that himself is the bread of life and that the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood are an essential test of whether one has eternal life, that “except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” In the sixty-sixth verse, we are told, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” Jesus was not here referring to the gospel ordinance of the Lord's supper, but was plainly stating that without one is brought into a living fellowship with Jesus in his sufferings on account of sin and into a living knowledge of the cleansing power of his blood, there can be no such thing as one's possessing eternal life. Life is knowledge, and there is always a certain amount of knowledge accompanying a certain amount of life. Eternal life is always accompanied with a certain quality of knowledge. Wherever eternal life dwells the knowledge that one is a sinner and that his condemnation on account of sin is just. But spiritual knowledge does not stop there. It teaches that human nature is altogether unprofitable in the way of righteousness, that it is wholly incapable of any good thing in the sight of God. In a living way, and not out of books nor by tradition, the sinner continues to be instructed by the Spirit of the great Teacher until he fully realizes the utterly lost condition and is made to throw himself entirely upon the mercy of God, without one jot of anything to merit that mercy. He becomes a beggar, but being really a beggar in heart and not merely by word of mouth, he is not turned empty away from Mercy's door. Christ Jesus appears for his relief and reveals himself to and within this beggar's soul as the Savior, the only name under heaven among men whereby that beggar must be saved. By the grace of God now appearing through Jesus to this beggar, the beggar is lifted from the dunghill of total depravity and is set among princes, is manifested as the sons of the King; that is, as the child of God. From now on the believer finds his struggle but begun. The burden of condemnation lifted from him and his heart singing for joy because of the new hope springing within him, he finds himself in the company of all the people of God from Abel to the present time; but finds himself, like them, engaged in a warfare, one from which at times he would fain be free, but which cannot end until natural life ends: the warfare of flesh against Spirit and Spirit against flesh. He finds a dying daily going on within him, a continual being delivered unto death, a ceaseless rendering of his body a living sacrifice. In some such way as this there is a continual confession in heart and life that Christ Jesus has come in the flesh. It need not be that one is all the time confessing this by word of mouth, but the confession nevertheless will show itself in the outward life, in the actions of the individual; it will manifest itself int eh conduct of the one having this living experience, shining out through the hands and the feet, bringing forth the fruits appropriate to repentance. Without this manifestation of Christ in the flesh one is a deceiver and an antichrist and cannot be in the fellowship of the house of God. When Christ came in the flesh it was not in order to reinstate or to reinforce the covenant of Moses. That covenant could never bring in salvation to the children of God, but Jesus came to make an end of the old ineffectual covenant and to establish a new and successful covenant. The new covenant became a vital reality to the children of God through the death and resurrection of Christ. This new covenant was promised to be put in the new heart of the child of God and to be imprinted in his mind. In other words, the new covenant or new law was not to be something abstract from the child of God, but was to be part and parcel of the new creature in Christ Jesus. It was not to be a covenant conditioned upon the volition of the believer, but was to be enforced in the life of the believer by the “wills” and “shalls” of God. Christ, after his resurrection, said “go” and then when, he said “come” and they came. All gospel obedience is this way, and no other. It is obedience springing from the manifestation of Christ in the life of the believer. He said to his disciples, A new commandment give I unto you, That ye love one another. This loving one another is not something we can bring about ourselves. Might just as well try to make the sun shine as to try to make one's self love the church of God. It cannot be done by one's own effort. But how easily one loves the brethren when this commandment is written in the heart by the finger of the Holy Spirit. This love is Christ manifest in the flesh. God is love, and love is God, and whosoever loveth is born of God. If we love God we love those who are begotten of God. If we love not our brother whom we have seen, it is vain to say we love God whom we have not seen. Not having this love, we are deceivers and an antichrist. No wonder, then, Paul says in the thirteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians that charity (love) is the one thing without which we are unprofitable to the house of God. Having not love, no matter what else we have or think we have, we are nothing. We might be able to speak ever so angelicly, might be able to dive down into the deep mysteries of God, might be able to expound all prophecies, make great sacrifices or expend ourselves and our substance bountifully, but if it be not prompted by love, have not love in it, what does it all amount to? Nothing. It seems to us that this is the doctrine without which John said a man was not to be received into the house or church. In order to gain admittance there, one must have a vital knowledge of the coming of Jesus in the flesh, and the essence of this living experience is love. Having not this love, one is classed a deceiver. In another place the inspired writer tells us to mark them that cause divisions, and having nothing to do with them. One who would divide asunder brethren in order to establish his own cause has not the love of God, therefore he does not confess that Christ is come in the flesh. From such, turn away. It is like those two women who brought a child to King Solomon, each woman claiming to be the mother of the child, and asking Solomon to decide the matter. Solomon called for a sword, and was about to divide the child when the woman, who was really the child's mother, called out to the king to let the other woman have it. Thus the woman who really and rightfully loved the child was willing to relinquish her right to it rather than see the child killed. True love in the church of God will always seek the good and welfare of the church itself before the personal good and advantage of one's own self. This is the living teaching or doctrine that Christ is come in the flesh, this doctrine gives one an open door into the houses of the saints; without this doctrine or teaching of love in one's own life one fails to possess that secret of God which gives access to the holy of holies. There is no sight on this earth more pleasant than a church of the saints where all love each other, where each esteems the others better than himself, where all are imbued with the desire to spend and be spent for one another, and any individual who would mar that peace to serve himself would most assuredly not have within him that doctrine of the Master, Love one another. Not having this love he could not confess that Christ is come in the flesh, therefore must be a deceiver and an antichrist. From all such may the Lord deliver his people. - L

Elder H.H. Lefferts
Signs of the Times
Vol. 92, No. 14 – July 15, 1924