Summary: Self examination allows us to determine the genuineness of our faith.
In the Second Epistle of John, he exhorts the Church to vigilance in the Last Days. It is important for us to be alert; not just to things that are outside us (false prophets, etc.) but more importantly to things that are inside us. As Jesus told us it is not the things that are external that will defile us; it is the internal things.
John tells us that we are to “Look to”ourselves
A. Examine and know thoroughly.
B. (2 Corinthians 13:5) "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
C. Please note that we are not told to examine others but ourselves.
He shows us three tests of the genuineness of our faith; three markers that indicate a living faith.
I. Doctrine—v. 7.
A. Although many discount the importance of doctrine, the Scripture never does so.
B. It is not enough to believe; the content of one’s belief is the test of real faith. “The faith” is a specific set of beliefs based on God’s Word.
C. Most important doctrine—what we believe about Jesus. If we reject His coming in the flesh, we are declared to be in league with the spirit of antichrist.
II. Love—vv. 5-6.
A. Love is the Greatest Commandment.
B. Love is the Hallmark of a Christian.
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)
C. If we don’t have love, we don’t have God.
III. Obedience—v. 4.
A. It is not sufficient to know truth; we must walk in it.
B. To fail to do so is deception.
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)