Summary: This is the 4th study in the study "Light In The Darkness".
WALKING IN TRUTH
It makes no difference what you believe, just as long as you are sincere!” This is the philosophy of many people today. Does being sincere automatically make something true?
Here is an example that may answer this question. A nurse in a hospital gives some medicine to a patient for pain relief and the patient becomes violently ill. The nurse was sincere in trying to help the patient, but the medicine was wrong and the patient almost died.
It takes more than sincerity to make something true. Faith in a lie will always cause serious consequences. It does make a difference what a person believes. A person who is real builds his life on truth, not superstition, lies, or tradition. It is impossible to live a real life by believing lies.
So far in our study, God has warned the church family about the conflict between light and darkness and between love and hatred. This study looks at a third warning: The conflict between truth and error. It is not enough for believers to walk in the light and to walk in love; they must also walk in the truth.
Does it make any difference what you believe? It makes all the difference in the world! We are living in the last hour and the spirit of antichrist is working in the world. It is important that you know and believe the truth and be able to detect lies when they come your way.
Our text gives three examples of those not walking in the truth.
The word “us” refers to the fellowship of believers, the church. Not everyone who is part of a congregation is necessarily a Christian.
The New Testament presents the church in two ways; as one worldwide family and as local assemblies of believers. When a sinner trusts Christ as Savior, he receives eternal life and immediately becomes a member of God’s family and part of Christ’s spiritual body. He should then become a part of a local congregation and begin serving Christ; but the point here is that a person can belong to a local church and not be a Christian.
One of the evidences of true Christian life is a desire to be with the people of God. When people share the same divine nature and indwelt by the same Holy Spirit, they want to enjoy fellowship and to share with one another. The word fellowship means to have in common.
The “counterfeit Christians” did not remain in the fellowship. They went out. This doesn’t mean that staying in the church keeps a person saved; but it does indicate that remaining in the fellowship is one of the evidences that a person is a Christian.
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Jesus makes it clear that only those who produce fruit are truly born again. It is possible to be close to an experience of salvation, and even to have some characteristics that would pass for “Christian”, and yet not be a child of God. The people in 1 John 2 left the fellowship because they did not possess the true life and the love of Christ was not in their hearts.
There are many unfortunate division among the people of God today, but all true Christians have things in common, regardless of church affiliation. They believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that Jesus is the Son of God. They confess that men are sinners and that the only way one can be saved is through faith in Christ. They believe that Christ died as man’s substitute on the cross, and that He arose again from the dead. They believe that the Holy Spirit indwells true believers. Finally, they believe that one day in the future Jesus will come again. Christians may differ on other matters like church government or modes of baptism; but they agree on the basic doctrines of the faith.
If you will investigate the history of the false cults and antichristian religious systems in today’s world, you will find that in most cases their founders started out in a local church. The were “with us” but not “of us”, so they went out “from us” and started their own groups.
The key question for a Christian is: “Who is Jesus Christ”? Is Christ merely “an Example”, “a good Man”, or “a wonderful Teacher”; or is He God come in the flesh? John’s readers knew the truth about Christ or they would not have been saved.
False Christians in John’s day used two special words to describe their experience: “Knowledge” and “unction”. They claimed to have a special unction (anointing) from God which gave them a unique knowledge. They were “illuminated” and therefore living on a much higher level than anybody else. But, John points out that all true Christians know God and have received the Spirit of God and because they have believed the truth, they recognize a lie when they meet it.