Truth or Dare?

truthdareTruth or Dare is the classic party game of embarrassment. A group of people take turns asking each other “truth or dare”? When someone chooses “truth”, they must answer the question truthfully regardless of how embarrassing it is. When someone chooses “dare”, they are given a task to complete. One example might be: Truth, “What is your deepest darkest fear” or dare, “lick the floor”. You must choose one, what would it be?

Let’s play another game – “Dare to live the Truth”. It is a game of life, real life. The object of the game is to live and walk in the truth. What is truth? When speaking to believers, John in his second letter defines truth as living in the knowledge and acceptance of the good news of the Gospel. He talks about living in the assurance of everlasting life through the death, resurrection and forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. Truth is found in love and God is love. In 2 John verse 4 we read “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” We are reminded of this joy in walking (living) in obedience to God’s commands because in the world (those “existing” outside of the body of Christ) individuals define truth in their own terms. In this letter, they are labeled as deceivers, “any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist”. (v7)

Sometimes the truth is hard to face, there are real consequences and hard decisions to make in life when we walk in the truth as John describes. Truth requires discernment, it requires courage, it demands obedience and gives us something to hold on to. When we look past the hard realities of living and walking in the truth, we can experience the same great joy and freedom that John sees in the community of believers whom he is writing to. Contrary to Colonel Nathan R. Jesseps’ (Jack Nicholson) statement in the movie “A Few Good Men”, “You can’t handle the truth”, know that you can handle the truth. God’s word tells us that “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)

So let’s play the game:
Truth: Do you believe that Christ died for the forgiveness of your sins?
Dare: (Yes) Live out that truth in your life so others will see Christ in you.
Dare: (No) Put your hope and trust in God today, pray and accept Christ into your life.

3 John ~ Making it Personal.

As I progressively read 1, 2 and 3 John I see that each letter becomes more and more personal. 1 John seems to be written to a general audience, 2 John written more specifically to an unnamed lady (possible this may have been a family in the church) and then 3 John is a letter written direct to a dear friend of His. Each one of these short books has the common thread in the message of truth and love.

In the same sense we see a progression in the messages from John warning us of false teachers and deceivers working diligently to take advantage of new believers and infiltrating the church. Here in 3 John we see the work of one that has made it into the church and turns it into something of his own, not trusting in God and discouraging new believers from being a part of the church.

John commends his friend Gaius for his faith and willingness to be a part of spreading the gospel through being hospitable and receiving strangers (fellow believers) into his him home. John shows us the hospitality that Gaius shows is because of the love he has for Christ, living in the truth and loving others through this gift is an example we need to imitate. “Dear friends, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” (vs.11) If we continue reading on we can see the comparison of evil with good in the opposite actions of Diotrephes in rejecting believers and who loves himself first and not God.

Again John repeats his wish of meeting a friend face-to-face as in his last letter, making the letter and relationship seem more personal. I see this as a challenge to make more efforts to be more intentional about meeting together face-to-face with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Steve.

2 John ~ Truth…

truthU

Loving in truth, knowing truth, upholding truth, walking in truth and living in truth…

John has given us a clear understanding of the theme or message of this short letter; it’s all about truth. As in his first letter John reminds us of the dangers of the false teaching and those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh and look to worldly ways. He warns us not to let them into our homes (our churches) as when we do we then tempted to share in their wicked ways.

When we have a true understanding of the truth and walk in confidence with God we can guard ourselves from those who are outside the truth. John found “great joy” in knowing that the love they have for one another is a love that comes through walking in obedience to the commands the Lord has given us.

This short letter from John concludes with a note of desire to visit and talk with and teach more about how living in the truth will strengthen and encourage the people. Even in his day and age when communication was limited to writing or speaking face-to-face John has this desire to know them and be with them. I do believe that in our present day modes of communication we are beginning to lose that personal connection. We need to embrace the same attitude as John we as brothers and sisters in Christ need to be together to love and encourage each other.

Steve.