St. Andrew's Lutheran Church is the Founding Member of the Canadian Association of Lutheran Congregations (CALC).
2 John April 23, 2017
So, a rather irate father asked his son, “I want an explanation and I want the truth.”
The son replied, “Make up your mind, Dad! You can’t have both.”
An retired English couple who had never flown before, decided they were going to visit their children in Canada and see their grandchildren for the first time.
They were about halfway out over the Atlantic when their pilot’s voice came over the intercom: “This is your captain speaking. Ladies and gentlemen, I feel I ought to let you know that one of our three engines has failed. There is, of course, no need for alarm. This plane is entirely airworthy flying on two engines, but I regret to say we will be one hour late in arriving at our destination.”
Half an hour later, inevitably, with that desperate calm that is reserved for pilots and astronauts in conditions of extreme emergency, the captain spoke again: “This is your captain speaking. I regret that we have lost our second engine. But I would like to reassure you that we have every expectation of making a normal and safe landing at the airport. We shall, however, be three hours late in arriving.”
At this, grandma turns to grandpa with a hint of irritation in her voice and exclaims, “My dear, if the third engine goes, we'll be up here all night.”
The disciple John writes, “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” (2 John 4)
When you are, as John puts it, “walking in the truth”, you will be up with Him all night, for the rest of your life and beyond. Because, in a nutshell, the truth of it is: Jesus Christ IS the explanation AND the truth of the matter.
In fact, Jesus says it Himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” (2 John 4)
Notice here that John doesn’t say ‘walking’ by the truth, or for the truth, or because of the truth, or even with the truth, BUT IN the truth.
Jesus wants to live in you, in here (the heart), forever.
That’s how John begins his letter: “To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth – and not I only, but also all who know the truth – because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever …” (2 John 1-2)
Jesus wants in here (the heart). He wants a relationship with you.
Jesus calls it a Father/child relationship. AND that’s because it’s personal. It’s intimate. It’s one on one.
Jesus does not want to hover around you, or stand beside you, or perch on your shoulder.
He doesn’t want to be on the outside looking in. He wants in here (the heart).
And that is amazing. That God would want to stoop down so low just to live in your heart.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in ...” (Revelation 3:20)
That’s almost too good to be true, isn’t it! And yet, it’s the truth. Through Jesus, God wants in here (the heart).
So, what does it mean to have Him in here (the heart)? What does it mean to ‘walk in the truth,' as John puts it?
Well, this is how John answers my question.
“It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 4-6)
The word ‘obedience’ here means, “to submit your life to one with authority.”
That’s what people said about Jesus, you know …
“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Matthew 7:28-29)
Jesus even said it of Himself: “Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'” (Matthew 28:18)
Jesus is our only authority. He is the King of kings, the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, the Resurrection and the Life.
He is the only One worthy of submission, and to submit to Him means not simply following in His footsteps, or trying to adhere to His commands.
It means letting Him do as He wills in your life, and according to John, it is His will or command that we love one another.
“As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 6)
A man was complaining to a missionary about, well, mission work in Africa. “How can you go to Africa and preach to them about love when there is so much injustice in your own country?”
The missionary answered, “We don’t go in and preach to them about love. We go in and love them with the love of Jesus.”
And that’s the key. Jesus commands us to love one another, but not with our limited, imperfect capacity for love, BUT with HIS – with His perfect love – which lives IN you when you're ‘walking in the truth’.
Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany, Corrie ten Boom came face to face with one of the German guards who made her life and her sister’s life so miserable. He stood before her with hands outstretched and said, “Will you forgive me?”
This is what Corrie wrote about that moment …
“I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me!
“Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible thing.
“The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“‘I forgive you, brother,’ I cried with my whole heart.
“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I have never known the love of Jesus so intensely as I did in that moment.”
That needs to be your first step. Invite Jesus in here (the heart). It’s where He wants to be, so let Him in.
And then, ask Him, right off the bat, to fill your heart, your life, and specifically this day, with His love. Not my love be done, but YOUR love in my life.
“As you have heard from the beginning, Jesus’ command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 6)
Specifically, HIS love.
And that’s the second step. Put Jesus’ love into practice in your life. Start looking around for opportunities to let Jesus’ love shine through you.
First, fill me up with your love, Lord. Now, Jesus, show me how I can best share your love in my world. How can I be a good conductor, or an open channel for your love to reach out into my world?
The first thing you can do is share Jesus with your family and then to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, etc.
Jesus is the truth, the absolute truth, the only truth there is. Jesus is forever. His love is forever. He is God right in our midst and His chief desire is to live IN you. It’s the truth, so tell someone about it.
A barber felt he needed to testify for the Lord, so when his first customer came in, he tilted him back in the chair, vigorously stropped his razor, and suddenly asked, “Are you ready to die?”
In horror the man bolted out the door.
Okay, before you get hoof and mouth disease, always ask permission first. A simple, ‘Would you mind if I tell you about my faith in Jesus?’ will suffice.
And when you’ve got your permission, then present Jesus clearly and simply. Make it personal. This is your faith you’re talking about.
What does Jesus mean to you? Ask yourself that first, and then make sure you know the answer before you go on your next crusade.
Actually, that's what I'm gonna be asking Cassie and Diara today. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole world and the only way to God? AND, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?
You need to know the answers to these questions before you can realistically be Jesus' witness in your world.
In a cartoon a crusader is riding a horse and carrying a big shield with a cross on it. He is thrusting a spear down on the throat of this guy on the ground who’s saying, “Tell me more about this Christianity. I’m terribly interested.”
Don’t worry about the gaps and gaffs. Don’t worry if your testimony doesn’t sound, like, professional or polished. You don’t have to enroll in Toast Master’s of America to share your faith.
If you’re being honest and heartfelt, and if you’ve asked Jesus to give you the words to say, the Holy Spirit will fill in the gaps and the gaffs.
Jesus warns His disciples that when they take the gospel message out into the world, there will be opposition. BUT, not to worry! This is how He puts it …
“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” (Luke 21:14-15)
Paul puts it like this, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (2 Corinthians 2:13)
That’s the first way you can share the love of Jesus – just by sharing Jesus. Remember, Jesus is the ONLY absolute truth out there. Without Him we’ve got nothing, and there’s a lot of people out there with nothing to live for, nothing to die for, nothing at all.
And remember, too, your words may fall on some pretty deaf ears, but no ear is completely deaf to the Holy Spirit. He’ll work something out, even if it’s down the road some, ‘cause in the end, for HIM, it only takes a spark to get a fire going.
Another good way to share Jesus’ love in your life is by becoming a servant in your own world.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 John 3:16)
A church member came up to his pastor after worship and said, “You preachers talk a lot about ‘do unto others,’ but when you get right down to it, it comes down to ‘basin theology’.”
His pastor asked, “Basin theology? What’s that?”
The layman said, “Remember what Pilate did when he had the chance to acquit Jesus? He called for a basin and washed his hands of the whole thing.
“But Jesus, the night before His death, called for a basin and proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples. It all comes down to 'basin theology’”
Which basin will you use?”
You can tell people about the incredible, life-giving, eternal love of Jesus, and that’s great, but when people see Jesus’ love in action in your life, that’s even better.
When Jesus is the real McCoy to you, when He’s personal to you, when He’s in here (the heart) and people can see Him shining through you, one act of kindness, of service, when done in Jesus’ name, can make a thousand words of testimony finally make sense.
Don’t just preach at’em, show’em the truth of Jesus at work in your life, not by how you look, or by how well you perform, or because of your eloquent words, but by how you serve one another.
Allow Jesus to use you to serve your family and friends and neighbors. Jesus is just itchin’ to get in there and wash their feet.
You know what I mean?
He’s got so much to give and He wants to give it all through you.
And that's what the next two questions are all about: Do you promise to make Jesus a part of your everyday life? AND, do you promise to participate fully in the life of God's church?
Will you promise to be a good witness for Jesus by living Him out in your life and in your church?
So, let Jesus do His job. The next person you meet, ask Jesus to use you as He sees fit. Make me your servant, humble and meek.
Jesus has so much He wants to give. Don’t deny Him the opportunity. Everyone you come across today, consciously, deliberately, ask Jesus to use you.
And don’t forget to bring your basin along.
A Christian worker is good; a worker for Christ is better; but Christ, in a worker, working out His will through Him, is best of all.
Jesus is always the focus, the key, the truth.
Without Him IN your life, IN here (the heart), you can do nothing and at the end of the day, you will have nothing.
So, if your want to BE something in your life, then begin by deliberately choosing to walk in the truth – Jesus. And then, simply let Him move into your heart, into your life and into your day.
Lord, use me to share your love through me.
Lord, use me to speak your love through me.
Lord, use me to serve your love through me.
Lord, use me.
Copyright © 2017 St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Kamloops.