Saturday, August 25
Don’t go beyond Jesus!
Scripture: Jeremiah 37-39, Psalm 79, 2 John
2 John 9 Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching, but goes beyond it does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.
In this very short letter, the apostle John writes a warning against false teachers. Evidently, they thought of themselves as “progressives”—they were abandoning the teaching of Jesus for new ideas. John says simply that to fail to remain in Jesus’ teaching is to abandon God! Leave Jesus and you leave God.
John contrasts remaining (abiding) in Christ’s teaching with “going beyond it.” The Greek word for “go beyond” is proago, which means “to lead, to go before.” It is translated in different versions here as “goes too far, runs ahead, goes on ahead, goes beyond.” The Message renders it: “Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God.”
John’s point: stick with Jesus and what He taught. Don’t “go beyond” Jesus and His teaching. If you do, you can “advance” right out of the Christian faith. John is not against progressive thinking—he is simply insisting that we Jesus is and always will be the bedrock of our faith, and cannot be abandoned. There is a core orthodoxy in the Christian faith in which we must remain: it is Jesus, who He is, what He did and what He taught. Remain in Christ’s teaching. Don’t go beyond Jesus!
I see churches and Christians “going beyond” Jesus, abandoning orthodoxy, embracing culturally acceptable doctrine. And every church that does this, dies. Why? Because they have left God.
Some churches die because they refuse to adapt their methods. They are still using outdated methodologies that mask the message and render them irrelevant.
Other churches die because they adapt the message. They go beyond the teaching of Jesus—they are doctrinally “progressive” and have advanced right out of the Christian faith.
Either way, the church dies.
It is important for us to be methodologically progressive and doctrinally conservative. We must be willing to change and adapt anything…except the message of Jesus. We must remain in Jesus’ teaching.
Prayer: Lord, I’m praying for our churches. Help us to “remain in Christ’s teaching,” to be faithful to Your message, to be deeply grounded in Jesus.