“They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). God had to deal with false teachers in this time, trying to assure the people of “peace and safety” when no such thing was coming. Not in the immediate future, anyway! Jeremiah would face the false teacher, Hananiah, in Jeremiah 28, who claimed God would return the people from Babylon in “two full years” rather than the actual 70 years God had said (Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10; Dan. 9:2)! Again, here is a man trying to proclaim “Peace” and “Everything will be all right” (NET) when that wasn’t the case at all.
Why might men like Hananiah and others want to tell people such falsehoods as “peace peace”? Could it be they thought men might pay them more to hear the pleasant message? Maybe they thought they would be more popular with the people? We know a message of victory and winning is much more popular than a message saying that we will lose! Jeremiah had the unenviable task of telling Judah that the best thing for them to do is give up and accept the punishment and be patient for 70 years (Jer. 27:1-11)! Who wants to have that job?
Jeremiah had an unpopular job, but it was for the best. His message was from God (Jer. 28:9, 15-17); the others’ messages were not. In like manner, we face an uphill battle because “Peace, peace” is the more popular message! Just as in Jeremiah’s day, Paul warned of people who would “not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4). Does this sound like the attitude we see among people today? Yes, it is alive well today, just as it was in days gone by!
We must make a choice. Will we listen to those who call and cry for “peace” when there is no peace? Yes, we ought to strive for peace with God and peace among others (Matt. 5:9). Yet, remember that Christ said His kingdom would bring a “sword” among the closest of family (Matt. 10:21-22, 34-39). There is no “peace” to be had between God and Satan. They are diametrically opposed, as are their teachings (II Cor. 6:14-17). Let us stop trying to be a friend of God and a friend of the world when this is impossible (Jas. 4:4). It is high time we spoke the message of the Lord, that will hurt some, but bring healing to all in the end, as Paul did on the ship (Acts 27:10). At Ephesus, Paul said he spent three years preaching “all the counsel of God” and warning people, “night and day with tears” (Acts 20:27, 31). I wonder why Paul was crying? I wonder if he made those listening cry sometimes? What if it was a little of both? Why would Paul preach a message that caused people to “cry,” that made people “tremble” (Acts 24:25), and that caused some to run him out of town (Acts 17:10-15)? Wouldn’t it have been easier just to tell people, “peace, peace”? We could ask Jeremiah the same question. Isn’t it easier to just say, “peace, peace”?
We know what is easier to say, but it does not mean it is a better message. The best message is the message that comes from the Lord (Jn. 17:17). The best message is the one that has not been diluted by men’s thoughts and feelings (Gal. 1:6-10). The best message is the message that tells us what to do to be saved and then encourages us to continue to be faithful to God (Acts 2:37-38; I Cor. 15:58; Matt. 7:13-14)!
“Peace, peace” is, in our vernacular, sugar-coating the truth! As a friend of mine says, if you want sugar-coating, eat a doughnut! If you want the truth, listen to the Lord’s words (I Pet. 4:11; Jn. 17:17), and be ready to repent and to obey (Jas. 1:22-25)! Jeremiah preached the truth, but people didn’t want to hear this and were destroyed. You and I have a chance to listen to God’s word and obey (Ecc. 12:13). What will you do? Now is the time to decide!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
At the end of Ecclesiastes 7, we read, “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” These words are a sober reminder that what God had in mind for man and what man has become are two very different things!
When God began His work on earth, He made man ”upright.” This is not in reference to his bodily structure, but instead a reference to his soul. God created man free from the bondage of sin. It is by “one man sin entered the world” (Rom. 5:12; Gen. 3:1-6). God did not make man a sinner, yet, “all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12, 3:23)!
Solomon shows us that it is man who “sought out many inventions.” Instead of “inventions,” other Bible versions use terms like “schemes,” “devices,” “perversions,” and the like. One version that I think states this thought in plainer language says: “I did learn one thing: We were completely honest when God created us, but now we have twisted minds” (CEV).
Man left to himself, does not tend to get better, but tends to get worse (Jer. 10:23b)! On our own, we tend to follow after temptation, and this results in sin, heartache, sorrow, and ultimately death (Jas. 1:14-15). Yet, we keep following this path, thinking that things will somehow get better if we keep going. Sadly, just the opposite is true. Our sin leads to death and not life! Anyone who follows this path will meet destruction and be lost in Hell (Matt. 7:13-14).
Friend, are you awake (Rom. 13:11)? Are you listening? Living life as you please and answerable to no one but yourself will result in separation from God rather than growing closer to Him. God made man upright/honest, and if we wish to stay on that course, then we need to be faithful to Him! We need to “draw nigh to God,” and He will draw nigh/near to us (Jas. 4:8). As Barnabas taught, we need to “cleave unto the Lord” with “purpose of heart” and not let go (Acts 11:23)!
God made man upright, and He gave us a way to stay upright (Jn. 17:17; I Pet. 4:11; Col. 3:17)! Will we listen and obey so that we can go to Heaven one day? Or, will we turn to our own inventions and be lost in Hell? The choice, as it has always been, is up to us. Don’t allow another day to pass where you are following your own schemes. Instead, make today the day you repent and turn back to the Lord’s way (Acts 2:38)! You will be blessed beyond measure when you walk in the way that is upright (Eph. 1:3)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Ecclesiastes 4:9 reminds us that, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” Solomon says that two are better than one because if one falls, the other can pick him up (v. 10). Two together bring (beneficial) heat (v. 11), and two and even three together can withstand enemies when they come (v. 12).
This section of Ecclesiastes reminds us that man is a social creature. God made man in such a way that he needs the companionship of others. Companionship is one reason for marriage (Gen. 2:18). Some consider it the main reason for marriage, and I would not disagree. Companionship is why we have friends (Prov. 18:24). Refusing friendships and social interaction with others is not normal to our way of life, and is why it is so odd when someone wishes to be a “hermit.” While it is true that men need to be alone at times, this person cannot live like this for months and years at a time and remain healthy.
In his writing, Solomon tells us that there is a need for companionship. We must have those who will support, care, love, and keep us in “check.” Do you have someone like this in your life? If you have more than one person who fills this role, you are truly blessed.
Do you fill this role for others? What kind of friend are you? “Two are better than one” is true, so long as both people have the same goals! We need people that are going to help us go to Heaven. This is necessary with our friends, and it is especially needed when we are choosing a mate (Matt. 19:4-6). We need a spouse who will help us go to Heaven so that we can be “heirs together of the grace of life” (I Pet. 3:7).
Satan tries his best to tempt us and lure us away from the Lord. Peter describes him as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). One way the lion devours is by finding the weak, the young, the ones who cannot stay with the “herd” and killing and devouring his prey. It is the same today, spiritually. Thus, a reason we need others is that we might help one another fight Satan’s advances. If one would fall (spiritually), his friend can help lift him up and get him back on the right track (Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19-20).
Who are your friends?
Is Jesus your friend (Jn. 14:15, 15:14)? Remember, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). Now, read Romans 5:6-8. Christ had shown Himself to be a friend before we ever loved Him. How are you treating Him now?
If Christ is your friend:
- You will have a “good reward for your labor” (Ecc. 4:9; I Cor. 15:58; II Tim. 4:8).
- He will lift you up (Ecc. 4:10; Jas. 4:10; I Pet. 5:6).
- He will benefit us on earth as well as in Heaven (Ecc. 4:11; Matt. 6:25-33; Rev. 22:14).
- He will help us prevail over Satan (Ecc. 4:12; Jas. 4:7-8; I Cor. 15:57).
“Two are better than one.” Who are your friends?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
In the context of II John 11, we learn that whoever teaches false doctrine does not have fellowship with God (II Jn. 9). At the same time, it is not right for those who hear the false doctrine to accept the person and act as if nothing is wrong (II John 10). If someone bids “Godspeed” (KJV) or “Greets” (ASV, Darby, ESV, NET, RV, etc.) the false teacher, this person is just as guilty in the eyes of God. Other Bible versions use the terms, “participates,” or “sharing” for “partaker” in II John 11. I think this helps us understand what John was teaching. Not only is it wrong to teach false doctrine, but it is also wrong for those hearing false doctrine to stand by and allow it to be taught without opposition (II Jn. 10-11)!
The apostle Paul showed us the right response when he said that when Judaizers came in to “spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus,” they gave place “no, not for an hour” (Gal. 2:4-5)! Later, Paul would withstand Peter “to the face, because he was to be blamed” for the hypocrisy he perpetuated (Gal. 2:11). Paul would also write (by inspiration) a warning similar to John’s to the Romans. After listing the sins the Gentiles had committed through the years, he ends chapter one by saying, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:32). In other words, not only did the people committing the sins deserve death (Jas. 1:15), but those who approve of what is done (applaud, ISV; consent, ASV; delight, Darby) deserve the same punishment! This sounds like John’s warning in II John 11.
The stand taken by Paul and John while they lived, and encouraged in their epistles (Rom. 1:32; II Jn. 9-11), serves at least two purposes. One purpose is obvious, and that is to save those who are affected by false doctrine, including myself! Remember, to bid “Godspeed” means I am also partaking (II Jn. 11)! If I do not take a stand, or if I bid “Godspeed” to a deceiver, then many more will be deceived. The second purpose is closely linked to the first. This is that by standing, we are also trying to win the soul of the false teacher. When we stand opposed to someone because of his false teaching, we need to make sure and check our attitude. Is our response motivated by hatred of the person or the doctrine? There is a difference! If I am trying to win an argument, I very well may lose the soul. If I am trying to win someone’s soul, I will win the argument by default. What John shows me is that I not allow what some call “love” to silence my tongue! I must speak! I must warn!
Sadly, we live in a time when men are afraid of confrontation. We have a society that recoils at the thought of standing for the truth, but ironically is quick to criticize and belittle anyone who does! We are told that retreat is courageous. This is wrong. Christians in our time who claim to wear the armor of Christ (Eph. 6:11-19), tend to forget about the sword. Yet, the sword is a part of our armor! The sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:18) is not a defensive but an offensive weapon. With it, we take the fight to the enemy (II Cor. 10:3-5; I Tim. 6:12)! The sword is not for cleaning your fingernails, or picking your teeth! With the sword of the Spirit, we stand against “the wiles of the devil” and do not give submission, “no, not for an hour”!
When we read II John, we learn that we do not give “Godspeed” (greet, participate, or share) with false teachers as if to “go along and get along.” Remember, souls are at stake, and they are too precious to leave to the “wolves” (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29-31)! At the same time, standing against the wolves who teach false doctrines may open their eyes to the truth. This is our goal -- to bring lost souls to the Father (Jas. 5:19-20). When we do not partake or share with false teachers, we will cause them to stop and consider what they are doing. No, not everyone repents at this, but folks need to know where we stand. Let them be warned in love and truth (Eph. 4:15, 5:11). Let us stand with a pure conscious, knowing that false teachers will face God in judgment, having at least been warned. Who knows, but you are in the kingdom “for such a time as this,” and your warning might save a soul from death? One thing is certain: silence in the face of false teaching and pretending nothing is wrong will do nothing to remedy the situation, nor will it save a soul. It only makes things worse!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
The title of this study is composed of three small words. Yet, these words are significant in meaning and application. When we read II John 9, we learn that if someone (“whosoever”) transgresses, he is not living in the doctrine of Christ, and does not have God! In contrast, living (“abiding”) in the doctrine means he “hath the Father and the Son.”
To not have God means this person is not in fellowship with God. The relationship that might be enjoyed with God has been destroyed. Thus, abiding in the “doctrine of Christ” is a serious commitment, and there are real consequences for disobedience. Too, we must remember our study from II John 8. This statement in verse nine is not made to people living outside of the body of Christ. Those who are not Christians don’t have God anyway (Isa. 59:1-2; I Pet. 3:12)! The warning of verse nine is to Christians, just as is verse eight. Yes, Christians can move from “having God” to “not having God” if they ever decide to not abide or live in His doctrine. Thus, we learn once more that salvation is not completed in a moment in time, but salvation is a lifestyle. It is the result of daily decisions. We must “walk in the light as He is in the light” (I Jn. 1:7)! We must do this daily, and in so doing, we “have God.”
To not have God means our soul is in jeopardy of being lost in Hell. It is not a game or a joke to not have God. It is not a minor infraction or a mere “slip-up.” We must stop making a mockery of God and sin and realize that sin is why Christ came to this earth in the first place (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 53; Jn. 18:37; Jn. 3:16; etc.)! Sin is compared to a disease (Isa. 1:5-6), and we need the Great Physician to heal us!
Therefore, let us examine our lives. First, if you are not a Christian, then you are not in fellowship with God in the first place. Believe on Christ (Jn. 8:24), repent of your sin (Acts 17:30), confess Christ (Rom. 10:10) and be baptized (I Pet. 3:21)! Then, continue to “walk in the light” (I Jn. 1:7). Abide or live in His word (II Jn. 9), and then enjoy the fellowship of God! If you have walked away, then you do not have God (II Jn. 9), but thankfully, you can repent and return to Him (Acts 8:22; I Jn. 1:9). Examine yourself (II Cor. 13:5). Are you in fellowship with God? If not, then let’s talk and get things corrected today while we have the opportunity (II Cor. 6:2)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs