(The following is the November 26 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read 2 John and pay close attention to verses 7-11.)
False teachers infiltrate and damage churches today as they have since the first century. They don’t come with warning labels that read “False Teacher.” Nor do they always promote doctrines that anyone with minimal Bible knowledge would recognize as false. They frequently promote a clever mixture of truth and error packaged attractively.
When John warned the readers of 2 John about dealing with false teachers, the main issue was those claiming Jesus Christ didn’t come in the flesh. Christ’s incarnation and the doctrines of his full humanity and divinity are critical to understanding Jesus and his redemptive work. John knew that if his readers openly received anyone who taught this falsehood, they would endanger themselves and others.
Christians are typically among the most hospitable people on Earth (or at least they should be). We want to love others made in God’s image and demonstrate to them the love Christ lavishes on us. So, it can seem odd when we read John’s advice regarding false teachers: “Do not receive him into your home, and don’t greet him; for the one who greets him shares in his evil works” (vv. 10-11).
Why does John, who frequently wrote about loving others, tell his readers to treat false teachers this way? We must guard the bride of Christ, the church, from all ideas and people who would harm her. We must not crack the door open with exceptions here and there that ultimately open the floodgates to denial of biblical truth. If an enemy is at your door trying to get in to harm your family, the loving thing isn’t to open the door and let him in. The loving thing is to protect the family God entrusted to you. That is true for our household families and the family of God in the church.
What false teachings do you see infiltrating some churches today? How can your church be proactive in preventing that in your church?