HAVING NO FELLOWSHIP WITH THOSE WHO DENY CHRIST
First John tells us that we have to love the brothers, but 2 John tells us that we have to be very strict with certain ones who claim to be Christians. Second John 7 says, “For many deceivers went out into the world, those who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” This kind of person is similar to today’s modernists who proclaim that they are Christians yet do not believe that Christ is the very Son of God. Verses 8 through 11 continue, “Look to yourselves that you do not lose the things which we wrought, but that you may receive a full reward. Everyone who goes beyond and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not say to him, Rejoice! For he who says to him, Rejoice, shares in his evil works.”
We must love all the dear brothers in the divine fellowship, but we must be strict with certain persons. We should not even greet them because they are not in the fellowship and even oppose the fellowship. On the one hand, they claim to be Christians, but on the other hand, they do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who was incarnated as a man. Not only are there modernists teaching these things today, but from the very beginning of the church in the first century, before the early apostles had passed away, there was already this kind of persons. In the words of the apostle John, they do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh (v. 7). Although they claim that they are Christians, John called them deceivers and antichrists. These persons went beyond the teaching concerning Christ, as today’s modernists do, inventing something beyond the truth.
We need to do our best to love the unbelievers and help them to be saved, but we must be very strict with the modernists, those who claim that they are Christians yet do not believe that Christ is the very Son of God incarnated as a man, opposing this teaching and going beyond it. These are antichrists and deceivers, and they have no share in our fellowship. We should not have any fellowship with them; they are in “another world.” We should not receive such persons into our house or even greet them. To greet them is to partake of their evil deeds. This is not our attitude alone; this is the plain word of the Scriptures.
Recently I was invited to meet with a certain Christian group. Some there may have been real brothers and sisters, but among them, even among the leading ones, there were modernists. After I spoke with them, I realized that they were promoting a modernistic teaching, saying that whether or not people believe that Christ resurrected does not matter. I told them that this was a shame to the Lord, and I could not tolerate it for even a minute. I challenged them in this way, but they would not give up their teaching, so I could have nothing to do with them. We cannot go along with anyone who claims to be a Christian but denies that Christ is the Son of God, that He was born of a virgin, that He died on the cross for our sins, and that He was literally resurrected. The modernists do not believe these teachings. This is a shame to the Lord, which we cannot tolerate. John tells us to have nothing to do with these antichrists and deceivers.
EXTENDING HOSPITALITY AND NOT DESIRING TO BE FIRST
Sending the Workers Forward in a Manner Worthy of God
Third John tells us that we should receive the saints into our home, extending hospitality to them, because we are all in the one fellowship. Verses 5 through 8 say, “Beloved, you do faithfully in whatever you have wrought for the brothers, and this for strangers, who testified to your love before the church; whom you will do well to send forward in a manner worthy of God; for on behalf of the Name they went out, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to support such ones that we may become fellow workers in the truth.” We should especially take care of the Lord’s servants who live by faith, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We should never treat them as beggars, giving them a few dollars out of pity. This is not a manner worthy of God; it is a manner that is shameful to God. I have been a small servant of the Lord for many years. In many places I have seen how the Lord’s children treat His servants in a manner worthy of God. However, I have found that a servant of the Lord must learn the lesson of humility, because sometimes gifts are given in a shameful way.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 3: Hebrews through Jude, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)