1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.
While several things provoke me in this week’s passage, one key is clear. They disagree over Jesus. Those who stayed embraced Jesus as the Son of God who is the way the truth and the life. (Jn 14:6). Those who left claimed a superior relationship with God while denying key truths about Jesus.
This one thought came clear for me this week: At One Point or Another, Not Everyone in the Building is Part of the Family. Seems obvious I know, but look at the realities that come with it. 1. Some will eventually leave because they disagree about Jesus. 2. Some of those will seek to deceive others about true faith before they leave.
In our own time we have seen both churches and denominations go belly up when it comes to the biblical truths about Jesus. In those cases, those without true faith did not leave, they took over!
Now as a pastor I love that people choose to be among us who do not yet share our faith in Jesus. My hope is they feel His presence and love through us and in time come to trust Him for themselves and grow in their faith. But how do we remain open without being led away from what matters most in our desire to have more people connect with Jesus? In other words, how do we increase the chance that they will find Christ without us leaving Him behind? Verses 20 & 26-27 provide the key to this tension. We must lean on the Spirit of Christ within us to escape any deceptive pull on the outside.
As you look over the passage before Sunday I invite you to wrestle with some questions: What were those who weren’t really with them doing when they were with them? What kept them from coming to true faith? What made them leave in the end? What does this look like today? How are we to live our faith as a community of believers in the face of such a reality without losing our core? (1jn 2:18-27).