Okay… what’s next?
Like bored children, human beings are always looking for the next big thing. Pick any area of life- from stamp collecting to military hardware – the same principle applies. Some of this is market drive, of course. Crest needs new features in its toothpaste or Colgate will get the upper hand. We expect this sort of silliness from toothpaste. When the principle carries over into faith, the results can cripple a church.
By the second half of the first century, Christians were already antsy to move on to the next thing. The teachings of Jesus were more than a generation old and some folks were looking to teachers who could take things to the “next level.” The Nicolaitans taught a false gospel (Revelation 2:6, 15) along with other prophets and prophetesses (Revelation 2:14, 20). They found a hearing among a people who were enamored of the latest new ideas.
Second John is written to warn the church about following new fads of faith John writes:
“Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:8-9)
The false teachers imagine their thoughts to be going above and beyond what Christ taught. The same desire to go “on ahead” exists for Christians in all eras. John warns us to stop feeding that urge. Sometimes we have to slow the impulsive drive for new answers.
When we are content to abide in the teachings of Jesus, we will find new reasons to savor those timeless truths. The greatest reason is spelled out here: “we’ll have the Father and the Son.” God is pleased with hearts that don’t feel the need to run after other teachings. Jesus promised that he and the Father would make their home in that kind of heart (John 14:23). Don’t run ahead… instead, take a fresh look at what you found in Christ. It is more than enough for a lifetime.