As we did with First John let’s begin Second John with a little intro. I am not going to go through an introduction to who this John who wrote this epistle is seeing has I had just done it with the introduction to First John. That blog date was November 30th if you would like to go back and read about this disciple John. This book is thought to have been written between 85-90 AD. During this time in the early church there would be preachers that would go around town to town and teach the Good News. They were what we would call traveling preachers or evangelists. Christians would welcome these preachers into their homes, hear what they had to say, and share with them what they had. They would often have dinner with them and send them on their way with provisions. This sounds wonderful and is something that we should be doing nowadays as well. However false teachers got wind of this and began to use it as a springboard to launch their heretical teachings and thus deceive people. That is something that John warns against in this letter. Now that we have a little understanding of who wrote it and why let’s did in together.
1 The Elder, to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, 2 because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
The Elder is John, he is the one writing this letter to the elect lady. There are some different takes on who this elect lady could be, or what is meant by it. The one that seems most reliable to me is that this is a specific lady that John is writing to, and she is the elect because we are all elect in Christ. As we go one through the subsequent verses I will explain more why I think that is the most likely interpretation. In this opener John really drives home the point of truth. He loves her in the truth. This is not some kind of weird lovers love, but instead love in the biblical sense. We know this because he loves her in the truth. It is about the truth. Is that what we make known when we talk with people? I am not saying we need to be all weird about it and give a Bible lesson explaining the truth of God’s word to everyone we meant. To handle life that way would make you ineffective in spreading the love of Christ. People would then just what to avoid us and would not hear of the good news. What I mean is more along the lines of subtle truths seasoned in what you say and how you act that lead people to want to inquire? What about with our Christian friends? Do you talk about what the Lord is doing in your lives? Do you share with them the new things you are learning? Is the truth abiding in our lives, or is it just something that we know?
4 I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.
It is about walking in the truth. There is a sad reality that we can know the truth, but not be walking it in. Especially in a culture where false teachers are on the rise. The truth is what they teach sounds so inviting and sometimes we may even want it to be true. Those two things coupled with our exposure to the false teachers puts us in great danger and walking away from the truth. Therefore we need to be diligent in our understanding of the truth and purposeful in our walking out in it. When you have poured into someone’s life and have given them the truth by which they need to live and then set them out on their own it gives you great joy to know they are walking in that truth. Not being a mother yet I cannot imagine what it must be like to have raised your children up to know the Lord and them have them walk with Him. That joy must be immense. I know one lady that has done just that, raised her kids in the Lord and has watched 2 of them go out to the missions field. When she talks about her two kids and their lives now there is such joy that fills her face. I want that at some point in my life. And it is not always dependent on how well you trained them up. Children grow up to be adults and have to make their own choices in life. Sometimes, even though they were trained well as children, they take the path of a prodigal and walk away before they realize for themselves what they are missing in life. If you have a prodigal yourself right now do not beat yourself up. Take your heart before the Lord, allow Him to comfort you in the time.
5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. 6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
Again John brings it back to loving one another. If you remember the book of First John he mentioned love and loving one another many times, it was his main point. Again this is not a new command, we have always been called to love. It is however an important point and therefore John repeats it again and again. When Jesus was asked to sum up the law He did it with two commands. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second He said was like it, love your neighbor as yourself. Truth and Love. These two things should be what marks our lives. He pleads with this lady to love. This shows the importance that John places on love. What is love, but to walk in the commandment of the Lord. We show that we love God by being obedient to what He has laid out before us.
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
There are many deceivers out in this world today. It was true in John’s days, just a few years after Christ’s ascension. How much more is it true now. Turn on the TV and listen to some mega church preacher and you will see that they do not teach Christ properly and they are all about the financial gain. It is a sad reality, but just because someone has a Bible open in front of them and seems to be teaching from it we cannot assume they are teaching truth. We need to be Bereans. The concept of being a Berean is found in Acts chapter 17:10-11. Paul and Silas were preaching through the region, and those in Berea received what was taught with readiness and they searched the scriptures daily to see if these things were true. We need to be a people like that. Do you read the Bible on your own time asking the Lord to open your understanding? We should. Do you bring your own Bible to church? We should. Some of us may go to a church that projects the Word on the screen and that is great. I personally love when a Church does that. The truth is it is good for those new church goers to be able to see the Word as it is being taught. But we should not rely on technology. I would greatly encourage you to bring a paper Bible, and actual book to church. The ones on our phones are nice and convenient and an excellent app to have downloaded, but there is nothing like having your personal Bible in front of you. I might sound a little old school now, but hear me out. When we have our own Bible and the Pastor makes a reference to another scripture we can jot it down next to the verse that it applies to. Even better, when we are sitting in Church listening to the pastor preach and the Holy Spirit high lights a verse for us that speaks directly into a current situation in our live we can underline, date, and make a small note as to what it means.
8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
We cannot just start in the way of truth and then allow ourselves to be deceived afterwards. We must continue in truth until the end. We need to look to ourselves, check what we believe. We want to receive our full reward. God has great things planned for us, both here on earth and in heaven. He needs us walking in truth so we can point others in the direction of truth, to point others to Him. We also get to come back and rule and reign with Him during those thousand years. He has tasks and Job and things He wants us to do, but we need to be living in the truth for them to be a reality in our lives. I do not know about you, but I want to make every effort to make my call and election sure. I want to know that I am walking with Jesus by being so close to His side. I want to be in the truth and I want my life to be evident that I am in the truth.
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
Again John is not talking about a single act of transgression, but a lifestyle of transgression. John goes over that extensively in 1 John. He says things like if anyone says he does not sin He is a liar. Romans 3:23 agrees with John and states that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are a bunch of sinners. But is that our lifestyle? Our aim? Our aim should be to live righteous lives. We then abide in the doctrine of Christ and have God. Since we have God we also have Christ!
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
We do not want to entertain false teachers even for a minute. When Jehovah witnesses or any other cult comes knocking at our door we do not want to invite them into our homes. I told ya’ll that later I would tell you why I agree mostly with the idea that the elect lady John is writing this letter to is most likely a specific woman. Here is the reasoning. When satan went and deceived us as a race of people who did he go to? He went to Eve. As woman we are more likely to rely on our emotions instead of our intellect. For that reason we are easier to deceive. Think about what time of day those people come knocking on our doors giving us information about their false religions. Is it not during the day when the men are typically at work and us homemakers are home with the children? That is why it is so important for us as women to know the Word of God, so that we are not easily deceived. We need to teach our children the Word so when they go out in this lost and dark world they can distinguish between truth and lies. We do not want to share in the evil deeds of others. We do not want to be rude either. We should nicely turn them away. However if they do not listen to the nice prodding and are attempting to be forceful do not give into them for a second in the hopes of not being rude.
12 Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. 13 The children of your elect sister greet you. Amen.
This was not all that was on John’s heart to share, but he thought it best to visit in person to discuss the rest. There are just some things that are not written well. Sometimes they need to involve a conversation. We do not know what the rest of what John wanted to share was, but his hope in sharing was so that their mutual joy would be complete. Let that be our goal of sharing with others, so that our joy may be complete. Not to puff them or ourselves up, but for the sake of joy.