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2 John

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Fellowship, Honour and Truth

2 John 1:1-2

This short letter is unusual amongst all the Bible's books because it is addressed to an individual lady. She was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the mother of children, a sister of another believer and an aunt to her children. She gladly gave hospitality to travelling preachers. Although many suggestions have been made about her name, and role in the church (from examining the original Greek words), we simply do not know for sure.

The Basis of Fellowship and Service

2 John 1:3

John's special greeting is the basis on which he encourages a godly lady to be discerning in fellowship and wise in service. Grace, mercy and peace are God's gifts. They are given jointly by the Father and the Son to people who are trusting in Jesus Christ for their salvation. No amount of religious play-acting can manufacture these essential divine gifts: and through their transforming influence, God's children can be recognised.

The Joy of Passing on the Baton

2 John 1:4

John had clearly known this family well. He respected their mother as a godly woman, honouring her service for the church and to visitors. But however much she served other people, it was important that she served her own family; not just practically and emotionally, but that she taught them about Jesus, and how to follow Him.

Love is Walking in Obedience

2 John 1:5-6

Love is a big subject. It stirs big emotions and the idea of love makes big money through advertising. But love is of God (1 John 4:7-8) who is far bigger than the distorted shapes of love which this world experiences. Indeed, He is love (1 John 4:16), and the only One who has the right to define it.

Love Is Not Naïve

2 John 1:7

John had been reminding this godly lady that 'walking in love' meant 'living in obedience' to Father God's commands. Now he says that there are many people who do not love the Lord, or want to obey Him, and so she must not be naïve or welcome them as true brothers or sisters. Although they speak about God and preach with confidence they are deceivers.

Persevere in Faith

2 John 1:8

This is a warning. "Watch out!", is to alert the unwary. It is easy for believers to become complacent as life settles into a routine, when the absence of apparent hazards lulls us into a false sense of security. The Christian life is not just about God's love and help to obey Him now; it is also about serving Him so that He will reward us through eternity. Hebrews 10:36 says, "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."

Don't Run On Ahead

2 John 1:9

Children often think they can do anything without getting into difficulty. Going along the road in a family group, they may want to run on ahead. It may not be safe, indeed it could be catastrophic. Their naivety is not wise and they need to be taught how to stay safe. John says that the same thing is true of some young or untaught Christians. Having started in Christ they have an urge to be spiritually adventurous, without checking that they are still within the safety of the apostles’ teaching.

Guard the Door to your Home

2 John 1:10-11

John was writing to a Christian lady who had a reputation for godly hospitality. She was kind and generous and thought the best of strangers. But John was concerned that she might naively welcome travelling teachers who were perverting the gospel and teaching error about the Lord Jesus Christ. So John urged her to guard her home, and the church which probably met there, from false teaching.

Communication which Leads to Joy

2 John 1:12

The only way in which we can know the personality, character, lifestyle and teaching of Jesus is through the writings of the apostles who Jesus appointed, building on the writings of the Old Testament prophets. They had all (including Paul on the road to Damascus) met the risen Christ and been commissioned to communicate who He is and the message of His gospel to the whole world. So our Christian faith does not rely on the personal thoughts of successive church leaders but the writings of men who were specially commissioned and enabled by the Holy Spirit.

Family In Christ

2 John 1:13

The lady, to whom John is writing, had a sister. Perhaps John was staying with the sister or she may have been nearby. Certainly, her children knew their aunt well and wanted to send their warm greetings. You may say, "Why does John bother to put such a personal comment into a letter which God will use to instruct countless millions of believers?" He has understood a godly principle which he learned from Jesus (Matthew 28:10; John 20:17).