2 John 1.12-13 – Face to Face

Without trying to sound like an old sage dishing out advice, don’t you think that something that is no longer held up as important in our culture is face to face interaction? It’s so easy to text, message, call, video call, snap, tweet, or DM people that the art of face to face interaction seems to be slipping away. 

Nearly 2000 years ago, John knew that some things are just too important not to do face to face.

12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

2 John 1.12-13

John knows that some things are too important to write down and says that even though have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. 

So far, John has mainly dealt with false teachers and false teaching in this short letter, and there is so much more nuance that he could have gone into that he didn’t in this letter.

Why? Because some things are too important to do via correspondence.

We even see a reason behind his decision – so that our joy may be complete. So, if John can go to talk to a church about false teachers and false teaching and still be assured of mutual joy, surely we can interact with those in our church family and beyond knowing that too our joy may be complete.

Today then, rather than sending a couple of Whattsapps, or even calling someone on FaceTime, perhaps we should make time to go and talk to someone face to face. It’s not the easiest option, it’s not the quickest option, but, in some situations, it’s the right option.

So, who can you encourage, face to face, today?


Prayer – Father, we thank you that we are made in your image, and that part of this is our desire for interaction. Help us today to see who needs our time, where we can invest our time, and where we can best use our energies to complete someone’s joy. Amen.

2 John 1.7-11 – Acceptance and Rejection

As believers, we are just as much defined by what we reject as what we accept. Sometimes, the line is so incredibly fine, isn’t it. A friend of mine discussed this in a podcast which is well worth a listen, you can do so here…

 

So, we are defined just as much by what we reject as what we accept, and here John is urging his readers, and us, to reject false teaching.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

2 John 1.7-11

The idea that Jesus was not a real man is an ancient heresy called docetism and is being refuted in v.7.

“This heresy was coined from the Greek word, “dokesis” which means “to seem”. It taught Jesus only appeared to have a body and was not truly incarnate.”

John starts his first letter by saying that Jesus is the One who ‘…we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands…’. The heresies and false teachings surrounding Jesus are as vast as they are varied, and John boils it down to this – everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.

So, simply, if we reject what the Bible teaches about Jesus, if we reject what Jesus said about Himself, then we do not have God

v.10 is strong and we are told to not have anything to do with false teachers. This is not to say that those caught under false teaching are to be avoided, they need friends who will tell them the truth in love (Ephesians 4.5)However, those teaching falsehoods about Jesus are to be avoided. 

All too often the world will tells us that we need to be more open minded, but we must not let this become empty headed. We can be open minded whilst holding to the truth, but we cannot be empty headed and full of the truth of Jesus. 

We are defined as believers just as much by what we reject as what we accept, so let us be the kind of believer that is able to see the truth, discern the truth, and accept the truth. Let us be the kind of believers who see error, recognise error, and reject error. 


Point to ponder – Am I straying into error by what I allow into my life?


Prayer – Father, we thank you for your Word, we know your Word is truth, and we know that this truth will set us free. Help us to be saturated with your Word, give us the discipline to make time for your Word, and help us to see that, as Jesus said, that in your Word is the direction to the One in whom there is eternal life. Amen. 

31.07.19 – 2 John 1.4-6 – The Obedience of Love

Think about someone you love. Think about someone you love that you know loves you too. When they ask you to do something for them, or perhaps tell you that you need to do A/B/C, how do you feel? Do you feel resentment that you have to do something for them? Or do you feel happy to do something for them because you love them, and, because you know they love you, you know that they would do the same for you? Today, this is what John is writing about.

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 

John shows his heart for the people when he rejoiced greatly at their Christian walk, as we may call it. Then he reminds this congregation (dear lady) to remember the true mark of being a believer, the most obvious fruit that is on display in our lives when we are walking with the Lord – that we love one another. 

John then explains what this looks like, that we walk according to His commandments. So, simply, loving one another because we are walking with the Lord in a faith relationship should also produce in us an obedience to His commandments. 

Real love produces obedience. 

We know that Jesus loves us, He proved that by giving His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10.45, John 15.13). He loves us and gave His all for us. Now, He asks that we love those He loves, and that we walk according to His commandments. We know they are what is best for us, again, this was proven at the cross. God in human flesh would not have died to then ask you to live a second-rate life for Him. He wants the best for you, He wants you to live in truth, He wants us to live in obedience and in love. 


Point to ponder – Am I loving those He loves, and am I walking in His commandments because I know they are what is best for me?


Prayer – Father, we thank you for the ultimate demonstration of your love for us on the cross at Calvary all those years ago. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to live a life of love. We know that love like this doesn’t come naturally to us, so we need your power and love to flow through us. Help us also today to live the life of a disciple of Jesus, one who walks in His commands, because we know they are what is best for us. Amen. 

2 John 1.1-3 – The Truth

Think about going to the Dr., or to the Pharmacy, or even on an airplane for your summer holiday…who do you want in charge of those things? You want a Dr. who knows what they are talking about, a Pharmacist that is going to give you the right medication, and you want a Pilot that can competently and safely deliver you to your destination. At the core of those people’s ability to do their jobs well is their knowledge of truth. Surely, if truth is so important in our day to day human lives, surely truth of an eternal nature is even more important?

In the first three verses of 2 John, we read of truth four times. 

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

Most likely written to a real congregation but under anonymity due to persecution (v.1a), John is writing to address error and false teaching on a collective level. 

John’s solution to false teaching is simple – truth. He talks about truth 37 times in his New Testament writings, and essentially John is saying that truth is what binds us together. Error will cause division, truth will not. 

He loves this congregation in truth, as do all who know the truth, this is because of the truth that abides in us, and John is confidently sure that grace, mercy, and peace will be with us in truth and love. Error will cause division, truth will not. 


The big truth here is the truth of Jesus; who He is, what He did, what He does, and what He will do again.


Truth never changes, truth is absolute, truth is narrow and tight, truth is noncontradictory, and truth is, simply, true! 

John’s opening address shows us that those who hold to this truth are joined by common bonds of love for and from this truth. As John continues, we will see those purporting to bring truth but actually bringing error, but for now, and for us, we are to love those who share in the glorious truth of Jesus. Error will cause division, truth will not. 


Point to ponder – Am I loving all who know the truth?


Prayer – Father, we pray that you give us the discernment and understanding to be both wise and innocent, wise to the truth and innocent of error. We know your Word is truth, we know you only speak truth, and we pray that you help us develop an appetite for your Word that fills us with your truth, for your glory and for your good will and pleasure. Amen.