As we have finished reading 1 John, it seems too good an opportunity to also look at the other 2 letters attributed to John, which are both short, and relatively unknown. I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon in 40+ years as a Christian on these 2 letters, or given one in 20+ years as a minister!
So we read today 2 John.
It is written to the ‘chosen lady and her children’, which on the surface would seem to be a particular person and her family, but many Bible commentators seem to think is actually a way of describing a local church and her members, and I get that. In the end, we don’t know for certain, and it doesn’t matter, the message of the letter remains the same.
There are some similarities with John’s first letter, for example in 2 John 5, ‘I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another’. Compare with 1 John Ch.2 v.7.
But the key word which comes out to me from reading this letter is the word “truth”, which we find 5 times in the 1st 4 verses! John wants his readers to know the truth, live in the truth and walk in the truth.
And this is the background to the main part of the letter (vs.7-11), where there is a warning about deceivers, probably some kind of travelling evangelist or teacher, who were common at that time. They did not acknowledge that Jesus Christ came in the flesh ie was born as a human being (v.7), and perhaps they claimed they had special knowledge/insights beyond what the rest of the church had, beyond what the original apostles, including John, had been teaching (v.9). Do not take him into your house or welcome him is the uncompromising message from John (vs.10-11).
Church historians call this a gnostic heresy, (a term you may or may not have heard of), and there were several phases of these throughout the early church, in the formative years before the authoritative New Testament was agreed upon, and before the historic creeds were put together.
And even today when we have the NT and the creeds, the church can still be prone to false teaching, to take us away from the person and teaching of Christ, who He was, what He came to do, and what it means to follow Him. We need to keep coming back to the basics, and not be embarrassed by that. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John Ch.14 v.6)
From our extended church address list, please remember in our prayers today those who joined us in lockdown for Zoom church,- Robbie & Vikkie, and baby Nora- Champa