2nd John Survey

2nd John Survey

2ndJohn Survey

19-08-2018

 

Pr Edi Giudetti

 

 

2ndJohn Survey demonstrates to us the inestimable value of truth, its relationship to love and the unity and fellowship of believers in that truth. The Bible is propositional truth to all people, our loss of confidence in Gods words in these last of days is manifest by the incredible division we see worldwide. None can love another without trusting he is true, truth and love therefore are the sole ingredients of unity.

 

Acknowledged In Truth (1-4)

 

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; 2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. 3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

 

The elder”, Whether it be his first letter, this letter or his third letter, there is no introduction of name given and yet all the ancients regard these three letters to be that of the apostle John.

 

The author refers to himself in both 2ndand 3rdJohn as ‘The Elder, that does not appear in 1stJohn but those who he writes to he continually refers to endearingly as“my little children”.

 

What we do know of John is that he was the last surviving apostle. These letters and  that of the Revelation of Jesus Christ were penned in the latter part of his life.

 

We know historically that he did not suffer a martyr’s death as all the other apostles.

We know also that he was the youngest of the apostles during the time of his Lord, he was the one identified in scripture as ‘The Beloved Apostle’, the one “whom Jesus loved”.

We know that he suffered tribulation and was exiled to the Isle of Patmos where he wrote The Revelation Of Jesus Christ. Tradition also telling us of his miraculous unscathed deliverance from a vat of hot oil.

 

Historical records also tell of his pastoral role in the Church at Ephesus.

 

So there is no doubt John was an elder, both in office and in age, that he was known respectfully as The elder could be extrapolated from these two letters with a degree of comfort.

 

Clearly the penman expected the recipients of the letters to know who “The elder” is.

 

The elder unto the elect lady and her children

 

 

Dispute is had as to whether or not the letter was addressed to a specific ‘lady’ or to the church. Both could be argued for;

  • We would see the “elect lady” to be the Church, and her children” to be the its congregation
    • We know the Church in scripture is always noted in the feminine,
    • We know she is the bride of Christ
    • We know she is elect and chosen
    • And we also know John refers to the beloved brethren as little children.
      • And we also see John close his letter in the last verse with “The children of thy elect sister great thee. Amen.” Giving the distinct impression of a salutation from another church.

 

The only problem I see is that the Church is not separate from its congregation, the church is the congregation. The church is not a building that houses a congregation, the congregation IS the Church, spoken both locally and corporately of all born again believers in Christ.

 

As an individual we see that John’s address is always in the singular “thy”, (although that does not exclude the singular local church), and also of his desire to see her “face to face”. Also our first impression in the reading of the letter is usually the right one, first impression in this letter is the ‘lady’ is a person.

 

But if John addresses the “elect lady” as a person singular, he does so as both a witness to her being born again (Elect) and also a leading woman held in high esteem, the word ‘lady’ represents in an esteemed woman similar to what the word ‘lord’ represents in an esteemed man.

 

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; 2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. 3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

 

Here we see the ‘elect lady’ acknowledged in the Truth. 5 times in four verses John uses the word and links to it his high regard and blessing. John notes truths intrinsic relationship to love.

 

You cannot have a lasting relationship without truth.

 

Truth is what unites us, truth is what holds relationships together. Love is the bind, but truth is that outer casing that seals love. When truth, which leads to trust, is gone, the outer casing that seals love will break as will the relationship unless it is re-established.

 

Love is made firm by truth. You simply cannot have love without it and you cannot have truth without love.

 

When I exchanged my hard-earned money to purchase a product I am leaving myself vulnerable to being deceived by the merchant, that is, I am running the risk that what I purchased will not be what was expected. I have the choice to trust the merchant or to look for another that I can trust. It is the same in relationships. True Love opens itself up to being hurt because what we believe true in another may be found false.

 

But this is not the case with God. The Bible presents itself AS Truth, to which we commit ourselves, trusting therefore God is true. We trust this practically the moment we believe the Gospel AS true, and as a result we are saved. But thinking it’s true without committing our lives to the truth practically, does not save anyone.

 

Let me give you an example. Prior to my mother’s death I asked her why she does not believe the Gospel now. She told me that she is holding out in the hope it is true, but if she believes it now and finds it is not true, then she will have no hope later. So she was waiting for the end of her life to come before she would trust God at his word. She was not willing to believe God at his word while she was alive in case it was false.

 

I told her there was no guarantee she will be given opportunity, any sudden accident could take that away.

 

But beloved the Lord gave her time, she suffered pancreatic cancer and lived about six more months.

 

Beloved today is the day of salvation, seek the lord while he may be found, do not send him away until a more convenient season appears, you have no guarantee that will come and eternal life is far too important to put off.

 

 

But this elect lady was greeted in knowing the truth and her children being established, walking in the truth. John is confident in the unity of their relationship;

 

4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

 

Trust is built on truth, truth and love are inextricably linked. The truth John speaks of is the most important of all, it is that which stems from the Father and the Son and it is that which concerns eternal life.

 

Consider the world today. We are living in a day and age when the Bible has been wholesale rejected in Government, in Schools, in society and sadly, thanks to the theological institutions around the world, it is largely rejected in Churches.

 

Is it then any wonder that with truth gone, divisions should come?

 

We are experiencing wholesale divorce in our civilization, I have never seen so much division not only in the home but in our society. The devil knows the famous military tactic “divide and conquer”and he is masterfully manipulating such a work, his first effort is through the attack upon truth.

 

 

Without truth, love has no protection. In your relationships, you must have truth. There must be integrity and thereby trust. Truth is where God separates himself from all that is false.

 

Proverbs 12:19  The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongueisbut for a moment.

 

The elect lady was acknowledged in the truth because her children walked in truth.

 

 

 

Encouraged In Love (5-6)

 

5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

 

It is not surprising that the beloved apostle would identify the importance of love. He whom Jesus loved experienced the love of all lovesand can teach of its importance.

 

But that love has a foundation, it is founded in the commandments.

 

Those commandments have a summary COMMAND, the first or the great commandments, or what James refers to as “The royal law” (Ja 2:8)

 

Turn to Mark 12:28-34

 

28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

 

In Romans 13:8 Paul wrote;

 

8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

 

 

In verse 10 of that same chapters Paul concludes

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

We do no ill to our neighbor when we are true to them,

You do no ill to your customerwhen you are true to them,

You do no ill to your employerwhen you are true to them,

You do no ill to your spouse or your children when you are true to them.

 

It is our love for the commandments that compels love for one another.

 

 

  • O how I love thy law, it is my meditation all the day (Ps 119:97)

  • I hatevainthoughts: but thy law do I love. (119:113)

  • I hate and abhor lying:butthy law do I love (119:163)

  • Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (119:65)

 

Jesus was the embodiment of love, he demonstrated his love to us when he went to that Cross. Jesus obeyed the Father’s commandment and that commandment is founded in a sacrificial love.

 

  • It is a love that forgives
  • A love that overlooks transgressions
  • A love that is long-suffering.

 

5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

 

Both truth and love will be sustained, they will both endure eternally. They are the substance not only of genuine affection toward one another, but they are the enduring substance of the Lord.

 

We need to understand that it is LOVE that motivated God to send his son to die on the cross, but equally it was LOVE that motivated God to have it all written in a book that endures.

 

His perfect, word for word inspiration of the scriptures was motivated and preserved by love. It is because of that love that we can trust his holy word, not only that it was true when he inspired it, but it remains true as he preserved it.

 

What are we to say of that love today if we no longer have his words? What are we to say of our ability to trust God at his word if we can say today that he did not preserved his words for us perfectly even in our own tongue?

 

What sort of love did God have for us today if only the recipients of the original autographs were the beneficiaries of his words?

 

Is this an enduring LOVE from the God who does not change?

 

No beloved brethren, Satan is the great deceiver and the only one who, through the voices of others, can cause you to doubt such love and lose your trust.

 

 

Alerted Of Deception (7-11)

 

7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

 

Deception did not begin late:

 

This early in the Church arose numerous errors, doctrines that were false and deceivers that were teaching false doctrine. John identifies that “many deceivers are entered into the world”, not a few, not one here and one there, but “many”.

 

You might note that deceivers were never tolerated in the early Church, they were dealt with firmly. If you love your congregation, if there is true love for the wellbeing of the church, and trust in the doctrines of Christ, then false doctrine is NOT tolerated and must be dealt with.

 

These are wolves set to devour the flock, they must be identified early and chased away instantly.

 

John was dealing with a particular type of deceiver, those who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. He saidThis is a deceiver and an antichrist.

 

We often risk thinking of only one Antichrist, The beast of Revelation 13. But John is the one who writes of antichrist and said in 1 John that there were “many antichrists” (1 Jn 2:18)

 

An antichrist is one who sets himself ‘in place of Christ’, those who call themselves ‘Vicars of Christ’ are antichrists. These are also one’s who are ‘against Christ’. What they teach identifies them.

 

Today there are multitudes of antichrists.

 

John speaks of those who specifically teach that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh, that is, he did not have human form. These deny the hypostatic union, they deny scripture teaching that Jesus is both fully man and fully God.

 

The Gnostics were popular in those days who taught nothing physical could be good. They mixed Platonic beliefs with scripture and came up with an error so profound that it would essentially deny the nature of the Gospel itself.

 

If Jesus was not fully man and fully God, his vicarious atonement, his death on the cross for man on behalf of man, as man, could not be accomplished. Jesus death would essentially mean nothing to man.

 

See Romans 5:15

 

15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace,which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

 

Go down to verse 18

 

18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 

If Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh these explanatory passages could make no sense. Sin entered into the world by the disobedience of one man, Adam. The condemnation of sin could only be vanquished by one man, Jesus Christ.

 

He needed to come as man to represent man, but he needed to be God to atone for all of man.

 

2 John 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

 

Deceivers and antichrist, if permitted, could affecta change in us that would lose for us all that God has in reward.

 

Yes, the Bible does teach of reward in heaven, eternal rewards, treasures stored that will remain for eternity, they will not perish as the treasures of the world do, they will remain.

 

But if we are swayed to believe a false doctrine and follow the teaching of an antichrist who brings not the doctrine of Christ as found in his word, then it is certain, according to the plain reading of this verse, that we may lose those things which we have wrought, and not receive a full reward.

 

Moreover he says;

 

9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

 

The Bible does not mince its words like we do, it speaks plainly that those who teach such doctrines, heretics is what they are called elsewhere, these who will not abide the plain teaching of the doctrine of Christ (for it must be plain, it must be simple to the reader for it to be so seriously judged) these have not God, they simply are not born again.

 

To those who are born of God, the scriptures which concern these fundamental matters that are dealt with here, to them the Bible is plain and unified in its teaching.

 

But to those not saved by Christ, those who do not have within them that same spirit that authored the Book of Christ, they are will not able to see the simplicity that is in Christ. Jude says these are “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear” (12)

 

As such John is consistent when he says in verse 10

 

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

 

Don’t bless those who teach un-biblical doctrines by permitting them to feast with you, even to enter into your house. Do not encourage them, bid them leave, move on and do not give them even a hint that they might be justified.

 

The “we’ll just agree to disagree” of today only demonstrates an unwillingness to either stand on the word of God, or a lack of confidence that you know the word of God.

 

Why should we be friends with those whom God warns us are wolves, spots, clouds without water, shameful, wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13).

 

In this we run the risk of being like King Jehoshaphat in the Old Testament, when Jehu came to him in 2 Chron 19:2

 

And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.

 

All that we need to learn to deal with error and those who propose such travesties as corrupting the truth of Christ, is found in the Bible. Read it muchso that error will not be that which turns you away from the truth, that you might receive a full reward.

 

JUST AS A SIDE NOTE:

 

  • Devotions won’t help you;
  • Commentaries won’t help you;
  • Podcasts and you tube won’t help you;

 

  • I know this is highly controversial, but here goes; GOOGLE WON’T HELP YOU!

 

READ YOUR BIBLE.

 

Excited to Fellowship (12-13)

 

12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. 13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

 

It is good to have the encouragement of the written word, to be blessed with doctrine true and sure, but there is something those who are united in the truth enjoy more than anything else, and that is the sweet fellowship of each other’s company.

 

Lately we have asked of ways in which we might know that we are the Lords; the love we have one with another is truly a strong indicator in the scriptures, clearly this is followed up with our desire to see one another face to face that our joy may be full.

 

It is natural that if the world loves its own (John 15:19), then so too should we love our own.

 

That love is one united in truth.

 

Beloved, can I tell you a little about the nature of truth in it’s relationship to love that perhaps we misunderstand. Our willingness to love in truth, that is, our true self seen by others, especially and most importantly our spouse, might initially leave us feeling vulnerable and open to be hurt.

 

Those of you who have given all your love to another once before and experienced the pain of deceit or trust not well founded, know what I am referring to.

 

But the opposite of that is being caged in and revealing only that part that you feel safe enough to expose. If this is expressed to a spouse, he or she will never really know who you are and they too may feel obliged to hold back in revealing the truth of themselves.

 

True love does leave itself vulnerable and I believe it is the only way a relationship founded upon truth and love can grow.

 

No one is a better example of a love so tender and true, left so vulnerable and ready for open hostility then our Lord on the cross.  Jesus did not hold back his love, to the point where those he came to save put him on a cross.But his ultimate love was to the father.

 

Beloved when you love as you are loved, being vulnerable to hurt is par for the course, but that vulnerability does not last long when we are loved as we are in return.

 

Remember, we ONLY love God because he first loved us. Your honesty in relationship begins with him. When you trust the Lord enough to confess all your faults to him, when you are willing to give all of you to him, you are free to love others in truth, as he did.

 

Loving fully in truth, is loving vulnerably and it is truly the only way to really love someone. Does your wife or husband truly know you?

 

In the Church, as with relationships, none of us are perfect and all of us have faults. There are times we are in bad moods, times under stress, times we are at fault, times too flippant and maybe times we are behaving judgmentally, ie proudly to others.

 

Our love for one another forgives the many faults in others, so that perhaps our own faults might be forgiven.

 

We should see each other face to face, that our joy may be full.

 

In Closing:

 

There is a permanence in the written record that few, including the apostle John are aware of. Not all the penman of the letters and books found in the scriptures knew or believed they were writing the very words of God. Most had little notion they were inspired of God to write, particularly in the New Testament.

 

Some, like Peter commenting on the apostle Paul in 2 Peter 3:16, were able to identify the very words of God after the fact. The Spirit in the scriptures resonated with their Spirit and they understood the value of the writing.

 

John was inspired to write exactly what we have presented to us in this volume, it would be more permanent than even he would have understood.

 

2ndJohn is the second shortest book in the Bible, only 339 words, just outnumbering 3rdJohn with 336 words, yet it is just enough of a record to provide us with the invaluable link between Truth and Love, and the clarity of what we are to think of those who come to deceive as antichrists.

 

Such a small book, yet we would be so much the poorer without it.

 

Truth and Love stem from the Bible,

 

The greater our Love for Christ, the greater will be our love for one another.

The greater our trust in the truth of the scriptures, the greater will be our willingness to be true to others.

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