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Thursday, April 3, 2014

LOVE, WARNING, PROMISE (2nd John)



A Study of 2 John
To know Him is to love Him
A Testament of Love, Warning, Promise

Michelle Connolly  


Much like the last book I John, this letter, 2 John comes as a testament of love, a reminder, a warning and a promise

While the power of the book can be deceiving in that it only has 256 words and is one of the smallest books in the New Testament it not only hits home with the love a pastor has for his church but the connection we have with each other as a family preparing for eternity and it really packs in the details in a short start to a later conversation. It has much embedded in it and when we break it apart we can see all the elements.

Starting first with the greeting

The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: NIV
My dear congregation, I, your pastor, love you in very truth. And I’m not alone—everyone who knows the Truth that has taken up permanent residence in us loves you. (The Message)

This greeting is special and there are lots of opinions about who wrote it and whom he was writing to. Some say it was just an elder of the church but history shows that it had to be John who wrote this, only he was this close to the church to know what they were going through, what was coming their way and what they would need to look out for. He was their pastor and cared very deeply for them, just like an elder in a family. Elder by definition is overseer and that was John’s job even when he was not present to oversee their needs and protect them, his job was still clear and evident, even from afar.
Elders of the church

                        The importance of the leadership of the elders has been evident throughout Paul’s ministry, he eventually wrote down instructions about the elders qualifications as did Paul and Jesus.

I Tim3:1-7
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Titus 1:5-9
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

As you can see John takes his position as elder very seriously and insists and expects that those who do work for The Lord do the same;

I Cor. 3:8-11
The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

John loves this body of believers so much as to point out the connection they (we) have with him and God the father and Jesus not in a temporary fashion but for eternity forever. That’s what makes this letter so important
 And as I said in the beginning this letter is first a reminder.
John reminds the body, the church who they belong to, who loves them and their eternal connection with the elder, the Father God, Jesus Christ and the church as a whole.
“The lady chosen” while not named directly some say that John was writing to a specific women, but in this case lady refers to the church
So I want to talk about the church and what that means here in this part. The church is a representative of the genuine Christian and we are told what that looks like in
I John 2:3 “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands”
Romans 12:9-21 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[a] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[b] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[c] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
The second reminder is Truth
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me John 14: 6
John was talking about the truth because deceivers were coming, they were on their way and it was in part his warning while reminding them what lies in us through Jesus Christ.
V.4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 
I John 3:15-16 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the son of God, God lives in him and he in God and so we know and rely on the love God has for us
I Cor. 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
The first four verses are a very special greeting to those John took care of nurtured and loved, that brought great joy to him for their faithfulness to God.
I know as a parent and a mom that when Madi is showing growth and care in her life especially that part that emulates God, I am filled with Joy. It strengthens the way I interact with her and I believe that God does that with us.

V, 5-6,  But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed. (The message)
And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. (NIV)

The greatest of commandments of God
Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”   Mt 22:36-38   NIV

And what is Love you ask?
I Cor. 13:4-8
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. (The message)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (NIV)
And finally of Love…
 Ecclesiastes12:13: fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man
Ex 20:6 :but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments
I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we[a] have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings.
In verse 7 this is where John warns the church to be watchful of the deceivers To protect themselves and be guarded. Remember the first time people met a deceiver? The Garden of Eden where satan slithered into the garden and with his finesse and trickery of words, deceived Eve into eating from the tree.
” Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Gen. 3:1-4
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. I John 4:1
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Peter 2:1
I won’t read all of these verses and I included them for you to look up on your own, but Jeremiah is filled with scripture about false prophets
            Jeremiah 14:14, 23:16, 23:33, 28:1 and finally Jeremiah 50:36
And finally Lamentations 2:14
The visions of your prophets
    were false and worthless;
they did not expose your sin
    to ward off your captivity.
The prophecies they gave you
    were false and misleading.
Watch out that you do not lose what we[a] have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully
Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded.
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
John is giving a warning in verse 8 on how easy it is to lose sight of our objective and when we do what we are to lose…..
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
Hebrews 12:1-2

This is what happens when we take things into our own hands, run ahead of the Lord, but the Lord always wins in the end.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” Genesis 16
It is easy to lose a place hold when we are not keeping our eyes on the prize, keeping our hearts, mind, soul and spirit on the Lord. John is warning of the distractions that can cause us to get ahead of our father. Just as we need to be patient with those around us we need to be patient with God as He shows us where to go, what to do and how far our individual path is always keeping our focus on Him.

10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:13-15

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. Revelation 2:2

12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings

John closes with a promise of a continuation of this love he shares for them, the teaching he looks forward to bringing. It is interesting her where we learn that he is actually holding back some of the message he has for them as if to imply I holds much weight to this letter but is so deep that he can’t say it in the letter. It is as if he wants to save things for later but set forth his plan. Similar to when we make plans to see someone, we make a basic sketch of the visit give a jist of what we want to do or talk about when we see them, in John’s case he gives them a brief of what the main topic will be knowing it is just too deep and too important to cover everything in the letter.

13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings

And finally, when John talks about the children of your sister he is referring to the church body he is with saying that they send their love specifically to the church he is writing to, showing the connection in Christ as a family of Christ.

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