Monday, May 5, 2014

Walk in the Truth

2 John is one of two "postcard epistles" (3 John is the other). These are the two shortest books in the New Testament. But just as the receipt of a postcard means someone is thinking of you (and remembered your address while traveling), a postcard from John meant he was thinking of the church to which he wrote.

Well, this week and next, we are going to look at these two “postcard epistles”, beginning with 2 John.

Overall, 2 John has a few key terms that repeat many times. He mentions truth five times, love and commandment four times each, and teaching and children three times each. He commends the church for walking in the truth in v. 4 and gives a couple of warnings in v. 8 and then v. 10.

Although John was an apostle and could have demanded the church to follow, he opens the letter with a more endearing term instead. The word "elder" does mean an aged or older man (especially). But biblically, this term means a leader of the church, and according to 1 Peter 5.3, should set an example to the flock.

The letter is addressed to the "elect lady". This designation is almost certainly a reference to a local church, not an individual woman. Interestingly, the Greek word for lady is "kuria" which is the feminine form of the word "kurios" which mean Lord. Is this possibly John pointing to the lady being the bride of Christ?

After passing a triple blessing (grace, mercy, and peace), he gives a commendation for their walking in the truth. It must be noted that to walk in the truth, one must know the truth. And then, John wrote they should love others. It is not enough to know...we must also show!

Two warnings soon follow. Verse 8 says to "watch yourselves". Watch out! John mentions the deceivers in v. 7, and in v. 9 he says these deceivers are not abiding in Christ's teachings - which is to love one another. Jesus gave this "new command" in John 13.34. It is ok for Jesus to give new commands. It is not for us. Perhaps new commands are made because people are unwilling, and certainly unable, to follow all that Jesus commanded. This is the very reason we need God's grace.

The second warning is not to receive these people who are teaching falsely. Most people like to have their ears tickled, but the reality is that most ear tickling is due to half-truths or worse. But welcoming such teaching destroys the church over time, if not immediately.

What should we take from this letter?

Well, like the original recipients, we must walk in the truth. We must love one another. The we, is each of us individually, and then collectively. The overarching command of Jesus is, "Follow me."

Where is Jesus asking you to follow? Consider your life today...consider it a year from now. Where do you want to be in your relationship with Him? More importantly, where does He want you to be in your relationship with Him?

Make a commitment to walk with Him in truth (Jesus is the truth - John 14.6), and see where He leads you. It may not be easy. It may not always be fun. But it will definitely be worth it?

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