6/3/18 - Sermon Summary - Love and Guard the Truth (2 John)
Love and Guard the Truth (2 John)
2 John is like a brief summary of several of the points in 1 John. So consider this a refresher of 1 John. God’s commands, truth, and love among believers are key points once again. A new point made in this letter: don't provide hospitality to false teachers. (v. 1) This letter is written to “the chosen lady and her children,” possibly a reference to the church, possibly not. John’s main point is to maintain the truth of the gospel, and to warn against deceivers (false teachers) who pervert the truth. Pilate asks, “What is truth?” The truth is under assault in John’s world and continues to be today (e.g. relativism). So, what is truth? Humans have a foundational problem with truth – suppressing the truth (Romans 1), denying our Creator. But the answer to the question, “What is truth?” should be clear to us who believe the truth of the Bible. If a person wants to know ultimate truth, one must listen to Jesus and abide in all His words. (John 14:6). Focus on the truth is foundational in this epistle. John loves the elect lady in truth, and binds truth and love together in (v. 3), in the gospel. Truth and love are essential, but how do we balance them in our culture? Contending for the truth is loving.
(v. 4) brings up commandments and their relation to the truth. John is rejoicing for believers walking in truth. (v. 5) John addresses the chosen lady and repeats the command to love one another, a new commandment in its effect on the lady (her obedience), but not new in the giving of the commandment. The commandment is to love one another and love is to walk in his commandments (a bit circular, but nonetheless true). Loving one another is: if you’re sick, I’ll pray for you; if you’re hungry, I’ll feed you; if you have a need, I’ll try to meet it, etc. (more examples Rom. 12).
(v. 7) False teachers: John describes them and tells the lady what to do about them. Scripture is full of warnings against false teachers (Matt. 7:15, 1 Tim. 4:1, Jude 4, 2 Peter 2:1). John describes them as, “those who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” Denying the incarnation – this would undo the atonement. John then gives instruction about how to respond to false teachers (v. 8). Resist deceivers who deny the way of true salvation. “Do not lose what we have accomplished” – a communal reference, working together for the truth. How to “watch yourselves” - (v. 9) focus on the teaching of Christ, but don’t go on ahead of it. Final point, forceful and direct (v. 10-11) – do not receive false teachers into your house. Strong words, but it makes sense when we understand the more robust hospitality culture in that time. Don’t give him a greeting - not merely a quick hello, but a Christian greeting between fellow believers. There is a huge difference between engaging and accepting. To claim identity in Christ, but distort the gospel – is this not the worst of the worst?
(v. 12) John ends the letter as he began, rejoicing in children walking in the truth. By the efforts of John and Paul, many of us also now walk in the truth. Our pastor also gets joy when we walk in the truth. So walking in the truth is one way to love your pastor. Another is: listening to him, because he tells us the truth. Conclusion: we must defend the gospel at all costs. If we as believing Christians in the body of Christ don’t do this, who will? We are the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).