We are continuing our ‘One Chapter Wonders’ with the book of 2 John. This Sunday service was awesome. I really was challenged by the book of 2 John. It is a short book; only 12 verses. Within 12 verses though, I have come to understand God in an amazing, powerful way. I hope you will agree with me.
The book starts, “The Elder to the elct lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever” (1 -2).
Who is this lady John speaks of in this letter and who are her children? We must start here in order to understand the body of the letter. Todd shared his study with us, sharing that the ‘mother’ was in fact, the Church (the Bride of Christ) and her children are is the body that exists with her. Struggling through persecution and trials, John writes to a church that is loved by himself and others. This message was for them; this message is for us. It is a cry of John’s heart, penned in his own hand. Perhaps if we are willing to endure twelve verses, there might be a message for you and I.
“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father” (4).
Do we really rejoice in the fact that there are those who walk in the truth? Do we rejoice ‘greatly’ when there are those who love God and desire to follow His commandments? I think sometimes we are not ‘greatly’ rejoicing when God brings others to Himself. Perhaps we need to join with John and rejoice with others in this manner. Perhaps we can experience this joy.
“And now I ask you, (dear lady – the church) not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning – that we love one another” (5)
Why is it that we forget the elementary disciplines of our faith so often? Why do we need to be told to love one another? Is it so difficult to love others, especially those within the body of Christ? Love… We say it so often and yet we really do not know how to express it either in the right attitude or with the right expression. How can we love God or others outside of our faith if we cannot love those who are apart of the body of Christ? Did Paul write his letter to the Corinthian church in vain? Why is it after almost 2,000 years, we still struggle to love those who are our brothers and our sisters? Perhaps this small twelve verse letter has a lot more meaning than we would be willing to admit. It is a timely message in which all are at fault (starting with me). It is what we are called to do though – from the beginning.
John then ends his letter with a warning. He tell us, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is a deceiver and the Antichrist” (7).
Wow John. That is kind of harsh is it not? When I read this verse my mind cannot help but turn to the persecuted church in China and the horrible acts that have been committed simply because people want to worship Jesus. I wonder how many people are undercover workers for the Chinese government, attempting to close down the work of Jesus in these underground churches hidden in mountains and basements. I wonder how many people have lost a leg or even their own life because of such people who have deceived their neighbor. John’s message might be harsh but unfortunately, it is real today. I have no doubt the church in John’s day experienced trials as great, if not even greater than China and other countries respectively. It is a hard message to share but one with an honest heart and a genuine spirit. John’s message is a fair warning; perhaps one the United States will need to hear in the future (God forbid it).
So with that, the letter ends with John’s desire to see the church ‘face-to-face so that his joy may be complete’ (12). With that, I will end this post. I honestly think it ends well for itself.
The challenge is it read this timely chapter of the Bible and meditate on it. Ask God how it speaks to our future as the church and also how it affects the church now across the world. Allow John’s words to become more than mere words. Rather, let it be a manifesto to your soul and your heart’s cry. For our dear lady and her children. Amen