Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The First Lady

I'm sure you have not seen much teaching on the book of 2 John. Like 3 John, it is a short note, more like a memo than a letter. The first question you might ask is, "Who is the elder, the Lady chosen by God and her children?" Most think this refers to the church, the bride of Christ. And the children are the sons and daughters of Christ, the believers. The great majority thinks this book is written by John, whose name is obvious in the title of the letter. Also it is a personal letter from John to the church as evidenced by the first chapter.

So what is the message of this short letter?

1. The church toward the end of the first century is already being plagued by heresies that were teaching that Jesus only appeared to be a human, but couldn't have been if he was God. That is why John quite often refers to the "truth" as opposed to "error". The truth was that Jesus came in the flesh. And to all those who would receive and believe in Him would become children of God. John says "the truth" lives in them and will be with them forever. A reference to the Holy Spirit that believers receive when they come to faith and are baptized. This is the Spirit of God, who guides us into all truth.

2. Then, the question is how do we live out that we are children of God and children of the Truth. 3 John teaches this is a response of obedience, which is carried out in love. A lot of people make obedience to God confusing and obtuse. John says that love is walking in obedience to His commands. Simply put if you love someone you will obey their commands. And again the commands of God are not complicated or burdensome. They are to love one another as Jesus has loved us, giving up His life for us.

So how might this apply to us? Paul says to young Timothy, "Watch your life and doctrine closely." Meaning we need to know what we believe and why, so we can notice when false beliefs are introduced into the church. But if all we are about is doctrine how will the world know the love of God. Notice love is not a feeling or emotion, but a conscious choice. Just as Jesus chose to love us in obedience to the Father, we choose to love in obedience too. But this is not a slavish obedience, but a response to the love Jesus has willingly and sacrificially given to us.

Each day we wake up we say God I receive your love not help me to choose to love others you put in my path in obedience to your command.

2 John 1:1-6
1 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— 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 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. 6 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.

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