Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #277 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 2nd John today and our focus is on How Should Christians Handle Jehovah’s Witnesses and Other False Teachers Coming to Their House + Finishing the Christian Race Well. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Today we are going to read an entire book together – ONE WHOLE BOOK. Well, actually it’s a letter, more than a book, but people do call it a book of the Bible. And, in most English translations, 2nd John is the shortest book in the Bible by word count and verse count, so I guess we shouldn’t be too impressed with ourselves. That said, 2nd John is a pretty interesting book. On the surface, this is the only book of the Bible addressed solely to a female:
1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, 2 John 1
A lot of scholars – probably most scholars, believe that “the elect lady and her children.” doesn’t refer to a particular lady, but to the church John is writing to and its members, but I actually agree with the early church father Athanasius, who lived in the 300s AD, and believed that not only did John address this letter to a particular person, but that her name is in the greeting: Κυρία Kyría, which can be translated as “lady,” but can also be a proper name, Kyria. I believe this might be the case because 3rd John is very, very similar to this letter in almost every respect, and it is written specifically to a man named Gaius. Either way, it is an interesting letter, as short as it is, and has quite a bit of content that is worthy of discussion. Let’s talk about false teachers first. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are fairly well known for knocking on doors and passing out literature. Both groups are relatively new in terms of history, so nothing 2nd John says specifically addresses the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, but John’s commands covers these groups and other false teachers. In this epistle, John first calls on Christians to love each other, and says that we show love for each other by following the commands of Jesus, just like in 1st John. John then addresses a particular kind of Gnosticism that denies Jesus came in the flesh, saying that those who deny that Jesus came as a real flesh and blood human are deceivers and antichrists. Finally, He lays down this command:
9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
So – John is telling us, through this letter, that we are not to greet or welcome into our home a certain kind of false teacher – and he warns us that welcoming such a person is HELPING THEM with their evil works. But – what kind of false teaching are we being warned about? I think it is pretty general – those who do not bring the teaching of Christ. This would include those who warp the teaching of Christ, like gnostics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and others – John tells us that we are not to greet them, and when they come to our homes, do not give them anything – no hospitality, or welcome, or anything. This is one of the few times in the Bible that Christians are commanded to do something that is, on the surface, rude – but the reason is presented here – greeting or welcoming a false teacher into your home encourages them and gives them energy to keep going in their “wicked works,” and John commands that we should have no part in fueling the spread of false teaching. Note: this doesn’t indicate that we should be mean, or harm anybody, or insult them, or anything like that – simply that we are NOT to welcome or greet those we know are going about the active business of spreading false teaching – teaching that doesn’t agree with the teaching of Jesus.
One other thing John addresses here, and it is very deep. As we have discussed before, many modern churches emphasize the moment of decision – walking the aisle to become a Christian, praying the prayer to ask Jesus into our hearts, making a decision for Christ, etc. This is not entirely wrong, because the Bible gives us several examples of people getting saved in a moment, making a decision for Christ like the Philippian jailer, and those who heard Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2. However, in comparison to most modern Christians, the Bible UNDERemphasizes the decision for salvation and puts much greater focus on CONTINUING in Jesus for a lifetime – FOLLOWING Him. Consider what John says in vss. 8-9
8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 8-9
A Christian must not outrun, so to speak, the teachings of Christ, but must abide in His Word and His commands – thus we are called to a daily walk of following Jesus, not merely a one single time where we walk the aisle of the church and gain some “fire insurance” to keep us out of hell. Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 15:
Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
Christianity is not merely about the beginning of the race – it is about the beginning and the end and the middle of the race. If you have truly begun the race with Christ, you will finish the race with Christ, because He will preserve you, but you make your calling and election sure, by continuing in the message and teaching of Christ on a daily basis – taking your stand by holding on to the good news. Continuing in the Word of Christ is the difference between believing in vain and being saved. Let’s read our short letter/book.
Bible Memory passage for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
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