Read 2 John
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.
7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings.
In 2 John, John writes a short letter to a church and its members. He uses the language of a ‘‘lady and her children” since the church and its members are the “bride” of Christ (see also Revelation 22:17, Ephesians 5:22-33).
Two themes stick out in this brief letter: truth and love. You cannot separate the two since truth informs the way we act towards others— in love. In the first six verses, John uses the word “truth” five times and the word “love” four times. We demonstrate love towards others when we declare truth, and we withhold love when we hide the truth from them.
John warns this church that they need to be careful of those who seek to deceive them with something outside the truth. They might preach what appears to be a more loving message, but it lacks truth. We need to arm ourselves (see Ephesians 6:10-20) with truth because many deceivers have gone out into the world. These people twist the truth and preach a false gospel.
We certainly face deceivers every day as many declare there’s no such thing as absolute truth. Others twist the truth to serve their own agendas (i.e., the prosperity gospel). Thankfully, we have God’s Word to inform us of what is truth, and then we get to declare this very truth in love to others. When we walk in the truth, we have both the Father and the Son. What an incredible gift we get to carry with us wherever we go. The reality is this: we walk in truth and love because followers of Christ have the Father and the Son, always.
In verse 12, John encourages us to share truth and love with others in person. In a world that focuses on text messages and quick communication, John longs to visit and talk with others face-to-face. While technology can be a communication gift, there’s nothing like having our joy completed in the physical presence of others.
- What can you do today to arm yourself with truth?
- What’s one tangible way you can demonstrate love to someone else?
- What do you think John means when he says we shouldn’t take deceivers into our house or welcome them?