The elder to the elect 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: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 2 John 1:1-3 ESV
The 2nd letter of John is but one chapter and it is one of the shortest books in the Bible. The book of 2 John is, actually, the second shortest book in the Bible, comprising only 13 verses and containing just 245 words. Only the book of 3 John is shorter. 2 John is technically anonymous, but most Bible scholars for many logical reasons attribute the epistle to John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. People often think of Peter and Paul as being the most prominent leaders of the Apostles, of God’s church- but I have read that John wrote about 20% of the New Testament (Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation). Between those 5 books, they contain over 28,000 words! Comparatively only Paul wrote more books in the New Testament than John. 1 John was about LOVE, however 2 John is about TRUTH and LOVE. In this epistle John makes clear that TRUTH comes first, it is the avenue to TRUE LOVE. If you observe the text, you will notice that John mentions “love” four times in this short letter, and “truth” five times.
Leader, commentators posit that the main theme of 2 John is safeguarding the truth, with a secondary theme being love. John was writing to PROTECT the church and to instruct believers about their interaction with false teachers. The website redeemedmind.com states that the GNOSTICS were causing problems in the church by challenging the TRUTH of the scriptures, this error led them to deny Jesus’ incarnation and resurrection (cf. 2 John 7). While John affirms that believers do have a duty to show hospitality (cf. Rom. 12:13, 20; Heb. 13:2; 1 Pet. 4:9); he also teaches that Christians must be discerning in doing so (cf. Gal. 1:8–9; 2 Thess. 3:6). Indeed, love and truth must be carefully balanced. Christians must not overlook truth under the guise of love, nor fail to love others as they uphold truth. The foundational tenets of truth and love are the basis of Christian unity. This is the struggle in today’s church, in today’s America. We have people marching with organizations that deny the deity of Christ and the RISEN CHRIST. They burn Bibles and mock Jesus, but yet Christians are marching with them and doing so under the guise of LOVE. John says, without TRUTH, you can’t GET TO LOVE. Jesus’ own hierarchy is announced and TRUTH rings LOUD AND CLEAR. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) Jesus Himself said, the TRUTH will set you free! And since you cannot get to the FATHER, unless you go through the SON, and HE IS THE TRUTH! Jesus and John both are telling us the PATH TO LOVE is called the TRUTH OF THE WORD! So we must WALK in TRUTH, that leads us to the LOVE OF GOD!
Conduit, our WALK with God is to be ACTIVE. In this book John gives us three verbs (verbs are action words): Abiding (v1-3), walking (v4-6), and guarding (7-13). We must examine ourselves: HOW ARE WE VERBING? In the second verse John refers to “the truth which abides in us” (2 John 2). This is a reference to three spiritual blessings: (1) the gospel, which is truth (John 17:17); (2) knowledge of Jesus, who is truth (John 14:6); and (3) the Holy Spirit, who guides believers in truth about Christ and Scripture (John 16:13). Are you abiding daily, getting sustenance and marching orders from God, or from the world? To understand what John means by WALKING, let’s go to his previous letter. In 2 John 4–6 John defines love NOT as human sentiment, BUT as the embodiment- the ACTIVE WORK of divine truth as believers obey God’s commands. Are you obeying the world’s demands or God’s commands- because the 2 are incongruent? Matthew 6:24 Jesus tells us this TRUTH; “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me” (John 14:21) The largest section of this book is on GUARDING THE TRUTH. This is one area that most CHISTIANS lose their MOJO! John warns his readers about false teachers, as he describes their character. John writes that these false teachers were deceivers who denied Jesus’ incarnation and he notes that they were transgressors. John writes that aiding in the ministry of false teachers by showing them hospitality may result in loss of spiritual rewards. John is saying that if someone aids in the ministry of a false teacher by showing them hospitality, such unintentional enabling makes one a partner in the transgression. The sin committed by the one showing hospitality is the FAILURE to love others and to discern truth. Even though this is a hard lesson on how to treat the WORLD, consider this: In today’s text, John extends a standard Christian greeting of grace, mercy, and peace. Remember: GRACE is unmerited favor, MERCY is undeserved pardon, and PEACE is the result of receiving both. Today Love people enough to talk to them in TRUTH first, and do so with LOVE!