One might expect persecution from those outside the church to be one of the greatest hindrances to the gospel. It can be seen though that hypocrisy and deception from inside the church have done more damage than anything. Throughout history, the church has handled these and proven that the truth of the gospel is eternal.
CHILDREN OF THE FAITH (2 John 1-6)
In this world of multimedia, twenty-second sound bytes constantly bombarding our minds it easy to err from the truth. This affects our experience with the power of the gospel and its ability to endure in us. John’s second letter encourages us all who have “known the truth” (vs. 1) to continue it. Jesus is the truth (cf. Jn. `14:6) and dwells in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The promise is that the truth will be “with us for ever” (2 Jn. 2).
We do not earn salvation on any merit of ourselves but comes through from God alone by “truth and love” (vs. 3). He gives us grace, mercy, and peace to those that walk “in truth” (vs. 4). Not only are we to believe and know the truth in our heart and mind but our behaviors and actions should follow in line with those beliefs. Our Christian worldview should not only develop our minds but what also what we do.
We must have a continual reminder to “love one another” (vs. 5) The western world has set up the individual and self as idols. It seems that care for others comes after one looks out for themselves in their daily affairs. We must continue in our endeavor to seek God’s love through the Holy Spirit and “walk in it” (vs. 6).
DECEIVERS OF THE FAITH (2 John 7-8)
It should not be any surprise to us that there are “many deceivers” (vs. 7) among us in the world. John would have us to focus here upon those that attack the deity (Jesus being fully God) and incarnation (Jesus being fully man). Those who will lead others away from the faith will step away from biblical teaching on in four areas 1) the nature of God, 2) nature of Christ, 3) nature of sin, or 4) the nature of man. The faithful to the truth of Scripture though will keep those truths and continue in them so that they “receive a full reward” (vs. 8). That is the reward of heaven and dwelling in the presence of God.
DEALING WITH DECEIVERS (2 John 9-13)
It is not only important to identify those who would deceive those in the church but also on how we are to interact with them. Those that do not abide by the truth found in the “doctrine of Christ” (vs. 9) do not possess God’s salvation. While it is impossible not to have interaction with those who carry a false gospel, we are warned to not “receive” (vs. 10) them into our house or bless them. To do so is be their helper of their “evil deeds” (vs. 11). Jesus eating with sinners or going to their was not condoning their sin but bringing salvation to them and accepting them as people. To welcome them into their home, on the other hand, was to accept their beliefs.
In a world that is full of false teachings among the truth, we find help and encouragement with those that walk in the truth. In our digital age, we have lost “face to face” (vs. 12) for text messages and status updates. Paul wished to abandon the letters for close contact with these peoples. Fellowship with other Christians is important because of the encouragement we gain. Paul reminds his readers that their “sister” (vs. 13) churches also go through the same things. Though the Christian community is separated into denominations, we must remain faithful to the essentials of Scriptural teaching and each other through encouragement. We must help each other.