Deception is never the tool of God’s people. It is however put to constant use by those against God. Physical persecution against the Church was present in the earliest days but it is perhaps not the deadliest foe to the spread of the Gospel. The danger of false doctrine and the havock it can brings to the church community and indivdiuals is far worse.
CHILDREN OF THE FAITH (2 John 1-6)
John starts out this letter by noting himself as the “elder” and his recipient as the “elect lady and her children” (vs. 1). At most we can conclude that John is speaking to a house church and that the woman is the host. They seem to be well-known and loved by other Christian communities as John states he respect and for them but also “all they that have known the truth” (vs.1).
The common bind between all believers is that adherence to the truth. The everlasting truth is never of danger in itself for it “shall be with us forever” (vs. 2). The issue that must be dealt with is that deception of truth that the devil brings.
The greeting between believers is always the combination of grace, mercy, and peace. Coming from the Triune Godhead we receive these three blessings from Father, Son, and Spirit without any warrant on our self. John asks these blessing upon the house church “in truth and love” (vs. 3).
Throughout the writings of John is the call to walk “in truth” (vs. 4). He shares that that the walk is our lifestyle and behavior. We are encouraged to walk in truth as it is “light” (1 Jn. 1:7) as opposed to walking in “darkness” (1 Jn. 1:6). To hear of the people of this house church walking in truth John “rejoiced greatly” (2 Jn. 4) as so we should be glad for others that walk in truth.
The children of God are called to obey only the command of God to “love one another” (vs. 5). It is through this command that all other issues of life find their selves supported. The ten command themselves divided themselves among love for God in the first four and love for others in the last six.
It is in the commandment to love others that we are encouraged to “walk in it” (vs 6). Not only is there the need to have belief in Christ but the believer must walk in love towards others and God. The very drive of man in this life is love.
DECEIVERS OF THE FAITH (2 John 7-8).
John’s main concern for the churches was that they remain in the truth. John did not fear that truth would be overtaken but that people would be deceived and not come to the truth. All deceivers were those that did not teach “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” (vs. 7). They were in fact antichrist’s or those that were against Christ. Even today a litmus test for a person’s doctrine is where they stand on the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ.
John warns the believers to use discernment within their group to maintain the teachings that were “wrought” (vs. 8). Variations of truth could lead the people astray. Christ is the centerpiece of the Gospel and any variation on Christ leads to heresy.
DEALING WITH DECIEVERS (2 John 9-13).
The truth of Jesus being fully divine and fully human was as difficult for some in early church history as it is for us today. There is the blessing of having God for those that continue in the “doctrine of Christ” (vs. 9). The blessing is having the Father and the Son together.
John advises the house church to separate with any that bring in false doctrine. If any new people were to come visiting then they were to not “receive” (vs. 10) them into the house. This seems harsh but it worth the reward heaven.
To allow those with false doctrines about Christ to be welcomed into the fellowship is to share in their work and is “partaker of his evil deeds” (vs. 11). We should never allow false doctrine into our homes and churches.
Our fellowship is not with darkness but with the those that walk in God’s light. Therefore it is important to recognize the godly desire of “face to face” (vs. 12) contact. The fellowship of believers is identified by the mutual love they have for one another while being vigilant that false doctrine does not enter the fellowship and harm the people. This is seen when the “sister” (vs. 13) churches encourage the recipients of John’s letter to follow the precepts John gave them.