“…that we love one another…” 2 John 5c
This second letter by the exiled apostle, as evidenced by these five words, reinforces the Lord’s new command to love one another. They confirm John’s authority as an apostle and one who walked with Jesus. (v.’s 5-6) It was the new command to love one another that was to be the signature of an authentic evangelical group of Believers. (Read John 13:35) Love was to be the one qualifier distinguishing between those who walk in light and those who walk in darkness.
This letter’s main thrust, however, is directing the first century church to walk in The Truth - knowing and abiding in Christ. John also warned against false teachers who oppose the truth: Jesus, the embodiment of truth, Who lived a sinless life, died on a cross for the sins of mankind, and rose from the dead on the third day after his death… AND Who is coming back again!
John presents three points on The Truth:
1. We share the same knowledge of the truth of Christ. (v.’s 1-3) In the salutation, John addresses what appears to be a dear friend in Christ, who also seems to have a house church. (v.’s 1-3) Some theologians suggest the friend was named, Martha. J.L. Houlden supports this notion in revealing the Greek word for “lady”, kuria, being equivalent to the well attested Aramaic name for Martha. Knowing the truth of Jesus equips Believers to identify those who masquerade as Christians, taking advantage of Christian hospitality while spreading false teachings which bring division within the churches, compromising the message of Christianity. John, however, asserts Christ’s Lordship as equal with the Father with his opening blessing “from God the Father, and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son…” Who dwell with us in truth and love. (v.3) Ite is vitally important to teach the truth of Christ within the home. The old saying is true: “As the home goes, so goes the nation.” Pray for a great awakening across our country, in our time, that the truth of abundant life and eternal joy in Christ be unashamedly shared.
2. We encourage each other to walk in the truth. (v.’s 4-6) John applauded those in this home church for their consistent walk in the truth of Christ, reminding them to continue exhibiting the love of Christ to all. (v.’s 5-6) He even described their obedience of walking in the truth to give him great joy! In his next letter, John would attest he knew of no greater joy than to hear of his “children” walking in truth. (3 John 4) I find it quite interesting that John specifically mentioned walking in the truth, just as The Father commanded. In doing so, John connects with the first century Christians, most of whom were Jews who identified with The Law. Jesus embodied The Law, even giving clarity to The Law in His sermon on the mount. (Matthew 5-7) The Law was recognized as The Ten Commandments . The truth, then, was identified in those commandments and in the person of Jesus Christ. The Ten Commandments are parameters given by our loving Father, Who know our tendency toward selfishness and self-centered living. They are not just rules given by a strict judge, as each one is an expression of love in the context of universal moral law. God’s will is revealed through the love shown in protecting His children. In the same way, our obedience to God’s Word is a testimony of our love for God, not our of fear of judgment, but of our confidence in knowing His truth.
3. We abide in His truth by looking out for each other and watching out for imposters. (v.’s 7-11) Encouraging each other by consistently pointing to God’s Word helps eliminate the competing voices of this world which seek to distract us from our faith walk and detract us from our mission. The forces of darkness have a mission totally contrary to ours, which provides plenty of motivation for those dark imps to work non-stop in hindering the perpetuation of God’s Word and the love He gave to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.
We look out for each other by warning our fellow Believers to not look back. (v.8) Paul declared it was his purpose to press on to the high calling of Jesus Christ, forgetting what was behind. (Philippians 3:13-14) Looking back can cause us to lose what one has already gained. False teachers propose to offer a new teaching, something not yet attained, only to lose what you already have. Embracing false teaching leads to wrong living. Truth and life go together: true knowledge leads to truthful living.
We also look out for each other by warning our fellow Believers about moving ahead of the guidance provided in God’s Word. (v.9) Modernism has introduced one compromise after another in holy living, leading not only to liberalism, but to license toward all sorts of ungodliness. The word translated, “transgress”, means to pass beyond assigned limits or run ahead too far. Those who propagate liberalism often lead others into a denial of the truth of God’s Word, leading to the denial of Christ’s transforming power and redemption.
We look out for each other by warning our fellow Believers about welcoming those who are known to bring ideas opposed to Christ’s transformational love. By doing so, it could lead to another’s eternity without the joy of Christ. Our neighbors, friends, and work associates who have not experienced being born again may be unknowingly deceived by being told, “Mr. Jones let me in.” Rejecting false teachers exposes his heretical doctrine which can impact the lives of others eternally. That’s not to say the Christian cannot entertain a nonbeliever or practice ‘friendship evangelism’.
The ‘ecclesia’ – the church – are gathered not only to worship, but are joined in the common mission of making disciples fully devoted to Christ… and it is all bound together in knowing, THAT WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER!