I have never preached on this book of the Bible. I have never taught this book of the Bible. Yes, 2 John shares the theme of “love one another” that 1 John emphasizes. We just spent five weeks hearing how we are to love one another. The specific warning that the Elder gives helps us understand how love and truth work together.
We hear in our society today that we are to be about love. I don’t think the love our society talks about is the same sort of love the Elder is writing about. For us to live in the teachings of Jesus we also need truth. Walk in the Father’s commandments. Why would we want to walk in the Father’s commandments?
For then we will know that “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s son, in truth and love. “ It is by grace that we are saved. But grace also warns us to not be deceived. It is through the Father’s mercy that we have life. But the Father’s mercy can stop when we stop pursuing his ways. It is peace that Jesus Christ brings us. But we won’t have peace when we participate in evil.
The Elder writes 2 John to help the church. We read 2 John to gain all the help we can to walk in the Father’s commandments. Each part of the letter helps us live in the teachings of Jesus.
A. The opening helps us know the truth connects each church (v. 1-3)
1. The “elect lady and her children” are a church
2. The Elder loves this church
3. All who know the truth love this church – churches love each other!
4. The truth lives in us
5. What one church receives, all local churches can receive
6. Oh, to have this church loved by all the other churches! And for us to be a church that loves all the other churches! How is this going to happen? We walk in the Father’s commandments. We know the truth. We know love. Together truth and love allow us to receive grace, mercy, and peace. These are needed as we complete the two tasks the Elder finds the church doing.
B. The body of the letter helps us with two tasks (v. 4-11)
1. First, remember the new commandment
a. Walk in the truth
b. It is a must!
2. Second, beware of those who progress past the teachings of Jesus
a. The “Commission on the Way Forward” needs to remember this idea
– The teachings of Jesus help us to live
– Going beyond the teachings of Jesus do not help us to live
– There is truth and love in the teachings of Jesus
– Shall the United Methodist denomination be full of love for all without having the truth? When we isolate on love to the point we forget the truth, then we welcome deceivers. We even welcome their evil! God help us all walk in the commandments of Jesus in truth and love!
b. Deceivers are in the world
c. Deceivers do not say Jesus came in the flesh
d. Deceivers can help us to lose what we have worked for
i. There is no “once saved, always saved”
ii. We keep on keeping on after Jesus
e. Deceivers go beyond the teaching of Christ
f. We do evil when we welcome deceivers
3. These two tasks show us how important it is for truth and love to work together. We walk in the Father’s commandments as we remember to live the new commandment. Truth helps us see the importance of obedience. Love for one another helps us to overcome evil. Together truth and love help us to live in the teachings of Jesus. This matters for us as a local church. This matters for all of the churches for which we are connected.
C. The closing of the letter helps us to stay connected with other churches (v. 12-13)
1. Our joy becomes complete when we meet face to face
a. What one church faces, all churches face
b. What one church does, all churches feel the consequences
2. It is good for churches to greet each other
a. We are no better than any other church
b. It is Jesus who makes us part of the church
3. This church and every church can walk in the Father’s commandments. Otherwise, we have no reason to be church or to meet each other. What love and truth can we inspire in each other as churches, even Christians, meet face to face!
Yes, I needed to read 2 John. I need to preach 2 John. For when we learn to walk in the truth we are better able to love one another. We are better able to love other Christians and other churches.
We cannot go beyond Jesus’ teachings. Progressing beyond Jesus only leads to trouble for the church, trouble that we don’t need. This trouble, this evil, can cause us to lose all that God has for us.