SCRIPTURE: 2 John 1:1-13
Verses 10-11 (The Message)
10-11 If anyone shows up who doesn’t hold to this teaching, don’t invite him in and give him the run of the place. That would just give him a platform to perpetuate his evil ways, making you his partner.
The cults will always come knocking on our door, especially during the holidays.
The ESSENCE of this little letter, a biblical Postcard as some have said, because of its brevity and it is a caution against endorsing a CULT. But I’m a little ahead of myself and need to begin at the beginning of John’s letter.
The writer of this letter, the apostle John, is referred to as “the Elder”–this is referring to age–usually an old man (Luke 15:25; 1 Timothy 5:1) and perhaps an Elder in the local church as well.
John was clearly an aged man when he wrote this “Postcard”, or small letter. In David Guzik’s 2 John Commentary:
“John the apostle, who was now a very old man, generally supposed to be about ninety…He is allowed to have been the oldest of all the apostles, and to have been the only one who died a natural death.” (Clarke).
So the use of the word “Elder” is not necessarily referring to an office in the church. That said, the word could also refer to the rank or office in the Jewish Sanhedrin (Matthew 16:21). It can refer as well to the local church (Acts 11:29, 20:17; 1 Timothy 5:17, 19). What really matters here is his position rather than his personal name. The word “Elder” simply means, “a venerable figure in the church known with affectionate [respect] as ‘the old man’.” [reference – Marshall]
Who is the Letter Written to? (verses 1b-6)
To the Woman who is CHOSEN–ELECT (v. 1, 13).
“ELECT” is eklektos, one picked out or chosen. The reference is to the fact that this lady was one of the elects of God, one chosen-out one of God, chosen-out from among mankind by the sovereign grace of God for salvation.” [reference – Wuest]
“The eternal act of God whereby He, in His sovereign good pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, chooses a certain number of people to be recipients of the special grace of eternal salvation. This ELECTION is unconditional [i.e., there is nothing in the creature that conditions God’s choice] pre-temporal (before the foundation of the world), unmerited (by grace), as the basis of SALVATION.” [reference – Basic Theology, Ryrie]
(Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9)
Whoever this lady was, it opens the door for a variety of interpretations:
- Figuratively referenced to a local church.
- A lady named Electra [meaning, chosen].
- Karia [a Greek word for lady].
- Or, it could be that the lady’s name is anonymous.
“whom I love in truth–also to all those who have known the truth.”
John uses the word agape (“love”) which is not a word of personal endearment, like agapetos (“well-beloved”). He omits the word to avoid anybody in the church making something out of his correspondence to her.
- He also uses the word “truth” – lit. “his love was in the sphere of truth.”
- He equally includes her children as the object of his love.
All of this would stop any gossip in its tracts, keeping everything without the appearance of anything improper.
The CONTINUATION of the TRUTH –
“Because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever.”
WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
- Jesus Christ Himself (John 14:6).
- The Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17).
- The Word of God (John 17:17).
The SOURCE of the TRUTH –
From God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father is TRUTH and LOVE.
Here we see God the Father and the Son placed on equal footing, something the Gnostic denied. [See Got Questions.org “What is the definition of the term Gnostic?”]
The SUBSTANCE–What Comes from God to us (verse 3).
- GRACE – God’s unmerited favor for everything we need to do God’s will.
- MERCY – God not giving us what we deserve.
- PEACE – The result of grace and mercy (heart peace AND not absence from war).
The COMMANDMENT (v. 4 b) –
WALK IN LOVE…
John is about to hit the old nail on the head.
In that day, hospitality was essential because a safe places were rare, and often unsavory people lurked in the few places open for a traveler. Traveling ministers, or missionaries, were dependent upon godly people taking care of their needs. To respond to such visitors required serious discernment since not every minister was of God.
This woman might have been guilty, though without intent, of taking in these cultic deceivers.
2 John 1:10 (PHILLIPS):
 “If any teacher comes to you who is disloyal to what Christ taught, don’t have him inside your house.”
But aren’t we as Christians supposed to show our love to all others? Good question. Let’s see what the Bible adds to what LOVE is and isn’t:
1 Corinthians 13:6 (AMP)
 “It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.”
So turning away CULTS is not a lack of LOVE, but actually an expression of it.
The Warning Against Receiving Cults (verses 7-11) –
“The DECEIVERS” (v. 7) –
Deceivers: derived from a verb meaning “to wander, rove, to mislead, to lead into error, imposters.”
“Not the content to be deceived themselves, these men/ women cannot rest until they have deceived others for they do not bother pagans, Their prey is true Christians” [Lenski].
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
DANGER EXPOSED (v. 8) –
2 John 1:8 (AMP)
Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for, but that you may [persevere until you] win and receive back a perfect reward [in full].
Being seduced by FALSE TEACHERS is one way Christians can lose their reward at the judgment. With this in mind, John writes that the reason to guard against DECEIVERS is our own desire NOT to lose our rewards.
Every Believer has the potential to receive a full reward or complete loss of a reward:
“If a man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).
The determining factor is our FAITHFULNESS to Christ Jesus.
Justification isn’t in view here because it’s not something we worked for, but something we received as a GIFT from God.
The Only Defense (vs. 9) –
Here we have the present participle “proago-ago, LEAD” and pro “before.” So the verb means “go before, precede, to go on ahead.”
It may be translated in verse 9 “goes too far” (NAS), or “run ahead” (NIV).
Our defense is to abide in God’s TRUTH as found in His written Word. So the verb “runs ahead” [goes too far] in 2 John might be understood as “is so advanced”. So here it carries the importance of “to go beyond” or “go on ahead.” They. the deceivers thought of themselves as having been so “advanced” beyond these unenlightened Christians. The truth is that the CULTIST believed they had “advanced” beyond the TRUTH.
The Godly Disgust (vv. 10-11) –
REFUSE HOSPITALITY —
It shouldn’t take long to find out if a person is sound as to the Doctrine of Christ:
- His deity,
- Virgin birth,
- Atoning death,
- His coming again.
TWO major CULTS today specialize in going door to door; Mormons and so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both CULTS are heretical with regard to the person of Christ.
“Meet them at the door,” John says, but don’t invite them in–you’ll find them hard to get rid of–persuasive and persistent. Shut the front door firmly in their faces.
This isn’t talking about the unsaved, the lost who come to visit us, but people who are on a mission to spread a false gospel message that DENIES the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
If we encourage them in any way, we’re helping the devil do his work through them.
Let’s say I let one of them in and then they go to my neighbor’s house and say, “Hellow, I just came from your neighbors’ house. Isn’t he a great guy? We had a great discussion about ‘spiritual things’ and we would like to take a few minutes of your time to share something very important to you and your family.”
The form of “IF” used in verse 10 assumes that this sentence is a statement of reality. FALSE TEACHERS actually were coming to this woman’s home; men who didn’t carry with them the genuine teaching of Christ. When this happened, John’s command was clear.
DO NOT RECEIVE THEM!
Coming to a CONCLUSION –
The next time a CULT member comes knocking on your door–maybe you should begin singing, “I hear you knocking…but you can’t come in!”
Some sound advice: If there are those who deny the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST–that He is God…that He was manifested in the flesh–don’t invite them into your home. If they make Jesus out to be less than God, whether they say He is “the Son of God” and not God Himself [as the Jehovah’s Witnesses contend], or whether they say He is the spirit brother to Lucifer [as the Mormons teach].
DON’T LET THEM IN!
And don’t let heretics into your house through the Internet or the television set.
SHUT THE DOOR on False Teachers!
Commentaries Used for this study: Townsend, Nelson Study Bible, Basic Theology, by Ryrie. Marshall’s Commentary; Wuest; Clarke; David Guzik; Lenske.
Hebrew and Greek Dictionary: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.
PHOTOS: Google Image Search, Advance settings.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or as noted in the text.
Song Recording: “I Hear You Knockin,” by Smiley Lewis -YouTube