WARNING: Who’s That Knocking At Your Door?

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 Elder…

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’.”  [referenceMarshall]

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]

ELECTION –

“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)

Caution –

Whoever this lady was, it opens the door for a variety of interpretations:

  1.  Figuratively referenced to a local church.
  2.  A lady named Electra [meaning, chosen].
  3.  Karia [a Greek word for lady].
  4.  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?

  1. Jesus Christ Himself (John 14:6).
  2. The Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17).
  3. 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.

The Problem–

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.

Romans 16:17-18:

 

The Implication…

This woman might have been guilty, though without intent, of taking in these cultic deceivers.

2 John 1:10 (PHILLIPS):

[10] “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)

[6] “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,
  • Resurrection,
  • Ascension,
  • 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!

__________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS –

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

ABIDING In The DOCTRINE of Christ

2-john-10-11

THE SECOND LETTER OF JOHN – (With an Emphasis on verses 7-11)

When John wrote this letter, there were many false teachers as there are today.

These men and women argue that Jesus was not always the Son of God.  They didn’t think that Jesus was both God and man through his whole life.  So, they taught that Jesus became the Christ only for a short time.

The FALSE TEACHERS thought they had a new knowledge (“Gnosticism”).

The word “Gnostic” comes from the Greek word, “Gnosis” meaning to know. Gnosticism taught that man’s body, which is composed of matter, is evil and that God, who is spirit, is totally good.  Also, that SALVATION is attained not by faith in Christ but by special knowledge.

This new knowledge, GNOSTICISM, had replaced what the apostles taught.  The false teachers said that their MESSAGE was new and different, a really new idea. But it was the wrong idea.  They had added their own ideas to the TRUTH, and thus, the CULT beliefs began and our flourishing today.

In the Gospel of John 14:6, Jesus says He is the personification of the TRUTH:

[16]  “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.”  (Amplified Bible)

Jesus is “the TRUTH” incarnate.

And yet “the TRUTH” is under fire today.  The current fad led by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code is nothing new.  His false information comes from the cultic beliefs that were rejected by the true church long ago.

The same is true regarding the so-called Gospel of Judas.  Those false Gospels written long after the fact were quickly rejected by the church.  So contrary to what Mr. Brown wrote, the church overwhelmingly rejected the Gnostic teachings.

Many of the New Testament letters were written to combat false teachings that threatened the church.  The Epistles of John are no exception.

The letter of 2 John is the shortest letter in the New Testament.  Yet, this little letter speaks powerfully to our generation, especially concerning our relationship to the TRUTH as it is in Jesus.

John begins his 2 letter by telling his readers, 

[1] “…not only I but also all who are [progressively] learning to recognize and know and understand the TRUTH– [2] Because of the TRUTH which lives and stays on in our hearts and will be with us forever” (AMP).

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VERSES 7-11 dealt with the basic Gnostic heresy that was beginning to put a negative influence on the early church.

BELIEVERS in Christ Jesus are to possess the TRUTH (vv 1-3) and practice the TRUTH (vv 4-6) and we are to protect the TRUTH (vv 7-11) as our responsibility.

I have been engrossed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro this year.  I particularly enjoy hearing  the backstories of the athletes from the nations gathered for one purpose in mind.  To be victorious in representing their country.

Stories of sacrifice, of vigorous and sometimes painful exercise of their sport.  If we, as believers in the TRUTH, can also apply the same unbending dedication to being victorious, not for medals around our necks, but out of LOVE for our God and Savior.  That my friends, is LIVING IN THE TRUTH!

IN VERSE 7, John calls those who follow the Gnostic movement DECEIVERS, or as the Amplified Bible calls as “IMPOSTERS” and the antichrist.

[7]  For many imposters (seducers, deceivers, and false leaders) have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge (confess, admit) the coming of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) in bodily form.  Such a one is the imposter and the antichrist.

Peter Jones is the author of the book,  “The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back” movement, calling today’s church to spiritual warfare.  Mr. Jones points out how gay rights are promoted in popular magazines, public radio and Hollywood.  Feminist spirituality is making inroads into Christianity.  Christian students are being silenced in the name of religious tolerance.  Mystical techniques for achieving well-being and self-knowledge are being adopted in the business world and in the military.

Merely coincidental trends?  No, this is spiritual warfare and are expressions of an ancient heresy reasserting itself today.

IN VERSE 9 John encourages his readers, and that includes us, to “ABIDE” in the Doctrine of Christ.  Don’t panic, when you read or hear the word “doctrine.”

DOCTRINE simply means “the teachings of Christ.”

[9]  Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son.

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In other words, those who follow the teachings of the antichrist spirit and denies the person and the deity of Christ, is separated from God.  They are lost and destined for destruction in hell, according to God’s Word.

The word “abide” means, “to continue,” “to remain,” “to dwell” in the teaching, or doctrine of Christ.

READ the words of Jesus  (John 15:4-8 NIV translation):

[4] “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  [5] I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  [6] If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  [7] If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  [8] This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Looking at 2 JOHN, verses 10 and 11 for a moment, John writes [10] “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught], do not receive him [do not accept him, do not welcome or admit him] into [your] house or bid him Godspeed or give him any encouragement.  [11] For he who wishes him success [who encourages him, wishing him Godspeed] is a partaker in his evil doings.”

John isn’t saying that we are to refuse hospitality to the lost–unsaved people.  In fact one of the best ways of sharing Jesus to others is to invite lost people into our homes.  John is saying that we are not to show hospitality to false teachers who can, and will, DECEIVE the church.

During the first two centuries and beyond, the gospel message was carried from place to place by traveling evangelists.

Looking back into my family history, I found in the records, on my mother’s side of the Family Tree, a Circuit Rider.  A clergyman who travel on horseback in early America from church to church, especially within a rural Methodist circuit. Believers by the way, were to show them hospitality and allow them to stay in their homes.

The FALSE TEACHERS also had this practice.  They would often visit a believer’s home in pretense of being a Christian.  The believer would unwittingly show them hospitality.  Yet to willingly show hospitality to false teachers was to participate in their actions.  I always remember my parents’ warning growing up:  “Hang around in a bad crowd, and people will believe you’re part of that ‘bad crowd.’

CHRISTIANITY is about TRUTH.

imagesJesus says. “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.”  There is God’s TRUTH and an eternal TRUTH.  We must possess the Truth in receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior of our lives.

WAIT, there’s more!

We also must practice daily the TRUTH by exercising Christian LOVE.  And, we must protect the TRUTH by “abiding”- in the Doctrine of Christ.

What about you?  Have you made your commitment to Jesus as Lord of your life?  Or, are you following after the false teachings so prevalent today?

As for me and my house, we have made our choice!

 


SOURCES & CREDITS:

Bible Translations Used:  The Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.

Credits:  The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back on the Truth XChange. Preface published by P & R Publishing.

Commentary:  2 John – Free Bible Commentary in Easy English.