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Posted By Nan

3 John 2-4
These three verses are the celebration by John of Gaius doing as John urged his brothers in Christ to do in 2 John 4, follow the truth.
First John prays that Gaius’s health and affairs may prosper in the same way his soul does. How does Gaius’s soul prosper? John relates that he has been visited by some brothers in Christ who have told him about Gaius’s faithfulness to the truth. Gaius was a perfect example of one who was walking in the truth. He was making progress growing in spiritual wisdom as he embraced the truth of the Gospel. This is the growth that John knows is what we need and he rejoices in that.
John was sharing God’s joy at the growth of a follower of Jesus. Just as John rejoiced at Gaius’s walk in the truth, God rejoices at us walking in the truth. Do not think that your spiritual growth is only noticed by other Christians. It may be, or it may not, that is not important. What is important is that it is noticed by God.

 
Posted By Nan

3 John 1
This last letter of John is also a short one and appears to have been sent in response to a negative event that John needed to urgently address before coming in person to give his full message. This letter is addressed to a man named Gaius, who appeared to be a leader in the church.  Not much is known about this man except that John refers to him four times in this letter as “beloved” and also that he loves Gaius in the truth. From this we must surmise that Gaius had a deep faith in Jesus and sought to follow Jesus’ teaching and live in the truth. Truth is a word John mentions six times in this letter. The truth of the gospel and the truth we see in Jesus who is the truth (John 14:6). In these three letters John has emphasised the truth of living in Jesus Christ. It is vitally important. This disciple who loved Jesus so much understood the most important message of Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life” John 14:6. Jesus is the only way for us to walk in our lives. He speaks the truth, He is truth and all truth resides in Him. He is also the life. Only in Jesus can we truly live. John emphasises the truth that is in Jesus. As believers it is important we do not lose sight of Jesus and His truth. We constantly need to live in that truth. We don’t just accept Jesus and that is it. We constantly must make a choice at all times to accept Jesus, to submit to His will and seek always to live the way of truth, which is also the way of love and the way of the cross.

 
Posted By Nan

2 John 12-13.
These two verses conclude the letter of 2 John. As John indicates in verse 12, he ends the letter, not because he has finished what he wants to say, but because he prefers to speak in person. At the time of writing this letter, it appears he was visiting another congregation of believers and was sending greetings from them to the recipients of the letters.
So often in the Letters from the apostles, they indicated a preference to speak in person, rather than in letter. It is true that meaning can be hard to understand from the written word. Often an innocent sentence can be misconstrued by the recipient. I have found in life, and have been advised often by those who have observed the same thing, that it is better to speak face to face. John appears to have something urgent to speak of to the recipients of the letter. However, once the urgent message was given, he chose to stop, promising that he would visit soon and speak in person.
I am glad John and the other apostles chose to write letters. If they hadn’t we would not have had the opportunity to read their words in the Bible. As with written communication between us and others, we need to be mindful to not misconstrue the meaning of the words we are reading. It is important to understand the context of the book of the Bible and how those words fitted in to the community to whom they were sent. It is important to ask God for guidance in understanding the Bible. Be wary of taking words out of context, especially if they can be used to justify something we are doing when the words do not actually mean what we are deciding they mean. John may not be able to visit us any more to explain things in person, but we have the Holy Spirit who will explain them if we wait and listen.

 
Posted By Nan

2 John 7-11
Don’t Walk Out on God
“There are a lot of smooth-talking charlatans loose in the world who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ was truly human, a flesh-and-blood human being. Give them their true title: Deceiver! Antichrist! And be very careful around them so you don’t lose out on what we’ve worked so diligently in together; I want you to get every reward you have coming to you. Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son. 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 Message
This middle section of 2 John deals with the basic Gnostic heresy that John attacked in 1 John. This heresy states that the Son of God did not become flesh and only temporarily came upon the man Jesus between His baptism and crucifixion.
7 continues from the message of 4-6, which teaches that the people are to continue to walk in Jesus’ love. The reason for this is that many deceivers have gone out. They are failing to acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. The incarnation of Jesus is very important. The point of His presence on earth was that he was the Christ of God come in the flesh. Failing to see this as the truth is a serious error. John has added to the word antichrist of 1 John 4:3 the term deceiver. They not only deny Jesus, they seek to deceive others about Him.
In 8 John issues a warning that the good teaching of those who love Jesus and walk in His truth will be lost if believers fall away from the truth and start to follow the teaching of the Gnostics.
In 9 John makes a reference to people running ahead and not continuing in the teaching of Christ. These people do not have God. The false teachers thought they were ‘advanced’ thinkers. They took great pride in their advanced faith. John seeks in this verse to point out that this is not a source of pride. True pride lays in holding fast to the truth revealed by Jesus Christ. If we do not have the right understanding of Jesus, then we do not have the right understanding of the Father.
In 10 John warns the readers they are not to welcome the teachers of this heresy into their homes. Receiving them into their homes was a sign of approval. Offering them board and lodging supported them in spreading their heresy and the believers were not to do that. In 11 John tells the readers that welcoming such a person would be sharing in their wicked work. As Christians we cannot do that and remain in the truth.
It is important to remember that those heresies did not stop back in New Testament times. They are perpetuated today. They can be wrapped in pretty coverings and spoken very persuasively. I have had many people of late repeat many of these early heresies to me, expecting me to believe them. However I have rejected them because I know God and I know what teaching is inconsistent with the God I know. These heresies seek to deny Jesus, either completely or as the Son of God. I know Jesus, I know His character, I know His identity. He is my good shepherd. I know His voice. I cannot deny Him. Pity help the person who does not have that knowledge because they will be vulnerable to these heresies. Devote yourself to walking in the truth. Spend time reading the Bible prayerfully. Don’t just read it to complete a set piece of reading. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you God’s message from the reading. Contemplate what you have read. Go about your day thinking about it. Leave the Bible open on that reading and re-read it often. Pray and ask God about it. Become so familiar with God, as He intended, that you will never fall for words of the heretics.
I will be visiting family this week and will recommence my blog Saturday 22 March.

 
Posted By Nan

2 John 4-6
These three verses can be summarised as the command to love, but they pack far more into them than just a “command”.
In verse 4 John expressed great joy that some of the “children” of the “elect lady” are walking in the truth or in other words are living the Christian life. John has always placed a deep stress on truth and here he again stresses its importance. Walking in the truth is not optional, it is necessary. It is not just a desirable way to be, it is a command of the Father. John is keen to emphasise that we should live in the truth because we are commanded to, not because we think it is a nice way to live.
In verse 5 John reminds the recipient, through a polite request, that we are commanded to love. This is a command given by Jesus when he was on earth. (John 13:34) It is a command that has been there since the first followers of the risen Jesus. Loving one another is a command of Jesus and an obligation. John is not talking of that transient and fickle human emotion but the response to God’s great love for us Love is seen in actions and in caring and unselfish service to one another. It is not seen in harsh judgementalism, or in gossip or the issuing of sanctions against one another. It is not seen in cliquishness or the refusal to help a fellow believer. It is not seen in the lack of hospitality shown by many churches to fellow members and newcomers. Love is Jesus and love is a response to His great love for us.
In verse 6 John extends his practical application of love by describing it as walking in obedience to God’s commands. We have to be wary not to get caught up in legalism which is seen in those who harshly apply God’s commands without love. Obedience to God’s commands must be accompanied by love. The follower of Jesus should be eager to obey God’s commands. Again John reminds the readers this is a command they have had from the beginning.
In these three verses John is describing actions that are continuous, not "once off and never to be repeated". We live these commands every day, all day, for the rest of our lives. We walk in God’s love, not we have walked in God’s love. We walked, walk now and walk in the future in God’s love. That is where we are to remain.

 


 
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Nan
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