I. Last week we finished John’s 1st Epistle, which we learned through our study was a general letter, meaning it was written to “the Church”, not a specific church. John’s two remaining letters are specific, though the congregation identity of each is not provided. It is obvious from the content of both letters that John has intimate connection with both and is known by both congregations. 2 John 1-14 Remain steadfast in love and diligent in doctrine.
John’s relationship with the recipients of the letter is so strong that he just identifies himself as the Elder. John uses a beautiful metaphor in address, “To the elect lady and her children”. John makes the point that His connection with them is a connection of love, and the evidence of their love is the pursuit of truth and standing steadfast in truth (abides in us).
In verse 3 the Apostle reminds this congregation that they have received marvelous gifts from the Lord. Here is the list and the meaning as expressed in John’s gospel and letters:
1. Grace – summarizes the revelation & salvation that we have received in the Incarnate Word.
2. Mercy – We understand mercy as God’s forbearance of our offenses (sins).
3. Peace – the assurance that believers have in knowing that, whatever the world may bring, they are kept secure in God's love and truth by God's own power.
These gifts are ours from God in “truth and love”. ___________________________________
Verses 4-6 are a quick summation of his message in 1st John 4 & 5 – loving God is obeying His commands and living in love with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
For John, love and truth were inseparable so verses 7 – 11 deal with the warning about the deceivers “who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh”. John’s encouragement to these believers is to be diligent (do not lose) what they have received by faith and as the foundation for their faith. He points them and us to the “doctrine of Christ”. This is the doctrine that sets believers apart from cults and false teaching. Over the centuries the Church developed this doctrine and imbedded it in the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried, He descended into hell, the third day he rose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead”. 3 John 1-13 An encouragement and a warning for correction.
In this Epistle John directs his comments to individuals.
1. Gaius ___________________________________________________________________
Gaius serves the brethren and strangers.
His encouragement of other believers allowed them to continue in their own ministry.
Gaius faithfulness is a pattern for all.
2. Diotrephes is another story. ________________________________________________
Diotrephes will be confronted about his “prating against us with malicious words”.
The Apostle will set the record straight with him concerning biblical accountability, “submit to those in authority”.
Verse 12 is meant for Gaius. John is telling him to stay clear of Diotrephes and steers him toward Demetrius. as an ally in leading the church faithfully.
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