Monday, July 24, 2017

2 John

2 John (as well as 3 John) is fascinating for its setting. It message is largely a very shortened retread of the thoughts of 1 John. But here we have it in a letter addressed to a local body of believers. (1 John was not really a letter, but more of a sermon. Perhaps the sort of sermon John alludes to at the end here.) In this little letter we get an impression of what it must have been like in John’s network of churches centered around the homes where they gathered and lived out their faith.

In addition to the ideas from 1 John (the test of love, avoid worldliness, keep the true faith, etc.) John exhorts the church to reject false teachers. As someone who has experienced this model of church, this is an important warning. I’ve lost count of how many times our small communities of faith have encountered people who claim to be believers but who hold to heretical teaching. Some of it has been downright crazy. And, really, this is a threat to the Church in any model it is practiced.

It would seem unlikely that we would randomly face so much false teaching in a part of the world where 80 percent or more do not even believe in a god. There just aren’t that many people claiming to be Christians. It can’t be coincidence that such people seek us out so often. What Scripture has to say would indicate it is not. So, it is no surprise that churches are warned to avoid them. This is an important warning to heed.

Jesus’ example to us is to live in the world without being a part of the world. We are told to love unbelievers. We are not told to isolate ourselves from unbelievers. They are the object of the mission God has given us. However, we are repeatedly told to avoid those who claim to follow Jesus, but who teach lies about Him. They are enemies of the church.

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