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April 26, 2015
2 John 1:1-13
PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy! Blessings.
(Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)
“Liar, Liar. Pants on fire!” Tell me you never said that as a kid? I don’t know where this expressive song/chant first appeared, but it seems that every generation knows how to rub those two index fingers together in a suggestive tsk-tsk fashion and dole out these words to fibbers.
The idea of combatting falsehood, as we grow up, becomes a lot more serious than the disapproving rubbing fingers and a chant to the naughty culprit. Deception, when allowed to go unchecked, can be an infecting virus in any area of life, particularly in the body of Christ. It seeks to kill off truth and to regrow cells that promote its wrong ideologies and doctrines.
False teachers are something that we are warned about over and over again in the Bible. Jude 1:4 tells us, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Pay attention to the two phrases “crept in unawares” and “denying.” This seems to be two common factors of these false teachers. “Crept in unawares” always reminds me of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, trying to blend in with the flock just so that he can steal one and eat him up; devour his faith by “denying” the truth about Jesus Christ.
In today’s lesson, John is addressing his letter specifically to deal with false teachers and their dangerous effect on the church. He is hammering the idea of love and truth into his readers to keep them grounded in their faith that they lose not their reward by the swaying winds blown from the deceivers.
2 John 1:1-2 “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth. For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.”
John immediately begins the address of his letter with “truth.” Here, he writes, as some suppose to the church; “the elect lady and her children.” Others have another opinion as to whom this is addressed to (possibly a literal person). I tend to support the idea that this was indeed addressed to the church.
Either way, he wanted them to know of the “love” that he and “they that have known the truth,” (brothers and sisters in Christ; members of other churches) have for the audience of this letter.
“Love and truth” go hand in hand. One cannot love by the words of the mouth only, but it has to be expressed in deeds and in truth (see 1 John 3:18). There is to be an unbreakable support system within the body of believers that will help one another to continue to develop in their truth walk as well. This is done through the bond of love that they/we have for one another.
This “truth” that we abide by is not a passing phase of life. It is an indwelling power on the inside of each believer that NEVER goes away. Jesus explained, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” (John 14:17, emphasis mine).
This “truth” is a guiding force in the life of believers. It is a necessary revealer and keeper: a revealer to open up what it right or not before us and a keeper to lead us on the right path to follow.
2 John 1:3 “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”
John finishes his greetings with the pronouncement of blessings of “grace,” “mercy,” and “peace” upon his readers. Just a thought, but think of how much better our society would be if we greeted one another with blessings instead of our curt, monosyllabic “Hey” or “Hi.”
John thought more of his readers than that. He spoke over them “grace” which reminds us of God’s unmerited favor. He spoke “mercy” which reminds us of the compassion that God has toward sinful humanity. And, he spoke “peace.” This brings to mind the absence of adversity and turmoil; a calmness that centers one’s being no matter the conflicts they face due to false teachers. “Peace” is what Jesus spoke to the raging storm, (see Mark 4:39) and it is what John speaks over his readers lives’ as well.
After addressing them with these three blessings he announces the origin of where these blessings begin: “from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.” This was an important address because much of the false teacher’s ideologies contradict that Jesus ever came in the flesh (later in our lesson) or that He was indeed the Son of God. When in fact, it was God Himself who identified Jesus as His “Beloved Son” in whom He was well pleased at His baptism (which was when He was in the flesh; see Mt. 3:17; Mk. 1:11; Lk. 3:22). Again, He was called “Beloved Son” at His transfiguration (see Mark 9:7).
With that, John spoke these blessings that come from God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, over his readers in “love and truth.”
2 John 1:4 “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.”
When someone sees someone doing right, it is important to encourage them in that. This is what John was doing here. John was ecstatic to see Christians “walking in truth.” Do you know what we can best identify this with? Any parental situation! Parents always want what’s best for their children. They would love to hear “good reports” coming from the different areas of a child’s life. Let me tell you from experience, it doesn’t stop when they become adults. You still celebrate those “walking in truth” moments and your heart exhales a blessed sigh of, “Ah!”
To see them making decision that go in line with the faith they have learned through the gospel and the “commandment from the Father,” John was just as pleased as punch that their lifestyle was matching up with their profession of faith.
As an example, in Ephesian 4:1 Paul urged his readers, “That ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” If your life has been changed by faith and by following what is written in the Word of God then you should “walk” like it; you should live like it! Show on the outside the transformation that has taken place on the inside!
So, John “rejoiced” because they were living this thing. They are living as a child of God who has been blessed by His love and now they are doling out that same love to others. They have invested of themselves to follow His “truth.”
2 John 1:5-6 “And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is the love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”
The “commandment” Johns says, is nothing “new.” If you recall from our previous lesson titled “Love One Another,” I wrote:
“Love” is not new for it originates with God Himself. This we know because 1 John 4:8 tells us, “God is love,” and nothing predates God. From the “beginning” of their faith they have heard of the love of God; they have heard of the love of Christ in sacrificing all to save as many as possible. This love that John is teaching is just as real now as it was to the original readers of this letter.
With that he states, “we should love one another.” This too was not a new thing. For Jesus Himself said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” (John 13:35). Many look at a lot of other markers to determine if one is in Christ. Much of what they look for is outward symbols to verify their status as a Christian but here we see the inward working of the heart, the love that we show toward one another shows to whom we belong,” ( Word For Life Says).
Therefore, in John’s address to the recipients of this letter, he urges them to conduct themselves in this same manner. To have love toward one another that shows their gratefulness of what they have personally received from God and are willing to share it to others as representation of whom they belong.
One thing we have seen over and over again in these “love” lessons is that the message never changes. We may view them from different angels with different subjects but the command in each one is the same: “love one another.”
If we don’t, who will? The world is not going to love the Christian brother or sister like they need to be loved. We have to help care for one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Support one another that we may have a positive impact on the world in which we live.
False teachers specialize in division, but if love is present we can help one another endure and help one another be kept in the faith. Our spiritual union with one another matters more than most of us believe. Jesus said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you,” (John 15:12).
If you know that you have been loved by Him, after all He has done for us, we ought to be more than willing to pass it on to one another. We have to genuinely care for each other because we are all in this same fight together. We are all in the same family and on the same mission. It’s time to stop the infighting and just LOVE!
After a Father’s Day dinner last year, I was inspired to write an article titled “Why Are We Fighting One Another?” (click to read full article). In that, it says:
“Too often great emphasis is put on how one group may do things differently as opposed to another group or how one may work that gift that God has given them over another. One may not care for the way another does something for God’s kingdom but Jesus Himself said, “For he that is not against us is for us.” If he or she is working to build up the kingdom of God, don’t forbid them just because they are not following what you are doing. Don’t forbid them just because they are not in your clique. Don’t forbid them because they worship differently than you do.
There is no room for division in the body of Christ. There is no room for in-fighting amongst the members of God’s family. The Apostle Paul put it like this by saying, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12).
Over and over again we see the Bible proclaim unity among God’s people and division to be put away with. Jesus Himself prayed, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me,” (John 17:21). Is this why the world can’t see the Christ in us and believe because there is too much in-fighting? Does our rejection of another who “followeth not with us,” push the world away from believing in the Christ whom we proclaim?” (Word For Life Says)
Our love for one another is a witness to the world and a support system against the divisive spirit. It is imperative that we are characterized by “love!” It is how we help one another through this life.
“Love” is not what we say, but it’s how we “walk;” it’s how we live our lives. You are identified by how you walk. You can tell if someone is tired by the way they walk. They may seem just a little slower and less focused due to exhaustion. If someone walks with a limp they can be identified as being sore or perhaps injured. A straight, persistent gait can imply confidence. Someone with pep in their step can give the impression of happiness. People pay attention to the way you walk.
People tell from your life “walk” if your love for one another is sincere or fake or if you’re just limping along. Over and over again in this lesson we are admonished to operate in truth and love. Let your life shine with a “love” walk that will want to cause some to follow your footsteps to the truth of Jesus.
Why is our love walk so important? Because it’s according to His “commandments.” Look at our next verse.
2 John 1:7 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
The warning is, if our love walk is not sincere than we give way for “deceivers” to enter in. Of all these verses on the topic of love, then we switch to the warning of deceivers, we see a very real connection between the two that the church needs to pay attention to.
Could it be that “deceivers” have an easier time convincing the world of its doctrine if our doctrine of “love” is not as prevalent as it should be? Could it be that it is easier to spread confusion and hate, persuading some that “Jesus Christ” has not “come in the flesh” if they don’t see the church operating like Jesus did: in love; following God’s commands?
To deny that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” is to deny everything in God’s word. How is that? After dealing with the origin of human history, much of the Old Testament is written in light of a future that will be ushered in through the King that will remain on the throne forever (2 Samuel 7:16). The Old Testament foretold the birth, life/ministry, and death of this prophesied King, (Is. 7:4; Is. 61:1-3; Ps. 22:15-16). The New Testament declares the fulfilling thereof beginning with the telling prophesies manifestation: “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us,” (Matthew 1:22:23).
That interpretation “God with us” is the defining moment of human history for in it we see that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” To deny that is to deny the entire Word of God. That’s why they are not just “deceivers;” people who infect and draw away others with their poisonous false doctrine; but they are also considered “antichrist.”
We are most familiar with a picture of the “antichrist” in Revelation 13 and in Daniel’s vision found in his book, chapter 7. But John warns several times through his letters of the “spirit of antichrist . . . even now already is it in the world,” (1 John 4:3; see also 1 Jn. 2:18, 22). Those who deny Jesus Christ is God’s Son and has come into the world to save are a “liar . . . antichrist,” (1 Jn. 2:22), and has sided with the devil.
Our love and following of His commandments has to be greater than the deception whereby they are trying to persuade some.
2 John 1:8 “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but after dealing with all that I have to deal with now, I want to “receive a full reward” of all God has in store for me. With that being said, there comes also the warning that we can “lose” out on the “those things which we have wrought.”
How? By not being on guard the way we should. We are admonished to “look to yourselves.” This lesson screams at us to “WATCH OUT!” There is a lot at stake here; there is a lot to “lose.”
Oh, we testify that “I know He didn’t bring me this far to leave me,” but what of the swaying doctrine that tries to pry us from Him? He did and still does His part; are we being diligent in the care of what we have “wrought?” Are we in danger of losing our “full reward?”
Paul said it like this, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:14). Push past the past. Push past the false doctrines of today. Push past ANYTHING that tries to hinder me from obtaining the “prize;” the “full reward!”
We are running this Christian race to obtain the prize (1 Cor. 9:24); therefore, we have to be on guard for those who seek to throw stones and obstacles of deception in the pathway of our course, seeking to trip us up that we may “lose.”
2 John 1:9-11
9) “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10) If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11) For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
The “Have’s and the Haves Not’s” according to God: if one is outside of the “doctrine of Christ” then not only is he/she living in error, they “hath not God.” OUCH! But, he/she that is living and “abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
Where ya livin’?
Because where you are living; the doctrine you have invested in be it of Christ or the false doctrine of the deceivers tells whether or not you are really living according to God. And, if it is not according to God, then God’s not in it. God doesn’t dwell in any mess.
We are warned by Paul in 1 Corinthians that the “wisdom of this world is foolishness with God,” (3:19). Job 5:13 declares, “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.” Better be on guard to whom or what you are listening to because you may end up in a place where you don’t want to be: not only out of the favor of God but in total opposition to Him. And that, my friends, is a dangerous place to be.
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” In an age where hospitality was expected, and traveling speakers/preachers/teachers were supported by the locals who would open their door to their homes to them, John warn again to watch out to whom they show this hospitality.
If any knock on your door with something that contradicts what they already know to be true according to the gospel of Christ; people who “bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house.” They are not to be supported.
To support false doctrine would make one a “partaker of his evil deed.” There is even a prohibition on wishing them well; on speaking “God speed” to them. We are not, by any means, to help their cause. To do that would be to share in their evil.
Paul warned, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and AVOID THEM,” (Romans 16:17, emphasis mine).
Isn’t this a dose of truth that we need in this day and age?
2 John 1:12-13
12) “Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
13) The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.”
In our age of texting and communicating via anything other than “face to face,” I believe John really is telling us that the key to foster more love and truth in the church is our continual support of one another through fellowship.
At the beginning of the Church, Acts records, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers,” (Acts 2:52). It was through this period of time that the Church and its influence grew at a phenomenal rate. In one day, 3,000 souls were added to the church (Acts 2:41). Can somebody say, “WOW!”
We need “face to face” support, camaraderie and fellowship among believers to combat the untruth of the unbelievers “that our joy may be full,” also.
We are commanded to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,” (1 Peter 5:8), and so is his workers of untruth. Be on guard and watch your faith and continue in His commanded love.
(Click here for PDF:WARNING! WARNING! Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: WARNING! WARNING! Draw the Scene (Use this PDF link for accurate printing)
Draw the Scene 2: WARNING! WARNING! Draw the Scene 2 (Use this PDF link for accurate printing)
How Many Words?: Warning! Warning! How Many Words (Use this PDF link for accurate printing)
As shown here before, here’s another great and easy idea. Let your students make a pinwheel and decorate it. The pinwheels remind us not to be “carried about with every wind of doctrine, ” (Eph. 4:14, KJV), something false teachers want us to do, but to remain in truth.
The pattern can be found at Pinswheels for Peace. (Can be printed out on regular paper or cardstock. You can also use construction paper or left over wrapping paper.) If using plain paper have students decorate both sides. I used a push pin thumbtack instead of a straight pin. This is such an easy craft with many rewards: lesson reinforncement, decorating, free pinwheel and free pencil. What more could a child ask for. I left mine undecorated just to give you a preview. I believe we may do these in my class this week. With the breezes of Spring blowing this craft is sure to please. Enjoy!
Below are more Activities/Links/Resources to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“2 John 1:5 Coloring Sheet” (This one is geared toward older students. My class did this one last week and glued them on the back of construction paper to make a more permanent poster. Enjoy!)
“Caution! False Teachers Ahead!” (Although this lesson was intended to go with Jesus’ warnings in Matthew 13:5-6, much of this can still be applied to today’s lesson. It has printable activities as well as group activities which include: “Newspaper Warnings” and “Signs Running” and more. Enjoy!)
“Be Careful Whom You Follow!” (Again, this is based in Matthew 13, but with a twist. Also has accompanying printable activities and group activities such as “Simon Says,” “Hana Hana Kuchi” and “Follow Feet.” Check it out and Enjoy!)
“Steal the Sheep” (These activities are based from John 10:10 but with the idea of someone trying to convince another by following false teachers. Printables are included with group activities such as “WWJD? Chart” and “Truth or Lie.” These will supplement this week’s lesson nicely. Enjoy!)
“Satan’s Stop Sign” (Classroom object lesson for kids. Enjoy!)
These lessons below will enhance the over all feel of this week’s lesson and will work as great supplement activities. Enjoy!
“Guard Your Heart Bean Bag Game” (Scroll down to find this title and instructions on how to make. Enjoy!)