Jesus Christ Came in the Flesh
Comments for Study 1
2 John 1:1-13
Memory Verse: 4
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I. Greetings (1:1-3)
>Who wrote this letter?
* 2 John 1:1 "The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth--and not I only, but also all who know the truth"
* "The elder" -John refers to himself as an elder. He does not identify himself, but most agree that John, the apostle wrote this letter. (See introduction for more.) It is true that John was advanced in age when he wrote this. However, John was not commenting on his age, but rather his position in the church. An elder is a position of leadership in the church, not the type of leadership the world knows and practices. Rather, this is a position as Jesus taught, a position of servitude.
* For more about congregational elders see Acts 20:28-31; 1 Timothy 4:14, 5:17-20; Titus 1:5-9; and James 5:14. An overseer (traditionally bishop) is an equivalent word (from the Jewish background of Christianity) for "elder". The two words are used interchangeably in Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5, 7; and 1 Peter 5:1-2. Deacons are similar to an elder. Overseers (elder) and deacons (see Acts 6:1-6) can be found in 1 Timothy 3 and Philippians 1:1.
* John's ministry after Jesus' ascension started in Jerusalem and spread throughout Judea as it is recorded in the book of Acts. The religious leaders in Jerusalem persecuted the Christians as is also recorded in the book of Acts. Eventually most Christians left Jerusalem as is hinted at in Hebrews. (Hebrews 13:11-14) John also left Jerusalem according to church history. John followed Paul and Barnabas earlier ministries in Asia Minor. In 70 A.D. (before this letter was written) Jerusalem fell to Rome. The seven churches in the book of Revelation were in Asia Minor where John was serving as an elder. According to church history John was an elder in Ephesus, the region's largest and most influential church.
* "not I only, but also all who know the truth" -Jesus revealed the truth of God. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) The prophets throughout Israel's history revealed some of the truth. However, the truth revealed through Jesus was not only fulfilled their work, but excelled and enhanced it. (Luke 18:31, 24:27, 44) Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17) The truth of Jesus is revealed during Bible study by the work of the Holy Spirit and humble prayer. And so we come to know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
* Although John's epistles do not identify where they were written, it is generally believed that the apostle wrote them from Ephesus sometime after 85 A.D. and before 96 A.D. (See introduction for more.)
* Scholars believe John wrote this letter and his first and third letter before he was arrested and sent to the island of Patmos by the Roman authorities. (See introduction for more.)
>To whom did he write?
* "To the chosen lady" -"Chosen lady" in Greek is "eklekte kuria". Commentators have speculated who John wrote this letter to. Some claim it is an actual mother who John knew. Some say her name was Electa; however, if that were true then so was it her sister's name (13) which is unlikely. Others say this is a veiled reference to a specific congregation and/or to a group of congregations such as in Asia Minor. They point out that the letter's language is not appropriate to a real person and the striking difference between this letter and John's third letter (to Gaius). No matter which is correct she or they are called chosen. God choses who to save from a fallen and soon to end kingdoms of men, also called the world. (2 Thessalonians 2:13) The meaning to us is the same no matter if he wrote one believer or a congregation.
* Tyndale New Testament Commentaries holds the view that this letter was to a congregation or congregations in Asia Minor whom John was an elder to. They state that in the Old Testament Israel was a bride, the daughter of Zion, and now in the New Testament described as a mother with children and a widow waiting for her husband and Lord to return.
* "and her children" -The mention of children makes the lady more likely to be a real person John knew. It does not make sense why the lady referred to a congregation, and then mention her children. Who would they be? However, it is highly possible that this lady was an early convert, perhaps during one of Paul's visits and was now a prominent believer.
* "whom I love in the truth" -John loved this chosen lady. Jesus taught that we should love one another as he loves us. John makes sure that his love is in the truth, and not romantically or sexually.
* John may have written the three letters attributed to him at the same time.
>2. How is the truth in believers? (2; John 14:6, 17:23)
* 2 John 1:2 "because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever"
* John 14:6 "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
* John 17:23 "I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
* "because of the truth" -Some English translations have "for the truth's sake" meaning he was defending the truth.
* "lives in us" -Jesus' truth is alive. Jesus said, "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63b)
* "will be with us forever" -The word of God will never pass away.
* Bible study is very important. Through it we learn of God, his way, and his will. As we accept it and live by it, we grow in the knowledge and image of Christ. Yet, Bible study is only one aspect to a life with Christ. He lives in us and guides us through the Holy Spirit. The later is much more important then the former.
* During the first two centuries the gospel was taken from place to place by traveling evangelists and teachers. Believers customarily took these missionaries into their homes and gave them provisions for their journey when they left. Since Gnostic teachers also relied on this practice, 2 John was written to urge discernment in supporting traveling teachers; otherwise, someone might unintentionally contribute to the propagation of heresy rather than truth. (NIV Study Bible)
* J. Vernon McGee wrote, "Thank God, we will have the truth forever. In this day when you can't believe politicians, you can't believe college professors, you can't believe the scientists, and you can't believe the military leadership, it's nice to have someone in whom you can believe -the Lord Jesus Christ." (Thru the Bible Commentary)
>What can we learn about the nature of God and the source of truth?
* Truth is not relative.
* Ignorance is not bliss.
* Truth is not how a person perceives truth.
* All truth comes from God.
* Truth concerns God and his character.
>3. What three things come from God?
* 2 John 1:3 "Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love."
* "Grace" -Grace means unmerited divine assistance. Grace stems from God's love to the undeserving. Grace is divine protection and sanctification bestowed freely on people who accept God's Son, Jesus as Savior and Lord. Grace provides for the salvation of sinful man because all the demands of holiness needs to be satisfied. For God so loved the world that he provided a way for man to be saved, Jesus Christ. This is in sharp contract to the misconception that God so loved the world that he saved the world. The first is assistance that requires us to make a decision.
* "mercy" -Mercy is action more generously and compassionately toward someone than they expect. Mercy is kind and forgiving to the needy. Mercy provides for the needs of sinful man, but not the salvation of sinful man.
* "peace" -Peace of God is a soul at rest and united with him.
* Although these words were commonly used in the greetings of secular letters, the words that John follows these up with show that he intended a spiritual dimension.
* Jesus promised his disciples peace. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)
* John writes this as a definite statement. It is not a prayer or wish. Grace, mercy and peace lives in Christians forever.
* Irving L. Jensen in his Self-Study Guide of this letter says this could be called a benediction.
>How are God and Jesus identified?
* "God the Father" -Jesus called God his father because he had no human father. His conception was the work of the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb. Joseph was only his adopted father.
* "Jesus" -Jesus is Greek. Y'shua is Hebrew. Joshua is also Hebrew and almost the same as Y'shua (Some say the two are the same because "Y" and "J" are pronounced the same in Hebrew.) They mean the same, "the Lord saves". The angel told Joseph to name the baby in Mary's womb Jesus. Matthew 1:20-21 records, "...an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
* "Christ" -Christ is Greek and equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah. Christ is Jesus title, not his name. Much like President is a title and Obama is the man's name.
* "the Father's Son" -Son is singular. Jesus called God his Father, not because Jesus was created for Jesus exists eternal. Rather, Jesus called God his Father, because as Matthew recorded, "Jesus was conceived in Mary's womb by the power of God."
* According to Matthew 1:16, Joseph is the step-father of Jesus. Thus, from some Jewish points of view, because Jesus was not a physical son of Joseph, legally Jesus was not the son of David. That is, they often did not consider a women's genealogy as important in son's lineage. (Mary was a daughter of David, he was her ancestor, as told by Luke.) However, an adapted son was often considered a son who not only gained a father, but also his ancestors. Thus, from this point of view, Jesus was the adapted son of Joseph, and the son of David from not only Mary's lineage, but Joseph's as well.
>How are they with us?
* "will be with us" -This refers back to grace, mercy and peace. John was saying these things will be with us. He says where they come from and why they come to us.
* "in truth" -John uses this word twelve times in this short letter, and thus could be called the second main theme of the letter (or joining main theme of love). When we accept the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ grace, mercy, and peace come to us from God.
* "and love" -John uses this word forty-six times in this short letter, and thus could be called the main theme of the letter. The Greek word used here and throughout this letter is "agape". It is the only word used in the New Testament for God's love toward man. It is the greatest love of all loves; Greek has more words for love/like than the English language.
How great is God's love indeed for we were all wretched sinners, far from God, revolting, and at war with him by the sins we committed due to lack of control in the sinful nature. Yet, God accepted and cleansed us and gave us a new spirit. Sin and the sinful nature are gone. God did this when we accepted Jesus, the Son of God, as our Savior and Lord. What love God has!
* If you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, if you love him from deep in your heart; then understand and accept you received grace, mercy, and peace from him.
* Truth and love have a balance in our life and experience. We need to love others, but only in truth. We need to remain and express truth, but only in love. The threat of the Gnostics brought out the great need for the balance of love and truth. Today all around the world Christians are being attacked because of our belief in Jesus and his truth. We make a stand on the truth that sin is wrong; sins like sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman. At the same time we love the sinner while hating the sin. In our love we should not act outside of love. And in our love we should not act outside of the truth.
II. Walk in Love (4-6)
>4. What were her children doing?
* 2 John 1:4 "It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us."
* "It has given me great joy" -Whether one believed John was writing to one mother or to one congregation would slightly alter what John is saying in this verse. Is John talking about children or members of the congregation? If children then there is indeed joy in knowing that your children and the children of a friend have a personal loyal relationship with Jesus. All good parents want the best for their children. All Christian parents recognize that the best for their children is to personally know Jesus and follow his teachings and example. Pray for your children and the children of your congregation. If Jesus calls you to the mission to children you will find joy when they come to know Jesus and accept him. Elders should follow John's example and have concern from the children's ministry in their church.
* "some of your children walking in the truth" -Not all of the children were walking in truth. Whether this is one woman's children or a congregation the truth is still known today; not everyone who goes to a church is a Christian, no more than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger. Some go to a church because their parents do; others go because they believe by doing so they will enter heaven; others go because their friends go there and they like the benefits of going; and others go to a church because they love Jesus and want to serve his church. The last people obey the truth of Jesus. Thus they walk in the truth.
* "walking in the truth" -Walking in the truth is obeying to gospel of Jesus Christ with faith, hope and love.
* "just as the Father commanded us" -When Jesus was baptized and when he was transformed on the mount God the Father said, "This is my son. Listen to him." (Matthew 3:17, 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35)
>How is this God's command? (Titus 2:3-5)
* Titus 2:3-5 "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."
* Mothers are to teach their children to love and obey God in word and in their actions. They are to show love and respect for their husband. They are to show love and service to others. They are to show love and teach the truth to their children. Love included encouragement and discipline.
>5. What command did he remind her? (5-6)
* 2 John 1:5-6 "And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."
* John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
* "I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning." -Jesus showed us God's love with his life. Jesus taught us of God's love all during his ministry. Jesus loved even his enemies who wanted to kill him.
* "I ask that we love one another." -Love is expressed toward another. Love is not a vage force or emotion. Love is from God expressed to others. Love is a state of being in God.
* "one another" -This command is for fellow believers. This is meant for the body of Christ.
* "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands." -Jesus said, "If you love me you will obey what I command." (John 14:15)
* "As you have heard from the beginning" -The beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry.
* "his command" -Jesus did not suggest. He did not say, "If you are able to," or "As you are able to."
* "his command is that you walk in love." -Walking in love is a continuous process. We don't just take one step. We take one step of love after another.
* Consider God's continual and unconditional love for fallen mankind. We don't acknowledge him most of the time throughout our life. When we do it's usually to complain about our life. When he gives us gifts we don't thank him, and even say, "Well it's not really what I wanted. Your gift isn't all that great," or "I don't want your gift." We continue to sin. Sin is completely repulsive to him because he knows that it causes us so much harm. He claim we like sin and want to sin. We justify our faults and sin saying, "You made me this way." We harm each other for selfish reasons. We lie, cheat and steal because we don't believe God loves us and will take care of us. We refuse to positively respond to his words and actions of love. We accept lies as truth and call the truth a lie. When our errors and lie and made evident we still hold on to the lie and vehemently repulse the truth. We go to extremes and put ourselves and others in danger to try to disprove his love and the truth. Fallen people hate God. In spite of this God loves us to the point of sending his One and Only Son who suffered in our place to the point of death on the cross. He forgives our sin day after day after day. All sins will be forgiven except the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
* Do you love others as much as God loves you?
* John was writing to people who lived in the Roman world. In John's day the emperor was bloody Nero. John saw one emperor after another rise who persecuted the Christians. Beginning with Titus, the Roman general who destroyed Jerusalem in A.D.70, the persecution was severe. The Roman world was a brutal world, a cruel world, a world that was pagan to the core. And yet here were men and women who were walking down Roman roads, living in pagan cities, and they were walking after His commandments. They were translating the Gospel into life. This is the thing that is desperately needed in our day. (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary)
III. Antichrists (7-13)
>6. Why is it important to know that Jesus came in the flesh? (7)
* 2 John 1:7 "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist."
* "Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh" -Who is Jesus? Jesus is eternal God. (John 1:1; Hebrew 1:3; Colossians 1:19; Revelation 1:8) He is creator God of all things. (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17) He was born in the flesh and God is his Father. (Matthew 16:16-17, 26:63-64; Luke 1:31-32, 35) After conception he was in Mary's womb for nine months. He was delivered in the usual way. (Luke 2:6-7, 11-12) He learned and his body matured. (Luke 2:52) Jesus had a body like you and me. He was flesh and blood. (Luke 22:44) He was not a spirit (ghost). (Matthew 14:25-33; Mark 6:49-50; Luke 24:37-40) He is called Immanuel which means, "God with us." (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23) Jesus is Lord God Almighty Creator in the flesh.
* "Jesus Christ" -In this sentence by John using his name here implies that Jesus Christ was the same in character before and after he came in the flesh. Jesus coming in the flesh did not change his core existence and being. He had all the position, power, and characteristics when he was in the flesh as when he was in heaven.
* "as coming" -This word here in Greek is "erchomai" and is used only in the present and imperfect tenses. It implies that Jesus existed before he was in the flesh. It implies that Jesus was not on the earth in the flesh before he was conceived. This implies that he was something and somewhere else before he came in the flesh to earth.
* "in the flesh" -The Greek word is "sarx" and is always translated as the outward flesh of a human or body.
* "the antichrist" -"The" in the correct translation here. The KJV is incorrect in using "an" here. "Anti" in Greek is "an-tee". It is a prim. particle meaning opposite, i.e. instead or because of (rarely in addition to). It's often used in composition to denote contrast, requital, substitution, correspondence, etc. More simply it means "against." Against Jesus coming in the flesh, against his teachings, against his physical death and burial, against his resurrection, against his life purpose, against his second coming, and against his church. Antichrist is only used in John's three letters.
* The antichrist denies the deity of Jesus. He denies the humanity of Jesus. He denies that Jesus is fully God and fully human. The antichrist denies that Jesus is God-man.
* John's readers knew that a great enemy of God and his people will arise before Christ's return. That person is called "antichrist", "the man of lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and "the beast" (Revelation 13:1-10).
* 1 John 2:18 states, "even now many antichrists have come". Prior to the one great antichrist, there will be many antichrists. John noted that they were in his times. The word "even" indicates that it might be a shock for the first receivers of his first letter to learn this.
Most likely the ones that John was referring to in his times was the Gnostics. Many of the Gnostics teachings are still here today. They are very deceptive.
* 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
* Revelation 13:1-10 "And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.
And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
* Matthew 24:10-11 "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people."
>If he didn't come in the flesh what happens to the meaning of his crucifixion?
* If Jesus didn't come from God and existed before he was conceived in Mary's womb, he wouldn't have been the expression of God's love. His sacrifice wouldn't have been pure enough to take away our sins.
* If Jesus were not flesh, bones and blood his crucifixion would have meant nothing. He had to suffer and he had to die in order to pay the price for our sins.
>What word is used twice to describe the antichrist?
* "Many" -Not a few.
* "deceivers" -John uses this word twice in this verse. A deceiver causes one to believe a lie. A deceiver catches by guile. Satan deceived Eve with the question, "Did God really say..." (Genesis 3:1)
* "who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh" -They deny the deity and humanity of Jesus.
* "have gone out into the world" -This implies that they were in the congregation, left it, and became missionaries of a false gospel. Today we see a great increase in false religions sending out a false gospel.
* "Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist" -Deception and the antichrist go together. "Any such person" indicated that many will be antichrist. John's first letter says that the spirit of the antichrist has gone out into the world.
* "For many deceivers are entered into the world" -Gnosticism was running riot in John's day. Everywhere the Gospel has gone, the cults have always followed. The "isms" always follow the preaching of the Gospel -they never go before. There were coming along at that time quite a few of what was known as the Gnostic sect which was actually divided into many groups. There were the Cerinthian Gnostics who followed a teacher in Ephesus whose name was Cerinthus. There is a tradition that John, who was the pastor of the Ephesian church, went down to the public bath and saw old Cerinthus taking a bath also. So John got out of the pool, grabbed up his clothes, and didn't put them on until he got outside, because he wouldn't have anything to do with that heretic. Well, that is a tradition and may or may not be true, but it certainly expresses the viewpoint of John in his letter here. The Cerinthian Gnostics correspond to several of the cults today in that they taught that Jesus and Christ were two different entities altogether and that the divine came upon Jesus at His baptism and left Him at the cross. There were also the Docetism Gnostics who denied the reality of the physical body of Christ. They said that the apostles thought they saw Jesus, but He actually was not a real person; He was just an appearance. We have a few cults which have picked up that heresy also. This is the reason John said in his first epistle (letter), "We have seen Him. We have heard Him. We've gazed upon Him. We've handled Him. We know what we are talking about, and He was a real man."
Then there were certain Jewish sects in that day, and when Christianity came along, they picked up a great deal of the Christian teachings. Evidently, there was a group of Essenes down at Qumran where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls. And at Masada, which fell in A.D. 73, three years after the fall of Jerusalem, there were about 967 zealots who had also picked up some of the teachings of Christ. Both groups had twisted, distorted, and warped conceptions of the person of Christ.
The thing that John is saying here and which is all-important today is that there are many deceivers who have entered into the world. They seem to have sort of centered right here in Southern California. This is a great incubation center for all kinds of false teachings. I used to say, as I spoke across this country, "I come from a land of flowers, fruits, and nuts -mostly religious nuts. 1 trust that you folk don't think that I am one of them!" The important thing is that the way you tell one who is true is by his viewpoint, his teaching, his beliefs concerning the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unless he thinks rightly of Him, everything else goes down the tube, and that person is a false teacher.
This does not mean that a person cannot hold a different view from what you and I would hold, for example, on election. Election has been a debatable point. John Wesley taught one thing, and John Calvin taught another viewpoint on it. But both of those men believed in the deity of Christ, and when you believe in the deity of Christ, it means you believe in the Virgin Birth, it means you believe the record that we have in the Word of God, and it means you believe in the apostles' doctrine which they taught in their epistles. There was a difference of opinion about election between these two men, but neither of them were a false teacher because both of them agreed on the essentials of the faith. (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary)
* Some believe that the king of the North in Daniel 11 describes the actions of the Antichrist. Holman Bible Dictionary states, "In that Old Testament apocalypse, the term antichrist appears in two forms: 1) an individual who opposes God, or 2) a collective antichrist.
The Old Testament, described the antichrist in various ways. Especially in Daniel, there arose the expectation of one who would oppose the Lord and His people Israel. This evil leader was referred to as the king of the north (11:40) who would come with a mighty army to crush the nations, to persecute the righteous (7:25), to bring death (8:10), and to set up his throne in the Temple (8:13). This latter event the Jews term the abomination of desolation.”
Many Jews viewed the arrival of Antiochus Epiphanes IV as the embodiment of these verses. Yet in the mind of many Jews, the rule of Antiochus did not meet the full expectations of these Scriptures. There evolved a permanent expectation of an antichrist figure in Judaism. In later Jewish history such Roman figures as Pompey and Caligula were identified with the antichrist.
In Daniel one also finds a collective antichrist. In 7:7-28 the Fourth Empire was viewed as a collective antichrist. In later Judaism, the Fourth Kingdom or the collective antichrist was viewed as the Roman Empire (2 Baruch 26-40; 4 Ezra 5:3-4)...
Mark and Matthew apparently expected a Roman ruler to once again enter the Temple as did Antiochus and Pompey. In Revelation 13:3, the beast from the sea is often viewed as an antichrist figure. There John may have looked for a return of the emperor Nero.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, the antichrist figure is armed with satanic power and is fused with Beliar, a satanic being. In this passage the Roman government is viewed as restraining its power. In Revelation, the Roman Caesar is the evil force." (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* Also reference Ezekiel 38-39 and Zechariah 12-14.
* Also reference 1 John study 3 questions 2 and 3.
>7. What reward is referred to in verse 8?
* 2 John 1:8 "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully."
* "Watch out" -A common warning for believers in Jesus, especially by Jesus (Matthew 7:15, 24:4; Mark 12:38, Mark 13:5; Luke 12:15, 21:8) and the apostles (Romans 16:17; Galatians 5:15; Philippians 3:2). Watching includes prayer, Bible study, and obedience to Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Today some only understand watching as looking for signs of Jesus' second coming and has lead many to only study eschatology or study eschatology until they lose Christ.
* "that you do not lose what you have worked for" -John is not talking about salvation. Salvation from sin and death is a gift. John is talking about the rewards Jesus will hand out at the resurrection.
* "that you may be rewarded fully" -Jesus taught with many parables that he will reward his people according to the motivation of their actions. Revelation 21:27 records Jesus saying, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done."
* These rewards are not given in this life and age as some believe. Yet, it is true that living the way God intends is better than living against his ways. The fact that righteous living now is better for us than living in sin is just as true as the fact that God will reward works of righteousness performed in this age in the next age; a time that is soon to happen. Our reward will be in the resurrected life and age to come.
We should never confuse the fact that salvation from sin, death, and punishment for sins is not a reward, it is a gift given freely by God through faith. Ephesians 2:8-10 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
These two facts are true; salvation is a gift and God gives rewards to his bride if they do righteous acts.
The above is from the manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires found on this web site.
>How can a reward be lost? (Luke 19:22-24)
* Luke 19:22-24 "His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?' Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.'"
* “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
* See also Rev. 22:12, 5:10, 4:2, 1:5-6, and 2 Cor. 5:10, and 1 Cor. 6:2, Daniel 7:22, 12:1-13, Luke 19:11-27, Matthew 25:14-30, James 1:12, and 1 Peter 5:4, etc.
>How is continuing in the teaching of Christ like running a race? (9; 1 Cor. 9:24-27)
* 2 John 1:9 "Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son."
* 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
* "Anyone who runs ahead" -Outside of the guidelines set by Jesus through his teachings.
* "does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God" -"Continue" is to live continually by faith in Jesus.
* "whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son." -"Having faith in Jesus" is the same as "living by faith in Jesus". Faith is expressed in actions.
>8. How should we treat a brother who continually rejects Jesus' teachings? (10-11)
* 2 John 1:10-11 "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work."
* "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching" -Evangelists and missionaries traveled from congregation to congregation. In those days many could not read and even fewer were educated beyond elementary skills. Those in the church who were traveled to help the congregations much like Paul and the other apostles did. Unfortunately the false teachers did the same thing. Today's equivalent might be writers, bloggers, and web sites.
* "do not take him into your house or welcome him" -When evangelists and missionaries traveled from city to city they needed a place to stay. There were no hotels and the few inns that were available were did not have good accommodations; several people slept on the floor and food often made the traveller sick. So if at all possible travelers stayed in friend's homes. Usually someone in a congregation would open up there home to traveling evangelists and missionaries. Here John warns to test all visitors and if they did not teach the truth, then they should not be welcome in there home.
* "Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work." -They aided the false teacher and/or prophet and inadvertently the false gospel's spread. Perhaps, the true Christian thought they were being kind to their enemy. However, the wisdom here is to do nothing to help false Christians.
>9. What did John promise and compare it to the ending of his third letter? (12)
* 2 John 1:12 "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete."
* "I have much to write to you" -John wanted to continue in his teaching.
* "I do not want to use paper and ink." -Something cannot be taught with writing. That is why it is very important for congregations to meet together regularly.
* "I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete" -Jesus promised his joy would be with us and this is very true when Christians meet together face-to-face. Bible study in small groups, worship services, prayer meetings, and seminars are always needed. I recently read an article about a man who started a web site where Christians can meet together on the internet as a conference call and advertises it as a replacement for meeting face to face. He claims its the modern way for congregations to stay together because as he said, "Modern people don't want to go to a church for a meeting. They rather stay at home." He is wrong as John points out here. Nothing can replace meeting face to face.
* Christian community is not correct unless we meet face to face.
>10. What does verse 13 mean?
* 2 John 1:13 "The children of your chosen sister send their greetings."
* "your chosen sister" -Understanding this as a person or a different congregation depends on who was the original recipient. Which ever it was, John was obviously with them when he wrote this.
* "send their greetings" -They were with John.
* John does not address anyone else in this letter.