TODAY’S READING: II JOHN, III JOHN, JUDE
II JOHN: The basis of love (1-3); the behavior of love (4-6); the bounds of love (7-13). III JOHN: The excellence of Gaius (1-8); the evil of Diotrephes (9-10); the elevation of Demetrius (11-14). JUDE: The command to contend for the faith (1-4); the condemnation of the counterfeits of the faith (5-16); the call to surrender in our faith (17-25).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
The book of II John is a very important Book of the Bible for those of us living in the last days. It seems that the heed and call in “Christian” circles today is, “Let’s drop our petty doctrines for the sake of love.” The Book of II John is in our Bible to tell us the exact opposite!
As John begins this Book, he refers to himself as “the elder.” He is not referring to a position or office he held in the church, but rather to his age. John is an old man by the time he writes this Book – probably 80-90 years old.
He is writing to “the elect lady.” She is not mentioned by name, but is obviously someone with whom John was very close, as he affirms his love for her and her children in the opening verses. Her husband was probably dead, and her children are now grown, and it appears that she was an extremely loving lady. In fact, she was so “loving,” she had unknowingly taken false prophets into her home and had lodged them (v. 10). In John’s travels, he has come in contact with this “elect lady’s” nieces and nephews (v. 13), and they have evidently let John know how their aunt had been victimized by these false teachers. John immediately writes to make sure this extremely loving, benevolent, and hospitable lady knew how the Lord wanted her to be discriminate and how to respond to these false teachers.
You see the urgency of his message in verse 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.” We don’t know the things John spoke to her face to face. Obviously, we didn’t need to know them or we would have them! But we do have the words of the first 11 verses, and the Spirit of God wanted us to have these words so that God’s people through the centuries would know how God wants us to respond to false prophets and teachers. This little letter actually shows us how love is to operate when it faces false doctrine, prophets, and teachers.
In verses 1-3 John shows us the BASIS OF LOVE. He lets us know that the basis of genuine biblical love is truth. (Note that the word “truth” is hammered five times in the first four verses!) He shows us that love and truth are inseparably linked in Christianity, and that our love cannot be permitted to be governed by anything but “TRUTH”! The whole point in verses 1-3 is that we are not to indiscriminately share love for the sake of love. Rather, we share love for the sake of truth! And when truth is violated, love is redirected. Wow! You talk about going against the teaching of Laodicean Christianity!
In verses 4-6, John shows us the BEHAVIOR OF LOVE. Whereas the basis of love is TRUTH, the BEHAVIOR of love is OBEDIENCE. John sets the “elect lady’s” children as an example for sharing love: the fact that they were “walking in truth.” And he really brings it back to the same point he had just made: Walking in LOVE is walking in TRUTH; and, walking in TRUTH is walking in LOVE! The simple fact is, love obeys. It obeys the truth. And when truth is violated, love is not unleashed. The love of the truth keeps love in bounds. Yes, folks, love (true biblical love!) has boundaries!
That’s what John shows us in verses 7-11, the BOUNDS OF LOVE. In verse 7, John gives us the reason we must walk in love AND walk in truth. He says “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.” John is trying to get us to see that unless we understand the connection between truth and love, and unless we are walking in truth and in love, we will never respond to these deceivers and antichrists, as God would want! And John shows us that our response to them is extremely important to God! So important, that a wrong response will even have a profound impact on us at the Judgment Seat of Christ! Verse 8 says that we put ourselves in a position of losing rewards that we have already wrought! Verse 9 actually lets us know who and when TO love, and who and when NOT TO love. He tells us that truth limits love toward those who “transgress” the “doctrine of Christ.” In other words, if th!
ey do not believe that Jesus Christ is God in a sinless human body, we are to apply verse 10, not letting them in our house and not telling them “God bless you.” To do otherwise, John says in verse 11, is to become a “partaker” in their “evil deeds.” (These verses are obviously in reference to someone who comes to you on a mission to propagate false doctrine, and not simply those who may believe false doctrine.)
There are three main characters in the Book of III John. John shows us the EXCELLENCE of GAIUS in verses 1-8, the EVIL OF DIOTREPHES in verses 9-10, and the ELEVATION OF DEMETRIUS in verses 11-14. As you read this little Book, ask yourself, “Which one am I most like: Gaius, Diotrephes or Demetrius?
The Book of Jude was written from an HISTORICAL standpoint, to Jewish believers, charging them to “earnestly contend for the faith,” and to endure until the coming of Lord Jesus, their Messiah. From a DOCTRINAL (prophetic) standpoint, it is written to Tribulation saints to help them identify the Antichrist and his “ministers,” and to “earnestly contend for the faith” as they await the return of their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. And, from a DEVOTIONAL standpoint, the Book of Jude teaches us that if we are eagerly awaiting the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will also be “earnestly contend[ing] for the faith.”
May that be our testimony in these dark, perilous last days!