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II John Chapter 1

Memory verses for this week:   Dan 3:17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. Dan 3:18  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. 

Introduction:  Last week, as we finished up I John, we saw some scriptures that made it very clear that the believer can know that he or she has eternal life.  God gave us these scriptures and the Holy Spirit to allow us to have total confidence in His promises.  We begin and conclude our study of II John which has just the one chapter. 

I.  The Salutation  

2 John 1:1  The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

2 John 1:2  For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

John starts this letter by identifying himself as an elder.   All of the apostles were considered elders.   This term signified preacher as we found in our study of I Peter.

1 Pet 5:1  The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

I believe that John was also up in years as these books were written, given further credence to the term as we think of an older person as an elder today.   Note how it is addressed to the ‘elect lady’ and her children.   Who was this elect lady?  It could have been someone that John knew who was a woman, but most likely had reference to the New Testament church.   As we study this book, I think we will find instructions for every true New Testament church today.   He addresses them as ‘whom I love in truth.”   We have talked in recent weeks how Christian brethren should show love one to another, and we should really love those who hold to the truth of God’s Word.   All who know the Lord will indeed love this ‘elect lady’ if it is the Church of Jesus Christ.   God’s word will endure all time as John points out in verse 2.

1 Pet 1:25  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Psa 119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Psa 119:89  LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Psa 119:90  Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

J. Vernon McGee pointed out that the word Elder had dual meanings in the Greek.

The Greek word for “elder” is presbuteros (presbyter), and it has a twofold meaning. It can mean a senior citizen, referring to age, or it can be a title, referring to an office in the church, a minister or a teacher. I am sure that John is primarily calling himself an elder, speaking of his office in the church. I think he also infers the fact that he is now an old man. He is actually up in his nineties, approaching one hundred, as he writes this epistle. Notice that John does not call upon his office as an apostle. I think the reason is quite obvious: the one to whom he is writing accepts his authority. All he calls himself here is “the elder.”   [1]

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 declares that Jesus is the Son of the Father.  How we all are in need of God’s Grace and mercy every day of our life.

Matthew Henry made a comment about how all blessings truly flow from the Heavenly Father.

Sacred love pours out blessings upon this honourable Christian family; to those who have shall more be given. Observe,  1. From whom these blessings are craved, (1.) From God the Father, the God of all grace. He is the fountain of blessedness, and of all the blessings that must bring us thither. (2.) From the Lord Jesus Christ. He is also author and communicator of these heavenly blessings, and he is distinguished by this emphatic character—the Son of the Father; such a Son as none else can be; such a Son as is the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, who, with the Father, is also eternal life, 1 Jn. 1:2.  [2]


II.  The Children of this “Elect Lady” Walk in the 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.

2 John 1:5  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.

John rejoiced that the children of the ‘elect lady’ were walking in the truth.   To walk in truth infers that we are following the commandments of the God.   We read last week in our study of Chapter 5 that there are no grievous commandments.  That means that everything written in God’s Word is for our own benefit.  These children were following in the footsteps of their Lord Jesus Christ.  There is no greater model that we can pattern our lives after than that of the Master.   When we start thinking like Jesus thought, we will be concerned daily with “Not my will, but thine be done.”   These were walking by the commandment God had given them.   Again we are commanded in verse 5 to love one another.

Amos 3:3  Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Amos points out that if we want to walk with God, we have to agree with Him, and that means making our lives into the kind that are worthy.   We need to have soft hearts and be soft clay in the potters hands.   The kind that the Heavenly Father can mold into the kind of man or woman that will bring honor to Christ.  John encourages these to love one another.   When we walk according to the commandments, we will love one another.

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

2 John 1:6  And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

If we do truly love the Lord, we will walk according to His Words and follow the commandments.   When your heart’s desire is to please the Heavenly Father, there is pain when you sin and feel that loss of fellowship.  True love for God will cause a person to do more for God than all the laws we could come up with or try to enforce.   When we truly love the Lord, we will do a lot for the cause of Christ.   And be happy while we are doing it.   We don’t do this to maintain or salvation or to try and win rewards, but we do it because of the debt we feel towards God for what Christ has done for us.  I just read this verse in Psalms in my weekly reading of the bible, and we can see why David loved the Lord.

Psa 116:1  I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

Psa 116:2  Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

Psa 116:3  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Psa 116:4  Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

Psa 116:5  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

Psa 116:6  The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.

Psa 116:7  Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Psa 116:8  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

III.  Warning Against False Teachers

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.

2 John 1:8  Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

John was quick to warn those in the church that there were many false teachers in the world… his term for them was deceivers.  My family has been telling me about dealing with several of the cults who are coming around and trying to lure away believers to their false teachings.   Anyone who denies the deity of Jesus Christ is a deceiver and an antichrist.   They may talk smoothly, but they peddle a false religion that can not deliver a man’s soul from Hell.  Only Jesus has the power over death and the grave, and unless we come through Him we have no hope of eternal life.   All believers in the Old Testament had faith that Jesus would come, and we look back now knowing he has come and provided salvation for us by his death there on Calvary.    In Hebrews it talks about the works of Abraham when he was willing to sacrifice Isaac on Mt. Moriah, but Abraham was not justified by those works.  Forty years before that, he was justified by faith.

Heb 11:17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.


Rom 4:1  What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

Rom 4:2  For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Rom 4:3  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

The false teachers were teaching that Jesus did not come in the flesh.  Every person who denies the virgin birth of Christ is effectively saying that God’s Son did not come in the flesh.  To say that Christ could have sinned while here on earth is denying the truth of God’s Son.   John again calls these people deceivers and an antichrist.

Verse 8 implies that the ‘elect lady’ and her children had attained some things in their efforts for the Lord.   Note the way John says “Lose not those things which WE have wrought.”   All of us should be in the battle for the Lord, and be concerned that each of us by faith stays in the battle.   Satan is there to pick off the weak ones.   If we neglect one service to the Lord, Satan can easily trick us into skipping the second.  Pretty soon he has us right where he wants us… isolated and fearful because we have not by faith stayed close to the Lord.   Satan has always been a liar and tempter.   What was his first question… “Hath God said?”   Always questioning God and his authority.    Some of the deceivers followed after John and denied the very things he had taught.

2 John 1:9  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.

To abide in the doctrine of Christ is proof that a person is saved and has God.    When we deny Christ, we are denying the Heavenly Father since they are in essence one.

2 John 1:10  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

2 John 1:11  For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

John warns the ‘elect lady’ and her children about receiving these deceivers into their home.  The method these people (false religions) use is to go from door to door to peddle their false doctrines.  We are warned here that we are not to receive these false teachers into our homes nor or we to bid them God speed.  To do so is to be a partaker of their evil deeds.   Recently my son and I were confronted by a very smooth talking elderly man who was talking about the great blessings of the Lord and what all God was going to do for us.  I certainly could not find anything wrong in those things.  I asked to see his booklet that he wanted to give us.  It was put out by the Watchtower.   That made me realize that this man was one of those false teachers known as Jehovah Witnesses.   They deny the very one they claim to stand up for.   They deny that Jesus is God, and don’t take God’s Word literally in regards to Christ.  I gave the man his book back and told him that we served Jesus Christ, and that we had no need for his false teaching.   He then claimed that he believed Jesus was the son of God.  (Which is not their teaching at all.)  When asked if he would like to discuss this belief with his other church members, he was ready to leave.  When these false teachers come, we are commanded to not receive them into our house.  I think we should witness to them all, and be sure we know what we believe.  But when false teachers come claiming a new and better revelation through Joseph Smith (Mormons) or that Jehovah is God and Christ is just a good man, you had better be careful.   Remember who empowers these kind of people.   To bid these people Godspeed is to be a partaker of their evil deeds.

Adam Clark in his teachings said this about verse 11

Is partaker of his evil deeds—He that acts towards him as if he considered him a Christian brother, and sound in the faith, puts it in his power to deceive others, by thus apparently accrediting his ministry. No sound Christian should countenance any man as a Gospel minister, who holds and preaches erroneous doctrines; especially concerning the Lord Jesus. Nor can any Christian attend the ministry of such teachers without being criminal in the sight of God. He who attends their ministry is, in effect, bidding them God speed; no matter whether such belong to an established Church, or to any congregation of dissenters from it. But what St. John says here does not mean that we should deny such the common offices of humanity, charity, and mercy. No. In these offices we are equally bound to all men; far less does it intimate that we should persecute such on account of their heretical or heterodox sentiments. No. This right has God given to no man, to no Church, to no state. They who persecute others, even for the worst heretical opinions, may expect the heaviest judgments of Almighty God.


IV.   The Conclusion

2 John 1:12  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.

2 John 1:13  The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

John had many things to say to this ‘elect lady’ and her children, but says he was going to save much of it and come and speak face to face with them.   There is great joy in seeing one another in person, and get to speak with one another about what God has been doing in our lives.   John sends them all greetings, probably from another ‘elect sister’ meaning another New Testament Church.


Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.

Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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