Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – 2 John
“…because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever…”. 2 John 2
The Apostle John’s Second and Third Letters are the shortest Books in the Bible. Since you asked: in the original language, 3 John has 219 words, and 2 John 245 words. All three of John’s Letters are certainly important or else they wouldn’t have been included in the Bible, and all three in one way or another are dealing with the false teaching of Gnosticism and Docetism.
Both of these are strange teachings that I don’t have the time or the space to explain in detail, but let me just say that both of them deny the full deity and full humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus was either a pure spirit that was just using a body, but left it before the suffering of the cross (since pure spirit couldn’t suffer); or Jesus was a phantom spirit who really wasn’t in the body of flesh because the body is material and they believed that everything material was evil, so of course, the Spirit of Christ couldn’t and wouldn’t live in a sinful body.
Now, 2 John starts off by addressing ‘the lady chosen by God and to her children; and later (the last verse, verse thirteen) will make reference to ‘the children of your chosen sister’, so the question that naturally arises is whether John is writing to a Christian widow, who happens to have a sister who is a Christian as well as a widow (because if they were married, John would be writing to the husbands); or John is writing to a church, and just as hurricanes, boats, cars, nations, and other inanimate things are referred to in the feminine sense, so would a local church be called ‘her’, ‘she’, ‘lady’, etc.
Either way, in 2 John the apostle is writing to remind the church or lady of what Christian love is all about; and to remind them especially, that since there are false teachers creeping around town, the church/lady need to make sure that she and her children/congregation are firmly rooted in THE TRUTH of Jesus Christ. I picked verse two to talk about, but let me first put it all in perspective with the verse before and after:
“The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children,
whom I love in the truth – and not I only, but also all who
know the truth – because of the truth, which lives in us and
will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace from
God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son,
will be with us in truth and love.”
In these three verses John uses the word ‘truth’ four times. I think the subject of ‘truth’ must be pretty important. As Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate on the night of His crucifixion the two of them had this brief exchange of words, starting with Pilate:
“Your own people and chief priests handed You over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now My kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a King. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. (John 18:35-38a)
Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” has been asked by philosophers, theologians, the religious, and ordinary people from the dawn of man, and as you can see, when Jesus tells Pilate that He is on the side of truth, Pilate probably chuckled thinking, “Yeah, right; another messiah figure thinking that he’s got the truth! What is truth anyway?”
Little does Pilate realize that the Man he is talking to isn’t just ‘another messiah figure’ who thinks he has a corner on some sort of truth. This Man Jesus Christ claims to be THE TRUTH. Jesus said in John 14:6,
“I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
This response from Jesus came right after Thomas asked the Lord ‘the way to the Father’, so when you take this sixth verse in context it becomes one of the most powerful verses in all of the Scriptures affirming the deity of Christ, His Messiahship, and His role as the Only Savior of our souls. Jesus claims to the THE WAY to the Father. He claims to be THE TRUTH; and He amazingly claims to be THE LIFE, the Giver of Life. And then Jesus goes so far as to state the exclusivity of the Christian faith: No one (and No one means NO ONE) comes to the Father – comes to faith – comes to eternal life – EXCEPT THROUGH JESUS. My friends, it might be hard to swallow, but Jesus is the Only Way. And if there are ‘other ways’, then Jesus is a liar or delusional, and we shouldn’t listen to a single word He says!
So, with that in mind – with Jesus Christ being THE TRUTH – let’s look at that second verse again: “…because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever…”.
John states that he loves this lady/church in the truth – in Christ. Jesus is the Truth – they are all Christians – so as we love Jesus because He first loved us, then we can say that we love someone ‘in the truth’, in Christ. So John continues here in verse two to say that ‘because of the truth’ – ‘the truth’ being that Jesus Christ is fully divine and fully man; that He is the Savior of our souls; that Jesus is the Only Way; and since Jesus is not only the epitome of Truth – He’s the personification of TRUTH – Jesus Christ IS TRUTH (remember those Gnostics and Docetists are hanging around, so this is a slap in their heretical faces).
But then John adds that ‘because of the truth, WHICH LIVES IN US’, which is a remarkable statement about the indwelling Spirit of Christ within the heart of the believer….and that also means that we, as Christians, possess the TRUTH. And not only does the TRUTH live in us because Christ is the TRUTH and Christ lives within us; but the rest of the verse says that this personal TRUTH – this Jesus Christ – THE TRUTH – will be with us forever! C’mon folks, just stop and think about that for a moment! The Truth of all truths; and truth being all that is right, correct, real, permanent, eternal, living, true or real life – these are all ways of contemplating the essence of all things – the TRUTH that mankind has always looked for, searched for, yearned for, but always looked away from the Triune God because the Triune God says that to understand, to grasp, to know, to love and be in the TRUTH, one must repent of the non-truth of our sinful lives, and trust our life in THE TRUTH. And fallen man just won’t do it.
So much more can be said about the TRUTH and this amazing little Letter, so if you are interested in what 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John are all about, you can listen to or read my sermons on these Books that I preached some time ago. You can just click on this linkto find them at the Grace Christian Fellowship website.
So, that’s a very late Sunday night dissertation on THE TRUTH, and let me just say in closing that I will lay my head down on my pillow in ten minutes knowing in the deepest depths of my heart, soul, and spirit, that the TRUTH of the universe – Jesus Christ – died on a cross to pay for MY sins; and rose from the dead to bring/give ME eternal life; and by His mercy and grace, the Spirit of Christ – who is TRUTH – now lives in ME forever and ever and ever. I will sleep well tonight. Not because I’m so clever, good, or have good sleep habits, but rather because of Christ – it is well with my soul.