After six months in 1 John, we turn the page to 2 John as we continue this expository journey through 1-3 John.
Historically, there were several months to several years between the writing of 1 & 2 John by the Apostle John, the one whom Jesus loved. He was the only disciple standing at the Cross.
John wrote what he wrote to counter the work of false teachers at that time. Not everyone who preaches the gospel has been called to do so. Some preach the gospel to benefit themselves foremost.
It is important to know why we believe what we believe. Otherwise, we can be tossed around by every wind of doctrine. People are looking for answers, and saying “Well, that’s just what I’ve always believed” isn’t good enough.
The phrase in verse 1 “The elder unto the elect lady and her children” is difficult to understand. John is the elder. This isn’t necessarily his position in the church, but describes his age. By now, John is an old man.
1. Our perspective and focus on life always change with age. John is extremely harsh in this book, because the older he got, the more important truth became. (We aren’t concerned with the same things at 40 that we were at 20.)
The elect lady and her children refers to the church. Even then, they often referred to the church in feminine terms. Even when the Bible refers to wisdom it is done in a feminine way.
2. A church that is not reaching people with the gospel is selfish and disobedient. This is accomplished when you accept people as they are, no matter how broken. Religious people don’t care if the world goes to hell as long as you don’t tinker with what they’ve built. When we say that everyone is welcome, we have to mean it. It’s not just everyone who happens to look like us, but everyone, period.
A lot of churches prefer to remain small so they can retain a family atmosphere. But we should want to see new faces every Sunday, and it’s okay if we don’t know every single person. We should exist for the ones who aren’t even here yet. But we don’t have to engage in shenanigans to spruce up the gospel, because the gospel reaches out by itself. Not only must the message be righteous, but our methods must be righteous, too.
When you speak the truth in love it sometimes doesn’t sound very loving, but we must still speak the truth.
3. Regardless of what takes place in the world, truth never changes. The truth of the word of God remains with us, no matter what. The character of God never changes, and the truth doesn’t either.
If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, you can either change yourself or change the mirror. The American church has tried to change the mirror to make ourselves look better. It doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court says, the truth is inalterable. Marriage still works God’s way.
You don’t have to believe the Bible for historical purposes if you don’t want to, but know that things that were prophesied thousands of years ago are happening now.