2019-06-30 – 2 John – To The Lady Elect
Bible Text: 2 John | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: 2 John | 2019-06-30 – 2 John – To The Lady Elect
(Happy Independence Day week, Vacation Bible School)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Someone once said that “Beauty, truth, friendship, love, and creation are the great values of life. We can’t much prove them, or explain them, yet they are the most stable things in our lives.”
In this world today with everything seeming to be unstable, having something to hold on to that is unwavering is so very important isn’t it? I was talking to somebody the other day about how our world today seems like a merry-go-round ride sometimes. The faster and faster you go, the more confusing everything becomes. But as you ride that merry-go-round ride, if you focus on one area, it tends to settle things down a bit in our mind and makes the ride a little more tolerable, and maybe even enjoyable to experience.
Today we are going talk a little about the subjects of truth and love. What great subjects to focus on as we are on this merry-go-round or rollercoaster called life.
Please turn in your Bibles to 2 John 1, pg 1086 in the Pew Bibles, The Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God, and let us start with Prayer.
This book of Second John is the shortest book of the bible. The next shortest book is the next Third John which we intend to go over next week. Sometimes when I want to get motivated to read my bible, I might get a listing of the Bible books from smallest to largest. These three books of John is right up on the top, and a great place to get started. It motivates you to read because you can get through three books in only an hour. These letter-books were written by the Apostle John, who at this point was probably the last of the Apostle missionaries still alive that was appointed by Jesus Christ to start this thing called church. It is believed that John wrote this message while he was on the island of Patmos where he was held as a prisoner. When you are placed in secluded environments like prison, or on vacation, or like when I was on furlough in the military, you have much time to think and write. This letter here written by John To The Lady Elect, which is the title of today’s sermon, is riddled with truth and love.
I wonder sometimes if John knew or not that his letters would have such a huge audience, but we are so blessed to be able to read his letters and reflect upon them, as the true author was really Jesus himself and He inspired John to write you and me today.
2 1 The elder: To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth—and not only I, but also all who know the truth— 2 because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever.
3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
That was the opening greeting of this second letter. “The elder” written by here, of course is the Apostle John who was an elder of the church, but also at the time of writing was also an elder in age. Nobody knows exactly when John died, but it was believed to be about AD 100 (aged 93–94). It is traditionally believed he died on the Patmos island in Ephesus which is now Turkey. John wrote this letter To The Lady Elect, which makes it the only book in the Bible written to a lady. Some pose that the lady was actually a church (Christ’s bride), but I would rather think this is actually a lady. He refers to her children and later mentions her sister. I have no doubt that John, in his travels, had many acquaintances and made many dear friends along the way. I believe she probably was a widow who put John up in her house at some point as he was speaking in the house churches as he traveled.
Speaking or writing to a lady would have been taboo in the old context of the Jewish culture. But now, under the new covenant or contract we have under God through Jesus, all peoples are considered equal. And how blessed we are now as a result.
In this next section John brings home the notion of Truth and Love.
4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father. 5 So now I ask you, dear lady—not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 This is love: that we walk according to his commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: that you walk in love.
Last week we addressed the issue and test of how we can know that we are truly Christians. As John pointed out in the last chapter of the last letter of First John, he said that obeying God’s commands is not burdensome, in fact we should now find our joy as Christ followers in obeying God’s commands.
Let me give you a present day analogy. Right now most of you know that we have the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief here in town addressing the needs of the people that have suffered from all the river flooding. Those rivers, being the Mighty Mississippi, the Rock, Hennepin Canal, and the Green River are all beautiful tributaries that generate a lot of enjoyment by our citizens and tourists. The rivers are a source of commerce and industry by all the barges, and tourist businesses in our area. These rivers are really what makes the Quad Cities the Quad Cities. So the rivers are good, that is until they flow out of their banks like we have now. Then it can cause all kinds of destruction and pain and sorrow.
That is the same as it goes with the dynamics of love. I will suggest that as long as love is kept within its banks, within the constructs or commands of God, everything is golden. Life is good. Love brings much joy and happiness. As the old Andy Williams song goes – “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing”. However, when we allow that “love” to be applied or given in a way that is without the constraints of God’s will and commands, then many problems seem to arise. I am sure most of you here today can attest that when you allow love to flow outside its banks, just like the river, it can even cause all kinds of pain and sorrow. That is not God’s will for you and that is what John is trying to tell us here today. Again verse 6 says, “This is love: that we walk according to his commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: that you walk in love.” Not run, but walk in love, prudently and wisely.
Verse 7 continues now with a warning from the Apostle John to the Lady elect and for us even here today:
7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves so you don’t lose what we have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and don’t greet him; 11 for the one who greets him shares in his evil works.
John has several times counseled us on keeping watch for antichrist or the deceivers of this world, and here he does the same. There were false-Christians and false-profits then, and sadly there are false-Christians and false-profits still with us today. Basically John says here that we will know them by what they say and by what they do. They will say things that are not in keeping with scripture, and they will do things that divide and destroy both you and your church. That is why we in this church endeavor to teach and preach God’s Holy Word all the time. So that you will know when you hear things that are not in keeping with your Bible and God’s will. We want you to Love your Bible. To read your bible. And to meditate on it regularly, so that you will be ready when these deceivers come around.
Finally at the end of this smallest of books, John gives farewell To The Lady Elect. Starting at verse 12, he wrote:
12 Though I have many things to write to you, I don’t want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to come to you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your elect sister send you greetings.
So few words, but with much wisdom and council for us here today. This first verse talks about joy. That was also the topic we went over this past Wednesday here. And your company here Wednesday surely did bring me much joy as well.
God gifted us, this body of believers so that we can have joy in meeting with one another regularly. Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching”. God loves it when we meet together face to face.
Don’t get me wrong, I love getting e-mails, chats, cards and letters, especially if they include gift certificates J However, I find much more true joy when we meet together face-to-face. These days, with all the social mechanisms and technology, people can meet up online and share all kinds of fun times online that is for sure. I love technology, my MBA degree is in Technology Management. But I also believe it is causing our society to become physically disconnected at the same time. I call it the age of disconnected communication. It sounds like an oxymoron, but that is really what it is. We “communicate” but in a disconnected way.
I cannot tell you how many times I have formed some sort of on-line relationship with peers or friends, but then one day I see them in person, and I am shocked because they don’t look anything like what I had formulated in my mind what they should look like. I am telling you I could almost paint a picture of a person that I have interacted with for years, only to find out how far off I was in my assumptions.
Now just seeing somebody is not the end-all of good communications, but when we are actually with them we feel their presence. We sense their presence in so many other ways. I don’t think we will ever fully understand all the dynamics of communication that happens when we are face-to-face with another person. Besides the obvious senses of sight, feel, and touch, there is the spirit of the person that communicates with your spirit when you are face-to-face. Especially when they are fellow Christ followers.
This reminds me of when Mary met her cousin Elizabeth as they were both pregnant, and probably both ridiculed for being so. Mary because she was a young virgin, and her cousin Elizabeth because she was elderly. But when they first saw each other, the baby John (the Baptist) leaped in her womb. Don’t tell me there is nothing special about meeting face-to-face. We should go out of our way to meet with one another regularly. That is God’s will for you and me brothers and sisters, and that is what John is trying to teach us here today.
As a church family, my hope and prayer is that you find the time in your days to make time to be with one another. We need to get to know each other and come alongside each other. We need to love each other, within the prudent boundaries of course. That is what the Apostle John is giving us an example of here in these parting words.
Finally, as you can see in this final sentence of this final verse of Second John, he refers to the “elect” sister of the “elect” lady. I want to close today with a general understanding of what that word “elect” means. It is important that you know this so that you will not be deceived. And that is why I am here to help you in that endeavor.
Question: “Who are the elect of God?”
Simply put, “the elect” are those whom God has predestined for salvation. They are called the “elect” because that word denotes the concept of choosing. This might be difficult for us to comprehend but God chooses those who will be saved. These are “the elect” of God. Now I am not going to tell you here that I have it all figured out, because I don’t. However, I leave room for God to be God and I don’t have to fully understand how He works. That is where faith comes in. Just like we said in last weeks sermon, faith fills the gap of what we know and what we don’t know.
As far as election goes, there are many verses that say that we were chosen or elected before the creation of the world, and that our salvation is complete in Christ. As Paul says in Romans 8:29-30, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified”. So for the Christian, God knew you, He justified you and He glorified you. Therefore we are “the elect”.
So the question comes up for many is: Did I make a free-will decision to accept Christ, or was I chosen or elected by Christ? The general answer I lean on for that question, is simply, yes. God is God, and I am not.
Again, I am not trying to persuade anyone here today one side or the other, however I want you to be aware of what that Elect term is all about; Okay?
But this sermon today is really about truth and love
In the 103rd Psalm, King David wrote says: The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him..”
Our Heavenly Father is the author of Love and His Love is blanketed in His Truth. I hope you understand that today. If you don’t catch anything else from today’s message, just know that God loves you. He really loves you, and He wants your love and He wants you to trust Him in Faith, and love His commands.
Like the Mighty Mississippi is lovely when it is within it’s banks, Love is a many splendid thing, when it is maintained within it’s banks as well.
Please Rise, Let us Pray..