Reader: “Anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ . . .”
Response: “has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.”
Scripture: 2 John 1:1-13
“This letter is from John, the elder.
I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth— because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.
Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.
How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.
I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.
I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work. I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.
Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.”
Reader: The word of the Lord as given through the Apostle John.
Response: Thanks be to God.
Have you ever noticed that many of the New Testament letters had to do with combating the heresies circulating in those days? (Galatians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, I Timothy, 2 Peter, Jude, John, and I,II, & III John!) Peter, Paul, Jude, and John all addressed the issue of false teaching about Jesus and what Jesus taught. Notice also in this shortest book in the New Testament that John also stresses loving one another in the midst of confusing times. This is a striking letter in light of the 21st century church. But this is not the first time people have grappled and rejected the truth. Thomas Jefferson went through the Bible with a razor and cut out everything that had to do with the divinity of Christ and made his own bible. It is a sad book. No hope, only moral teachings, no resurrection, no Pentecost, no Second Coming, no heaven, no sin, no relationship with God. In our day, not only is there hostility toward Christianity in general, there is great conflict within the church itself. Denominations split over doctrine and interpretation of Scripture. Heresies have entered the churches in some quarters. The Bible is viewed as non-authoritative and needs to be reevaluated. Humans will decide what it says and means in light of today’s culture. For example for some viewpoints, the definition of marriage is no longer between one man and one woman; there are other options. Gender is no longer simply male and female, there are additional choices. Killing children waiting to be born is re-interpreted to as a woman’s right to choose (notice a pregnant woman is not referred to as a mother). In some places, Christianity is classified as “hate speech.” The words of the Scriptures span all of time. The challenge for us is to know what the Scriptures do in fact say, and most particularly, what did Jesus say in regard to the Scripture of his day, the Old Testament. He freely quoted it as God’s inspired word. He believed and taught every word of it as true. He fulfilled it! John points out here that we are to “remain in the teaching of Christ” that we might remain in relationship with both the Father and the Son. In our journey to the cross with Christ during this season, we can rest assured in the truth of his word and in his view of the Scriptures. That is also the purpose of these daily devotionals, that we would spend time and encounter the Lord each day. Oh yes, and remember to love one another!
Music: “ “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” Fernando Ortega
Make no mistake: if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall . . . Let us not mock God with metaphor, analogy, sidestepping, transcendence; making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages: let us walk through the door. ―John Updike
Lord God, your claims are absolute; we must accept them without bargaining. You are always right. Your demands are so full of blessings! I thank you for your severity as Redeemer, I thank You for never having allowed us to mingle the odor of death with Your perfume of eternity. I shall go towards You as towards my state of rest and my eternal life. In Your two hands You hold my being; and You are my reward, because the perfection of my being lies in You. Grant that I may love more and more of this life of faith, wholly irradiated by hope; grant that I may love this desert-place where You have put my soul, this immense plain with You in the center, where I stand always before You and someday soon, by Your Grace, by Your side. Amen.
―Florence Allshorn, from The Quiet Corner, p.93