Not Ashamed of the Truth
2 John 1–4, “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; For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.
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. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a
commandment from the Father.”
What is truth? What is The Truth? Today’s world seeks to compromise and mar the truth at all costs. As Christians, we experience this as we go out into the workplace, in college, and in our everyday lives as we are bombarded by the lie through the Internet, television, radio, social media, etc. Young people, as God’s children we are called to walk in the truth. What does that mean for a Reformed Christian? In John 14:6, when Thomas asked Jesus how they can know the way, Jesus’ response is “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” We must not be ashamed of the truth but continually seek to walk in that truth. The first 4 verses of 2 John also speak of this truth. Our Father commands us to walk in this truth, and when children walk in the truth there is great rejoicing.
- Who is the author of 2 John? What is his relationship to Jesus? (See commentaries on 2 John)
- The author calls himself “elder”. To what is this a reference? (Hebrews 13:17)
- This book was written to “the elect lady”. Who is the elect lady? (Hosea 1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25–33)
- What is the theme of 2 John? (Read 2 John 1–4 and 3 John 1–4)
- What is the connection the author makes between truth and love in 2 John 1–4? See also
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 and 3 John 4
- What does it mean for children to walk in truth? Give concrete examples of this from the life of a Protestant Reformed young person.
- Today’s world denies the truth. What should the Reformed response be to a person who says the truth we hold is only our opinion and should not be promoted? (1 Kings 18:20–40; John 15:1–2;
John 16:13–14; John 17:3)
- How does the “church world” of today compromise the truth in their quest for ecclesiastical unity?
- Discuss specific applications of unashamedly walking in the truth in the life of a Reformed young person. What type of relationships must we seek? How do you bring the truth to your own family/friends?
Walking in Love
2 John 5–6, “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. 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.”
In these verses, the apostle continues his letter by beseeching the saints to have Christian sacred love toward
one another. This is not a new commandment, for God’s people have always been called to love one another.
We need to show evidence in our life of our sincere, Christian love, and we do this by keeping God’s
commandments and encouraging one another to walk in holiness. We must not become complacent but
always strive to continue to grow in this Christian virtue of love. As we go through the following study, may
we discuss and learn more about how to manifest love throughout our daily life.
- What is love? (Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 1, pp. 148-153, Colossians 3:14)
- We are commanded to “love one another”. With whom are we to establish the fellowship of love? (Ephesians 4:2–6; 1 Peter 1:22; I John 3:10–11; I John 4:7–8)
- With whom can the fellowship of love not be established? (Deuteronomy 7:2–4; Ezra 9:2–4,
2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:6–8)
- Why are we commanded to love one another? (John 15:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 3:16;
1 John 4:19-21)
- What is the relationship between love and walking in God’s commandments? (Psalm 19:7–11; Matthew 22:36–40; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:8–10; 1 John 5:2–3)
- How is our love manifested? (John 15:12–13; Romans 12:9–10; 1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4:31–32; Ephesians 5:1–2; I Peter 3:8–9; 1 Peter 4:8; I John 3:18)
- We cannot be ashamed to walk in love for we are commanded to love one another. Discuss how we are able to show evidence in our life of this fruit of the Spirit. (John 13:34–35; Galatians 5:22–23)
Dealing with False Teachers
2 John 7–13, “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. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 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. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 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. The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.”
In the above verses the apostle John warns the church of the many false teachers who seek to deceive her and rob her of the comfort that comes from confessing Christ. These false teachers (deceivers) can be identified by their denial of the doctrine of Christ, “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” This passage is a strong defense of the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ. The true believer should shun these deceivers so as not to risk losing the faith and assurance that we have. These verses have many applications for us today. Please consider the following questions as they relate to not only the above verses, but also the Christian walk of a godly young person today.
- It should not surprise us that there are false teachers (2 Thessalonians 2:7). How can a Christian young person prepare himself to recognize a “deceiver?” How should we prepare ourselves for the end times? (1 Thessalonians 5:1–8; 1 Timothy 4:1–10)
- These deceivers deny that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. John also calls them “antichrists.” May we call the Pope antichrist? Is any heresy (such as Arminianism or the Federal Vision) a denial that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? (Q & A 29, Heidelberg Catechism)
- John urges us to be watchful. In what way can young people be watchful? How can young men prepare themselves for office in the church? (1 Timothy 4:12–16)
- John speaks of losing our reward. Does “what we have wrought” mean that we must work for our salvation? (Philippians 2:12–13; Ephesians 2:8–9)
- The doctrine of Christ helps us to know God and walk a holy life (John 15:3). How do a holy life and the truth go hand in hand? As a young person, do you know God and love him and obey him? How is this shown in your life? How does this doctrine give us comfort?
- If we are hospitable to deceivers, we become partakers of their sins: “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” In what ways can we become partakers of these evil deeds?
(Revelation 18:4) How does this affect the friendships (and marriages) we must have?
- Communion of the saints, face to face, is always wonderful and preferable to “pen and ink” (3 John 3, Romans 1:12). How important is it that we greet each other with courtesy and love and respect? Are we thankful for our fellow saints, our denomination, our sister churches? Is our joy full in their presence?