Updated: Aug 1, 2019
2 John 1: 4-11 says,
I rejoiced greatly to find of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady – not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning – that we love one another. And this is love; that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
The most popular aspect of this passage, which is the verse that is quoted most often, is verse 2, which states, “And now I ask you, dear lady – not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning – that we love one another.” This verse is often times used against people who teach that we need to stand for truth, saying we shouldn’t debate about theology or beliefs, but let’s all just love and agree to disagree. That sounds more like the theology of a Hippy than it does the theology found in the Bible. Remember, to properly understand a specific verse, you have to look at the context. That is the problem with the majority of churches and pastors today… no one looks at the context. The other problem is that those same pastors and churches don’t like it when someone does look at the context and tries to hold them accountable. Anyways, back to the topic at hand.
According to this passage, love isn’t forgetting the truth in order to keep peace; love is walking according to God’s commandments. “And this is love; that we walk according to his commandments.” People may call you legalistic, or they may say that you are narrow-minded. That’s ok, because we are not responsible to those people. We are only responsible to God. What does God’s Word say? That’s the question that we should be asking. The problem is that churches and pastors are ok with following the teachings of pastors with no regard to how their teachings line up with the Bible. This leads us into the next point from this passage.
For many deceivers have hone out into the world, those who do confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist… Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God… If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
John says here that we are not supposed to stand by and allow false teachers to teach false doctrines. Teaching the truth was important to both God and the apostles. It should be important to us, as well. Pastors nowadays teach based off of their own personal convictions, and then find verses to back that up. That is not teaching the truth. Do you see the problem with that? If you teach that way, you can make the Bible say anything. So, we have pastors like Rick Warren who teaches that God has a purpose for your life that you need to discover (all the while taking verse after verse out of context in order to prove his point). We have pastors like Joel Osteen who teach that God wants to make you successful monetarily, take away your sickness and diseases, and take away all of your problems. We have pastors like Rob Bell who are trying to incorporate Eastern Mysticism into Christianity. Then we have pastors like Brian McLaren who teach that the Bible is fully true, but we are just finite beings that can’t understand what is written in God’s Word. Then there are pastors like T.D. Jakes who deny the Trinity and Ed Young who takes verse out of context in order to promote creativity in church. These pastors can teach these false doctrines because the American Church has become so accepting of any teaching, whether it is biblically true or not.
John says here that we should not accept false teachings. He even goes so far as to say not to even “receive him into your house or give him any greeting.” Wow! That’s pretty strong terminology. Sounds a lot different than what is being taught in many of our pulpits these days. Why does John say this? “For whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” We should not be accepting of any false teachers or their teachings. While that may not be popular, that is what is taught here in the Bible.
In closing, John says to follow and obey the teachings of Christ to receive our reward in full. We cannot stand by and allow false teachers to infiltrate our minds with false teachings and wrong applications. We need to take responsibility and study God’s Word, apply it to our lives, and then teach others to do the same. In the end, God will reward us for being faithful to His Word. He is not going to reward those who are not faithful to His Word, even if it is in the name of ministry. In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”