Archive for the ‘2 John’ Category

2 John 1

2 John 1 has an elder John writing to “the elect lady and her children” to talk about the importance of truth.  We’re not sure who exactly he is writing to here.  Perhaps this was an individual Christian woman John wanted to warn and encourage through this letter. Or, the term might be a symbolic way of addressing this particular congregation. But whoever the target of his letter, the message applies to us today.  It certainly is not new teaching.  The focus is on truth and obedience.  It’s about God and those in our patch.

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”.  We’ve heard those words often from John, and others in the New Testament.  Loving one another is just one of the dozens of “one another” commandments in scripture.  That love extends to a command to love God through obedience.  “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”.

John, just as Peter and Paul did in their letters, define love for God as obedience to His Word.  It isn’t difficult to know how we can love Him.  We simply need to have a relationship with Him – which always translates to TIME – and then to know His Word and walk in obedience to it.  That is what love looks like for the Father.  We learn His ways and we do what He has told us to do.  Too often we make excuses as to why God’s ways are not applicable to our life today.  We excuse our actions using a number of different reasons for why God’s Word doesn’t apply to us.

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”.  Obedience is a key indicator of our walk with God.  It isn’t optional, and it is a true mark of a Christ Follower.  Disobedience is sin, and we’re definitely all going to fall short and need a Savior, but as Christ Followers we need to abide in Christ and walk in His ways.  He is the source of our right and wrong.  He is the giver of eternal life.  We need to get into the Word and make that the guide for how we live each day!

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2 Chronicles 20

2 Chronicles 20 has Judah up against great odds. “Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah”. Things were looking bad.  There were three kingdoms joined together and moving toward an attack.  Jehoshaphat knows he is outmanned and will never be able to resist the enemy.  So what did he do when he was at the end of himself?  He goes to God and asks everyone in the kingdom to join him.  “Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord”.

Jehoshaphat is at the end of his leadership rope.  “We will stand before this house and before you…. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you”.  He has no answers and is at the end of his own resources.  But he knows that God is faithful.  So he leads well and turns the eyes of his people toward God.  “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s”.  A great word from the prophet whom God sent to give His people hope.

The direction is clear.  “Tomorrow go down against them…Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf”.  Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?  Just walk out there and face the enemy knowing that if God doesn’t show up you’re all dead.  But that’s when God shows Himself strong, when we are weak and totally unable to handle things on our own.  God never fails.  So the prophet tells them ”Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

Jehoshaphat stood in front of all his people and said, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed”.  And the people followed.  They believed and “the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel”.  The battle was over and they had won. More accurately, God had won.  Jehoshaphat got some great kudos from the Lord though.  It is written here that “He walked in the way of Asa his father and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord”.  Those are pretty high marks.

Unfortunately there is more to the story.  Late in life, Jehoshaphat joined with the evil king Ahaziah from Israel in a boat building business.  I’m sure it seemed innocent enough, but God was not pleased.  “Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made”.  So few of us finish strong.  Jehoshaphat walks with God most of his life, but in the end turned aside and joined the forces of evil and falls short.  It certainly didn’t need to be that way.  He just needed to stay the course.

2 John

2 John is a short chapter.  It gives us a couple reinforcements of things that John has told us previously, so they must be important.  He begins with a statement that seems a bit strange at first glance: “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth”.  How can he have joy that only some of the folks are walking in the truth?  Because the reality is that not all of us are going to follow Jesus.  Not everyone will make God’s ways our ways.  That is what we should do – but John knows it will be a select few that will actually live life that way.

So what does that look like.  It really is pretty simple.  John tells us that we should “love one another”.  Three simple words – one simple task yet one so difficult to actually live out day by day.  Some people just aren’t all that loveable.  Some people really aren’t the folks we want to love.  So what does that really look like?  “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments”.  It comes down to once again loving God, and loving people.  It is about obedience and walking according to His will.  It isn’t really rocket science – but it is about the heart.  It is about putting God where He belongs. 

John goes further and shows us the two faces of obedience.  “Everyone who…. does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God”.   Abiding means that we have Jesus’ teaching in the center of our life.  It means that He is central to all we know and do.  But the opposite is also called out by John: “whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son”.  If you ever wonder how important God’s Word is and how much it impacts our life – this pretty much says it clearly.  Abiding in God’s Word is critical to walking with Him.  It matters.  It is a success factor to walking as a Christ Follower.  How much are you abiding? You can’t abide if you are not in God’s Word reading and studying it regularly.  Are you?  Do you?  Will you?

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