This is Episode #359 and today we’ll read 2 John, 3 John, & Jude; one chapter each together. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.
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Joy: Merry Christmas! You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #359 and today we’ll read 2 John, 3 John, & Jude; one chapter each together. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I'm your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me - from the beginning - simply reading God's word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Intro to 2 John, 3 John & Jude
It’s true…these three books are made up of only one chapter each. We’ll start with the second letter of John.
You’ll notice right off that 2 John parallels some of what the apostle talked about in his first letter. John is consistently on his guard with Gnostism and other false teachings. Biblica.com talks about how when the Gospel was being spread, preachers would travel and stay in the homes of believers. But false teachers did the same thing. It is suggested that John had stayed in the home of a lady and her children from a local church. When he later writes this letter, he warns her (and the other readers of this letter) to be careful who they listen to.
In keeping with 2 John, 3 John has similarities to 1 John. However, this letter was probably written from the island of Patmos where John was exiled. This was the same prison where he had his vision which is the subject of the book of Revelation.
John was writing to his friend and co-worker Gaius, who was, at the time, pastoring a church in Asia Minor. John had heard a troubling report about a man named Diotrephes. Apparently this guy was creating havoc and confusion with true believers. John’s purpose was to give Gaius encouragement and instruction.
Interesting sidebar. There is lots of dispute between ancient historians as to whether John is even the author of this book.
Jude describes himself as “…a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James”, so Jude, like James, is Jesus' half-brother. We know much less about Jude than we do James, but we know that he was a leader in the early church because in this letter he speaks as one with authority.
This book is full of vivid word-pictures that provide us with clear images of the important subject matter the author is teaching us here. It is a book that I can read over and over again, and each time get something new out of it.
To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth — and not only I, but also all who know the truth — because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever.
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.
Truth and Deception
I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father. 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. 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.
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. Watch yourselves so that you don’t lose what we have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward. 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. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and do not greet him; for the one who greets him shares in his evil works.
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.
The children of your elect sister send you greetings.
To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
Dear friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and are in good health, just as your whole life is going well. For I was very glad when fellow believers came and testified to your fidelity to the truth — how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth.
Dear friend, you are acting faithfully in whatever you do for the brothers and sisters, especially when they are strangers. They have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God, since they set out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such people so that we can be coworkers with the truth.
Diotrephes and Demetrius
I wrote something to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have first place among them, does not receive our authority. This is why, if I come, I will remind him of the works he is doing, slandering us with malicious words. And he is not satisfied with that! He not only refuses to welcome fellow believers, but he even stops those who want to do so and expels them from the church.
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. Everyone speaks well of Demetrius — even the truth itself. And we also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.
I have many things to write you, but I don’t want to write to you with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
Peace to you. The friends send you greetings. Greet the friends by name.
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James:
To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.
May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Jude’s Purpose in Writing
Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. For some people, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.
Apostates: Past and Present
Now I want to remind you, although you came to know all these things once and for all, that Jesus saved a people out of Egypt and later destroyed those who did not believe; and the angels who did not keep their own position but abandoned their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deep darkness for the judgment on the great day. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns committed sexual immorality and perversions, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
In the same way these people — relying on their dreams — defile their flesh, reject authority, and slander glorious ones. Yet when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in an argument about Moses’s body, he did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these people blaspheme anything they do not understand. And what they do understand by instinct — like irrational animals — by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, have plunged into Balaam’s error for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion.
The Apostates’ Doom
These people are dangerous reefs at your love feasts as they eat with you without reverence. They are shepherds who only look after themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn — fruitless, twice dead and uprooted. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever.
It was about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied: “Look! The Lord comes with tens of thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly concerning all the ungodly acts that they have done in an ungodly way, and concerning all the harsh things ungodly sinners have said against him.” These people are discontented grumblers, living according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage.
But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.” These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit.
Exhortation and Benediction
But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on those who waver; save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
Okay…a few quick impressions. I’m sure you have some of your own.
Again, I’m stirred in 2 John by the strong command that readers be careful who they’re listening to. This is an excellent warning for us today as well. And an admonition – yes, I’m going to repeat myself – that we must know what God’s Word says in order to be able to discern truth. We don’t learn everything we need to know just by showing up to church every Sunday. We have to be reading and studying on our own every day.
John’s third letter is an interesting one. He certainly touches on false teachers and the usual warnings. But perhaps more importantly, it’s about how to deal with evil while maintaining a Christ-like attitude. We’ve talked about this before. Living a Christ-like life in this world can be messy. But John gives good instruction to not imitate what is evil.
Popular culture has us believe that we each get to pick and choose our own truth, as if we are some sort of mini-gods here on earth. What a hopelessly empty philosophy this presents to us! If everything is true, then nothing is true. And we are lost.
Fortunately, we have apostles like Jude who speak concisely to us and warn us about falling into the trap of following false gospels and false teachers. For this reason, Jude is one of my favorite books in the Bible.
Let’s pray. Oh, Father! You are Truth. Thank You that not only have You have given us Your Word, but that if we are faithful to open it up and read it, You will speak to us. You reveal Your heart to us. To know that the God of the universe is interested in having that kind of relationship with us? Well, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Lord, Mitch and I ask a special blessing on our listeners today - this incomparable celebration of the day You came to us in the flesh. It was the beginning of the most incredible act of love and we will spend eternity giving You thanks. Amen.
Which was your favorite of these one-chapter gems? Let me know at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We wish you and your families the very best on this Christmas Day. Thanks for listening!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.