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Lesson 12: John's Letter to the Chosen Lady *

Introduction: "Truth" is not a valued commodity today - at least in the United States. The media and the educational system confuse tolerance with truth. God teaches us tolerance through His example of allowing sin to run its course. But, God never confuses tolerance with truth. When it comes to salvation, John teaches us that there is one truth, not many different beliefs that are "true" for the individual who holds them. Instead, John has some hard advice on supporting those who teach something other than objective truth. Let's dive in to our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. The Lady and Her Children

    1. Read 2 John 1:1-2. John is the "Elder." Do you think he knows the "chosen lady?" (Yes. This would be someone (or some group) who would know that John was the "Elder.")

      1. Who is the lady? (John also wrote Revelation in which he refers ( Revelation 12:1)to the true church as a woman. Perhaps this is a church. It could also be a prominent woman. Since this is how the Greeks would translate the name "Martha," this could also refer to a woman named Martha. We just don't know.)

        1. Does it matter whether John is writing to a church or to a specific woman? (Since John refers to "her children," we know he intended his words for a group, so I do not think this matters.)

      2. Does the letter say how this lady was chosen? (No.)

        1. How do you think she was chosen?

        2. Does John mean "chosen of God?" (I'm sure she was chosen by God, but I doubt that is what John means. Presumably they were all chosen by God. According to Wuest's Word Studies, this term in Greek is the feminine form of the Greek word meaning "lord, master." So, if John is referring to an individual, this could be a prominent member of society.)

      3. John keeps repeating the word "truth." Why would John say he loves her in the "truth?" Are honest people more lovable? Don't we tend to love rogues? (When someone has a world-view like yours, you feel a kinship to them. We feel close to those who share our spiritual views. As we will see later, John values those who know the truth.)

    2. Read 2 John 1:3. Would you like "grace, mercy and peace? (Sure.)

      1. Who is giving those things? (John tells us that God the Father and Jesus are the source of these blessings on us.)

      2. Do they come automatically? Why does John write "will be with us in truth and love?" (God's grace, mercy and peace come to those who stay in the truth. They experience the special love of God. God shows love to everyone, but He has special regard for His faithful followers.)

      3. Did Jesus make peace for us with the Father? (Jesus reconciled a Holy God with sinners (like us) when He covered us with His blood. See Colossians 1:19-20.)

  2. The Children

    1. Read 2 John 1:4. If you have children, are all of them walking in the truth? Does this lady have a familiar situation, not all her children are walking as they should? (Perhaps that is what it means. It could also mean that John has come across some of her children in his work and those he has seen are walking in truth.)

      1. How important is it to walk in the truth? Does our salvation by grace mean that we can forget obedience? (John repeats a theme we learned from 1 John. Grace does not eliminate the requirement for obedience. God, John says, "commanded us" to walk in truth.)

      2. Does it give you joy when your children walk in God's way?

        1. What can you do if they do not?

    2. Read 2 John 1:5-6. How long have we been required to walk in the truth? (From the beginning. Obedience is a requirement which has never changed.)

      1. What is the connection between obedience and love? What is the connection between walking in the truth and love?(We show love to God and love to others when we follow God's commands.)

        1. When your children obey you, does that show that they love you?

          1. How about the reverse: if your children love you will they obey you?

          2. Is this the answer to what we should do for children who are not walking in God's way - that we should show love to them?

  3. Deceivers

    1. Read 2 John 1:7. What is the issue on which deception is waiting? (Whether Jesus has come in the flesh.)

      1. Why is this part of our belief so important? (This is the incarnation - God took human form and lived with us. Understanding that Jesus was fully God and fully human is essential to a Christian's understanding of salvation. Our Creator lived a perfect life on our behalf. When He died in our place, we symbolically died with Him. When He rose from the grave, then we were given the opportunity for eternal life.)

      2. Is this why John kept talking about the "truth" in the beginning of his letter?

    2. Read 2 John 1:8. Can we lose our salvation? Or, is it "once saved, always saved?" (We can lose out.)

      1. Why does John refer to our salvation as something for which we "worked." Something for which we may "be rewarded fully?" That hardly sounds like grace! (John believes in righteousness by faith. 1 John 2:1-2. It is a free gift from Jesus. But, John also teaches that we must walk in the light. 1 John 1:7. He teaches us that if we truly know God, we will want to obey God's commands. 1 John 3:4-6. It is work to obey. It is a work which we must undertake - and for which we will apparently be rewarded.)

    3. Read 2 John 1:9. Notice the phrase "runs ahead." Generally, those at the head of the race win. Why would running ahead be a bad thing? (We see this all the time. The "smart guys" have some new light. They have some "progressive" understanding that we never had before. Beware of this kind of teaching. If it denies the incarnation of Jesus, then it is false teaching.)

    4. Read 2 John 1:10-11. Almost all churches have the issue of whether their seminary (and their colleges) have professors which teach doctrines contrary to the teachings of the church. What does John suggest about this? (We should tell them to teach somewhere else. We should not take false teachers "into our house" or "welcome" them. Why? Because then we "share in [their] wicked work.")

      1. What about academic freedom?

      2. What about the importance of the academy to explore new knowledge and understanding? (I doubt John is against study and learning. He is against aiding false teaching. When this becomes clear, we need to avoid supporting false teaching.)

  4. E-Mail

    1. Read 2 John 1:12. Would John want to use e-mail instead of paper and ink? Is John "green?"

      1. What is John's goal in meeting face-to-face? (It will bring joy. There is something about personal meetings that is much better than writing. Years ago, my wife suggested the household rule that I have her check all of my e-mail to church members before I sent it. Why? I would be joking about something and members would take it seriously and be insulted. When we meet face to face, it helps to avoid misunderstandings.)

    2. Read 2 John 1:13. Does this suggest the "chosen lady" and her "chosen sister" are churches? (I tend to think they are churches, perhaps house churches, rather than just a person.)

    3. Friend, have you accepted the truth that Jesus came in the flesh, died on your behalf, and rose from the dead so that you might have eternal life? What a wonderful teaching, what a wonderful promise! If you have not accepted it, why not give your heart to Jesus right now?

  5. Next week: Power Struggle.
* Copr. 2009, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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