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Sabbath School Lessons on 1, 2 & 3 John
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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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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!
- The Lady and Her Children
- 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.")
- 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.)
- 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
- Does the letter say how this lady was chosen? (No.)
- How do you think she was chosen?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Read 2 John 1:3. Would you like "grace, mercy and peace?
- Who is giving those things? (John tells us that God
the Father and Jesus are the source of these
blessings on us.)
- 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
- 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.)
- The Children
- 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.)
- 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
- Does it give you joy when your children walk in
- What can you do if they do not?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- When your children obey you, does that show
that they love you?
- How about the reverse: if your children
love you will they obey you?
- 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?
- Read 2 John 1:7. What is the issue on which deception is
waiting? (Whether Jesus has come in the flesh.)
- 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.)
- Is this why John kept talking about the "truth" in
the beginning of his letter?
- Read 2 John 1:8. Can we lose our salvation? Or, is it
"once saved, always saved?" (We can lose out.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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]
- What about academic freedom?
- 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.)
- Read 2 John 1:12. Would John want to use e-mail instead
of paper and ink? Is John "green?"
- 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
- 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.)
- 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?
- 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.