Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part I: Discerning False From True Fellowship In The Lord
(2 John 1-6)
  1. Introduction
    1. Many claim to be "Christians," but only those who believe in Christ's Gospel are saved, cf. 1 Cor. 15:1ff.
    2. By the same token, many Christians may claim to walk with God, but certainly not all making this claim even come close to exhibiting the fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23!
    3. 2 John was written to show the limits of true fellowship with God so believers could discern between the true and false Christian fellowships, and the first part of his letter equips us to discern between the true and a false fellowship so that we will choose to live in TRUE fellowship with God (as follows):
  2. Discerning False From True Fellowship In The Lord, 2 John 1-6.
    1. When John introduced himself in this epistle as the Elder, he emphasized a great unity between the love existing between him and his Christian readers and the truth to which they mutually adhered, 2 John 1-3:
      1. The "elect lady" and "her children" to whom John wrote may have been an actual Christian woman and her literal children, or John may have figuratively meant a Christian church by the term, "lady" and its individual believers by his reference to "her children," cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to 2 John 1. Either way, the term "elect" refers to one's election of God as one chosen and favored as a believer, cf. Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 906.
      2. Zane C. Hodges notes the author "drops the singular number for his pronouns after verse 5 and uses a singular again only in verse 13" as evidence that the "lady" is a church and "her children" are its individual believers, Ibid. Also, the reference to the "children of thy elect sister" in verse 13 seems to allude to other apostolic Scripture expressions where closing greetings are sent between churches.
      3. Regardless who are the letter's recipients, the Christian love possessed was couched in truth, for this coupling of love and truth is named twice in verses 1a and 3 besides being alluded in verse 1b by John's statement that all who love the truth also loved John's Christian readers.
      4. Based upon this strong union between the truth to which all these parties mutually adhered, John wished God's grace, mercy and peace would be with his readers in truth and love , verse 3b.
    2. Accordingly, John told of his great personal joy at finding his readers living in accord with the truth as they had received command from God the Father toward that end, 2 John 4.
    3. Based upon these facts, John renewed the former command, one given to believers from the beginning, that they love one another in adhering to the truth of God, 2 John 5-6:
      1. John mentioned his command was not a new one, but one that God had made from the beginning, 5a,b.
      2. That command, alluded to also in 1 John 2:7, was the command Jesus had left with His disciples shortly before His death, the command that they love one another, cf. John 13:34-35 with 2 John 5c.
      3. Then, to describe what this love commitment entailed, John said that the love he meant expressed itself in a life lived in accord with God's commandments, a life in accord with His Word, 2 John 6. This identification of true Christian love as walking in God's commandments is repeated in 1 John 5:2-3.
Lesson: (1) Not only John and his readers in 2 John, but ALL TRUE Christians enjoy a VERY JOYFUL LOVE relationship in the Lord in accord with their mutual ADHERENCE and PRACTICE of God's TRUTH in the form of His Scriptural COMMANDS. (2) Thus, ONLY when TRUE BELIEVERS are MUTUALLY adhering to the TRUTH in BELIEF and LIFE can they TRULY enjoy LOVING spiritual FELLOWSHIP in the Lord! (3) Vice versa, if parties are NOT MUTUALLY committed to BELIEVING and/or APPLYING the TRUTH of Scripture in their lives, they do NOT have a TRUE spiritual fellowship of love in the Lord, and can not be full of joy, cf. 1 John 1:7, 4.

Application: (1) It is INCORRECT to claim a believer in Christ is UNLOVING because he is a "stickler" for obeying the Word of God; on the CONTRARY, if we TRULY fellowship with God, we should VALUE the STRICTNESS with which a fellow believer wants to adhere to the TRUTH. (2) If we HEED the TRUTH, our fellowship with one another in the Lord becomes a VERY JOYFUL experience in our lives, 2 John 4. (3) Conversely, a LACK of GREAT JOY signals a false fellowship!