International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday April 26, 2015
Purpose: To understand that belief has consequences for behavior
Bible Lesson: 2 John
Background Scripture: 1 John 5:6-12, 1 John 5:18-20
Key Verse: 2 John (8) Watch yourselves so that you don’t lose what we’ve worked for but instead receive a full reward.
2 John (CEB)
(1) From the elder. To the chosen gentlewoman and her children, whom I truly love (and I am not the only one, but also all who know the truth), (2) because of the truth that remains with us and will be with us forever. (3) Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, will be ours who live in truth and love. (4) I was overjoyed to find some of your children living in the truth, just as we had been commanded by the Father. (5) Now, dear friends, I am requesting that we love each other. It’s not as though I’m writing a new command to you, but it’s one we have had from the beginning. (6) This is love: that we live according to his commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love. (7) Many deceivers have gone into the world who do not confess that Jesus Christ came as a human being. This kind of person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (8) Watch yourselves so that you don’t lose what we’ve worked for but instead receive a full reward. (9) Anyone who goes too far and does not continue in the teaching about Christ does not have God. Whoever continues in this teaching has both the Father and the Son. (10) Whoever comes to you who does not affirm this teaching should neither be received nor welcomed into your home, (11) because welcoming people like that is the same thing as sharing in their evil actions. (12) I have a lot to tell you. I don’t want to use paper and ink, but I hope to visit you and talk with you face-to-face, so that our joy can be complete. (13) Your chosen sister’s children greet you.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This letter from John, was probably written shortly after the turn of the 1st century. The purpose for the writing appears to be to warn of teachers of bad theology and impure doctrine.
One of the most important tenets of Christianity is the belief that Jesus, the Messiah was fully human. That is, he was born of a woman. He had all of the feelings and the body of a human being. Jesus experienced all of the things that we experience. He wept, he hurt, he was cold, and hot, and he hungered and thirsted the same as us. He was disappointed when those close to him failed him. If we think or believe different from that and we make Jesus the man more than man, then his life on earth means nothing for us. Living a life as a God, is not the same as living a life as a man. It is important for our salvation and for our comfort and living, that we believe Jesus the Christ was fully human. Perhaps the Nicene Creed states that best.
John’s letter was written to address those that taught, Jesus was a God living as a man. The instructions John gives for handling that type of teaching may seem harsh, because it is not what we are hearing from some religious leaders of today. John’s warning is to have nothing to do with those that teach such heresy. That means we should not allow that type of teaching or any other false teaching to take place within the church.
Within the church, we can discuss and argue about some things, but this is not one of them. There are some areas where we as Christians cannot compromise our beliefs in order to maintain a relationship with those that do not believe in the basic beliefs of the universal church.
Within universities and other areas of learning those things can be discussed, but not within the community of faith we call church. Some areas are out of bounds. As true believers, like John, we have a responsibility to teach correct doctrine.
Today there is a lot of doctrine being taught that does not align itself with the teachings of Jesus and other New Testament writers. Almost every day you can read of a new teaching, which does not teach that Jesus was the Messiah. Teachers now teach on what sells the most books, and gets them the most air time on news broadcast. The theology being taught, in many cases, is nothing but rehashed heresy from the 1st century. The title of our lesson has never been truer. In this instant information age deceivers are the ones making the most waves and getting the platform to spew their venom. True Christianity is under attack all around the world; it is too hard, unreasonable to accomplish, unattainable. All of which is true if we do not have Jesus living within us. We, in ourselves are unable to live a life that focuses on Jesus will, for our lives. With Jesus, all things are possible. I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me he has made known, but “I know whom I have believed.”