2 John: Jesus is Our True Standard

There is a vital relationship between love and truth. There are truth people and there are love people. Then there are people who, like Jesus, are both.

1 John focuses on authentic connection with God and others. 2 John focuses on guarding those connections by protecting the truth from the basis of love.

2 John 1:5-7 “…I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world…”

The foundational basis and beginning with John is love. Yet he quickly moves to a focus on protecting truth. Love that is not defined by truth can create the worst kind of confusion.

A passionate expression of love from the heart can easily be misguided. It is all too easy to wholeheartedly devote yourself to wrong things in life.

World famous Novelist, Jack Higgins, brought an interesting point on this matter. Higgins is a man who made $85,000,000 last year as an Author. When asked in an interview for words of wisdom, “What is it you now know that you wish you’d known as a younger man.” Higgins didn’t even hesitate as he responded, “I wish I had known that when you get to the top there is nothing there!”

Boris Becker after winning his 2nd Wimbledon victory was asked what his greatest challenge was in life to which he responded, “To keep from committing suicide.”

Dion Sanders was asked why he became a Christian. He explained that it happened the night they won the Super bowl. He ordered a Lamborghini that evening and went to bed. After lying in bed thinking about having achieved everything he’d ever wanted to achieve he realized just how empty he truly was. That was the night he got on his knees and gave his life to Christ saying only God was big enough to fill his heart.

The Bible never says to follow your heart. The Bible says to guard your heart!

Our emotions are by design followers. We endanger our souls when we allow them to lead.

Love walks in obedience to God’s Truth offering protection. John was addressing false teaching that was causing confusion and producing chaos.


God has given his truth to protect us!

Jude 1:21  Stay always within the boundaries where God's love can reach and bless you. Wait patiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you.  (TLB)

Sometimes it seems like the Bible is full of rules and guidelines that try to stifle our lives. The reality is that these guidelines produce life and protect God’s children.

Exod 23:19  "Don’t cook a young goat in its mother's milk." NIV

To boil a goat in milk may have been more convenient than roasting it over an open fire. There would have been no skewing, turning and ensuring that it was evenly roasted. However, the Bible seems to spoil ease of just putting the goat in a pot of boiling milk until it’s cooked. Now we know that the bacterial substance of the milk would actually be absorbed into the meat. The meat takes longer to digest so the bacterial substance remains in the body longer than if you’re merely drinking milk. This can actually poison the person and they can die. God was trying to protect the people with his loving guideline.

Lev 12:3  On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. NIV

We now know that it takes seven days for the babies immune system to develop after being severed from the mother’s immune system. Perhaps it was more convenient to get this all taken care of as the baby was being born. However, without the sterile conditions of today’s hospitals, many babies would die if they didn’t wait until the eighth day. This is when their immune systems were developed enough to fight infection. God was trying to protect the children with his loving guidelines.

According to the National Cancer Institute, “Women are 150% more likely to have breast cancer if they had an abortion as a teen.[1]

God wants us to love, serve and give as a way of life and this will awaken flourishing lives in every direction!

John met Jesus, received Jesus' love, and spent the rest of his life loving, serving and giving as he followed Jesus’ example. John’s relationship with Jesus utterly, completely, and eternally transformed him.

This is the true Christian life.

Are you living a fruitful life that is awakening God’s love and God’s truth in the lives of others?

GP4RL: Devote yourself to reading God’s Word every day this week by taking the turn the page challenge.

[1] Daling J, Malone K, et al. Risk of breast cancer among young women: relationship to induced abortion. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1994; 86: 1584-1592.


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    1.    Our study of 2 John speaks of the importance of having right information so we can make good decisions. Share a time when you made a bad decision based on wrong information.

John is addressing heresy and false teaching in the church encouraging believers to be discerning and careful about what they believe. What we believe affects how we behave so this is of the utmost importance in our lives.


    2.    According to 2 John 1:2 what unique characteristic do Christians have?

    3.    How does having God’s truth awakened and alive within us help us live more flourishing lives?

There are wonderful benefits to being spiritually alive in Christ. Various characteristics of God are awakened within us giving us the ability to live enriched lives.


    4.    What does verse 3 say would be with him in truth and love?

    5.    Take some time to discuss these three characteristics and how possessing them changes our perspective. (Grace, Mercy, Peace)

        a.    Who would you describe as gracious and why would you describe them that way? 

        b.    Who would you describe as merciful and why would you describe them that way? 

        c.    Who would you describe as peaceful and why would you describe them that way? 

Take any remaining time to invite people to share how their personal times of prayer and devotions are going. Ask people to share something they have recently read or sensed from God.

Conclude by encouraging everybody to turn the page and purpose time to spend alone with God daily.



1, 2, & 3 JOHN

The two most difficult things to get straight in life are love and God. More often than not, the mess people make of their lives can be traced to failure or stupidity or meanness in one of both of these areas.

The basic and biblical Christian conviction is that the two subjects are intricately related. If we want to love the right way, we have to deal with God the right way. God and love can't be separated.

John’s three letters provide wonderfully explicit direction in how this works. Jesus, the Messiah, is the focus: Jesus provides the full and true understanding of God; Jesus shows us the mature working-out of love. In Jesus, God and love are linked accurately, intricately, and indissolubly.

But there are always people around who don't want to be pinned down to the God Jesus reveals, to the love Jesus reveals. They want to make up their own idea of God, make up their own style of love. John was pastor to a church disrupted by some of these people. In his letters we see him reestablishing the original and organic unity of God and love that comes to focus and becomes available to us in Jesus Christ.



2 JOHN:  Who wrote the book?

John did not identify himself by name in this letter, but he did adopt the term “elder” for himself (2 John 1:1). There has been some debate about whether an author named John the Elder wrote this letter (as well as 3 John, which is addressed the same way) or if John the apostle was using a different title for himself. However, the earliest church tradition from the second century on testified in unison that this letter and its companion, 3 John, were written by the apostle, not by a mysterious and unknown elder. In fact, an apostle using the term “elder” for himself was not at all unprecedented—Peter did that very thing in his first epistle (1 Peter 5:1).

Where are we?

John offered little in the way of detail in the short letter we call 2 John. Nothing in the circumstances John discussed in the letter would lead a reader of the time to think that it did not go to the same churches that received 1 John. The apostle addressed the letter “to the chosen lady and her children,” a mysterious phrase that has been much debated (2 John 1:1). It either refers to an actual woman or serves as a metaphor for a church. In either case, whether to a smaller family group joined by blood or to a larger one joined by confession, the application of the letter should remain unchanged. With this letter’s thematic similarity to 1 John, it is best to suggest that John wrote from Patmos in about AD 90.

Why is Second John so important?

Second John makes clear what our position should be regarding the enemies of the truth. Whereas 1 John focuses on our fellowship with God, 2 John focuses on protecting our fellowship from those who teach falsehood. The apostle went so far as to warn his readers against inviting false teachers into the house or even offering them a greeting (2 John 1:10). Such practices align the believer with the evildoer, and John was keen on keeping the believers pure from the stain of falsehood and heresy.

What's the big idea?

John began his second epistle proclaiming his love for “the chosen lady and her children,” a love he shared with those who know the truth (2 John 1:1). From the reports he had received, he understood that these believers were following the teachings of Christ. He summed up this kind of lifestyle in the exhortation to “love one another” (1:5), a clear reference to the great commandments of Jesus—to love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36–40; John 13:34).

In other words, those who walk in the truth should be people who love others. But they should be cautious whom they love. Deceivers and false teachers had infiltrated the church—people who taught falsehoods about the person of Jesus, teaching that He was not truly a man but only appeared to be one. This early heresy, called Docetism, required the strongest possible response from John. So the apostle warned the true believers away from these false teachers. John’s encouragement, then, was not simply to love but to love others within the limits that truth allows.

How do I apply this?

John’s strong encouragement to the believers in 2 John involved loving one another. However, John did not leave love undefined but described it as walking “according to His commandments” (2 John 1:6). This echoes the teaching of Jesus in John’s gospel, where the Lord told His followers, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

Our love is dependent on our obedience. When we don’t obey, we don’t love. Often we get in the mind-set that our obedience to God affects only ourselves. But that simply is not true. Our actions, whether obedient or disobedient, have ripple effects far beyond our own limited vision of a circumstance.

Consider your own life. In what ways might your obedience or disobedience impact those in your immediate circle of relationships? Second John reminds us not only of the dangers of falling away from the truth but also of the importance of making obedience a priority in our lives—for ourselves and for those most important to us.



Three Johannine Epistles - I, II and III John - are included in the New Testament collection. These Epistles should probably be dated A.D. 90-95. John, the author of the Fourth Gospel, addresses the first one to an unidentified group. I John 5:13 indicates that the author writes in order that this group might know the certainty of eternal life. II John is addressed to an elect lady, either a church or perhaps a woman. III John is addressed to Gaius, a man commended for his hospitality.