Elected (2 John)

From Wrestling with Theology
Jump to: navigation, search


Sermon Text

The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: (vv1-2).

St. John writes this epistle to a particular congregation suffering great problems. Some of these problems are recorded in 3 John, written to a member of the congregation. But John writes 2 John to the whole congregation. We're not sure where this congregation was, but we know it was in Asia Minor, possibly near Ephesus.

He calls himself "the elder" as his title among the people. Having outlived the other Apostles, he was given a great position of honor, the Presbyter of Asia Minor. Taking this role faithfully, John writes this epistle to remind the congregation--and all those within her--that God has elected them to salvation through the faith.

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady--not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning--that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it (vv4-6).

Every member of a congregation is a child of the congregation. The congregation has the role of the household mistress. She keeps her children in line with the Father's commandments. The primary commandment is to love each other. Love fulfills every commandment God has given. Anything that doesn't show love should not be in the congregation. As a congregation, we love everyone as a mother loves her children. As children of the congregation, we love everyone in the congregation as brothers and sisters in Christ.

John had great rejoicing that this was the situation for MOST of the congregation. However, there were some that would not show love for their brothers and sisters. Diotrephes wanted to be the ruler of the congregation and not her child (3 John 9).

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works (vv7-11).

John takes the self-seekers to task and sets them in their place. They are deceivers and Antichrists. These have not God because they do not believe that the Son of God came in the flesh. And since He didn't come in the flesh, He can't come back.

Taking away the Son, they claim Jesus was only a man. Not God. Just man. John says, "Everyone who ... does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God" (v9). Those who don't accept Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh from Heaven don't have God because God is the Father of the Son. You believe and therefore have both the Father and the Son. By having the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit elects you to become part of Christ's Body, the Church.

The children of your elect sister greet you (v13).

St. John reminds you that you are not alone. Your brothers and sisters are praying for you. Praying that you stay on the right path. Remind you that repentance and forgiveness are yours because God has elected you to salvation. To be a child of the congregation. Part of Christ's Bride here on earth and eternally in Heaven.

This is the message of All Saints' Day. You have been elected as a forgiven saint by the Jesus who came down from Heaven. "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God" (Nicene Creed). Not just today, as we remember the recently departed in the faith, but every time we come to the Lord's Table, we find ourselves being greeted by our elect sisters--the millions of congregations around the world and the whole heavenly host. We share in the same glory that has been passed down from generation to generation, ever since Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19). By remembering the saints, we remember the One who sanctifies us. The One who elected us to salvation. The One Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.