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2 & 3 John


A Devotional Journey 
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
             2 and 3 John are short letters written about the same time as 1 John. 
             2 John deals with a situation which was common in the church:  traveling evangelists would be taken into the homes of believers and provided with food and lodging and sometimes even money for their travels.  John has encountered some individuals who are not faithful followers of Jesus, but rather simply users of the hospitality of others and take advantage in the process.  Many believers could barely afford their own survival let alone the support of frauds and charlatans; therefore, John gives a very strong warning to those who read his letter, which is the shortest in the New Testament.
             3 John has almost the opposite function as 2 John.  Genuine Christian teachers, some of them sent by John himself, are being turned away and treated with disrespect by the leader of one of the Asian churches (in modern day Turkey).  This is happening because the concern to stay away from false teachers is being carried to extreme:  no evaluation is being used, just a legalistic rule that no outsider may be entertained and supported at all.   Gaius, a friend of John’s, has evidently seen the error in this thinking and worked to encourage the teachers sent by John.  John writes to encourage him, and, subtly to warn Diotrephes to cease his rigid and destructive approach in this matter. 
            Jude appears to have been written by one of the brothers of Jesus.  The issue of this letter is the immorality being promoted by individuals traveling among the Christians.  The point presented was that since Christians are saved by grace, they are now free to sin with impunity and should feel free to do so.  Jude warns his readers to persevere in righteousness and receive God’s blessing.

           Are people ever fooled by false teachers in today’s church?  Certainly many people have been exposed in our era as charlatans and frauds.  Why do we believe such people?  What do we need to protect us?  Beyond a clear understanding of God’s Word, we need to beware of the self-centeredness which can cause us to be attracted to any message promising what we want:  from personal wealth to physical healing.  God can provide all such things, but He does not do so on command.  People who urge you to claim the promise and thereby force God to do what you want, are the most dangerous of all.
           Today, ask God to give the kind of contentment with your life that will allow you both to need no miraculous additions nor to be fooled by those promising to provide them.  If you need or want  something special or miraculous (healing, for example), ask God and in your prayer commit yourself to trust His ultimate decision whatever it is.  In this attitude and approach is peace that nothing can remove or shake.

8 A. Eugene Pearson 2010