Summary: We can do without be sympathetic to the cult!
1. There was a song some years ago that went, “I hear you knocking…but you can’t come in!”
2. The cults will always come knocking on our door, but if we are wise we will not let them in. The essence of this little letter is: It is a Caution against Endorsing a Cult. I believe the key verse is verse, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting.”
3. I Hear you knocking…but you can’t come in!
I. First, the Writer of this letter. 1:1a [The apostle John]
The elder – this refers to:
A. It can refer to age – usually to an old man. Lu. 15:25/ I Tim. 5:1
John was clearly an aged man when he wrote this little letter.
Courson, “John was the last surviving apostle, at the time he wrote this letter, he was most likely close to one hundred years old. That’s the great thing about ministry. A thirty-three-year-old player in the NFL is considered an old man. But in the things of God, a man that age is just beginning. If we walk in fellowship with God, our lives become only deeper and richer with age – there is no age disqualification for us.”
B. It can also refer to the rank or office of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Mt. 16:21
C. It can refer to Leadership in the local church. Ac.11:29-20; 20:17/I Tim.5:17,19
Trans: The writer of this letter does not give his personal name. He writes like a modern clergyman who might sign a pastoral letter to members of his congregation with “Your Pastor” without adding his name [which of course would be familiar to them].
What matters is his position rather than his personal name. This is indicated by the phrase “elder.” The word simply means…a venerable figure in the church known with affectionate [respect] as “the old man.” [Marshall]
II. Furthermore, the Woman he is writing to. 1b-6
A. First, she is Chosen. 1, 13
“Elect is eklektos, one picked out, chosen. The reference is to the fact that his lady was one of the elect of God, one of the chosen-out ones of God, chosen-out from among mankind by the sovereign grace of God for salvation.” [Wuest]
“Election is that eternal act of God whereby He, in His sovereign good pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, chooses a certain number of people to be the recipients of special grace of eternal salvation. Thus election is unconditional [i.e., there is nothing in the creature that conditions God’s choice), pretemporal [before the foundation of the world], unmerited [by grace], as the basis of salvation.”
[Basic Theology, Ryrie]
Eph. 1:4/ 2 Tim. 1:9/ etc.
B. Furthermore, her name is Covered-up.
chosen lady – this opens the door for a variety of interpretations:
1. Some take it as a figurative reference to a local church.
Townsend, “Do you like cryptograms [that is, messages hidden in code words]? Very probably II John opens with just such a cryptogram – referring to a church community under a cryptogram name.”
2. Others take it to be a lady named Electa. [meaning chosen]
This would seem odd, if for no other reason, than her sister would have had the same exact name! The same word is used in v. 13, not too many people give their daughters the same exact name.
3. Some identify her name as Kuria. [the Greek word for lady]
I have know a few dogs that go by the name dog, but never a lady…
4. It could be that the lady’s name is anonymous.
Gooding, “It is far simpler and more profitable to take the word of God as it stands, “the elect lady.” It could be inferred from the letter that she is a widow. No husband is addressed or mentioned and it would be very impolite and improper to address her and ignore him [even if he were not converted]. I suggest that she is a widow with at least four children. John addresses children [sons] with her and also states that he found her children walking in truth and he writes to her about them.”
C. Children. [masculine gender]
D. The Caution.
whom I love in truth – so as to avoid any misunderstand.
1. He uses the word agape which is not a word of personal endearment like agapetos “well-beloved.” In 1 John he often uses the word beloved (2:7; 3:2,21; 4:1,7,11) and in is third epistle to a man (vv.2,5,11). But here he omits the word to avoid anybody making something out of his correspondence to her.
2. He also uses the word “truth” – lit. “his love was in the sphere of truth.”