Summary: The Apostle John’s warnings about false teachers and how we should treat them. Also his encouragement to stick to the basics as they were originally taught.
The tiny Epistles of John contain great wisdom for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Today we will be looking at John’s teachings from Second John as he warns us about those who would try to water down Christianity or in other subtly ways lead Christians astray.
2John 1:7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (8) Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. (9) Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (10) If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. (11) Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.
Here we have the nucleus of John’s letter. Within in this center there are two very important warning for the church then and now. The way John says it it appears as though these warnings concern threats from outside the local church. Let’s look.
2John 1:7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (8) Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.
For clarity sake here let’s look at the Amplified Bible’s translation of verse 7. “For many imposters—seducers, deceivers and false leaders—have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge (confess, admit) the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, in bodily form; such a one is the imposter, the seducer, the deceiver, the false leader, the antagonist of Christ—and the antichrist.” (2John 1:7 AMP)
The Amplified says this with absolute clarity, there are many fakers, phonies, frauds and pretenders that have gone out into the (church) world. These are men who will not admit that Jesus came in the flesh. [Remember the Gnostic teaching that God Who is Spirit could not have occupied a mortal (sinful body) and therefore could not have come in the flesh]. John said a person who will not admit Christ came in the flesh is one who seeks to deceive (betray and lie to) the church and is in fact the antichrist.
(8) Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.
Be very careful that you are not taken in by them and lose what you have worked for in Christ. Be careful so that you may receive your full reward.
“Don’t listen to them!” would be a more common way of saying this. “Don’t get suckered into their lies.” “Don’t become diverted from the truth.”
(9) Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
A caution here those who say they have further revelation beyond the Bible (the Gnostics and many others today) are guilty of running on ahead and they don’t have the guidance of the Holy Spirit; they listen only to worldly spirits. But one who continues to live steadfastly in the teachings of Christ, not wavering from His word, has both the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit).
Where else do we find the teachings of Christ but in our New Testament? Remember that at the time of this writing (85-90 A.D.) all of the four gospels were in circulation and all the letters of Paul, Peter and James which we now have had been written somewhere between 50 and 65 (or so) A.D. So it was not like the church was without these teachings. Of course they were not a complete Bible like we have today, but these things were hand copied, and made the rounds in the early church. John’s reminder was to continue in the original things they were taught about Christ, that they should cling to these things and not strange doctrine which took away from the true Gospel.
(10) If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. (11) Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.
Now what I am going to say may not agree with some peoples thinking but as far as I am concerned this applies today as well as back then. When those Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons and so forth come knocking on your door I believe we should treat them just as John says to do. Do not admit them to your house or give them any welcome. Now I know some folks just love to “witness” to the Witnesses but I think they are wrong and are doing what the Bible says NOT to do. You see these folks, JW’s and Mormons, do not abide by the doctrine of Jesus as the Christ, the one and only Son of God and since they don’t teach that then they should not be allowed or even welcomed to your house. John tells us very clearly here that if you welcome them you are sharing in their wicked work. These people are deceivers out to lead the people of God away from the truth—as such they are antichrists since what they teach is against Christ being Savior. The Gnostic teachers were exactly what John was teaching against. They taught man could achieve salvation himself by climbing to higher levels of self study. They taught they could become special and above all the other believers and have special preference from God. Their salvation was one of works; they denied Christ and certainly were not to be welcomed into Christian homes.