In your earlier reply you state, " The context of John's three letters is to remind them what they had heard and learned from the "beginning" (you'll find that word to be consistant in 1 and 2 john) because deceivers were among them."
Who are the deceivers? The deceivers are those who do not teach John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The main theme is being a mature saint of God (elder) and to know the truth. What is the truth. That none of us are anything without the love of Christ and that we should afford this love to those whom society considers unworthy. In this work is our reward.
You could continue with the sermon by developing a modern day application:
1. We have no problem deceiving people who we do not truly love. You
really just want something from that person (marriages).
2. We can deceive (lie) to ourselves, we really do not love self. We are
more concern with material gain than eternal life (soul).
Mark 12:30, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment."
Mark 12:31, "And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
This is how I would preach the chapter. Not to say you might have a few different preaching points such as who is the "elect lady." You see, since the bible is unclear and their is a difference of opinion, this is really not important. What is more important is that you are able to preach the theme they way God gives it to you to preach.
Yes I did talk about the issue of "beginning" in a previous comment. Paul talked from this context alot too. Because the issue the apostles had was believers were being deceived into falling away from the doctrines that were "first" preached to them from the "beginning". The issue with the decievers in 2 John was this... "7For many deceivers are entered into the world, "who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh". This is a deceiver and an antichrist"....
And then he says this...
9Whosoever transgresseth, and "abideth not in the doctrine of Christ", hath not God. "He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ", he hath both the Father and the Son.
10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
So yes... He begins by admonishing them to abide in truth and love. But outside influences always challenged they're teaching of Christ as the Son of God. They were anti-Christ. So it was all about them abidding in what the apostles had taught them from the beginning. As far as the elect lady issue... I agree the bible is a little unclear. The issue I struggle with is in the first verse. He says he loves her in the truth, and not only him, but others that have known the truth. So I believe he has to be talking about an individual woman or individual church that others love too. Peace
Blessings and Peace Brother Carey,
From my knowledge and understanding, "the elect lady and her children" were randomly selected for this letter to be written. She has recognized John as her Elder. Also, she may have just lost the Priest of her household and needed John to guide her in love, truth, and obedience. Yes, even though she is not described as a widow.
There is another teaching that John is writing to the church as Jesus' chosen/elect lady (bride). In this teaching, I have not understood who the children of this bride may be...
My dear Brothers and "sister" this has been an interesting discussion. Truly, Iron does sharpen Iron. 2 John is one of those NT letters that will never be preached in our churches. I'd like to respond to Brother Watson. Brother, the reason why I suggested like some others that the "Church" is in view versus an "individual" is because of the political context of John's day. As you know, PERSECUTION against the church was rampant (cf 1 John 2:15-19; 3:13; Jude 3; Rev 2-3)). Therefore in light of this, Barclay writes, "The address("Elect-lady") may in fact be a skillful attempt to baffle any hostile person into whose hands the letter might come, and if that is so, our difficulty in identifying the person or church to whom the letter is addressed is nothing other than a tribute to the skill of John". Therefore it makes sense to understand that John is indeed using figurative language to address the "Church". The phrase "Chosen lady" equals a local congregation at an undisclosed locale, and the phrase, "her children" equals the believers in that local church. John goes on to say, that he loves this "lady" and her children. Now verses 5-6 are interesting and lend evidence that the "Church" versus an individual person is being addressed. In verse 5 John addresses this "lady", "Now I ask you, lady..." The "you" grammatically is singular. But in verse 6 the "you" becomes plural. Why is an individual referred to by a plural? (i.e., the you becomes a "you ALL"). The Answer is obvious, the "You" in John's mind has always been a, "You all". The lady is indeed a group. Therefore the rest of this little letter makes sense. John is writing to the church to, "guard the truth". Look at Verse 8, the "yourselves"(plural) refers back to the "Lady"(singular) of verse 5. Again the singular "Lady" of verses 1 & 5, is the plural "you all" and "yourselves" of verses 6, 8, 10, 12. Just to put a nail in the coffin, in verse 12 John again uses a plural "you". John states to this chosen lady that he hopes to come to you and speak face to face. Why would John use a plural pronoun to address a single, individual? Because he cryptically is not referring to an individual, rather a group in an undisclosed location. Verse 13 refers to a fellow church who sends their greetings.
Bro. Watson, I appreciate your attention to theological detail. If more Pastors like yourself would spend more time in the details, our churches might not be in the messes that they find themselves in. To many of our pastoral leaders specialize in Water skiing versus scuba diving.
Is it possible for 2 John & 3rd John to be connected, since in 3rd John he wrote to Gaius, because Diotrephes wanted all the attention and gave no acknowledgment to John and others (possibly who were trying to reach him for the church)? Justa question to see you all's thoughts.
Okay, thanks. I agree with everything you said. It was just a thought. I wanted to see if anyone else ever thought of that before. Only assumptions. Thanks Rev. Watson.