2 JOHN 1:1
INTRO: If you read through the little book we call 2nd John, you will discover that the writer makes reference to joy several times. With but a brief exception I think we could conclude that John focuses on a number of things from which Christians should derive joy. With that in mind I would like to follow Johns thinking in order to suggest some of those sources of joy in the Christian life. And verse 1 gives us our first suggestion ... the joy of Christian relationships. Although we do not know the identity of the elect lady whom John addresses, he refers to his love for her and her children in the truth. Here is a Christian relationship of such depth and meaning that he will later mention his hope that he will be soon be able to speak face to face, that our joy may be full. And, yes, we should find joy in Christian relationships.
I. CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIPS MIGHT BE...
A. Husband-wife relationships - so, 1 Pet 3:7
B. Parent-child relationships - so, Eph 6:1-4
C. Friendships - so, 2 Tim 4:21a
D. Employer-employee relationships - so, Philm 1:15,16
E. Brother-sister in Christ relationships - so, Rom 16:1,2
F. These texts are literally filled with the specialness of Christian relationships!
II. BUT WHERE IS THE SPECIAL JOY IN THEM?
A. The joy of a common faith
1. 2 Pet 1:1 - ...to them that have obtained like precious faith....
2. and in 1 Pet 1:2 he refers to the elect - who, according to v. 3, are begotten...again unto a lively hope
3. there is joy in the knowledge that we share common roots and hope
B. The joy of a common moral value system
1. Eph 5:5-11 - ...proving what is acceptable to the Lord
2. there is security in fellowship with people whose moral values equal yours
3. there is joy in knowing that others share those values, promote those values, treasure those values, defend those values
C. The joy of a fellowship without stresses
1. now, stresses may come into the relationship through person conflict, etc.
2. and we have, in scripture, inspired procedures for dealing with those ... the bottom line of which is forgiveness - so, Eph 4:31,32
3. but I am thinking here of a relationship in which I know I will not be put in a position of trial or temptation (because we share common moral values)
4. I wonder, though, if we perhaps need to give more attention to values and to the application of them so that this particular joy can be more pervasive?
5. another stress reliever? Jno 7:1 - a relationship in which I know I am able to be at ease without fear of being unfairly picked apart
D. The joy of a common interest
1. Gal 3:28 - ...ye are all one in Christ Jesus
2. among us there are so many interests - different likes & dislikes; different family and age groups, etc. - and that is normal, natural, will not change
3. but we all have a common interest in the kingdom of the Lord - in His service - so, personal interests aside, we can unite upon Mt 28:19,20 (for example)
E. The joy of a common hope
1. Heb 6:20 - Which hope we have ...
2. our hope rests on the immutable promises of God - an inheritance
3. and among ourselves that hope colors our choices, our discussions, our decisions - the very commonality of our hope reassures us that we are not in this struggle alone
F. The joy of a common support system
1. Heb 10:23,24 - And let us consider one another...
2. some writers have directed attention to the one another passages in the New Testament - and correctly so!
3. perhaps 1 Cor 12:26 gives emphasis to this support system idea - the knowledge that other members of the body are ready to aid me and that a simple word to another will bring that aid has to be a cause for rejoicing!
CLOSE: I believe in Christian relationships. Is every one of them perfect? Not likely. But the potential is there. And the foundation for joy in those relationship is settled in scripture. Finding the joy in them may be a matter of my own commitment and involvement in and with them.
Cecil A. Hutson
21 September 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)