The one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
2 John from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 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; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
12 Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.
13 The children of your chosen sister greet you.
As I meditated on the exhortation and warning in John’s letter, what stood out to me were verses 9-11, which say: Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 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; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. I think today of how we are encouraged and even coerced to hear every point of view and to accept and embrace all teaching. In doing this, do we participate in evil? In John 8:12 Jesus says: “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” Why would we abide in and with the teachings of darkness if we know and have the light? In Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus also give a stern warning about false teaching: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 it says: Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying
speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. The destruction of fortresses, or the tearing down of strongholds
as some translations say, is not a physical battle of the flesh. Instead it is a battle in our minds and of our thoughts. These strongholds or fortresses are not physical structures, but rather they are built in our minds and our thoughts through embracing
and believing lies rather than the truth. When we embrace or tolerate false teaching, we lay a foundation for doubt, worry or fear to be raised up against our faith in God. In Ephesians 6:10-17 it describes the weapons of our warfare that we are to engage
and deploy against evil. Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand
firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the
evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be
able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The first thing we need to battle against evil and what is false, is to put on truth. If we stand protected by truth, a lie will not influence our thinking. If on the
other hand we have put on lies, how can we stand firmly on truth? The final defensive weapon we are to deploy against evil is the helmet of salvation. Knowing we are saved by the cross, through Christ’s sacrifice for us, we have confidence that nothing
that comes against us can harm us. In Psalm 23:4, the psalmist says: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me. Even the lie of death has no power over us when we have the truth of eternal life through salvation in Christ. Additionally, when we know the price that Jesus paid for our salvation, how could we embrace, even for a moment, the very things He suffered and died to free us from?
In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” In Matthew 7:15-27 Jesus says: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Why would we even consider building on a foundation of lies, evil and darkness, when we know Jesus who says in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”?
Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. Amen.