Dec 25 1J 4:7-Jud 1:25; Pro 29:26-30:6

A number of John’s more “famous” statements are contained in 4:7-11. 4:20 sounds quite a bit like portions of other verses we read in the first two chapters.

2 John: The elder here is John, the lady is probably one of the churches, although not all scholars agree with this. Some believe that it was a particular woman and her family as opposed to a church and the family of believers who compose her.

His admonition to love one another is here repeated (verse 5), as is his admonition that love is shown by obedience to Christ; here “walk according to His commandments” (verse 6). Most of us have heard it many times, but how many of us actually heed the fact that “many deceivers have gone out into the world” (verse 7)? We hear them everyday and all too often believe too much of what they say. “These are the antichrist” (Ibid.). Be careful in “greeting” these deceivers else you may be leading others astray in not pointing out that they are evil! (verses 10-11).

The salutation at verse 13 seems to verify my assessment of the lady. John writes from another church, a sister of the one to which he writes.

3 John: John refers again to himself as “the elder” but this time writes to “Gaius whom I love in truth” (1:1). Gaius is a common name. Paul mentions two men by this name. There is no reason to believe that this is either of them. John’s address and following pronouns are in the second person singular. That is, unlike the previous letter which is addressed to one lady “and her children,” this letter is written to one person–like Paul’s letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

Although his aim may have been slightly different, it sounds as though at 1:7-8 that John is telling us that we have a duty to support missionaries. I don’t think this means that we are required to give to all who ask. God will lay certain persons or ministries upon our hearts and show us to give there. Just as importantly we need to ensure that we give to persons and organizations who will use God’s funds without wasting them. Some organizations have a lot of unnecessary overhead and very little of each dollar actually gets to the missionaries. Others are more faithful stewards–these we should support. There are more groups than we can support, but we can continue to pray for Him to raise up others to support as well–He does own all that there is! Don’t forget that latter portion of the verse, it reminds us that in supporting such persons (financially and in prayer) we are fellow workers with them in the ministry!

It sounds like Diotrephes needed to be removed from any position of authority that he had and to be straightened out. John does not “promise” as does Paul to come with power and do so! “The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God” (1:11).

Jude: This writer is the brother of Christ but modestly says so in a round-about way. He says he is a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, the most well-known brother of Jesus (1:1). His blessing at verse 2 is interesting. Whereas John says “grace, mercy, and peace be with us” (2 John 1:3) Jude says “may mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.” Remember that according to John’s Gospel that at one point Jude and the rest of Jesus’ brothers were NOT believers (John 7:5).

Watch those who cause divisions within the church (1:17-19) because these are those which you were warned about! You are not like them.

Proverbs: The words of Agur (30:1-4) are somewhat cryptic and almost seem out of place. Perhaps he is being facetious and shows that he is not stupid but exercises wisdom, knowing God, the only One to believe in. Do NOT add to God’s words. One should be reminded here too that one must not “take away from” God’s words either.