Second John cautions about receiving heretics and has much in common with First John regarding the danger of false teachers that deny the incarnation of Jesus Christ; it was written to urge discernment in supporting travelling teachers, otherwise someone might unintentionally contribute to the propagation of heresy rather than truth (NIV Study Bible).

A study of 2 Jn.1:1-13

The first section of this letter instructs us to Abide in God’s Commandments <2 Jn.1:1-6>, and John, in his opening remarks <2 Jn.1:1-3>, addresses his readers – “To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth” <2 Jn. 1 (NIV)>: some Bible scholars take the statement “chosen (elect) lady and her children” literally as referring to a specific person and her children; others prefer to take it figuratively as describing a local church (Nelsons).

He then continues to say: “all who know the truth—because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever” <2 Jn.1-2 (NIV)>: those who know the Truth are those who have had a personal relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ; He is the Truth <see Jn.14:6a; 18:37b-38a>; and those who have accepted The Truth have The Truth forever, He is with us “forever” wherever we go.

“Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” <2 Jn.3 (NIV)>: grace and mercy was a common greeting but here it is used to remind us of God’s grace and mercy expressed to us in the person of Jesus Christ God’s Son, who will be with us forever; this is the true grace, mercy and love of God.

John continues to instruct us to “Walk in Truth” <2 Jn.1:4>. “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” <2 Jn.4 (NIV); 3 Jn.4>: it was gratifying to John that those converted under his preaching were continuing in the faith. It is unfortunate that in some cases, believers get lured away and refuse to comply with God’s word, they follow non believing partners and friends in rebellion to what God’s Word teaches and God sometimes has to deal severely with them. This is what happened to God’s chosen people who were sent into exile: “This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, O nations; observe, O witnesses, what will happen to them. Hear, O earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law.” <Jer.6:16-19 (NIV); cf. Prov.13:20; Heb.10:25>. A warning to us that when we need to know God’s will in making decisions, we should never question what God’s Word teaches.

He further reminds us to “Walk in Love” <2 Jn.1:5-6>; and is reminding his readers that this is not a new command, it is Christ’s teaching and refers back to Old Testament times <see Jn.13:34-35; cf. Lev.19:18; Matt.22:39-40; Rom.13:8-10>; and he further defines what true love is: “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” <2 Jn.1:6 (NIV)>; living our lives in obedience to God’s command is how we walk (live) in true love, for if we are not living in obedience to God’s command, our “so-called-love” for others is meaningless since we do not practice what we say. True love for others is not self-satisfaction but effectively loving others as we love ourselves; and this love originates from God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the love that defines a believer in Christ!

John continues to instruct us “Abide Not with False Teachers” <2 Jn.1:7-13>, reminding us of the “Doctrine of the False Teachers” <2 Jn.1:7-9>. He cautions his readers of the danger of false teaching carrying on from his previous instructions; “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.” <2 Jn.1:7 (NIV); cf Jn.1:14>; referring again to the Gnostic heresy that was creeping into the Church. Such a person, John declares, is a deceiver or antichrist <2 Jn.1:7b>; should not be considered as a true disciple of Christ, and should not be allowed to teach such heresy in the Church. All believers in Christ must be extremely careful of what we accept as doctrine in our churches today as the heresy of Gnosticism is still being taught, we must be students of the Scriptures so that we can identify false teachers. John here warns of the result of accepting false teaching: “Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.” <2 Jn.1:8 (NIV)>; since our acceptance of false teaching will rob us of our reward that Christ will hand out to each of us at His return <see 2 Pet.2:1-3; Rom.14:11-12; 2 Cor.5:10; 2 Tim.4:7-8>. John concludes his warning by comparing the false teacher to the true believer; “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.” <2 Jn.1:9 (NIV); cf Gal.1:10>. We should always strive for a better understanding of the revelation given to us in Christ, but we must never go beyond what the Scriptures reveal!

We must stay away from the “False Teachers” <2 Jn.1:10-11>. John closes with a final warning regarding “travelling teachers”; those that were going from city to city preaching and teaching the gospel. He is cautioning the believers that their hospitality could give public approval to the wicked work of false teachers. He is not condemning hospitality to strangers for general conversation, but we should be careful to compare their teaching with what the Scriptures teach: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.” <2 Jn.1:10-11 (NIV)>.

In his closing remarks he says “…. I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. The children of your chosen sister send their greetings.” <2 Jn.1:12-13 (NIV)>; it was his desire to be able to make a personal visit the church to discuss his teachings with them. “Chosen sister” could be a reference to another local church.

Detecting heretical doctrine is very important to all believers in Christ, and our discernment of false teaching will only be possible if we are true disciples of Jesus Christ having a personal knowledge of what the Scriptures teach.


A study of 1 Jn.5:14-21

John concludes his first letter by addressing two important principles in our relationship with God. First, he deals with Guidance in Prayer <1 Jn.5:14-17>.

He commences this section with a very important fact in regards to prayer: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” <1 Jn.5:14 (NIV)>; for here we see the requirement of God in regards to our petitions – “if we ask anything according to his will”. How do we know God’s will (desire)? We can know God’s will in any circumstance by being familiar with the teaching of scripture and prayer to God to reveal his desire for us in the circumstance we are facing; and this, sometimes, can be very difficult, but we must wait on God’s direction. By having a good knowledge of the scriptures the Holy Spirit will guide us in our desires and decisions as we present these to God in our prayer. There is no point in praying for direction or a solution to a difficulty that confronts us when the scriptures clearly teach that the decision we make will cause us to sin against God. One of the most common situations is the question of marriage; the scriptures clearly teach that there should be no union between a believer in Christ and a non-believer <see 2 Cor.6:14-15>; unfortunately we see the peril of such marriages in our churches today as the believer thinks that the non-believer can be converted to Christ which is not necessarily the case. This principle applies to almost every facet of our lives whether it be business or pleasure. So, guidance in our prayer depends entirely upon our knowledge and obedience to the scriptures; each believer in Christ must depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit and total obedience to God’s commands <see 1 Jn.3:21-22>. However, there are those circumstances that confront us, and things that we need for our daily living, and God expects us to petition Him for such; and again we must exercise faith in God for our timing may not necessarily be God’s timing, and we are required to wait in prayer for God to respond <see Matt.7:7-8>; and this is John’s summation: …whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.” <1 Jn.5:15 (NIV)>.

John now speaks to two occasions where guidance in prayer is definitely needed: “…a sin that does not lead to death” <1 Jn.5:16 (NIV)>. There has been much said about this passage, too much to be included here. What does he mean by a sin that does not lead to death? The scriptures teach that sin results in the eternal death of the individual, and that is the reason that Christ came and died on the Cross. From the point of view that all believers in Christ have been delivered from the judgment of eternal death and separation from God, we have to understand that a believer who sins will be punished in some way in this life. That is the reason John began this epistle teaching that we all continue to sin, even after our conversion to Christ, and because of this we need to continually confess our sins to God and seek His forgiveness. The promise to each believer is that we will never perish – <Jn.3:16; 17:11-12, 15> meaning that once saved we are saved for all eternity, but as we live our lives on this earth we are constantly bombarded with sin and evil, and Christ demonstrated this to His disciples <see Jn.13:6-8; 1 Jn.1:7-10>; the lesson to us is that since we live in a sinful world, and we are contaminated by sin, we need the cleansing of the Word of God through the Holy Spirit working in us. So, here John says that when we see a fellow believer engaging in some sinful activity we need to pray to God that the believer will acknowledge the sin and repent seeking God’s forgiveness and cleansing. John continues to say that; “There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that.” <1 Jn.15:16 (NIV)>, and in this statement we see that there is a difference. There are those that “profess” to be believers in Christ but have never been truly saved from their sin, and eventually display this in their lifestyle by turning their backs on the Lord Jesus Christ, for such there is no further repentance, only to be lost for all eternity <see Heb.6:4-6>. John says there should be no prayer for such since they have already sinned unto death. Let us remember that John is addressing the difficulty of Gnostic teaching in the Church, which has led to some accepting this teaching of adamant and persistent denial of the truth of the Scriptures, denying the deity of Christ, and such unrepentant sin only leads to spiritual death.

John concludes by stating that “All wrongdoing is sin” <1 Jn.5:17 (NIV)>, and repentance is required whether it be a believer or non-believer. Therefore, God’s response to our prayer is directly related to our understanding that God’s will for all believers is to live a life that is as far from sin as possible.

Finally, he addresses a difficulty that faces all believers in Christ: Freedom from Habitual Sin <1 Jn.5:18-21>; and he has already given us two affirming statements:

(1) “….you may know that you have eternal life.” <1 Jn.5:13 (NIV); cf Jn.3:15, 36; 17:1-3>, a present possession that will be completed at Christ’s second coming:

(2) “….we know that he hears us” <1 Jn.5:15 (NIV)>, on condition that we ask according to His purpose.

And concludes by adding three more:

(3) “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin” <1 Jn.5:18 (NIV)>, all believers in Christ fit this category for we are born into God’s family <see Jn.1:12; Rom.8:14, 16; Eph.2:6-9> and the characteristic is that we do not willfully commit sin. We are confident in the fact that Christ keeps us safe from the evil one – Satan “…the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.” <1 Jn.5:18b (NIV); cf. Jn.17:11-12, 15, 20>. We are protected from evil and sin by God Himself through the work of The Holy Spirit, and since sin no longer controls us we need to live victoriously over sin <see Rom.6:11-14>.

(4) “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” <1 Jn.5:19 (NIV)>, the main difference between believers and non-believers is that the children of God are led and controlled by God while the world of non-believers are under the control of Satan.

(5) “We know also that the Son of God has come” <1 Jn.5:20 (NIV); cf Jn.1:1-2, 14>, and He has given us this understanding by His Holy Spirit and the Scriptures, that He is the True God and eternal life.

He concludes his letter by stating, “…..keep yourselves from idols” <1 Jn.5:21 (NIV)>; since we have been brought to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is God, anything that takes His place in our lives is an idol, and most important we should remember that this is the sin of the Gnostics who teach that Jesus Christ is not God.


A Study of 1 Jn.5:4-21

John is continuing his teaching on Fellowship with God and fellow believers, and here he deals with victory over worldly influences and confirms the Guarantee of our salvation.

Victory over the World is a possibility for all believers in Christ who obey His commands <1 Jn.5:4-5>. Having already cautioned us of the subtle attraction of worldliness; the realm controlled by Satan and organized against God and therefore at war with all Christ’s followers <see 1 Jn.2:15-17>; John now reveals to us how this worldliness can be conquered. First, he reveals who are the overcomers: “…for everyone born of God overcomes the world.” <1 Jn.5:4a (NIV); cf Jn.1:12-13>; all those who have heard the gospel message and have turned to God in true repentance have been brought into the family of God as His children <see Eph.1:13; 2 Cor.1:21-22>; we have been adopted into God’s family in the person of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, John states that the overcoming factor is our faith in God: “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” <1 Jn.5:4b (NIV)>; and confirms this with his next statement: “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” <1 Jn.5:5 (NIV)>; and he gives the reason why this is possible in the previous passage by stating that true love for God is “to obey his commands” <1 Jn.5:3 (NIV)>; so, we see that victory over the world is possible to all believers who constantly obey God’s commands. In this world with all its attractions that challenge us each day as we are confronted with important decisions; how do we know God’s commands? We can only find and obey God’s will for us by being familiar with what the scriptures teach, and work toward the application of these teachings in every aspect of our daily lives. By doing this we can begin and continue to resist the devil and all the deceits he brings to us <see Jas.1:22; 4:7>.

Every believer in Christ is given a “Guarantee of Salvation” <1Jn.5:6-13>. There has been much debate as to the meaning of the first sentence: “This is the one who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.” <1 Jn.5:6a (NIV)>; but it is evident that John is trying to correct the false teaching of the Gnostic heresy. Gnostics believed and taught that Christ came upon “the man Jesus” at His baptism and left Him before His passion in the Garden of Gethsemane, stating that The Christ did not die on the cross, it was only the man Jesus who died (Believers Bible Commentary and NIV Study Bible). Here John uses “water” as an emblem of Jesus’ baptism and “blood” as the symbol of Jesus’ atoning death. John is teaching that Jesus was the Christ when He died on the cross just as much as when He was baptized; and concludes the statement with: “And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.” <1 Jn.5:6b (NIV); cf Jn.14:16-17a; 15:26>. He then proceeds to give us five affirmations that Jesus is the Christ – The Son of God.

He begins by giving the first three assertions: “…the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”  <1 Jn.5:8 (NIV)>. What does this mean? The Holy Spirit affirms the fact that Jesus is the Christ (God) because the Spirit is truth <1 Jn. 5:6b>, and this affirmation is seen throughout the N.T., and we see two examples of this. First, the Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism <see Jn.1:32-34; Matt.3:16>; and the Spirit continues to confirm this in the hearts of believers that Jesus’ baptism and death verify that He is the Christ, God’s Son <see 1 Cor.12:3; 1 Jn.2:27>. Secondly, confirmation that Jesus is God is seen at His baptism (“water”) where God affirms it <see Matt.3:16-17>. Third, the “blood” which speaks to Christ’s death on the cross, or His atoning sacrifice <1 Jn.2:2> also affirms His deity; in this we observe that His life was not taken from Him on the cross, He gave up His life <see Matt.27:50; Lk.23:46; Jn.10:17-18; 19:28-30>. This is further confirmed to us in the resurrection of Christ, for if the work of redemption was not completed in Christ there would be no salvation for us <see Rom.5:18-19>. In this we observe that all the conditions for our salvation is complete in Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

John continues to give two more assertions. Fourth, it is the confirmation of each and every believer in Christ: Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.” <1 Jn.5:10 (NIV)>. Our belief and acceptance of Christ testifies to the fact that Jesus is God’s Son <see Jn.1:9-14>, and the life of the believer should be a witness to this fact; as John concludes that those who reject Christ are accusing God of dishonesty. The fifth and final assertion is that of God Himself; “God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.” <1 Jn.5:9 (NIV)>.

He concludes this section by giving the greatest assertion: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” <1 Jn.5:11-12 (NIV)>; this is the summation of all of the gospel message, we have eternal life in and through Jesus Christ only. Eternal life cannot be achieved by creeds, religious beliefs, church membership, good religious works and activities or by any other means <Acts 4:12>, it is only through belief and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s eternal Son! That is the whole purpose of the Scriptures and the message of the gospel: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” <1 Jn.5:13 (NIV)>; this is our assurance of salvation! Can you honestly say that you have this assurance?


A Study of 1 Jn.4:1 – 5:3

True fellowship with God and other believers should be evident in our character. Here, John warns us that we should not accept all that we hear or are taught from Scripture, we need to be fully informed by Testing the Spirits <1 Jn.4:1-6>, as he continues to teach the characteristics of our fellowship with God. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” <1 Jn.4:1 (NIV)>. John instructs us to “test the spirits”; what does he mean by the spirits? An individual is moved by a spirit, either by The Holy Spirit or by an evil spirit; here he is reminding us of the fact that there are many that wish to identify as members of our churches who are not truly believers in Christ. They are being controlled by the spirit of Satan, because they have abandoned their faith in Christ <see 1 Jn.2:19; cf 2 Pet.1:21; 2:1; Matt.7:15; 24:11; 1 Tim.4:1>. The teachings of Gnosticism were a problem that faced the early church, and is still a bigger problem in the Church today.

John gives us two tests that will expose the false spirit. First, he states: “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” <1 Jn. 4:2 (NIV)>; those that do not acknowledge Jesus Christ, is not of God; for as he has previously stated, those that are from God will testify that Christ, who is God, has come in the flesh, (human form) <see 1 Jn.1:1-4; cf Jn.1:1-2, 14; Phil.2:5-7>, and that while in His humanity He fulfilled all that was prophesied in respect to Him <see Deut.18:17-22; Jn.1:45; 5:46>. Those then, who do not acknowledge that Jesus Christ has appeared in human form, and teach that He is not God, are exhibiting the spirit of the anti-Christ, and John again warns us that such spirits (persons) are already in our churches <1 Jn.4:3>, and that “They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.” <1 Jn.4:5 (NIV)>. John gives a second test: We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.” <1 Jn.4:6 (NIV)>; and this test will prove the false spirit (person) because they will refuse to acknowledge the Deity of Christ since they acknowledge the viewpoint of humankind. John then concludes the test stating: “This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” <1 Jn.4:6 (NIV)>, and it is appropriate for each of us as followers of Christ to be sure to test the teachings that we hear in our Churches today.

As he completes this section, John directs us to Love as Christ Loved <1 Jn.4:7—5:3>. Love is a word that is so misused in our society today. For most people it has no real meaning and is only used to express affection or some kind of appreciation. In this section John shows us that love is not only an expression but an action, for real love comes only from the One who is Love. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” <1 Jn.4:7-8 (NIV)>. Here we see that love originates in God, and is passed on to the individual that is born of God <see Jn.3:6-7>; this is the source of our love for each other, the basis of Christ’s command <see Jn.13:34-35>, and the characteristic of true discipleship. This love was made possible for us as individuals because of God’s eternal love for us, for we could not possess or experience real love apart from God’s gift to us, and we are reminded of this in what John says here: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” <1 Jn.4:9-10 (NIV); cf Jn.3:16; Rom.5:8>. The example of love is seen in God’s love for us as sinners by the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and we should love each other as Christ loved us even though we did nothing to deserve it. We live in a society where true love is absent, and as Christ’s followers, we are commanded to express His love for others even when it may be difficult, and sometimes almost impossible! <see 2 Tim.3:2-5>.

John continues to describe the relationship of the believer to God, and that no greater or closer relationship can be conceived. First, he states that God lives in us and His love is made complete in us; …but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” <1 Jn.4:12 (NIV)>; and out of the depths of our relationship to God, because He has given us His Holy Spirit, when we express true love to others, we testify of God’s love to all people <1 Jn.4:14; cf Jn.15:26-27>. Secondly, he states that in our acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is God’s Son (Christ’s Deity), God lives in us: “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” <1 Jn.4:15-16 (NIV); cf 1 Jn.4:2>; confirming the close relationship that we have with God and Christ. This is the reason that we must express true love to others in obedience to Christ’s command! God’s love is made complete in us when we express His love (the love that He passes on to us) to others. His love removes the fear that the non-believer has for God; and we express love for others because God first loved us, even though there are times in our life when love is difficult to be expressed. We cannot say that we love God and not express that love to others, especially to other believers: “…. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” <1 Jn.4:16-21 (NIV)>.

John commenced this section by stating: Dear friends, let us love one another…” <1 Jn.4:7 (NIV)>; and in view of Christ’s teaching <see Matt.22:36-37>, why does he say “love one another”, instead of “love God”? As he has stated here in the conclusion of the section, only the true believer in Christ has the characteristic of the love of God; so, when we express love for other believers (and non-believers) we are expressing the love of God, and is the evidence of our real love for God. Further evidence of this is seen in his statement: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” <1 Jn.5:1-3 (NIV)>. When we are obedient to Christ’s command to love each other, this is proof that we love God!

The questions that need to be asked is: Where do I stand, or what is my position, pertaining to John’s teaching? Do I simply accept all interpretations of the Scriptures, or do I verify the  Scriptures for myself? Do I express the love of Christ in all my relations with other believers and non-believers? 


Study of 1 Jn.2:28—3:12

The quality of a believer’s fellowship with Christ is manifested in the INTEGRITY OF LIFESTYLE <1 Jn.2:28—3:3>: “…continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” <1 Jn.2:28 (NIV)>: in our daily lifestyle we must persist in following Christ’s commands, for we are awaiting His return which can occur at any moment in time, and we should not be in a situation where we will be ashamed at His coming <cf. Phil.4:8; 1 Tim.5:22b; 1 Jn.1:9>. In so doing, we will maintain our righteousness, through the help of The Holy Spirit, demonstrating the fact that we have experienced the new birth <Jn.3:3>.                                                    

The characteristic of our fellowship is also confirmed in us because we are true children of God, because of our acceptance of Christ and His sacrifice for our sin, and although the sceptics of this world do not acknowledge this fact, that does not alter God’s love for us: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” <1 Jn.3:1 (NIV); see Jn.1:10, 12-13>. We see here then that we are children of God because of our belief in and acceptance of Christ, and that our future with Christ is unimaginable so we need to guard what has been given to us <see Col.3:4-5>.

Not only has God showered His love on us, the full extent of our future is not evident at the present time; but we are assured of one thing, we will be like Him in respect to our physical actuality and appearance: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” <1 Jn.3:2 (NIV)>. John has given us a description of Jesus’ resurrection body, in that He was seen and touched by His disciples <see Jn.20:10-29>, and that He ascended to heaven in a body that could be seen <Acts 1:9-11>; John now assures us that we will be like Him at His second coming.

So then, we are encouraged by John to ensure that our character demonstrates our fellowship with Christ by getting rid of the impurities of sin through the cleansing of the scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit: “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” <1 Jn.3:3 (NIV)>.

In our PRACTICE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS <1 Jn.3:4-12>, John continues to expand on the instruction: “If you know that he [Christ] is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. [Christ] <1 Jn.2:29 (NIV)>, and gives five reasons why sinning is utterly incompatible with being a Child of God, (i) Everyone who sins breaks the law” <1 Jn.3:4 (NIV)>; yes, we know that Paul has taught that a believer in Christ is no longer under the condemnation of the Law <see Rom.6:14>, but the effect of the Law still stands and for the believer there is an accountability to Christ <see Rom.14:12>. (ii) Sin is lawlessness” <1 Jn.3:4b (NIV)>; and as such, God’s child must be law-abiding just as Christ was. (iii) No one who lives in him keeps on sinning.” <1 Jn.3:6 (NIV)>; for in continuing to sin we have neither “seen” Christ nor “known” Christ; but in our practice of righteousness we exhibit the life of Christ. (iv) “do not let anyone lead you astray” <1 Jn.3:6 (NIV)>; those that are led astray are not being led by The Holy Spirit, but by some other spirit, possibly an anti-Christ, as he has already warned us. (v) “He who does what is sinful is of the devil” <1 Jn.3:8 (NIV)>; and the reason why Christ appeared was to destroy the devil’s work <1 Jn.3:8b>. So, John sums it up by stating: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” <1 Jn.3:9-10 (NIV); cf Rom.6:1-2>. The believer in Christ, God’s child, cannot, or must not continue to be led astray by sin, for this is the characteristic distinction between a believer in Christ and a non-believer. Therefore, we see that righteousness is exhibited by our practice of obedience to Christ’s commands, and by love shown to each other as believers.

John now describes how mutual Christian love is demonstrated in ACTION AND GENUINENESS <1 Jn.3:13-24>, being the essential characteristic of God’s children, and that hatred is inadmissible. First, he reminds us of Christ’s teaching: “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.” <1 Jn.3:13 (NIV); cf Jn.15:18-19; 17:14>, for this is one indication that we have been born again <1 Jn.3:14> as we have been taught, reminding us that we have “passed from death to life” and this is the reason why we must express love to each other as believers in Christ <see Jn.5:24; 1 Jn.2:9; Matt.5:21-22; Gal.5:19-21>. He continues to show us how real love is expressed by reminding us of Christ’s love for us <1 Jn.3:16>, and that we should pattern Christ’s example in our love for our fellow believers. Just as Christ saw our spiritual destitution, we must liken that to the material requirement of our fellow believers: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” <1 Jn.3:17-18 (NIV); cf Jn.15:12; Eph.5:1-2>; and if our spirit convicts us in a positive way when we respond by expressing our love in actions and in truth, this is proof that we belong to Christ, and The Holy Spirit confirms our true belief in Christ <1 Jn.3:19-21; cf Heb.6:9-10; 1 Jn.4:17>. But we should understand that we can be condemned by our spirit by actions that are contrary to the love of Christ!

If a believer has a clear conscience by expressions of love, The Holy Spirit confirms that there is obedience to Christ’s commands <1 Jn.3:21-23>, for there is true love demonstrated to others in our actions and; “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” <1 Jn.3:24 (NIV)>.

Therefore; by the integrity of our lifestyle, our practice of righteousness, and the genuineness of our actions; the character of our fellowship with God and our fellow believers is clearly manifested.




A Study of 1 Jn.2:15-27

LOVE OF THE WORLD    <2:15-17>

What does it mean to “love the world”? It is not a reference to the creation, nor does it mean the habitation of mankind; the reference here is the short-lived character of life’s riches and pleasures and the folly of making them of essential importance in life <see Matt.16:26>. Each disciple of Christ should also remember His teaching; “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” <Jn.15:18-19 (NIV); cf Jas.4:4>. The people of this world – unbelievers – are not the “friends” of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore should not be of principal importance to the child of God, or be allowed to influence us. Yes, Christ has taught us that we should show His love toward all people for the purpose of their salvation, but not for our fellowship in general, for if we bond with the enemy we will be influenced by the enemy. This then becomes a serious problem for the child of God – the believer in Christ. To whom do we show our loyalty? Paul, in his letter to the Roman believers says: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” <Rom.12:2 (NIV)>; our thoughts and our actions must be changed by the help of The Holy Spirit and the scriptures so that our relationship with Christ becomes stronger and stronger reflecting His life through our life causing us to love Him more than we love the things that this life has to offer.


John emphasises the stipulation for the believer: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” <1 Jn.2:15 (NIV)>; and this statement could not be any clearer; the love of the world and worldliness does not reflect the love of God, and clearly teaches that there is nothing that this life has to offer the believer; “For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.” <1 Jn.2:16 (NIV)>; which means that the desires and pleasures offered by humankind does not originate, nor is approved by God, for such desires will only cause us to drift away from Him; especially where these luxuries are the basis for keeping up, or being one step ahead of our neighbours. “The world”, then denotes our human society which is governed by selfishness, covetousness and boasting, and as believers in Christ we should not allow our affections to become attached <see Jas.4:4>.

Each of us as believers in Christ must understand that “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” <1 Jn.2:17 (NIV)>; we cannot take our worldly possessions with us when Christ returns to take us home to be with Him <Jn.14:1-3>, for earthly possession will be no use to us in our eternal home.

Who is the Antichrist? This question has been asked by many people in New Testament times. The biblical definition of the Antichrist is: “A false prophet and evil being who will set himself up against Christ and the people of God in the last days before the second coming [of Christ]. The term is used only in the writings of John in the New Testament. It refers to one who stands in opposition to all that Jesus Christ represents (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). John wrote that several antichrists existed already in his day – false teachers who denied the deity and the incarnation of Christ – but that the supreme Antichrist of history would appear at some future time”. (From Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers). So, here we see that the spirit of the Antichrist is one of opposition to everything that represents Christ, also denying the deity and incarnation of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples on this very subject and is recorded in three of the Gospels <see Matt.24:23-26; Mk.13:21; Lk.21:8; cf 2 Thess.2:3-12>; where we see the spirit of the Antichrist described. But we should note what John says here in this passage: “this is the last hour” <1 Jn.2:18 (NIV)>; a reference to the time that began at Christ’s first coming that will continue until His second coming, and we see from the previous scripture references that many antichrists will appear, and we have seen the evidence of this in the lives of a few prominent individuals in recent times; “even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” <1 Jn.2:18b (NIV)>.

John also identifies the antichrists: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” <1 Jn.2:19 (NIV)>; indicating that they had left the Church because their teaching was not acceptable and they had nothing in common with the believers in Christ, suggesting that they were the early Gnostics of John’s period in time.

The spirit and philosophy of any antichrist can have a severe impact on the life of a believer in Christ, and John expresses that here: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.” <1 Jn.2:20-21 (NIV)>; he says that as a believer you know the truth, and as such we should not be influenced by the lies of antichrists. The Holy Spirit (the Holy One) reveals to us the truth of the WORD (the scriptures) <see Jn.16:13-14>, and in this statement we see the importance of individual Bible study, not just listening to the sermon on Sunday mornings. He also declares that “no lie comes from the truth”, signifying that the lie comes only from the antichrist: “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist — he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” <1 Jn.2:22-23 (NIV)>: the liar (antichrist) is the person that rejects God and His Son, Jesus Christ. John then gives us the solution for the spirit of the antichrist: “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us — even eternal life.” <1 Jn.2:24-25 (NIV)>; meaning that we must continue to live by the principles taught by the Scriptures, not by the false doctrines of the antichrists. Paul, in writing to the Church in Galatia referred to the false teachings as “another gospel” <see Gal.1:6-9>, and we should note his description of the end to the false teachers – “eternally condemned” as opposed to how John shows the result of believing the truth – “eternal life”.

He concludes this section by repeating “… But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him.” <1 Jn.2:27 (NIV)>; this is our only defence against the spirit of antichrist – “remain in him.”

John writes to us here of what is obvious today, the spirit of antichrist has been evident since Christ came into this world on His first advent, for there have been many who have openly denied the Deity of Christ and have taught this false doctrine throughout our history. The Scriptures however teach that in the “end times” there will be “a man” who will set himself up as god and demand that all people worship him as god <see Rev.13:11-17>. This will be possible because of what Paul has taught in this regard <see 2 Thess.2:1-12>, noting what is said “And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed” <2 Thess.2:6-8 (NIV); cf Jn.16:5-15>. The “one who now holds back” is a reference to The Holy Spirit who is active in restricting the work of evil in our world today. One day, as we have been promised by Christ, all believers will be taken from this world to spend eternity with Him in heaven <see 1 Thess.4:16-17>; and at that time the work of The Holy Spirit in this world will no longer be necessary, “then the lawless one will be revealed”. The end result will be total chaos, a terrible time for all people left on this earth <see Matt.24:21-25; Dan.12:8-10>.


A Study of 1 Jn.1:5—2:14

The first requirement for fellowship is to walk in the Light <1 Jn.1:5-7>. The message that John received and was directed to pass on is that: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” <1 Jn.1:5 (NIV)>; and the issue is our response to “the light”. In the darkness of our sinful ways, we have degraded God to a representation to which we bow down and worship, and this can encompass many different forms as we consider all that we acclaim as more important than our worship to God: our job, our pursuits and anything else that replaces God in our life <cf Rom.1:21-23; 1 Cor.10:7, 20>; these may not be an actual sculpture but becomes the symbol, and God is shut out of our life. “Light” as used here signifies God’s truth, goodness, and joy, as opposed to what “darkness” is – falsehood, evil, jeopardy, death. Therefore, the first condition for fellowship with God is to walk in “the light”. “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” <1 Jn.1:6 (NIV)>

 The second requirement for fellowship is confession of sin <1 Jn.1:8—2:2>. The character of God determines the condition of our fellowship with Him, and since the Scriptures declare that He is “light”, the next condition that we face is our attitude towards sin. We must understand that our salvation is in three “stages”. First, we are saved from the penalty of sin <see Rom.6:23>; secondly, we are saved from the power of sin <Rom.6:14; 8:2>; third, we will be saved from the presence of sin <Jn.14:2-3; Phil.3:20; 1 Thess.4:17; Rev.21:27>. So, as believers we should understand that in this present life our fellowship with God depends upon our attitude towards sin and what God requires of us: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” <1 Jn.1:7 (NIV)>. We must also understand that in this life we are still under the influence of sin, and that it is possible for us to sin by our thoughts, our words and our deeds: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us……If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” <1 Jn.1:8, 10 (NIV)>; therefore, this perception must always guide our life.

The Old Testament taught the meaning and reasons for the sacrifices offered, and one was for the sin offering; it was mandatory for specific unintentional sin, confession of sin, forgiveness of sin and cleansing from defilement <see Lev.4:13, 22, 27>. This offering was necessary to restore fellowship between the Lord and the worshiper, and taught that sin must be dealt with before any other form of worship was acceptable to God. In the New Testament we see this explained by Christ <Jn.13:10>. Christ explained that the feet needed to be washed since they had become dirty by the person walking from one place to another. We see this in our daily living as we too can become contaminated by sin as we interact with other people, influencing our thoughts our words and our actions; and although this may be unintentional, in God’s view we are guilty and are required to seek God’s forgiveness; not from our original sinful state for our salvation is eternal, but from the contamination of our daily living. So, John instructs us as to how we deal with this: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” <1Jn.1:9 (NIV)>. He concludes by reminding us how our forgiveness and cleansing is possible; “But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” <1Jn.2:1-2 (NIV)>. So, we must be sensitive to The Holy Spirit’s guidance and seek to be obedient, acknowledging what The Spirit desires in our life <see Rom.8:5b>. Confession of sin is therefore necessary for our fellowship with God.

The third requirement for fellowship is obedience to His commandments <1 Jn.2:3-6>. The life of a true believer is characterized by obedience to The Word (The Lord Jesus Christ); “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” <1 Jn.2:3 (NIV)>, and this is confirmed to each individual believer by The Holy Spirit <cf Jn.16:13-14>. In contrast to the individual who may say “I know him (Christ) but does not do what he (Christ) commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” <1 Jn.2:4 (NIV)>. Obedience to Christ’s commands then, is the distinctive mark of discipleship and “God’s love is truly made complete in him” <1 Jn.2:5 (NIV)>; that is, God’s love moves the individual to full obedience <cf 1 Jn.3:18-19>. This is the confirmation that we belong to Him; “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” <1 Jn.2:6 (NIV)>, meaning that the life of Christ must be reflected in the character of the individual believer <cf Eph.4:1>.

The fourth requirement for fellowship is love for each other <1 Jn.2:7-14>. Just prior to His trial and crucifixion, our Lord Jesus demonstrated what humility really meant, He performed the act of a servant (slave) and washed the feet of His disciples; even though He knew that one would betray Him and the others would disown Him. It was at this time that He expressed what He expected of all His disciples: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” <Jn.13:34-35 (NIV); see also 14:15>. It is very likely that John was referring to this occasion in his letter stating that he was not writing a new command but an old one <1 Jn.2:7>, one that his readers had from the beginning. This new command was demonstrated by Christ in His love to us that He expressed in His death for us on the cross, and that he expects His disciples to grow in this love as they express their love to each other, for that was what He taught the disciples <see Matt.5:43-48>.

So, here John expands on this teaching to show why it is important for us to demonstrate love for each other: “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.” <1 Jn.2:8-10 (NIV); cf Jn.8:12; 12:46>. Our love for each other demonstrates that we are living in the Light (Christ), and where that love is not expressed, shows that such a person is not living in the Light. So often we have seen this in our society where people are despised because of the colour of their skin, their ethnicity, their place in social circles; and unfortunately, this happens in our churches; and John is expressing here that this should not happen; it is NOT LIKE CHRIST! Where this occurs “believers” (if they really are) are not living according to our Lord’s command, they are still in the “darkness of sin” and need to confess as he has already taught <1 Jn.1:8-9>. But it should be noted that John is not condemning his readers, for he addresses them as “fathers”, “children” and “young men”, who have known “him who is from the beginning… and have overcome the evil one” <1Jn.2:12-14>.

Therefore, as we walk in God’s Light, meaning that we are controlled by The Spirit of God; as we are quick to confess our sins that have contaminated us during our daily living; by our obedience to God’s Word; and by our love expressed to each other; our fellowship with God is evident and that overflows to others as we live our daily life.


In writing this epistle, John had two purposes on mind: first, to expose and address false teaching (Gnosticism) that was creeping into the Church <see 1 Jn.2:26>; secondly, to assure believers of their salvation; “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” <1 Jn.5:13 (NIV)>.

The Subject matter of the book counters false and erroneous doctrine, and encourages the reader to live in the knowledge of truth. The important theme is fellowship with God <1 Jn.2:28>; showing the Basis of fellowship <1 Jn.1:1 – 2:27>, and the Behaviour of fellowship <1 Jn.2:28 – 5:21>. The Basis of fellowship is further divided into Conditions, Cautions, and Meaning of fellowship. The Behaviour of fellowship is also divided into Characteristics, Consequences, and Manifestations of fellowship. It also speaks to Abiding in God’s light and love.


“One of the most dangerous heresies of the first two centuries of the church was Gnosticism. Its central teaching was that spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil. From this unbiblical dualism flowed five important errors:

  1. Man’s body, which is matter, is therefore evil. It is to be contrasted with God, who is wholly spirit and therefore good.
  2. Salvation is the escape from the body, achieved not by faith in Christ but by special knowledge (the Greek word for “knowledge” is gnosis, hence Gnosticism).
  3. Christ’s true humanity was denied in two ways: (1) Some said that Christ only seemed to have a body, a view called Docetism, from the Greek dokeo (“to seem”), and (2) others said that the divine Christ joined the man Jesus at baptism and left him before he died, a view called Cerinthianism, after its most prominent spokesman, Cerinthus. This view is the background of much of 1 John (see 1Jn.1:1; 2:22; 4:2-3).
  4. Since the body was considered evil, it was to be treated harshly. This ascetic form of Gnosticism is the background of part of the letter to the Colossians (2:21-23).
  5. Paradoxically, this dualism also led to licentiousness. The reasoning was that, since matter-and not the breaking of God’s law (1 Jn. 3:4) -was considered evil, breaking his law was of no moral consequence.

The Gnosticism addressed in the NT was an early form of the heresy, not the intricately developed system of the second and third centuries. In addition to that seen in Colossians and in John’s letters, acquaintance with early Gnosticism is reflected in 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter and perhaps I Corinthians.”  [Source: The NIV Study Bible]

A study of 1 John 1:1-4

Beginning his letter, John speaks to the unique experience which he and the other disciples (apostles) shared; they had a personal contact with The Word of life, God’s eternal Son, they saw Him in person, they observed, they watched every action, they listened to His teaching; they missed nothing: “…we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched” <1 Jn.1:1 (NIV)>. He references this to what has been recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 1 where he speaks to the coming into the world of Christ the eternal Son of God, The Word of God: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” <Jn.1:14 (NIV)>.

The Word – God’s Son, became a human being – “….Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man…” <Phil.2:5-8 (NIV)>. This was in God’s plan of salvation, someone had to die for sin, and that sacrifice had to be perfect and sinless, and was portrayed in the O.T. Burnt and Sin offerings <see Lev.1:6-8; 4:1-5>. But we are told that animal sacrifice is not capable of removing our sin, it only covered them from God’s sight for a period of time, and that is the reason why these sacrifices had to be repeated continuously; so, there had to be a better sacrifice <see Heb.10:3-7; 11-12>. Since there was no perfect (sinless) human being, God had to send The Perfect sacrifice in the person of His Son. Faith in God’s sacrificial provision gives us the salvation from our sin that we need <1 Jn.2:1b-2; Jn.1:12>.

The twelve disciples (apostles) had the privilege of His presence, His teaching and His miracles for three years of His ministry on the earth, so John is able to give an actual report of all that Jesus said and did. Because of his close encounter with Jesus Christ – The Word of God – he is able to declare; “…we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.”” <1 Jn.1:2-3 (NIV); cf Jn.1:1-2, 14>, so that we all can have fellowship with Christ and each other, as believers in Christ.

Thus, the basis of our Christian fellowship is our faith in Christ for which we have received eternal life, and this gives us communion with God and a friendship that can be shared and experienced wherever we meet other believers in Christ.



“On the final page of the final book of The Chronicles of Narnia, some of the children who have been to Narnia lament that they once again must return to their homeland—the Shadow-Lands. But Aslan (the lion who represents Jesus) has the best news of all for them:

[Aslan spoke to the children,] “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”

Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”

“No fear of that,” said Aslan. “Have you not guessed?”

Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.

“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadow-Lands—dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream has ended; this is morning.”

And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” (Citation: C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle (Thorndike Press, 2001); submitted by Eugene Maddox, Interlachen, Florida) (From Perfect Illustrations). <Rom.8:18; 1 Cor.2:9>

A study of 2 Tim.4:6-22.

Paul changes the emphasis of his message to Timothy as he now verbalizes personal matters. He anticipates his approaching death <2 Tim.4:6-8> and compares himself to a “drink offering”; “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.” <2 Tim.4:6 (NIV)>; let us examine the significance of the drink offering. It is the offering of wine poured around the base of the Altar when the sacrificial animal was offered as the Burnt Offering <see Ex.29:38-43; Num.28:7>. Paul uses it here to describe that his approaching death is like the pouring out of his life as an offering of thanksgiving to Christ <see Phil.2:17>. The drink offering consisted only of the best wine that one could offer, and we have seen that Paul’s whole life was presented to God as a living sacrifice <Rom.12:1>, and now his death will be compared to the pouring out of the wine. The wine was to be poured out upon the Altar and not to be consumed by the offeror, which teaches us that we serve God with the best that we have until we take our last breath.

Paul continues to express his hope in Christ as he faces the end of his life; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” <2 Tim.4:7-8 (NIV)>. As he looked back at his life he could say (like an athlete) to Timothy that he had fully obeyed the rules of the contest <see 2 Tim.2:5>, so as to encourage Timothy (and all believers in Christ) to do the same in serving Christ. Similar to the winner of any athletic competition the prize is presented, and here Paul refers to his prize as “the crown of righteousness” that Christ will present to him on the coming day of accountability <Rom.14:12; 1 Cor.9:25>. We can all look forward to this reward for Paul adds that it will be available to all who yearn for Christ’s appearing. Can you face death with such confidence? As you look back at your life on earth can you truthfully say that you have finished the course to the best of your ability?

Expressing his situation in Prison, he comments that Demas has deserted because he loved this world and all that it has to offer; a warning to all believers; we all need to learn to resist the devil’s temptations by the help of the Holy Spirit <Jas.4:7>. Titus and Crescens (Crescens mentioned only here – NIV Study Bible), have gone elsewhere, and only Luke is with Paul. He further states that “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.” <2 Tim.4:16 (NIV)>, certainly a helpless feeling and one that our Lord Jesus Christ experienced at His trial; and like Christ, Paul asks that their absenteeism would not be held against them. One other individual, Alexander, Paul states that “…The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.” <2 Tim.4:14-15 (NIV)>; his strong opposition to the gospel message, presented by Paul then, is still being exhibited by individuals today, and will be dealt with by Christ – this is not our responsibility.

Like Paul, we can all be assured of God’s presence with us when we are called to defend our faith in Him: “…the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” <2 Tim.4:17 (NIV)>, Christ will be our defense so that the gospel message will continue to be preached. Paul ends this section with the statement: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” <2 Tim.4:18 (NIV)>; Paul was certain of this; for us it may not be a rescue from a physical attack but certainly from any and every spiritual attack that Satan my launch at us <Jn.17:15>, so that all the glory will be given to Christ both presently and in the ages to come. Do you have this confidence as you live in this world of uncertainties? One does not know what the next minute of time will bring, as disasters occur without warning and life is cut short. As we serve our Lord Jesus Christ, let us do so with the confidence that our reward will far surpass all the difficulties we face in this life.

Paul concludes his letter to Timothy with greetings to those of his friends who had helped him in his past journeys: Priscilla and Aquila who he had first met in Corinth <Acts 18:1-3>; Onesiphorus and his family who helped Paul and were not ashamed of his imprisonment <2 Tim.1:16>; Erastus, the city director of public works in Corinth <Rom.16:23>; Trophimus, an Ephesian believer (gentile) who accompanied Paul on his last visit to Jerusalem <Acts 21:29>; he also requests that Timothy does his best to come and visit him before winter, bringing his coat and scrolls <2 Tim.4:13>.

His closing comment reminds us of God’s grace: “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” <2 Tim.4:22 (NIV)>; the grace of God; grace that none of us deserve, but as His children we are always sheltered by His grace <see Jonah 4:2; Gal.1:3-4>. This is God’s promise to all His children all throughout our life and even in death <see Deut.31:6; Jos.1:5; Heb.13:5b; Rom.8:38-39>.


PREACH THE WORD [01/24/23]

A study of 2 Tim.4:1-5

As Paul comes to the close of his directives to Timothy, he emphasizes the importance of preaching the Word: “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge” <2 Tim.4:1 (NIV)>.Timothy, as well as all servants of Christ, must be aware of the importance of our responsibilities, especially when called to be leaders in the Church (local or national), for Christ will be the judge of our effort when He returns for His Church <see 1 Cor.3:12-15>. Paul now proceeds to give nine objectives to the servants of Christ:

  1. Preach the Word; there has to be a commitment of the servant to deliver God’s Word by preaching and teaching the pure Word of God at all times, it should be our constant duty <see 1 Tim.4:13>.
  2. Be prepared: “in season”; that is when it is convenient or is scheduled, such as in the public worship of the Church: “out of season”; that is when it may be inconvenient; those situations where or when there are hindrances, embarrassments or discouragements; or where we might have to create an opportunity.
  3. Correct: as stated earlier, the Scriptures are to be used for correction of errors that have been introduced by false teaching; such teaching should only be corrected through scripture.
  4. Rebuke: unfortunately, there comes a time when this is necessary, either privately or in public, all sin in the church must be immediately dealt with when exposed <see 1 Tim.5:20>.
  5. Encourage: every church leader must be quick to encourage the “flock” with patience and careful instruction, especially where church discipline has occurred.
  6. Keep your head in all situations: be alert against error and sin; that is, do not be distracted by Satan from what is transpiring among the members of the church <see 1Cor.16:13>.
  7. Endure hardships: difficult times will come not only from outside of the church but also from within, and at such times we must rely on the leadership of The Holy Spirit to do business with what is occurring. The hardships that we face from outside the church must also be under the control of The Holy Spirit for we are fighting against the unseen enemy, and we will only overcome by following Paul’s example instruction <see 2 Tim.1:8; 2:3>.
  8. Do the work of an evangelist: this is the appropriate business of all Christ’s servants, for we are all appointed to proclaim the joyful news of salvation because non-believers are incompetent and their eyes blinded to God <see Eph.4:18>.
  9. Discharge all the duties of your ministry: “Timothy was so to discharge the duties of his office as to furnish “a fair illustration” of what the ministry could do, and thus to show the wisdom of the Saviour in its institution. This should be the aim of all the ministers of the gospel. Each one should resolve, by the blessing of God, that the ministry, in his hands, shall be allowed, “by a fair trial,” to show to the utmost what it is adapted to do for the welfare of mankind.” (From Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997-2014 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Paul’s reasoning for these instructions is seen in his statement: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” <2 Tim.4:3-4 (NIV)>. It is quite evident in our present-day society the fulfilment of this statement, for increasingly we see this attitude displayed by individuals today. Ungodliness is apparent in the lifestyle of many individuals for they refuse to hear anything relating to the Scriptures; they mock God, the scriptures are misinterpreted and such misinterpretation is used for their pleasure, they refuse to hear or listen to the truth of scripture, to the extent that some have instituted their own churches in opposition to what is taught in the New Testament – their satisfaction is sought in their personal desires, there is no worship of God! This was the attitude of the Israelites during the siege of Jerusalem, when God’s message through Jerimiah was that they should not go to Egypt to escape the Babylonian army; We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! We will certainly do everything we said we would…” <Jer.44:16-17 (NIV)>; they chose to listen to the voice of their associates rather than the word of God. Unfortunately, this is the attitude that confronts every servant of God today!

After Christ’s resurrection and just prior to His ascension, He commissioned His disciples, and all future followers: “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” <Mk.16:15-16 (NIV)>; and this was the message that the disciples preached to all people during the early days of the Church <see Acts 2:22-24. 32; 3:15>; and this message has been preached in Churches down through the centuries to the present day and millions have responded, but unfortunately many more have turned their backs on God’s offer of salvation. As Paul has already warned Timothy (and all Christ’s followers today) that “There will be terrible times in the last days” <2Tim.3:1> when people will oppose and totally reject God, and the evidence of this is seen in governments passing laws to obstruct the preaching of the gospel because individual persons will hear and possibly turn to God. The following is a partial quote from Premier Christian News UK: “However, many …… plans, which could see conversion therapy banned …… Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee’s public petition…. show that many back the idea in order to ensure the safety of …… people……Conversion practices that try to change a person …… are harmful, discriminatory, and have no place in our society.” And such laws will continue to be updated and become more inclusive to the extent that preaching the gospel will become increasingly difficult for God’s servants; but we must be obedient to Christ’s commission. Relative to this, let us understand one important fact of salvation: true repentance in any and all persons will result in a complete change in thought, actions, and life-style, and unless this is evident there has been no repentance. (To read more on Repentance you can follow this link: )

As it has been for many decades, people will refuse to hear God’s message of salvation, and their refusal is not so much of the message that we deliver but a refusal of God Himself since they do not want His influence in their lives. The unfortunate result of their rejection of God will be God’s rejection of them, and although they may presume that they will enter God’s heaven, their end- result will be eternal death and separation from God! If we desire to enter God’s heaven we must enter on His terms! <see Rev.21:8, 27>.