Lord, teach us the value of Christian hospitality.
Read 2 JOHN
1 The elder,
To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:
3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 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.
7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we[a] have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 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. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings.
a 2 John 1:8 Some manuscripts you
New International Version (NIV)
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Lord Jesus, you will come like a thief in the night. Help us to be ready, alert and clothed for your coming.
The substantial letter of 1 John is followed by two much smaller letters, which complete John’s trilogy of epistles. These two are written to individuals and don’t seem intended for wider circulation. 2 John is written “To the lady chosen by God and to her children” (1). While some scholars speculate that this is John’s figurative way of speaking about a local church, most agree that this is an unknown Christian woman in a church in the province of Asia. This is significant, for she is probably a leader holding responsibility within the church – an insight into possible female leadership in the first century.
In John’s day, travelling evangelists and teachers took the gospel from location to location, and it was customary for local believers to provide hospitality during their stay and financial provision for their ongoing journey. John is concerned that the same Gnostic teachers he has denounced in 1 John are also taking advantage of these expectations, so he writes this letter to a local believer and her church to encourage them to exercise discernment in which itinerant teachers they welcome and support. If they aren’t careful, they might inadvertently contribute to the expansion of heresy, sharing in their “wicked work” (11).
Our culture has lost much of the fine art of hospitality. Yet, this is such an effective way to support ongoing ministry and to carry out the work of missions. Hospitality is one of the more common themes in the New Testament. There are many examples of this practice, plus at least four clear exhortations to practice it (Rom 12:13; Heb 13:2; 1 Pet 4:9; 3 John 8). Perhaps God is leading His church to rediscover this important practice today.
How might God be leading you to show hospitality to others? Sometimes sharing our home and possessions is one of the most powerful ways to show Christ’s love to others.
Lord, we are careful to abide in the doctrine of Christ, for we recognize its centrality to all else that we believe and hold dear.