Sunday, 28 June 2020
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 2 John -10
John now refers to those who do “not abide in the doctrine of Christ” (verse 1:9). That is referring to those “who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (verse 1:7). John says that such “is a deceiver and an antichrist” (verse 1:7). Understanding this context, John now says – clearly and unambiguously – a command, “If anyone comes to you.” The words are in the indicative mood, not the subjunctive. It is not a possibility, but an assurance. In essence, “These people are out there, and you can expect them to come to you.”
He then explains who he is referring to by saying, “and does not bring this doctrine.” It is the doctrine he has referred to, meaning that of Christ being God incarnate. If someone comes who does not bring this doctrine, John warns them by saying, “do not receive him into your house.”
The context has to be maintained. John is not telling his reader to not provide human assistance to someone who is, for example, injured. It would be contrary to proper morality to not receive in a person who desperately needed it. The key to understanding his words is “this doctrine.” The person is not coming to the door selling vacuums. He is not coming to the door with a gunshot wound. And, he is not coming to the door to tell you your house is on fire and you need to get out. The person has come with the purpose of conveying heretical doctrine. Once this is understood, “do not receive him into your house.”
But John goes even further, saying, “nor greet him.” The Greek reads, chairein autō mē legete – “rejoice him not tell,” or more understandably, “Do not tell him, ‘Rejoice!’” The word “rejoice” was the customary way of formally greeting someone, just as “shalom” is to a Hebrew audience. Today, we might say, “Blessings to you,” or something like that.
Again, the context needs to be remembered. If you are on the street and you pass a person, it is only natural to tell that person, “Good day to you!” We don’t first stop each person and say, “Do you hold to the doctrine of Christ?” Rather, we treat people with common courtesy. But, if you see the Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on doors, knowing this is what they are doing, and knowing that they are presenting heretical doctrine, we are directed to not greet them at all.
Likewise, if they, or the Mormons, or any other cult that denies the fundamental truth that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, when we know that is what they have come to convey when they knock on the door, we are not to allow them in, and when we tell them to buzz off, we are not to extend them the courtesy of a formal goodbye, such as, “Be blessed as you head out.” John will explain why he has so ordered this in the coming verse.
Life application: Verses 4-6 spoke of love in the Christian context, not an “all-inclusive must love unconditionally despite bad doctrine” type of love. From verses 7-9, John spoke of deceivers who have neither the Father nor the Son.
He is giving a progression of thought, leading directly to the main impetus for writing the letter in the first place – careful attention to not accepting or even condoning heresy.
Because these people are deceivers, they will come with a friendly guise and speak as if they are competent and correct on matters of faith. Such is how the devil swayed Adam and Eve, and such is how he attempted to sway Jesus. The defining line is Jesus. Therefore, one must be aware of who Jesus is and which “Jesus” is being presented.
Some of the most flagrant cases of false doctrine that you can expect at your door in the modern world are the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They bring a false Jesus. Such as these are not to be given common Christian hospitality. This may seem hard to reconcile with other New Testament teachings, but it’s really not.
Jesus said, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44). We cannot demonstrate love to our enemies if we condone the very teaching in their lives that condemns them to hell. By greeting them and receiving them, we are implicitly acknowledging that what they are teaching is valid when it clearly isn’t. So, instead of demonstrating love by greeting them, we are actually demonstrating a lack of it.
To love them is to reject them from fellowship and to pray for them. Don’t be misled by anyone who says it is ok to condone heresy. Instead, ignore them as well. Be strong in your faith and be firm in your convictions. Souls are in the balance and you bear responsibility.
Lord, even in our small circle of acquaintances – family, co-workers, and so on – we know that there are those who hold to heretical teachings. Help us to be proper examples of how to demonstrate firmness by rejecting their lies. May our firm examples of holding fast to what is sound lead them to repentance and salvation. Amen.