Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012 … For the Love of Christ!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 361

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd John, Chapter 1 To study this letter, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 3rd John, Chapter 1 To study this letter go to this link

Highlight Passages: 2nd John, Chapter 1: 6 : [NLT] … {2nd John was a letter written late in his life to an unknown “lady,” which may have been a person or code for a church, with “her children” referring to the body of Christ. Parsons Commentary writes: “The apostle John had seen Truth and Love firsthand—he had been with Jesus. So affected was this disciple that all of his writings, from the Gospel to the book of Revelation, are filled with this theme: Truth and love are vital to the Christian and are inseparable in the Christian life. Second John, his brief letter to a dear friend, is no different. John says to live in the truth and obey God (1:4), watch out for deceivers (1:7), and love God and each other (1:6).” } … As we read 2nd John, can we imagine that the Apostle is writing the letter to you, me, or our church? And are we living in the truth and love personified by Christ? …  
6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. 7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world. They do not believe that Jesus Christ came to earth in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Watch out, so that you do not lose the prize for which we have been working so hard. Be diligent so that you will receive your full reward.  

Highlight Passages: 3rd John, Chapter 1: : [NLT] … {3rd John was also a letter written to another friend, this one named (Gaius), who was commended by John for the way he treated fellow Christians. Parsons Commentary writes: “For Gaius, hospitality was a habit, and his reputation for friendship and generosity, especially to traveling teachers and missionaries (1:5), had spread. To affirm and thank Gaius for his Christian life–style, and to encourage him in his faith, John wrote this personal note.” … Once again, ... if you or I were a close friend of John living in about 90AD, would he have written such a letter to us.}  
5 Dear friend, you are doing a good work for God when you take care of the traveling teachers who are passing through, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church here of your friendship and your loving deeds. You do well to send them on their way in a manner that pleases God. 

Reference Passage: John 13: 33-34 : [NLT] … {John’s Gospel was written about 4-5 year before the two letters above; but the message on love was eternally to reflect Christ, who was the personification of truth/love, in Christians. Here John reflects and remembers the love command of Christ just before He went to the cross.} … Jesus said, …  
34 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” 

My Journal for Today: I know my blog title today sounds, when read aloud, almost profane; but it reflects these two little letters, which are reflecting some bigtime truths. They were written to Christians from the Apostle John later in his life to encourage any Christians in and around Ephesus in Christian living and to help them be vigilant of false teachers or teachings. When I read these letters, I ask myself … if John were around today, would he have considered writing such things to me? And I think, in general, I would answer “YES” to that question.

I’m not bragging here. I’m only reflecting on the reality that – even today … more that 2000 years after these letters were written – I share John’s hyper-vigilant attitude and stance against false teachings, which are still so very prevalent and leading many misguided and lost souls into hell. But I don’t know whether I could live up to the affirmation offered by John to his friend Gaius. Since I became a Christian almost 30 years ago, I’m certainly much more driven to love others, especially other Christians, in the encouragement of our Lord, Jesus, in John 13: 34-35, quoted above as a reference passage. However, not having the Spirit-empowered gift of hospitality, as I believe Gaius had, I still could using some maturing in helping our reaching out to others in Christ’s Name.

But most certainly the truths espoused in these two short letters should be internalized and pursued by all Christians in this world today just as much as John was trying to exhort Christians to live like Christ in truth and love during the times of Nero. But the question still resounds for all us – as Christians – can we live as Christ commanded; … can we love as Christ commanded?!!

My Prayer for Today Lord, I do so desire to live as the Apostle wrote in these letters. Help me to live and love in You … and for You. … Amen

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