2 John 1–3 (ESV)
1 The elder to the elect lady and
her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:
3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from
God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
The word “elder” means priest or pastor. In the Lutheran Church, we use the term elder to be more like a
deacon, a support staff or helper of the priest/pastor. The “elect lady and her children” is the Church and all the believers. The church has always been referred to as feminine and it is the Bride of Christ. The children are
the believers who know the truth. This letter is written to the believers.
I pray: O Lord, I am a believer, and I belong to the Church, the elect lady. You have called me and chosen me to
be a child of God. Help me to walk according to your ways and help me to not resist the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. Amen.
1 John 5:13–21 (ESV)
That You May Know
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he
hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to
those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies
in the power of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is
the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
The closing of 1 John is framed by the first and last verses in today’s reading. The first verse states the purpose
of 1 John “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. The closing verse gives warning that can take away the first verse. The last verse states “Little children,
keep yourselves from idols.”
Verse 2 offers some great insight on how God answers prayers. The Christian community is being misled by many pastors who are preaching health, wealth, and prosperity or teaching
name it and claim it. This is NOT scriptural! It is true that there are many areas in the Bible that say if you ask for anything in my name, I will grant it. But let’s be real, when interpreting the Bible, we must take in consideration
all scriptures and not an isolated verse. If I pray for $10,000,000, then is God going to grant it? Probably not... but he could! When I pray for $10,000,000, is that my will or God’s will? In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray
“Thy will be done”, not “My will be done”. If I am the one asking or dare I say demanding... I am imposing my will on God and I am actually playing God by thinking I know what is best for me. Verse 2 brings the right and
scriptural context to “asking God”. “14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have
the requests that we have asked of him.” Notice the inclusion of “according to his will”. It’s not about what I want, or what I “claim”, but it is what He wants and the Lord’s Prayer “Thy will be
done.” Many pastors are misleading their people by keeping the “according to his will” out of prayer requests.
There is much more to say, but I will save this for another day.
I pray: O Lord, I know that you came to fulfill your plan of salvation for me, to bring me forgiveness and eternal life. I pray to lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil... and especially idol
worship. Protect me and guide me to your Kingdom. Amen.
1 John 5:6–12 (ESV)
Testimony Concerning the Son of God
is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood;
and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe
God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the
Son of God does not have life.
I remember one of my professors stating that wherever you have Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit. You cannot separate the two. Jesus came by water (Baptism) and
blood (Crucifixion). We also hear John state in his Gospel that Jesus is the Truth, and in today’s reading... the Spirit is Truth. This one paragraph points back to what my professor was stating... that is, wherever you see Jesus, there too
is the Holy Spirit. You cannot separate the two. The Lutheran Study Bible states: “The testimony of the apostles, the life of Jesus, and the work of the Spirit testify that God has given us life in His Son. This testimony is in stark contradiction
to all who teach that God’s Son did not suffer in the flesh or that He comes to us apart from the flesh of His humanity.”
I pray: O Heavenly Father, you are the giver of eternal life.
I believe and confess my faith in your Son, for your Son has life. You promise eternal life to those who believe in your Son. I give thanks and praise for your gift of eternal life. I know what I deserve, but you have given me far more that
I deserve. Thank you! Amen.
1 John 5:1–5 (ESV)
Overcoming the World
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love
of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the
one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
John has been weaving a tapestry of love and endurance. It has been two themes twisted together into one thread. John continues both today, knowing
that the world is trying to impact us, but it is not a struggle at all. We endure by overcoming the world. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
The power to overcome the world is a gift from God. It is God who gives us our faith. The Scriptures state in Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV): “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of
God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Scripture also states in Romans 10:17 “17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. The power to overcome and to live the commandments comes from God
in the form of a gift, it is called “faith”.
I pray: O Lord, help me to endure unto the end, to live your commandments, to love, and not be led astray by Satan. The ways of the world
are enticing, but your Kingdom is far more glorious, because sin does not dwell there. Help me to keep my priorities in line. Amen.
1 John 4:13–21 (ESV)
God is Love
this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and
he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because
as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love
God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
As Christians, we stand for love, not anger or hatred. This should not be found in us. We are defined by love. “If anyone say, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not
love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” In our liturgy during worship is the sharing of the peace. This is a time when we are about to go to the Lord’s table to receive communion, that is... the body
and blood of Christ. How can we go to the table with hatred. How can we expect to receive forgiveness when we are not willing to forgive? This is a time where we are to come together in love, to share in communion. If you harbor a grudge
or hatred towards a brother, this is the time to go and settle before communion. To shake hands and share the peace, before you go to communion. John writes “15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in
God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
We pray: O Lord, your love for me is
overwhelming. My love for you comes from the love you have for me. Help me to grow in my love for you and to always confess that you are the Son of God. Thank you for your love. Amen.