Let the old people act their age for we need them!

I have had a 40 day break and now pick up John’s second letter.

In his first letter, John is combatting those who have left the Church but have stayed in connection with the people and there is still the danger of their influence upon the members. It seems here in the second letter time has gone by and these deceivers are very much in the world, they have truly left. Any Pastor knows how difficult it is when people leave the church acrimoniously. It isn’t easy with the many connections that have been built up that their complaint doesn’t carry on even though they are not physically there in the church. We are going to see John become very strong in his instructions to the church on what to do. (Remember John’s complaint is about holding on to the orthodox teaching that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the great commands of God to love Him and to love one another). But this is less a theological document as the first letter is and actually more a personal letter as we see in the opening. John is the elder, the ones receiving the letter are the lady chosen and her children and he is sending grace, mercy and peace.

“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— because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: 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 John v 1-3)

John loves the church this is clear, the title ‘lady and to her children’ is perhaps unusual for us but seen as to the bride of Christ we then understand. The children are perhaps the smaller house churches scattered throughout the region. These members of the churches are people of the truth. That truth is Jesus Christ (“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. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son” 1 John 2:21-22) and the Spirit of truth (“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17). He passionately longs for them to remain in the truth. In fact if they do then grace, mercy and peace are guaranteed.

What stirs my heart though this morning is how he introduces himself, the ‘elder’. We haven’t seen this before. Whilst we might think of this as some title of office in one of the churches of Paul, or perhaps simply a title of respect, it is definitely used to describe an elderly man, which is of course fitting John’s descript as he writes. This old man we know was there from the beginning to witness Jesus Christ.

The Church needs the elderly to rise to call God’s people back to the truth. I think of a 92 year old lady I spoke to recently who faithfully attends the prayer meeting and calls on God for revival again! Also of a lady yesterday who was the generation who outgrew one building and took faith steps to move into a bigger property. She is now still part of the church which is at the point of doing the same thing again. She said to me, “What God did before He will do again!”

If you an ‘elder’ today especially if that means you are spiritually too then please do act your age and call upon the Church to remain in the truth and to do so in love.

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