When not to put out a welcome sign
John tells his readers to be on the guard, to “watch” (verse 8) against that which undermines the community of faith. A life of love does not mean living without discernment. John clearly tells believers that if someone “doesn’t bring this teaching, don’t receive him into your house, and don’t welcome him” (verse 10).
Read this letter as if you received it from a beloved, retired pastor whom you greatly respect. In it he is telling you how to respond to those whose words and deeds contradict the Word of God—though they present themselves as his messengers. Look for the encouragement to know God’s truth and to walk in this truth without faltering. Be confident that genuine love stands for the truth and does not facilitate the spread of falsehood.
The apostle John, who also wrote 1 John and the gospel that bears his name, wrote it at roughly the same time as 1 John in the late AD 80s.
John wrote this personal note to Christians who may have felt manipulated by false teachers. Now as an old man, he writes to try to protect his beloved children in the faith from being deceived away from the truth of the gospel.
John’s letter to protect believers from false teachers is only one side of a two-way dialogue; thus all SourceView text is black. The letter is displayed with a cursive script to give it a handwritten feel and allow us to relive the experience of reading this divinely inspired letter.