2 John 1-3 / The Elect Lady (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on August 30, 2014


This is the first in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of 2 John. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of August 24, 2014. This message introduces the book of 2 John, and sets the context. Some of the attributes of true Biblical love, as well as the significance of grace, mercy and peace are discussed. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


2Jon 1_1-3


2 John 1-3

The term “elect lady” in 2 John is an interesting term. While on the surface it would appear to address a specific person, when we look at the overall context of the letter, this may not be the case.

The first thing to notice is that there are no proper names. This differs from John’s style in 3 John, where he addresses recipients by name.

Second, he addresses himself as the elder, which would suggest a local congregation, over which John had authority.

Verses 7-11 speak of false teachers entering in. While this could apply to many homes, it would most likely be directed toward a local church assembly.

As John closes the letter, he appears to send a greeting from a sister church.

2 John 1:13

The question remains, why would John address the letter in such a way?

Perhaps John wrote the letter as such to conceal the identity of the church from persecution by public officials.

This way, if the letter fell into the wrong hands, it would simply appear as a personal letter.

In any case, I believe that the context makes it clear that the elect lady is a local church assembly, and her children are the congregation.

John asserts that he loves them in truth. The linking of love and truth is very noteworthy.

Christian love is not mere sentimentalism or humanistic compassion.

Instead, it is motivated by a knowledge of the truth which has been revealed in Christ.

Truth is the basis of love because Christ is the truth, and we can love because He first loved us.

John 14:6

1 John 4:19

John makes it clear that he is not the only one that loves them, but so do all who know the truth (Christ).

John 13:35

It is precisely this truth that the church must be so careful to guard.

This truth, which is the sole basis of our faith, abides in us and will be with us forever.

We have a certain guarantee that Christ abides in us, that guarantee is the Holy Spirit.

1 John 4:13

Furthermore, Jesus prayed that the Holy Spirit would abide with us forever.

John 14:16

Grace comes first, then mercy, then peace.

These three words appear together 4 times, and always in this order.

In passages where just grace and mercy appear together, grace always comes first.

In passages where just grace an peace appear together, grace always comes first.

Grace must come before mercy, because mercy is the result of grace.

An ungracious person will never dole out mercy, and until a person receives mercy, he will never know peace.

As John wishes his readers grace mercy and peace, we must understand that God is gracious.

There are many references to the grace of God in Scripture, and it is the grace of God which brings salvation.

Titus 2:11

Ephesians 2:8

God is merciful, and when asked in faith, mercy is granted.

Luke 6:36

Luke 18:13

God grants peace

Philippians 4:7

You have access to the Father through the Son, and as a result, you’ll know grace, mercy and peace.

Posted in: Sermons