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Session 2

Choose wisely where your influence goes

Read: 2 John 1:6-11

Welcoming friends and family into your home is one of the greatest joys in life. Whether it’s overflowing bowls of delicious food or a simple cup of hot coffee, practicing hospitality is one of the greatest ways to show love.

During the time 2 John was written, it was common to welcome traveling teachers or missionaries into the home and extend love to these visitors during their stay.

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love (2 John 1:6)

While John commends those who show hospitality, he also extends a serious warning: Don't give a platform to false teachers. Because what we might see as being kind is actually harming the people we care about. When we give our influence to someone who doesn't share the truth about Jesus, we are making it easier for them and others to wander from the truth. 

We don't have to be rude, but Paul says we should be careful. For example, we get to choose what we like on social media and when we invite people into our homes. We can welcome our New Age uncle to Thanksgiving dinner without inviting him to pray over the meal or speak at our Bible study. We can spend time with atheist friends without putting them in a position to share their worldview with our kids.   

False teachers don’t know Jesus — even though they may claim to — and John warns us about people who don’t teach the truth: “Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their wicked work” (2 John 1:11, NLT).

We all have a responsibility to protect those we have influence with — family, small groups, friends — from false teachers. John encourages us to form a tight bond with each other and hold each other to the truth, so we are not easily deceived. Then we can show hospitality and share Jesus with non-believers without giving them a platform to speak into our lives.

Reflect:

  • Why is it important to be thoughtful about the teachings we listen to and share with family and friends?
  • What is one way to know the difference between good teaching and false teaching?
  • Who is one person you have spiritual influence with? What is one way you can practice hospitality while protecting yourself, and them, from false teaching?

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