June 27 – Father’s Day 2020 – 3 John

Read 3 John 1:4

I remember the moment like it was yesterday. The evening of September 5th, 2017…the day my son Matthew was born. Labor began super early in the morning so it was a very long day for Kelly and I…mostly Kelly. I remember the emotion of seeing Mattie brought up and the look of pure and unadulterated joy and love that Kelly and I exchanged. I remember the feeling of the tears flowing down my face as a love that I have never experienced before touched my heart for the first time. I remember family and close friends coming in and out of the room all day. There was a time, however, where the dust settled, when the last person left the room. For the first time ever, it was Kelly, Mattie and myself…alone.

I remember holding Mattie in that moment and suddenly becoming overwhelmed with emotion. All of the buildup, the pregnancy, the baby shower, the middle of the night rush to the hospital led up to this very moment. Here was this baby boy that is mine. My son. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the responsibility that was ahead of me.

Do I have what it takes to raise this boy?

Do I have what it takes to be an even better husband to Kelly?

Do I have the strength to power through the many obstacles that would come?

Do I have the patience to carefully craft this boy into the man God created him to be?

Do I have what it takes to be the best example of a godly man to my son?

Through all of that, I wish, ABOVE ALL, that Mattie would walk in the truth of Christ. I wish that Mattie would one day make the best decision of all by surrendering his life to Christ. I imagine the joy that I would experience hearing of that decision!

My question to you, the reader, is this: are you walking in the truth? You may or may not have been shown a good example of this from your father but the question still remains: are you walking in the truth of Christ? Regardless of if you are blessed with marriage, children or not…we are called, as believers, to actively walk in truth…THE TRUTH.

Where are you with this? Are you actively walking with Christ? Are there any adjustments that you need to make? What example are you giving those around you?

Imagine the joy on our Father’s face when He hears that you, His precious child, is walking in the truth!

Jake Lawson

February 15 – Letters of John : 3 John

Read 3 John

As 2 John was about truth, identifying and living by it, 3 John is all about relationships. Throughout the 15 verses that comprise this book, John describes three different relationships and how they can make or break the growth of a local church and someone’s personal faith.

Gaius (v. 1-8)

  • From these verses how would you describe Gaius?
  • Ultimately, what does John say about supporting Gaius?
  • What can you take away from Gaius and apply to your life?

Gaius was described as a servant who impacted others. John uses his words to describe the inner growth that is taking place in Gaius’ life. He has a good reputation among all people and warmly welcomes people in hospitality. Paul spoke very highly of Gaius and encourages people to emulate his life.

Diotrephes (v. 9-11)

  • What are some of the words or phrases that John uses to describe Diotrephes?
  • In what way would a person like this be detrimental to the local church?
  • In what ways are you going to avoid being like Diotrephes?

When you become defensive, you become unusable to God.

Diotrephes had the corner on truth and put out anyone that spoke against him. He didn’t allow anyone to speak into his life and refused to implement any of the things that John, an apostle, had suggested he do. John is so clear as to, in verse 11, call such people evil. People who “know it all” and don’t open themselves up to direction have no place in the local church.

Demetrius (v. 12)

  • What was one thing that was evident from the influence of Demetrius? What’s the key word that points to the range of influence that he had?
  • In what way do you think it is important for a follower of Christ to have good influence in the lives on people?

Before you say to yourself that you don’t have influence, the truth is that everyone does. If you have relationships with people, you have influence. As you think on the influence that you have on people, what kind of image are you portraying to them? Are you influencing them for good? Are you being Jesus to them? Do they see your life and your walk with Christ and want what you have?

August 2: Hospitality

Read 3 John 1-15 

Every time I go to Cambodia and Thailand, I am always floored by the hospitality shown. Our brothers and sisters there go way out of their way to accommodate us including preparing feasts for a few of us that could fill a dozen people!

As stated yesterday, preachers, ministers and missionaries traveled from church to church teaching. It was very common for members of the receiving church to extend hospitality to these teachers by housing and feeding them. In 2 John, there was an issue with people housing heretical false teachers. In this letter, John addresses abstaining from showing hospitality to God’s true workers.

The problem was with the church’s leader. Diotrephes apparently had a pride issue. John said that he “likes to put himself first.” He even denied the authority of the apostles and those who would come to teach them doctrine. In his arrogance, Diotrephes not only refused to show hospitality to these brothers, but he threw anyone who helped them out of the church!

Gaius, a man John could trust, was faithful and walked with the truth. John wanted to encourage him to keep on showing hospitality despite persecution from Diotrephes. Showing hospitality, like all good works, demonstrates his faith and allows him to be called a “fellow worker in the truth.”

By supporting the missionaries with food and lodging, Gaius was a participant in the mission of God.  All Christians must be participants in the mission of God.  We are all called to make disciples whether in another nation, another state, in your town or in your house. Whether you pray for missionaries, finance missionaries or house missionaries, you must be a participant in God’s kingdom cause because He loved us first! John Piper puts it bluntly, “Go, Send or Disobey.”

Hospitality can be a forgotten value in our Christian life even though it is all over the Old and New Testaments. In Leviticus, God commands, “A foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” Hospitality in Greek literally means “love of strangers.” [1] New Testament authors implore Christians to show “love for strangers” (Look at Romans 12:13, 1 Timothy 5:10, Hebrews 13:2,  and 1 Peter 4:9).

How are you investing in God’s kingdom cause? How are you partnering with God in His redemptive plan to save the world?

Nathan Harley

 

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible

May 23: Self-centered or Accepting?

Read 3 John 1-15

John’s third letter is not one in which I have spent much time.  It is very likely that the epistle is also less familiar to you as well.  Personalities like Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius just don’t bring with them memorable stories the way that Gideon, Daniel, and David do.  Nevertheless, these few lines provide us with insight into their lives and a great contrast of their tendencies.

The contrast of Gaius and Diotrephes is especially eye-opening!  Gaius, on the one hand, had walked in the truth that at that point in time was likely conveyed both in written form as documents that circulated among believer and as an oral body of truth.  He was a man given to hospitality, apparently extending care even to believing brothers he did not know.   Gaius was also one who understood and participated in the mission of God.  At least some who had benefited from his hospitality had been itinerant missionaries who had “gone out for the sake of the name” (v. 7).  And John seems to both applaud and challenge Gaius for the support he had/would offer to them.

And then there was Diotrephes.  He was self-centered.  He would not welcome the apostle John and others associated with him.  In fact, he even spread gossip about them.  But that attitude reached beyond John.  He was an isolationist who would not allow outsiders in.  Diotrephes had little room for the truth of God and the fellowship of His people in his life.

Although there are many differences between these two men, perhaps we could boil the contrast down to a single word: “acceptance.”  Gaius was willing and able to accept and bless other valued members of the body of Christ.  Diotrephes, in his pride, was unwilling and unable to recognize, welcome, and minister to others.

This same attitude of acceptance is critical for all followers of Christ.  It is essential for church life and for family relationships.  If you allow pride to slip in, the negative impact of a “Diotrephes outcome” can be felt.  If you find yourself always excluding others, that might be a tendency in you.

Instead, be a welcoming, accepting Gaius.

sbk