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Sep 19, 2021

3 John

3 John

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Little Letters, Big Truths

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: church, faith, jesus, sermon, bible, christian living, christianity, bible study, how to love, 3 john, christianity 101, biblical truth, what would jesus do, truth in the bible, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, how to live like a christian, little letters big truths, strong in spirit, truthful life, what to believe, is truth real, words and deeds, how is christianity different

Even though 3 John is a very small book of the bible, we can extract some applicable truth on how we should live. We see a tale of two men’s hearts, and it gives us a chance to ponder on how we affect those around us. We are to be gracious, strong in spirit and show the truth through our life just like Gaius. We are to refuse to be like Diotrephes and be unhospitable and unwelcoming. As a believer, Christianity shouldn’t just be a label, it changes who we are and how we live. As Spurgeon wrote – “The goal of any believer’s life is for there to be an exact correspondence between his creed and his conduct.” In other words, our life should match our faith, the love that Jesus has shown us should be the love we show to others. What things in your life don’t match up with your beliefs? Is there a something that you need to ask God to help you with so that your actions can match what you believe? Take some time and examine your life and pray over these areas. God grants wisdom as we seek Him, so spend time seeking His will for your life and He will empower you to live exactly what you believe. If you need help with prayer or want to take the next step in your faith journey, then reach out, we’d love to pray with you or answer any questions – burnthickory.com/next

Well, good morning church, it has been an incredible day in the Lord Hallelujah, we're inside and not outside because it is monsoon coming. You know, as I walk the halls today, there has just been one thing on my mind, from services to halls, and all of that. And that has just been how good has God been good to us. I mean, he really has, if you look, I mean, just even if you turn on the news, I mean, for like, 45 seconds, you just get a perspective that the world is falling. Everything is dying, everybody hates each other. But yeah, we come into God's house. And there is a unity, there is a presence of the Lord, there's a peace, there's a grace, there's a fellowship. And there's a reason for that. And that's that nothing out there can offer us what happens in here. Nothing can offer that and praise God for that. Praise Jesus for that praise you guys for being a part of this place and being faithful in that. And look, I'm no prophet by any means. But pray, because I think God is going to do something really big in this place. And can you just pray towards that and pray towards the spirit being thick amongst us.

Well look, if you got a copy of Scripture today, I hope you do, I want you to turn with me to the book of third John, today, we're in this little series that we're calling Little Letters with Big Truths. And we're looking through some of that one pager, right? Some of those that if you've got a new Bible, you may search and search and search and never find it because when those pages stick together, you can never find second and third John or one of these little books, we're walking through some of them that really they don't get the love that some of the other fan favorites get that we automatically go to, we all love the Psalms we all love, James, we all love the Gospels. But when was the last time you loved up on third John? That's what we're doing. We're looking at some of these letters that they just have some truths in them that God wants us to have. God's obviously given them to us. But yet, we miss them sometimes because we skip over them. The first week in the series, we looked at the book of Philemon. And throughout that whole book, we boiled it down to this idea that God wants all of us involved with His mission, not our mission. It is His mission. And He wants us to be incredibly outward looking and generous in His mission on one end, but He also wants to set us free from the sin that so easily entangles us so that we can be involved with His mission, we can ball that whole book and into that thought. Last week, we went over to the book of second John, if you've noticed, we skipped first John, there's too many chapters in that one. It gets some love every now and then. We looked in second John last week that was written to this mysterious lady that John spoke to her and gave her this truth of that we are to walk in the truth, we are to obey out of love. And as a result of really walking and knowing the truth and obeying out of love, then we're able to identify the false influences in our lives. And I'm not going to lie, my prayer for those of you that were here last week was Lord will you show us quickly. Show me quickly when those false things begin to plant in my spirit. Begin to show in my life before they take root God, let me kick them out of the house. Let me kick them out. Let me get them out of the house of who I am. Well, that's where we've been the last two weeks and I love those two messages because they were really kind of warnings to us.

They were a little bit on the edgy and negative side. But it gave us this idea of moving in the direction of the mission of God. Well, this morning, as we move into third John, if we had to come up with, I guess you could call it maybe a pithy topic or a title for today, it would just kind of be the title, A Tale of Two Men's Hearts. That's all we're going to look at this morning because as I thought through this passage this week and studied it as well as just to be real with you the letters of first and second John, when you put all of those letters together, I couldn't help but to think of who it was that wrote them and the significance of who he was, as well as that these three letters are three of the most personal written letters in the New Testament. And, actually in the Bible as a whole. And I know we said some of this last week, but the Apostle John is the writer of third John. He's the guy that penned this letter. And I want to remind you a couple of things about the Apostle John. The Apostle John was one of the 12 original disciples. He was one that walked with Jesus and spent time with Jesus and Jesus discipled him personally. And when we're checking into John's life, now we're looking at him in the context of yes, he is a disciple, but also when Jesus left this earth, He gave those 12 an authority. He gave them a purpose, He sent them on a reason and that was to start the church, that was to begin what the church was going to look like. So, in other words, they were the overseers, they were the elders, they were those that gave guidance, gave directions and I guess you could also say that they were the pastors to the pastors. So, what it looked like in this time was there was a lot of these little bitty churches popping up. They weren't like this church, they were in homes, they would have been hiding a little bit in secrecy, trying to run away from the Roman persecution. They would have been meeting in homes and people like John being the elder would have been kind of the spokesperson into the leaders of these churches. Now remember, where we're going to pick up this book today, it's about 90 AD. At this point, all of the disciples have died, except for John. And catch this, to make that even more real, it's been 30 years since the Apostle Peter died. That's the one that Jesus said he was going to build this church, build the truths of His church on.

It's been 30 years, 31, 30, we can argue that over lunch since the Apostle Paul died, right? It's been about 31 years since the Apostle Paul, the guy that wrote a large portion of the New Testament. So, by this time, 30 years has passed since those two and a lot of these other disciples, they all have passed away. And now, John is carrying kind of the weight, especially in the region of Asia, of what it looks like to be the elder of the church. Now the church is growing. The church is growing despite persecution, despite what's happening on the Roman Empire, the church is growing in this time. And we all know with growth comes growth pains, right? With growth comes to squabbling, with growth comes people rising into power that may be godly on Monday, but they're not on Tuesday, with growth comes people who want authority. And John is left now speaking into the global church and trying his best to show what it looks like to live the godly life. That's what first, second and third, John is, in fact, these three books give us one of the clearest pictures of the Christian character than any other book in the Bible. In fact, they give us this model, Christian character of what it looks like when someone gives their life to Jesus, what it looks like when someone submits their heart to the Lord, when someone knows that Christ is king. And when someone has received the grace of God in their life, these three books, man, I'm just going to encourage you this week. I say this a lot of weeks. read those books. Read first John, second John, third John. You say, Matt, that's a lot. It's about 14 minutes all in at that point. Read all of those letters and just see what God does in these letters. It's incredible the system that happens in these letters. First, John is written to all of the churches. John writes it as this pastoral letter to be passed from church to church to church. Remember, they didn't carry their Bible in the church in these days, right? I mean, it wasn't put all together yet. It wasn't bound by Holman really nicely or Lifeway or whoever yours is made by. He didn't have the Bible app. They couldn't pull it up. John was writing this letter of first John to tell them about the truth. To tell him to run from false teachers. Second John was written to this mysterious lady we looked at last week, got a little more personal. And then third John, catch this. It's the most personal letter in the whole Bible. It's the most personal, and I love third John, because John speaks with this fatherly wisdom, with his almost grandfather, right? Like, hey, let me just tell you, where you need to go, how you need to live. And so, when you're looking at this letter, man, I just want you to feel the weight. Feel the weight of this letter, but let me say this before we move on, I think it's important. This is not in your notes. So, type Aer's, just chill for a minute. When you're reading the Bible, there's a couple important things to remember. The first thing is, you've got to remember that every single word in this book is inspired by God. You got to remember that. You've got to remember that every single word matter, every single emotion matter, all of it matters. And it's useful.

So, when you read these letters, you've got to read them in the context of the harmony of the book, of the harmony of the whole New Testament, and the harmony of the whole Bible. In other words, you cannot pick and choose five-line verses here and there, here and there and squeeze them into your theology. That's what that means. You can't take a text out of context, tattoo it on yourself, and look at it as a live verse. That's what that really means. Now, if it's in context, then you be you. But that's not what I'm talking about. Okay? I'm saying that this is God's word. So, we're to treat it as the whole Council of God's word, as you read it. That's number one. Number two, I want you to know, it cannot mean to us what it did not mean to them. Now, let me flesh that out for a minute, because this is going to really help you as you read the Bible. Here's what that means. You cannot make the Bible read for your life; in a way it was not presented for their life. Let me say it in another way, because it's really important. The Bible cannot mean now what it did not mean then. You say Matt, why is that such a bad deal? Why are you spending time looking at that? Here's why. The first question you need to ask when you're reading the Bible is not how do I look at this? What did God say to me in this? Now, that's a good question. But it's not the best question. The best question number one is, what is God saying to them? And then in light of that, what is he saying to me? Does that make sense? Because here's the trap in that, when you read the Bible, only through the context of you, it is very easy to look at culture and make the Bible fit culture. It's very easy to look at the sticky situations, the trendy situations, some of those that we see a whole lot of whether it be sexuality, whether it be divorces, whether it be lying, whether it be whatever and make the Bible fit, where we think the Bible should be. But when you read the Bible from the original context and bring it into our context, you get the meaning of what God is saying. Number three, I'd say this; God's preserved this book for a reason. He has, he's given to us for a reason. Do you know that these letters, these books that we're reading are not the only letters that these disciples wrote, there are other things out there? I know it's a game changer for you, it's a spoiler alert, the church fathers wrote a lot of stuff. There are other things out there that is written, but God did not choose to inspire them as Scripture. So, what you're reading is what God wants you to have and the message He wants you to have.

There's a specific reason, even for these little bitty letters. So, with that being said, third John, is a tiny little book. It's 14 verses actually. And here's a little trivial pursuit thing that can get your family really arguing for you competitive people. It is the smallest book, but it's not the smallest book. All right and let me tell you how that works. It is the smallest book by word count about 219 in the Greek, but it is not the smallest book by verse count. Alright, so it all matters how you're speaking into that truth. But don't let that fool you. Because there's a whole lot here. All right, there's a whole lot here. And here's what we're going to do today. I'm going to read the whole book over us really fast. It's going to be the first book you've ever read and completed for some of you, right? I'm going to read the whole book over us. Alright? All 14 verses two and a half minutes. I timed it. I'm going to read it over us. We're going to look at two character sketches this morning. We're going to look at one character sketch that God is calling you to emulate, and one that He is calling you to run from. Alright, that's where we're going. 3 John 1, check it out. It says this, "The elder, to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in truth. Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. For it was for the sake of the Name." You'll notice that name is capitalized talking about Jesus, "that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought to therefore show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth. I wrote to the church, but the Diotrephes, who loves to be first will not welcome us. So, when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone, and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true." Now pause right there for a minute because we're not going to give Demetrius a lot of love today. All right? I just want to let you know this is not that we don't like him, he is a traveling evangelist. He is the reason this has been written. He has not been welcomed into the church. He is faithful, he is godly. Everybody loves him, except for one guy. Got it? That's all we need to know about him. Verse 13. "I have much to write you. But I did not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name." Look at that, somebody just read their first book. Let me pray. Lord, bless this time, show us Jesus what it is today that we need to know to walk faithfully with you. It's in your name we pray. Amen.

So, over these last couple of weeks, we're looking at these personal letters. And we're pulling a kind of common model out where we look at the people in the text, we see what it is that either John or Paul is speaking of and then we boil out what is the lasting principles that are seen in the text for us, the timeless principles where God shows us how we need to live. Same thing we're going to do this morning, like I've already said, we're going to pull the two characters, we're going to look at what God does in them. We're going to look at the ones to emulate, look at the ones to run from and then we're going to set our lives and I guarantee you in one of these two directions this morning. So, the message Tale of Two Hearts. Here's the first guy we're going to talk about this morning. Number one, I want you to write this guy's name. I'm calling him, Genuine Gaius, we read them in the text. Now, Gaius is the original intended audience. It's kind of like your grandma in the 80's going to Niagara Falls, writing you the letter. He is the original person that John is writing this letter to, in fact, look in verse 1. Watch what it says, "The elder," which I love the fact that John has reached the status in his life where he doesn't even have to say his name anymore. He's just like, hey, the elder is speaking. I love that. "The elder, to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth." Now for those students that were at fall retreat, this is the word of God. It is the most extreme love, amen. Remember, we talked a lot about that? But who is Gaius? That's the question that we got to answer here. To which I just have to be really honest with you and say, he's Gaius. That's all we really know about Gaius, his name is Gaius, why is that such a big deal? Well, Gaius is the number one name for this time period in the Roman Empire. That means that almost everybody was named Gaius. It's kind of like being main Matt in the late 70's. Everybody was named Matt in the late 70's. It's kind of like being named Smith in this church. There's a whole bunch of Smith's, all right, we love them all, but there's just a bunch of Smith's. The Bible mentions at least three Gaiuses. The first one Paul mentions really early in Acts 19.

It was a traveling companion of Paul's. He was from Derby or Turkey. It's the modern-day Turkey. And this was one of the guys that just traveled with Paul in Acts 19. The second Gaius, we see from Romans 16 in 1 Corinthians 1. A lot of people believe that Gaius was the host of the Corinthian church, one of the leaders of the Corinthian church. Paul says that he was incredibly hospitable, little known fact that Gaius of 1 Corinthians is one of the about seven people that Paul actually baptizes. Paul wasn't a baptizer. But there's this one verse that Paul babbles for a minute. It's almost like he's talking to the guy that's actually writing the letter. And the guy just keeps writing. He's like, I didn't baptize anybody, but oh yeah, there was this one family and Gaius, that's really what it says in there. Those are not the two Gaiuses we're talking about. The third Gaius is the one that we're looking at right here in third John. We don't know a whole lot about Gaius, other than the fact that John loved him that he was dear to John. He seemed to really have a strong agape love. That's the word he uses. And he was probably an early convert in John's ministry career, and he had been inside of this church for a long time. And it wasn't like him, and John were on a first date. When you read the rest of this letter, they're like best of friends at Martin's. They've been together for a long time. They've been doing this Tuesday morning meeting for a long time. That's what you're about to see in this. In fact, you'll see in verse one that John refers to him as his friend. If you read that in the NAS or New American Standard, he refers to him as his beloved, as his beloved. Does that not remind your Pastor Mike, just for a minute, right there? He says, Dear beloved. Do you know our Pastor Mike called everybody beloved? Let me just say this, number one, because he really does love people. I mean, he really, really loved people. But number two, he just didn't remember your name. That's just what it was right there. Alright?

What did he say? He said, beloved, right? Beloved, look at verse 2, he said it again. "Dear friend," or dear beloved, listen to what he says the Gaius is right here. "I pray that you may enjoy good health, and then all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." Now, this seems a little bit confusing right here in verse 2, I'm not going to lie. Let me explain it like this. Have you ever had that friend that English was not their first language? And you always knew what they were saying, but you always kind of had this feeling of man, you could say that a whole lot better. Right? You know what I'm talking about when I say that? Like, they will get their words, all the right words are there, but it might not be in the order that you, being a colloquial English person here would say it. That's what we're seeing here. That seems a little bit clunky. In the NIV, in the NAS, it seems a little bit clunky in the English language. So let me help you kind of see what John's doing here. By the text, it seems that John is writing this letter to Gaius that is dealing with some sort of physical ailment. He's got something physically going wrong with him. We don't know if it's long term or short term. We don't know if it's like a big deal or a little deal. But there's some kind of feebleness that's happening in his life. But John is not giving up on his health. He's not saying Oh, you're a goner. John is pointing out this for a reason. And I love the reason. In fact, let me just read that verse out of the New Living Translation, so that you can kind of get a little better idea of what it says, "Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you, and that your body is as healthy as I know that your soul is." Now that's good. In fact, let me tell you how the Amplified Bible explains this. Now, notice I said explains this. It is not a translation. So don't send me an email. Let me tell you how the Amplified Bible commentates on this. I'll make it clear twice, just so I don't have to do it. Alright, listen to this. "Beloved, I pray in every word, you may succeed and prosper and be in good health physically," catch this, "just as I know that your soul prospers, spiritually." Now write this down. John says number one, that Gaius is this; he is strong in his soul, and his spirit.

He's strong in his soul, and spirit. Now, I want you to notice the contrast here. The contrast is important, because what he's doing gives us such an incredible example to follow. John looks at Gaius, and he says, Listen, I wish you could be as strong in your body as you are in your spirit, or in your spiritual life. Now that cuts a little deep, doesn't it? And here's why. Because I would dare say the culture in which we live in gives two to five times more credence to our physical bodies than our spiritual bodies. Let me ask you this. Could John say that about you? Could he look at you and go man, I really, really, really hope that your physical body catches up with your spiritual body to someone you're like, Yeah, man, it was all I could do to get in here today. Alright, this is not for you. But for the rest of us, right? For the rest of us. Let me just ask it like this. Do you spend as much time and resources strengthening your soul as you do strengthen your outside body? See, that's the contrast. Don't miss the strength. If the strength of our soul is so much more important to God than what we look like, what we smell like how tan we are, what our hair looks like, what clothes we wear, what group we run with. That's what he's saying here. He says, Man, I'm so impressed with where you are spiritually. Gaius, man if your physical body could just catch up with that, but have we flipped that script in America? Have we flipped it? I think we have. And it's a shame. Gaius may have been struggling physically, but he was such an example spiritually. Look at what John says about Gaius. Number two, he shows the truth by his life. He shows the truth by his life. I love this, because I want you to pay attention to all these words. That Gaius doesn't just talk about the truth. He doesn't just chastise people. He doesn't just get down on people. He shows it by how he lives. Look at the text. Ask yourself this question. Could John say this about me? Look at verse 3, "It gave me great joy when some of the believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it." Now watch the encouragement. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." To which every single true Christian mother and father in this room said, Amen. Amen.

Does me no greater joy than to know that my kids love and are walking with Jesus. I love this text. In fact, parents, this is a prayer for you, God, would you give my kid wisdom? Would you give them strength and courage? And would you help them know that you were walking with them? John is obviously not Gaius' father, physically, but he's his father spiritually is what's happening here. This is one of the smaller churches has been birthed out of John's life. So that those of you that are leaders of groups and organizations and Bible studies, this is a prayer you can pray of your group, God help them walk in your truth. But what is John saying here? John is not impressed that Gaius has this peripheral knowledge of the truth. He's impressed that Gaius knows the truth well enough, he knows the truth fully enough. He loves the truth and as a result of all that, what is he doing? He is walking the truth. He's walking the truth, quite literally, his actions mimicked his beliefs. In fact, listen to how Spurgeon says it. He says, "The goal of any believer’s life is for there to be an exact correspondence between his creed and his conduct." That's what he's saying. Look at this. I know I mentioned this last week. But I just want you to think about this metaphor of walking the truth. Do you know why it's so important to see this as walking the truth? It's because of this, the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. If you run the truth, you will run out of gas. If you sit in the truth, always, you will never get anywhere. If you flounder, honestly, just don't care wherever the wind blows you, you can't walk. What it means to walk the truth is that I'm going to set my life in a trajectory that over time, long time obedience will produce incredible results.

What happens when you move one direction, one degree for years and years and years and years, you walk in a totally different direction. That's what he's saying here. And Gaius did this, he gave, right? He gave to the ministry, he supported this evangelist that lived in his house, he gave to the church, really, and truly, this is what got Gaius kicked out of the church. It's from the guy that we're going to see in a minute. He not only walked the truth, but he was faithful. And I love this. Look at verse five, I want you to see the next trait. "Dear friend," there it is, again, "you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God." So, what is he saying? He's saying not only is he strong in spirit, not only is he showing the truth by his life, but number three, he's generous in his serving, and giving. Gaius is generous. Look at verse 5 again, "you are faithful in what you're doing." I love this word faithful. It's used over 67 times in the New Testament, and it means this; that you believe something, and you know something that's inside of you enough to make you walk in a direction that changes your trajectory. That's what that word means. You see, Gaius didn't just know the truth. He was faithful in serving and faithful in giving and he was faithful in supporting the work of God. And let me ask you this question. I'm just going to be as honest as possible. Are we? Are we to a point in our walk with the Lord to where we trust Him with all of those things? Do you know there's really only two things that you can offer God? And that is your time and your resources? That's it? Do you want to know where your relationship with God is at this moment? Isn't it sometimes a little bit hard? I mean, we don't get a report card, right? You don't get like a quarterly statement from your life group leader going? Well, Matt, I'm going to give you a C plus today for where you are in your faith. You don't really have many opportunities to know how you're walking, but I can guarantee you this was one of them. How is your generosity with your resources and with your serving? What does it look like? Gaius was supporting this church. And if you notice by the text, he was regular, he was systematic. Notice this word giving that we just read in the text. It is a present tense; it is not that you gave faithfully it's giving it's happening over and over and over again. But why do you guys do it? Look at verse 6. It tells us he did all of this from His love.

Man, I'm going to tell you I think this is one of the best godly examples of what it looks like to live out the Christian character anywhere in the Bible. Why? This regular average Joe guy named Gaius is generous. His soul is seeking the Lord. He is walking the truth out in his life. And he's given generous and is serving and giving. You see, that'd be enough to go home with but we're not. Because I want you to see the opposite. I want you see the opposite, real fast, not for long, just for a minute, and I'm going to call him demanding Diotrephes. Demanding Diotrephes that's number two. So, we got genuine Gaius, demanding Diotrephes. And I want you to see this guy. Because he's evil. Alright, here it is verse 9. He says, "I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. You know what this is, that John evidently had already written a letter to them, but Diotrephes buried it somewhere. He didn't give it to the church. He didn't present it to the church. And how bold do you have to be to receive the word and hide it? To which I'd say well, some of us live in that life. look at verse 10, let me show you how he got there real fast. John says, "So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing." Now that's bold. Remember who John is? At this point in John's life, he's known as the Apostle of love, right? We've said that before. But do you remember who John was when he was disciple? He was known as a son of thunder, right? In other words, at probably 90 years old, John's about the punch this guy in the mouth. That's what it really says right here. "So, when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church." What does John say about Diotrephes? Number one, he speaks evil against other people. He just speaks evil, and it doesn't have to be like nasty evil, it just has to be like lies and false stuff and gossip speaks out of turn. He does this with his friends and the people in the church. Think about this. He is slandering the Apostle John at this point. Do you know why this is such a big deal? Because this was a church leader. This guy was a church leader. He was a leader in the church. He had to know what Titus 3:2 says, “to slander no one, to be peaceful and considerate, and always to be gentle to everyone."

Why did he have to know that? Because those letters had been circulating for 30 years. He probably read that letter over this church, he had to know what Ephesians 4 says where it says in verse 31 to, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." Look at this in verse 32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another." He had to know a James 4:11 says, "Brothers and sisters do not slander one another." He had to know what Paul says in Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths." He had to know these truths, but yet he chose not to walk them. So, here's the question for me. Does this sound like my conversations? Because here's the deal. He not only spoke evil, but number two, look at this about Diotrephes. He refuses to be hospitable to others. He refuses it. Look at verse 10. I'm not making it up. "Not satisfied with that," just speaking evil, watch this, "he even refuses to welcome other believers. What does that mean? That means that he literally would keep people from coming into the church. He would keep these evangelists that John would send to check on the church to speak to the church, he would lock them out. Why? Because he wanted the power. He wanted the prestige. He wanted everything, catch this, to be how it used to be. He wanted everybody to look how they were, he wanted everybody to feel how they were, he wanted the crowds to look the same. He didn't want new people around to be in part of the ministry. He had no regard for taking care of people. Therefore, he struggled with Romans 12:13. Right? "Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." You see church never, never forget this. When you show hospitality to people, you are showing the grace that Christ has had on you. You will show hospitality in the same fashion that you perceive what Christ has done for you. The Bible clearly says that when you are hospitable to people, you may even be entertaining Angels. Why are we so concerned with people at our doors, people in our parking lot people in our groups that are following up with people because we know that we are responsible for loving on people for trusting the message of God into people's life. Here's my question to you. Are you being hospitable or is it just all about You and your group? That's what he's saying.

Look at number three. Not only does he speak evil, not only is he not hospitable, Diotrephes number four, he forces people out of the church. He forces them out. Matt, we would never do that. Well, would we? And how we talk about people, how we don't welcome people, how we're not hospitable about people, how we don't accept other people. That's what he's saying. Literally. Verse 10 tells us he puts them out of the church. He throws them out of the church. It is a king of the mountain game in the church for Diotrephes. He is throwing them out, anybody that is a threat to him, a threat to his power, a threat to his leadership. He slanders them, he talks about them, he finds their character flaws, he shames them until what do they do? Well, then we're just going to leave. We're just going to leave. And all of those three, while they may be big, they really come from number four, Diotrephes, number four, listen to this, he loves to be first. He just loves to be first. You know what he did? He wanted to be the center of power. Watch this in verse 9. I read it real fast a minute ago on purpose. You may want to circle some words right here. John says in verse 9, "I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes," circle this, "who loves to be first, will not welcome us." Look, I'm not really sure if there's more powerful language that explains a life that is not walking with Jesus than this right here. Why? Because when we don't walk with Jesus, we put ourselves on the throne, and we take him off. That's what he's saying. Look, I don't even think I need to expand on this. I don't need to explain this. You know what it looks like in those times in your life where you are putting you first and Jesus and others second? You know what that looks like? You know, in fact, I just want you to think through your last week. How many times did you put yourself on the throne and take him off of it? I'm just saying, who loves to be first? I love these two expressions. Why? Because this week, you have a chance to walk from this place to either be Gaius or Diotrephes. You have a chance to be spiritually strong, to walk in the truth, to be generous in your serving and you're giving. You have a chance to be that, or you have a chance to be Diotrephes, who speaks evil, doesn't give hospitality, shuns others even in the church. And really and truly, catch this, is just full of yourself. And not Jesus.

Man, this little letter is packed. Because I can't find hardly anywhere else in the Bible that gives us two clear polar opposites of what it looks like to walk with Jesus and what it looks like to walk in our own light. I really can't. Let me boil this whole book down into one line. One challenge, one walk away because no one while we know about these two guys, check this out. And this is the end verse 11. Look at what it says. He tells us how to do it. How to decide. "Dear friend," beloved, "do not imitate what is evil, but what is good." You want to know how to walk out the Christian life? There you go. It's pretty easy. Don't imitate the things that are not of Him. Imitate the ones that are. Don't imitate the ones that draw you in. Imitate the ones that prop Him up. Don't imitate the ones that put you in prominence. Imitate the ones that takes Him to the level that He deserves. Look at it. "Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." That's not saying ah dang Matt, I made a mistake last week. Does that mean I'm not with God? No, that's not what it means. That means the theme of your life. So, here's our parting question this morning. It's pretty easy. Am I Gaius or am I Diotrephes? How do I know? What are you imitating? What are you imitating? Lord, today, as we walk into just a couple of minutes of worship.

God I just pray that you make it really clear to us which direction we're walking. Am I chasing the life of Diotrephes or am I living the generous Gaius life that's imitating you? Lord, I thank you for this letter that John wrote his friend Gaius, to tell them Hey, I know you might have been kicked out of the church for hosting, for being for living. But I got your back. God, I just want us to hear today that no matter where we've been, and no matter what we've done, and no matter how we've struggled, that God you've got our backs. And God all it takes this morning, is for us with a sincere heart. To just admit, hey, I've been living the life of Diotrephes for a long time, maybe not out loud. But that's where my heart gravitates towards. That's where I drift towards. But, Lord Jesus, from this day forward, I set my mind and heart on things above. You know, with your heads bowed, and your eyes closed, I just want you to sit in that thought for a minute. I don't know where you're at. And I don't know what your weeks look like. I'm not the judge. But I just want you to know, no matter where your life was last week, it does not mean that that's where it has to be this week. It really doesn't. The incredible thing about the Lord is that He offers forgiveness and grace and mercy. He just wants you to turn to him. You know, maybe today you need to give your life to Jesus for the first time. Maybe there's never been a moment in your life where you've confessed that Christ is Lord and invite Him into your life to forgive you of your sins and set you on a new path with Him. In just a minute as we sing, I'm just going to tell you, if that's you, and the spirit is knocking on your heart today, you can respond to the next steps app or you can just from wherever you're at get out of your seat and come to the front over here, to the next steps door and just look at that person or myself and go, Hey I need Jesus today. We'll talk you through the rest. You know, maybe you need to join this church today. Make it official. Maybe you need to set your life in a new direction today and just spend a couple minutes praying and say, Yes Lord, this is where I need to go. Lord Jesus, bless this moment, Jesus and it's in your name we pray.

Amen.

Let's stand and sing together.

Follow Along with the Message


3 John

September 19, 2021

3 John
1 The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

A Tale of 2 Men’s Hearts

1. Gaius

3 John 1
The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
3 John 2
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

John says Gaius is:

1. in his soul and spirit.

2. the truth by his life.

3 John 3–4
3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

“The goal of any believer’s life is for there to be an exact correspondence between ?his creed and his conduct.”
— Charles Spurgeon

3 John 5–6
5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.

3. in his serving and giving.

3 John 5
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing…

2. Diotrephes

3 John 9–10
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

John says Diotrephes:

1. evil against others.

Titus 3:2
…to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Ephesians 4:31–32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another.
James 4:11
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

2. to be hospitable to others.

3 John 10
Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers.
Romans 12:13
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Titus 1:8
Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
Philippians 2:3–5
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

3. others out of the fellowship.

4. to be first.

3 John 9
I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us.
3 John 11
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

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