3 John is a short chapter but contains some important lessons for us. John tells us there is “no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”. What is the report your life bears? Are you walking in the truth? Is the Father smiling about the way that you lived yesterday? How about with your plans today? I think we often take far too flippantly the impact of our life. We tend to find Jesus – get saved – and then just live anyway we wish. We think we have a get out of jail free card and the day to day living isn’t really that important. It is not so. God cares how we live. God cares that we have read His Word and are lining up with it as we walk each day on this earth. He cares whether or not we are becoming like Jesus – godly and holy in our living. It brings joy to His heart. It matters for our eternity – not where we spend it – but how we do. Are you truly walking as a Follower of Jesus? In His truth?
John reminds these folks that some will go and serve in sharing the gospel with others. He challenges them to “send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God….they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles….we ought to support people like these”. Do you have anyone you partner with in the ministry? They don’t necessarily have to be overseas, but they may. They don’t have to be part of some formal ministry, but they may be. The reality is that all of us need to be involved in sharing the truth of Jesus. First in our own patch – through the way we live (walking in the truth) and through the words we speak. That task starts at home and moves to those around us. But we also need to be part of God’s heart to reach people everywhere. He has a heart for the nations. He won’t return until all have heard the message of grace through Christ. We are part of delivering that. We need to be involved in praying for, encouraging, supporting and loving others who have answered His call to go to the ends of the earth with His message. Are you involved in supporting someone (or many) who share God’s gospel? Having someone close to us that has been called has certainly brought this close to home. Fundraising is not the hard part – staying encouraged, prayed for, and loved half a world away is. Find a way to encourage someone who is serving our Lord today.
John then takes a hard line against a couple folks who just get it wrong. Diotrephes is not living in a way that is worthy of God. He “likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority”. Hmmm….that sounds sort of like many of us today. The battle of self didn’t start this year – it has been the struggle since God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We can’t serve when self is on the throne. We can’t be effective as Christ Followers when we are unwilling to submit to authority. Submission and selflessness are related. When we are selfish we too would “refuses to welcome the brothers….stops those who want to…..puts them out of the church”. You can’t serve God when you are focused on serving yourself. Far too many live that way – putting self first and giving God the scraps should there be any. The warning is clear: “do not imitate evil but imitate good”. What is your testimony? Are you living for God? Is He truly Lord of your life? Or has self crept onto the throne so you are putting self first and refusing God’s authority in your life. That is a bad place to be. We need to be like Demetrius, the other example John uses here, that “received a good testimony from everyone”. That is God’s desire. Our ultimate desire should be to hear Him say “well done good and faithful servant”. Are you living a life worthy of that?