Summary: God provides people in our path in life to be an example for us. We need to be wise, on our end, to follow those who live for the truth of God.
Griffith Baptist Church – 8/31/08
Text: 3 John
Key verse: 3 John 1:10 - Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
Some believe that leading is easier than following. The one’s who believe that have never truly led.
We are given two instructions in verse 10 – Do not follow evil and follow that which is good. We are told however to be followers in two different ways in Scripture:
1. We are told to follow God
A. Ephesians 5:1 – Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
B. He is our ultimate leader
C. When we follow Him, this is our act of worship and obedience to Him
2. We are told to follow others
A. The example of Paul - 1 Corinthians 11:1 – Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
B. The example of pastors - Hebrews 13:7 – Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
C. This kind of following is NOT worship
D. This word “follow” has the idea of example and following that example
E. It is not designed to lift up the leader but to lift up the one who leads the leader, Jesus Christ.
We all need Christian examples.
We are not an inland unto ourselves.
God provides people in our path in life to be an example for us. We need to be wise, on our end, to follow those who live for the truth of God.
Here, in this passage, it is given in the context of the local church and three individuals who were influential in the lives of others.
There are three noticeable nuggets of wisdom that we can glean from this short letter that will lead us to follow the right examples for our Christian lives.
Transition Statement: First, we need to understand that we will be known and influenced by the company we keep.
1. The Company We Keep
A. Gaius and Demetrius
i. Strength of character (3b – thou walkest in the truth; 5a - thou doest faithfully )
a. A man took his daughter to the carnival, and she immediately ran over to a booth and asked for cotton candy. As the attendant handed her a huge ball of it, the father asked, “Sweetheart, are you sure you can eat all of that?” “Don’t worry, Dad,” she answered, “I’m a lot bigger on the inside than on the outside.” That’s what real character is – being bigger on the inside.
b. We ought to walk in the company of those who have good character
c. You are know by the company you keep
d. You will be influenced by the company you keep
ii. Faithfulness to the truth (3-4 ; 8 – fellow helpers to the truth.; 12a - Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself)
a. The world crowns success but God crowns faithfulness
b. We ought to keep to the task
c. The truth of God’s Word is the greatest reality in our lives
i. Self-centered (9b - who loveth to have the preeminence among them)
a. Aesop tells a story of an aging king bird who made a proclamation that on a certain day they should all present themselves before him, when he would himself choose the most beautiful among them to be their next king. The Crow, knowing his own ugliness, searched through the woods and fields, and collected the feathers which had fallen from the wings of his companions, and stuck them in all parts of his body, hoping thereby to make himself the most beautiful of all. When the appointed day arrived, and the birds had assembled before the aging king, the Crow also made his appearance in his many feathered finery. But when the aging king proposed to make him king because of the beauty of his plumage, the birds indignantly protested, and each plucked from him his own feathers, leaving the Crow nothing but a Crow.
b. He had a big ego
c. He had to be number one and no one else was to share the spotlight
d. This is not how Scripture tells us to act - Philippians 2:4 - Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
ii. Stained by political ambition (10b-c - prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.)
a. There is good and bad politics