Summary: Through this very personal letter we are called to a life of encouragement, to honestly look at our ministry motives, and to live a life of sacrificial involvement.

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3 John 1-14

“Genuine Ministry Life”

Human beings are so good at making pendulum swings in their life.

We might wake up one day thinking, “I need to get more exercise”. You haven’t been for a run for the last 7 years but you still get up at 5:00am and try and go for a 5km jog.

You are so unfit you need to ring your wife to come and pick you up because you can’t make it home.

That is a pendulum swing … from one extreme to the next.

Last week we focussed on 2 John where we saw that sometimes, on occasions, it is ok for us to not show hospitality – especially when people are seeking to spiritually impose themselves into our lives … or they are trying to lead us astray. John wrote that letter to a group of people who were faced with itinerant religious preachers, philosophers and teachers to help the congregations discern who should be welcomed and who shouldn’t be. In that letter John says

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

2 John 12

What happens next results in John needing to write another letter which we call 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 honours 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.

In 2 John John wrote to the church warning about offering hospitality to the wrong itinerant preachers. John now wants to send Demetrius to the church as an itinerant preacher. However some people in the church are not wanting to welcome Demeritus – or for that matter anyone sent from John.

It is a pendulum swing – and it needs to be resolved.

The situation revolves around first century hospitality practises.

Briefly from last week … we saw that when you offered hospitality you were aligning yourself with the teaching and the character and the philosophy of the stranger-now-guest. You were saying, my guest is a reflection of me and I am vouching for them.

Which brings our attention to Demetrius. Demetrius is the itinerant preacher who is coming from outside the community … he needs hospitality. To help in the acceptance of this hospitality John writes 3 John.

John gives that letter to Demetrius.

Demetrius gives that letter to Gaius.

This letter served to authenticate that Demetrius was coming on behalf of John the disciple of Jesus.

Demetrius hasn’t just walked into town and said, “Hey look how good I am, listen to me.” He walks into town and has a letter from John which is basically saying, “This man is a faithful servant of Jesus and I am vouching for him.”

About 5½ years ago I was ordained by the Queensland Baptist Churches. It came about as a result of me going through a process – a similar process that all Queensland Baptist Pastors go through. So now, if I was to visit another QB church who didn’t know me, I could show them that I am an ordained QB pastor. Without even knowing me, the leaders in that church would be able to start with a level of trust in me, because of the level of trust QB has given me.

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