Summary: John tells us about two different people in the church; one to follow and one, we wouldn’t want to follow. 1- What not to imitate 2- What to imitate

INTRO.- Who’s your favorite TV or Hollywood actor or actress? Past or present? Considering today’s actors and actresses, older may be better. Oh really? Maybe not.

ILL.- I discovered an internet site about the religion of famous actors of the past. Here is what I found.

1 Humphrey Bogart Episcopalian (lapsed)

2 Cary Grant Anglican (lapsed); part-Jewish;

3 Jimmy Stewart Presbyterian

4 Marlon Brando minimal Christian Science

5 Fred Astaire Episcopalian

6 Henry Fonda Christian Science (lapsed)

7 Clark Gable Catholic

8 James Cagney Catholic

9 Spencer Tracy Catholic

10 Charlie Chaplin Anglican; agnostic

11 Gary Cooper Catholic (convert)

12 Gregory Peck Catholic

13 John Wayne Presbyterian; Catholic

14 Laurence Olivier Anglican

15 Gene Kelly Catholic

1 Katharine Hepburn nominal Episcopalian; atheist

2 Bette Davis Baptist/Episcopalian family background;

3 Audrey Hepburn Christian Science

4 Ingrid Bergman Lutheran

5 Greta Garbo Lutheran

6 Marilyn Monroe Christian Science, temporary - Judaism

7 Elizabeth Taylor Christian Science, Reform Judaism

8 Judy Garland Episcopalian

9 Marlene Dietrich mostly nonreligious but superstitious

10 Joan Crawford raised Catholic; Christian Science

11 Ava Gardner Southern Baptist

From what I read, most Hollywood actors and actresses didn’t practice their faith even if they had any faith! You wouldn’t want to be like most of them! The only actor that had much faith at all was Jimmy Stewart who was devoted to his family and to his Presbyterian Church.

I suspect that many of today’s actors are no different or are no better. I did read that Denzel Washington is a practicing Christian of the Church of God in Christ. His father was a Pentecostal preacher.

Who would you be if you couldn’t be you? Or is there someone that you’ve always wanted to be like?

I personally believe that we all would change something about us, that is, about our appearance or our personality if we could. Hopefully, all of us who are in Christ would want to become more like our Savior. Maybe not in our younger days, but as we age and mature in Christ we surely want to be more like Him!

I think we all realize, of course, there are some people we wouldn’t want to be like. But we all imitate or reflect someone in life. We all take on the characteristics of another person. We all learn from one another.

PROP.- John tells us about two different people in the church; one to follow and one, we wouldn’t want to follow.

1- What not to imitate

2- What to imitate


9I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 10So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. 11Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.

Obviously, we want to imitate good and not evil. This doesn’t hold true for everyone, but it should for us.

ILL.- I heard one that a preacher announced there were 726 different sins in the Bible. Shortly after that he got bombarded with requests from people for that list because they thought they were missing out on something! Some evil things are pleasurable and many people want in on them!

According to our text, we don’t want imitate evil men either. Who might that be? A man in the church by the name of Diotrephes. Let’s note what is not good about him and what we shouldn’t imitate.

Diotrephes, who loves to be first. What is this? I assume Diotrephes was the kind of person who wanted to be first about everything or be number one.

ILL.- Late in his life, Sir Winston took a cruise on an Italian ship. A journalist from a Rome newspaper encountered the former prime minister to ask him why he chose to travel on an Italian line when the stately Queen’s line under the British flag was available.

Churchill gave the question his consideration and then gravely replied: “There are three things I like about Italian ships. First, their cuisine, which is unsurpassed. Second, their service, which is quite superb.” And then Sir Winston added, “And then there is none of this nonsense about women and children first.”

ILL.- In 1949, Norman McGowan was the personal valet to Winston Chuchill. McGowan said, “It was Sir Winston Churchill’s standing order that when he returned by train from a trip that his dog Rufus should be brought to the station to meet him. Rufus would be let off his leash to dash to his master and be the first to greet him.

“One day I happened to be standing close by. Rufus ignored his master and came leaping all over me instead. “Of course, Sir Winston loved Rufus too much to blame him. Instead, he turned to me with a hurt look and said quietly, “In the future, Norman, I would prefer you to stay in the train until I’ve said hello.”

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