Summary: John admonishes his readers to be faithful, obeident and submissive to God’s call.
Date Written: September 4, 2006
Date Preached: September 6, 2006
Where Preached: OZHBC (Wed - PM Service)
Series Title: Basic Bible Study
Sermon Title: The Importance of Christian Maturity!
Sermon Text: 3 John 9-11
9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.
10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.
11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
3 John 1:9-11 (NASB)
Our Christian life is to be a joyful life! In fact, when looking at the alternatives to Christianity there is simply NO comparison! Paul told the Philippian believers not only to rejoice, but to rejoice in the Lord, and not only to rejoice in the Lord but to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS! Whatever our lot here in this world, believers are called to a joy that comes from our relationship with Christ and not from the circumstances and situations of our lives…
I want you to ask yourself “What brings me joy?” Now as your pastor, I would hope that your walk in Christ would be the central focus of whatever it is that brings you joy!
In our passage this evening, we can see John admonishing the believers to whom he has authored this letter. His letter is addressed to one particular believer named Gaius, however, the principles set forth here are timeless in nature and universal in application for all believers!
The overall implied message in this letter is Christian maturity. As believers we all struggle with forces OUTSIDE the church that make our lives difficult…
BUT… when believers have to struggle against forces INSIDE the church, the struggle is infinitely greater and can be devastating on the fellowship and actually lead to the destruction of the fellowship.
This letter from John was a very specific letter to address a very specific problem within a particular fellowship of believers. But as I mentioned earlier, this letter contains timeless teachings that are applicable to all believers in every fellowship… in other words we ALL can learn from what John is teaching in this letter.
Within the human experience, there are certain things that lead us in the wrong direction and in this letter we can find that John touches on at least 2 of them…
Diotrophes was a man who had gained considerable influence in the fellowship of this church. How he gained that influence is not the issue, but John simply states the mere fact that he had a great deal of influence.
I will not come out and say what was in the heart of Diotrophes or whether or not he was a true or false convert to Christ, but what we are going to look at are his actions that were in direct conflict with the man of God and the church of God.
Now at this time it was the custom for itinerant ministers or evangelists to travel from city to city as the representative of one of the Apostles. This minister would come into a fellowship and teach doctrine and build up the fellowship with sound teaching.
They were not necessarily considered to be the pastor of the fellowship, but they did represent the voice of the Apostles who were teaching what Christ had taught them…
These ‘traveling’ ministers were then taken care of by the local fellowship of believers who would meet his needs. When traveling, it was also customary for any fellowships along the path of travel to minister to the one traveling from one fellowship to another…
Ministering to these evangelists was meeting the physical needs of the minister, but also praying for them as they traveled and as they preached.
Let’s get back to the man Diotrophes that John has spoken about. He was a man of great influence in Gaius’ church and he had begun to spread the word and influence people to NOT support these itinerant ministers. He would not allow the fellowship to host or to meet the needs of these traveling ministers.
If anyone rose up and went against him, he used his influence in the fellowship to have that person removed from the fellowship. He began to drive away those who desired to be a support system for the traveling ministers in their area…
This was a NOT a disagreement in doctrinal teaching, but Diotrophes suffered from a greater problem… MORAL FAILURE! He was unwilling to do what was the right thing to do. God had placed someone before him and he had refused to meet the needs of that person…