2021 – The Others
3 John 1
I have checked off another book from my life-goal of preaching all the New Testament… 2 John. I was surprised by two of the principles we discovered…
Principle #13 Speaking core-truth creates a bond of love within our congregation that is contagious!
Principle #14 We offer hospitality to the Others under the roof of Christ! Last week, we saw hospitality is comprised of food and protection. We as gracious hosts for Christ, offer this fellowship as we protect the weak!
Let’s hope we find more principles as we continue to check off books. This morning, we start on… 3 John.
Let’s begin this morning by thinking about compliments…
--Compliments are good things…
--We all enjoy compliments…
--They are rarer than we would like…
--We remember compliments…. for a long time… if they are genuine.
For example… Let me read you the note in this Bible… (note from a Bible I received in 6thgrade Bible class)
That is a compliment with a gift, the best kind, which I have remembered for… 56 years. You could speculate the impact this compliment has had on the course of my life…
Which, now leads us to 3 John. Listen for three compliments that the old guy has for a man named Gaius.
3 John 1-4 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Note: 3 John starts the same as 2 John…
--It is the same old guy… we assume is John, the one whom Jesus loved. He is still passing on this love he received from Jesus.
--It begins with the same salutation as 2 John.
The elder to the elect Kyria…
The elder to the beloved Gaius…
--We are reminded of the bond of love we share in the truth. The old guy is bound in truth to both Kyria and to Gaius.
Note: 3 John differs from 2 John and any other letter in the New Testament in that it seems to be the most personal letter in the Bible?
--In 2 John the content is about the truth that the congregation holds. It is about Kyria and her children. She is told how to keep her congregation in the truth.
--In Philemon, Philemon is told to share that letter with the whole congregation. Timothy and Titus both have instructions about the congregation.
But here in 3 John, we have an old guy writing a personal note to a beloved guy which begins with three personal compliments.
NLT 3 John 2 Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is.
--Gaius has been ill.
--John has heard that Gaius was still sick.
--This would explain, what we will discover next time, that Gaius does not know what is going on at church.
But whatever the situation, this compliment is genuine… It is meaningful.
The Old Guy prays that Gaius would be as healthy in his body as his spirit is healthy in faith. “I am praying that you may be as healthy, physically, as your soul is healthy, spiritually!”
Several questions burst from this compliment…
--What if this were true of all of us?
--What if our health is equal to our faith?
--Would we want this prayer prayed for us? My faith, my love, my hope all together shows up in my healthiness?
Not-with-standing those questions this is an amazing compliment.
The word, “well” here in Greek is… literally means "to have a good journey, to be prospered on a journey". The journey of his life in all ways is going to be prospered by the solidness of his faith… his love… his hope!
That is a compliment, a blessing, I suspect, Gaius remembered for the rest of his life.
It was evidently, not a long way from Ephesus where John is, according to history, to where Gaius lived. John is planning on visiting soon. But some of John’s other guys had just got back after visiting with Gaius. They had a good report which leads to the 2nd compliment…
NJB 3 John 3 It was a great joy to me when some brothers came and told of your faithfulness to the truth, and of your life in the truth.
The 2ndcompliment is two parts… 1st faithfulness to the truth. 2ndGaius is living out the truth. Gaius was not only committed to the core-doctrines of Jesus… but he was also living those doctrines in his life.
People, you and me, tend to fall off the cliff on one side or the other. Either, we over-emphasize knowing the truth… having solid theology. Or we trip off the other side… don’t worry about all that doctrine stuff, it’s just confusing… Just go help someone. Be good. Do right. Have a cause.
But Gaius is complimented on keeping the balance… faith and action. This is the way it has to be. Solid theology leads to consistent behavior.
--If I know God is love… I offer love to all those I encounter.
--If I believe Jesus sacrificed everything for me… I am more willingly to sacrifice for others!
--If I have the hope of reconciliation of the world… I involve myself in reconciliation!
--If I know the Holy Spirit speaks… I respond to him in my actions.
Healthy theology leads to engaged actions in the world!
Great compliment! Gaius lived what he believed and he believed what he lived!
YLT 3 John 4 Greater than these things I have no joy, that I may hear of my children in truth walking.
It seems that Gaius was one of John’s converts. John speaks of him as “my child”.
This is a typical way of writers in the New Testament to speak of those whom they have taught Jesus…
1 Corinthians 4:14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
Philippians 2:22 But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
2 John 4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth,
This is a great way to think of our relationships. We have blood kids and grandkids… But we also have faith-kids and faith-grandkids.
That is what we did last week in our baby-dedication for Theo Shipley. We faith-adopted him. He would be a faith-grandkid to many of us. Grandma Tanya has more than her share of faith-grandkids. Thinking like this is a good thing!
If we think of…
--the kids we have taught in Bible class,
--or played games with or golfed with
--those who have been here for a while and gone on…
…when we hear that they are still going well… there is no greater joy. I agree with the old guy… there is no greater joy than hearing your faith-offspring are still walking in the truth.
I might also add, sadly, the converse is also true… those faith-kids who
--those who have been beat up by life,
--those who no longer walk the truth…
--those who are hurt deeply.
These faith-kids bring heart ache to us. One of the upsides and downside of staying as a preacher in one place for 30+ years. It is joy. It is pain.
But for Gaius, knowing his faith brought joy to John… was a genuine compliment!
This leads to Principle #15 of interrelating to the Others… Be liberal with genuine compliments. One of the ways we help our faith-kids keep walking in the truth is to offer; freely genuine compliments.
Tim’s Top Five ways to give a great compliment…
1. Be honest. No hyperbole… everyone knows an inflated compliment. The compliment needs to be real. Exaggerated compliments actually hurt. When the old guy tells Gaius that he is walking in the faith and living the faith… that is genuine!
2. Be specific as possible. “Good job” is not as powerful as “I like the way you did that by…” “Good sermon” is appreciated. But, “I like the point you made about no greater joy than seeing faith-kids staying true” is a more powerful compliment!
3. Be positive. No sneaky back-handed compliments.
“I appreciate the way you handled that… I didn’t think could!”
“Wow, I really like your hair today. What’s different?”
“You’re amazing at baseball, for a girl.”
Attaching a qualifier to the end of your compliment turns it into an insult.
4. Compliment someone’s point of pride. If you know someone really cares about something; has invested lots of time on something; is working on something… Pick that point of pride. The Old Guy speaks to Gaius’s pride in his faith!
5. Say something that isn’t obvious. Related to being specific, dig a bit deeper to see where the real achievement is…
Those are Tim’s Top Five ways to give a meaningful compliment.
The point is… do it! Do it for our faith-kids! Do it for the Others!
Let’s wrap this up with a different thought about compliments.
--Perhaps, think forward a bit. Most of us will die. Not happy thought.
--Perhaps, we will have a tombstone; a headstone; a grave marker.
--Perhaps, we will want a compliment on that headstone. It has to be short because your heirs will pay by the letter.
Here are some options you might chose for your headstone.
“That’s All Folks” – Mel Blanc
“Here lies a lazy bum. You finally get to lay in one place and not move at all, like you always wanted.
Donald Louis Johnson… bowling and football and baseball? Strikes me as sad. Strikes?
I told you I was sick
One day, unless Jesus comes first, we all will have something written on our tombstone… I have an assignment… What compliment would you want on your headstone?
June 7, 2021
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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