III John Sermons by Rev Mike Jones [Revised June 25, 2021]
III John is the Shortest book in the Bible but it contains a powerful message about a prevalent problem; a problem as old as Satan, EGO.
It is a wonderful thing to see how God often takes a group of 3 men and arranges a great deal of Bible Truth around them- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Moses, Aaron, and Joshua; Peter, James, and John. III John is a book that does the same thing; it arranges a great deal of Bible Truth around 3 men- Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius. These three men show us some of the responsibilities of Christians and the dangers of allowing powerful personalities to dominate our doctrine.
It may be important to note here that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and “I had rather build a fence at the top of a hill than a hospital at the bottom!” While we are not presently incurring this problem it is always worthwhile to warn of a danger that has destroyed multitudes of Churches.
I. GAIUS 1-8 The Helper of the Truth
A> He abounded in Spiritual Health vs 2 His physical health may not have been all he wanted but he had a Spiritual Reserve (II Tim 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things). He got proper Spiritual food, rest, exercise…
B> His life harmonized with his profession vs 3-4
1. Others saw the Truth in Him (A preacher trying to witness to a professed atheist was getting nowhere until he remembered that one of his members lived on the same street. When confronted with the evidence of this man’s change since conversion he could say nothing).
2. He was a fellow-helper to the truth (He rendered hospitality and help to those who were doing the work of God).
II. DIOTREPHES 9-11 The Hinderer of the Work
A> He was a Proud, self-seeking man who always wanted to be first. He wanted the PREEMINENCE- something God will never give a man for it belongs to Christ (Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence). In the organization, in the missionary work, in the preaching, in the singing, in the teaching, in the fellowship, in everything in the Church, Christ must be first.
The only argument the Disciples had was over who would be the greatest!
Satan fell because he wanted to be God!
He that would be greatest of all shall be servant of all.
Love seeks not her own (Glory).
B> He had an undisciplined and a dangerous tongue- “Prating against us with malicious words”
1. He was “spewing forth” harmful words. Does your talk build up or tear down?
2. He was talking against God’s man- Dangerous business (Korah was destroyed, Miriam was given leprosy) I Tim 5:19
C> He turned others away from the Church
1. He refused to accept God Men
2. He led others to rebel also vs 11 Fleshly talk may overcome Spirit wisdom.
III. DEMETRIUS 12-14 The Holy Believer
A> He had a good report of all men- Like Daniel, you could not find fault against him except his service for God.
B> He met the standards of Truth- He was truthful with himself, God, and others.
C> He had the commendation of his spiritual leaders- Men of God recognized his stand for God.
Are you a Helper, a Hinderer, or a Holy Standard for others to look to??
Balance has always been a key component of Biblical Christianity. We must strike a balance between
1. Faith and Works
2. Prayer and Effort
3. Loving the Sinner and hating the Sin
4. Truth and Error- Pharisees and Sadducee, Law and Logic
All of John’s writings appear to have been written in his old age
John gives 3 tests of Truth:
1. Obeying Christ’s commands
2. Loving one another
3. Being sound in doctrine concerning Jesus Christ.
Napoleon often told this story: Once, while visiting a province he came on an old soldier with one arm severed, dressed in full uniform. On his uniform the proud fighter displayed the covet Legion of Honor. When Napoleon asked him how he received the medal he replied that he received it for losing his arm in a battle. Napoleon then asked the man if he would be willing to lose the other arm for another Legion of Honor; to which the man replied by taking out his sword and cutting off his other arm!
This story was told and retold to show people’s dedication to Napoleon until someone asked a simple question, “How?” In the same way things that people have accepted for years need to be put to the test of truth. (Adapted from SS Quarterly)
The word “Preeminence” is only used twice in Scripture- In Col 1:18 it speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ, This means that Christ is to be the Ruler and Reason in everything the Church does. The only other place it is used in of Diotrephes; which means he was trying to take a position in the Church reserved only for Christ!
There was only one argument among the Disciples while walking with Jesus; about who would be the greatest!! And Jesus said, “He that would be greatest of all shall be servant of all”
Isn’t it strange how a person can be in a church and do church work and still not be right- Judas, Annanias & Sappria.
Every family in the Church seems to have just gotten, or just gotten over, a case of the flu (We can almost sniff and cough in chorus now!). Instead of being able to enjoy the Christmas season we all seem to have gotten sick and feel bad. Why would God allow such a thing? Why do people get sick at all; and especially at Christmas?
I. STRESS- Who among us is willing to claim that the Holiday Season is not stressful- Even the kids have to be good for a week to get a present! This stress tends to break down our resistance and enable sickness to attack. Then as we get sick we become irritable which brings on more stress!
DO CHRISTIANS HAVE A WAY WE CAN DEAL WITH STRESS?? Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
II. CIRCUMSTANCES- Joseph faced a strange set of circumstances. He was told to marry a woman who would be the mother of the Son of God. Then about the time the child was to be born he lost his job, became homeless, had to travel a great distance with a pregnant wife (!), and ending up in a stable instead of a hospital.
We face difficult circumstances today also. These circumstances weaken our bodies and sap our spirit; which invites sickness to move in on us!
WHAT DO CHRISTIANS KNOW ABOUT CIRCUMSTANCES- Rom 8:28
III. CROWDS- Crowded Inns, Everyone to be taxed; sounds like Saturday at the Mall! And in the “spirit of the season” everyone seems to be sharing their colds with everyone else!
HOW CAN CHRISTIANS BE SOCIABLE WITHOUT SPREADING SICKNESS- Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away (Prov 4:14-15). Use common sense- phone, don’t spread colds yourself, don’t “tempt” sickness.
IV. SIN- And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Gen 3:17-19). Sin has changed the human body into a corruptible body where sickness is a part of life.
It is clearly true that Christians suffer sickness just as Sinners do, but it is also clear that God has provided ways to lessen its impact on us- Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 1:2).
Why do we have these troubles??
I. To Get People where God wants Them.
A. Physically- Troubles moved Joseph to Bethlehem, Egypt, and then Nazareth. Your cold may allow you to leave a “Miracle Message” book in the Doctor’s waiting room. That book may then reach some lost person or encourage some saved person.
B. Spiritually- The Shepherds greatly Feared when the angels came but, before long, they were greatly rejoicing. I wonder if more REAL praying goes on in hospitals than in Church!!
C. Financially- Joseph had to leave Bethlehem in a hurry with a wife and very young child. The Wise Men’s Gifts provided the funds necessary to travel and set up house in Egypt.
I’m surprised about the number of job decisions that are made while on sick beds. Some times people just plod thru life until something makes them stop and examine their situation.
II. To Stir Commitment to God- It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes (Psa 119:71).
A) Bethlehem had no room for the Savior but had plenty of room after the babies were killed. Do you think anyone prayed??
B) The Shepherd didn’t know they would be preachers but they have preached more sermons in more plays than any other group of people.
Sickness and troubles can help us to bear witness; or make us unbearable. Which one are you?