Damariscotta Baptist Church
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

10/29/17 Sermon - Do It Faithfully

“Do It Faithfully”

3 John 1-14

Today’s message comes from the last epistle written by the author many believe was John, the disciple, yet others suspect it was Lazarus who wrote this letter. 3 John is the shortest book in the New Testament, with only 219 Greek words and it follows along a similar concern for those in the early Church as did 1 and 2 John. The author understands that there were more people who didn’t believe that Christ is the Messiah, than those that do. And in this letter, the author addresses a specific problem which exists with one of those people, who happens to be  a leader in on of the Christian churches.

Not much has changed, has it?

Today we can also state that there are more people around us that don’t believe that Christ is the Messiah, than those who do

And many of us have experienced a fellow church member who has managed to make things difficult. So, even though this book may be the shortest of New Testament books. I am certain it is one in which we can relate and gain some insight.

The author begins his letter, to his good friend, Gaius (gay-us) by affirming that Gaius was in excellent spiritual health and it was the author’s prayer that his physical health would match it.  

An intriguing manner in which to consider.

Do we reach out to other Christians asking how their spiritual health is, prior to their physical health?

I suspect we leave that diagnosis up to our spiritual leaders. I have also noticed a generational gap regarding the inquiry of how one is doing spiritually and how one is doing physically.

Many of the generation above mine do not feel comfortable in discussing their spiritual health with others. It’s tolerated when I inquire, because I am the pastor and am often seen as the one who would know more about such things.

However, I have noticed that the generation older than me is quite comfortable in discussing each other’s physical health. As we get older, that seems to be the central concern. Yet, the author of this letter, demonstrates that the outlook of our physical health is directly correlated with the outlook of our spiritual health. This is a concept that every generation should  consider significant.

The author goes on to say that some friends of his have stopped by and given him an excellent report on Gaius’ behavior, that he has been walking in the Truth. And this news was like music to author’s ears.

To hear that someone the author had been discipling and had possibly personally led to the Lord, was walking in the Truth, is like a parent hearing that their children demonstrated good manners while visiting another person’s home, or at school.

I think it is wonderful that not only did the author hear the good news, but he rewarded Gaius by

telling him that he heard and

how proud he was of him.

How often as parents, or friends, are we quick to correct others when they get it wrong, but not as quick to commend them when they get it right?

Here’s what has happened with Gaius and the author of this letter. Gaius is a believer in a church that the author had been a part of in the past. The author has kept in touch with this church and others like it through letters and hopes to come soon in person.

We have read in previous letters and homilies that in the time this letter was written it was common for preachers and teachers to travel from place to place and share their believes. Some would come to share the gospel, and there were others who would share the Gnostic beliefs of the pagans. Well, there was a group of Christian brothers and sisters that had in deed visited Gaius’ congregation and were now with the author. They reported to the author that while visiting Gaius’ church, he had extended hospitality, even though they were strangers. The report the travelers gave must have been glowing for Gaius, because the author related it to hospitality worth God himself! The author reminds Gaius, that by offering a bed, or a meal or whatever was in need, he had participated in spreading the Gospel.

That is an important point to ponder. That is significant for each of us in this place.

I believe it is significant,

because as humans, we so often judge our actions by what others are doing, rather than

by the way God judges our actions.

What does God require of us?

Is He expecting us to look around at what others are doing and make sure we are doing the same things or more?

Or is He expecting us to look at Him and offer what He has given us, back to Him, through others?

God knows what we have, and more importantly, who we are.

He created us and has provided us with all that we have, whether a lot, or little.

What God is expecting, is what the author is telling Gaius, he has done well.

Gaius used what he had and blessed those in his path. That is all that God expects of us. It’s not that difficult, maybe that is why it is not accomplished. We think God has something BIG and important that needs to be done and we feel small and insignificant. This letter reveals the opposite. God didn’t ask Gaius to give up all he had, or to borrow money to loan to these itinerant missionaries. He was asked to give and share what he was able.

Now I have a short letter to write to those who are a part of the Damariscotta Church. I, like this author, see many of you doing the very thing Gaius was doing. Being faithful with what you have. I in no way will be able to capture all that is being done, but allow me share some of the things I’ve seen:

  • There are those at DBC who have a vehicle and use it to offer rides to those who don’t.

  • Another has come continually to check on the drips and leaky toilets.

  • One person in our church has a washing machine and time so she does the church’s laundry, every week.

  • When the Shannon’s were visiting from Peru, Sarah received a new scarf, because it matched her dress. Every time she wears that scarf she will be reminded of the love our church has for her and her ministry.

  • My daughters enjoy getting mail and have especially appreciated their cards of encouragement.

Alone, those actions may seem insignificant, but according to God’s Word, here in 3 John, those actions demonstrate that we have become companions in spreading the Truth.

The author goes on in verse 9 to share that the same message of extending hospitality and giving of what you have to fellow believers around you was given to Diotrephes and his response was completely opposite. Diotrephes was a leader in another church, nearby, that Gaius must have known. However, Diotrephes’ behavior was just the horrible.

As leader, Diotrephes seemed to love being in charge and was not going to have anything to do with the author’s suggestions to help out others. Especially not in assisting traveling Christians, in fact, Diotrephes made a point to throw them out of the church. The author was prepared to confront Diotrephes when he met him face to face, but in the meantime, he wanted Gaius to know that it was important to not follow his evil example, but to continue to model the good. It was clear what was good and what was evil, and when a person does what is good, they are doing God’s work.

Now one would think that it would be clear what was evil and what was good in Diotrephes situation, however, did you notice, he was a leader in the church? That says to me that there was a church full of people who were allowing him to lead, with evil actions.

Why? How could that happen?

Unfortunately it happens every day.

There are people who have leadership characteristics and are able to become the person in charge. Maybe they are charismatic and people are impressed, or maybe they are domineering and people are suppressed. We see it around us today. Much like Diotrephes, we have those in leadership who want things their way or the highway, and their way is not always modeling good. This is when we need people like this author, who are discerning and able to put things into perspective and then willing to say something about it. We need people who can see past the personalities of the leaders doing evil and call it what it is.

Regardless of what is going on around us, each of us has a responsibility to model good, and to not only do what God has placed before us, but to do it faithfully.

Let’s pray.