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Monday, August 4, 2014


"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 11

As Christians we have been exhorted to walk in a manner that is worthy of God.  That is to always walk in the Truth.  We are to imitate what is good and reject what is evil.  The third letter of John gives us many examples of good and evil.  Let us consider what John has to say about imitating what is good in our walk with the Lord:

  • John writes this letter to an elder named Gaius.  He begins the letter with a prayer on behalf of Gaius' physical and spiritual health.  His petition is that Gaius might prosper and walk in Truth, "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers."  3 John 2.  Lest we forget, our spiritual health must measure up to our physical and material health. There is no greater joy for the Lord.  Let us consider the following regarding our soul's spiritual well being:

    • In Mark 8:36-37, we have been warned we can lose our soul over our  material ambitions and pursuits.  
"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
    • In Luke 12:16-21, we are told the parable of the rich fool who laid up earthly riches for himself but not toward God.  His soul was completely bankrupt.

 "And He told them a parable, saying, 'The land of a rich man was very productive.  And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’  Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.'   But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’  So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.'"

    • Prosperity and wealth may be a curse to our soul.  There is a danger of falling into temptation and losing our soul.  On the other hand, if one is wise using his riches with the right attitude of heart, he can do much good for the kingdom.  

"But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."   I Timothy 6:9-10

Imagine what a blessing it would be if we were to pray for each other the same way John did in this letter?  Consider some of the many blessing this would yield:
    • Many wealthy would become poor by enlarging their hearts.
    • Many poor would be filled because the wealthy would show the right attitude of heart.
    • Those who are in good health would accept the risk of becoming sick for the well being of others.
    • Likewise, many sick would get better.

My question is then, what about us?  In which of the above categories can you place yourself? Are we trying at all to be mature in our discernment of good and evil?  Why don't we let our righteous deeds be our judge?

"For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."  Hebrews 5:13-14.
"For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep."   I Corinthians 11:30

Gaius was a man worth imitating.  He possessed many good qualities.  Let us consider some of these qualities worth imitating:
    • His soul prospered.  He walked in Truth  and in a manner WORTHY OF GOD. 
    • He rejected all false teaching of his time and followed the path of Truth, 3 John 3, John 17:17; Psalm 119:160.
    • Not only did he love the Truth but he put it into practice, 3 John 4; Psalm 86:11.  
    • He walked in the light, I John 1:7.
    • This love for the Truth was manifested in his life.  He bore good fruit, 3 John verses 5-6
    • He died to self by placing others above him, Romans 12:13.  
    • He supported those who preached the Truth by encouraging the church to support them since they were worthy of such, 3 John 7-8.

On the other hand we read of  Diotrephes who did not reject evil.  Let us consider some of his evil ways:
    • He loved to have the preeminence, 3 John 9, Matthew 23:4-8; 
    • He lacked humility of heart.  He was arrogantly hostile, 3 John 9, Proverbs 15:33; Philippians 2:3-5
    • He wanted to be the first and the head of the church, 3 John 9
    • He refused to walk in Truth and hindered many from walking the path of Truth, 3 John 9; Luke 11:52; I John 3:18; 2 John 1-3
    • His deeds were wicked, 3 John 10
    • His words were unjust, cruel, malignant, unkind... against John.  In a few words, they were intended to do harm, 3 John 10
    • He thought of himself above others thinking he was better than the rest of the brethren, 3 John 10

We, Christians, must learn to not imitate such evil.  We are to be humble not thinking too highly of ourselves.
"For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith."  Romans 12:3.  

We must learn to exercise the attitude of Christ in our life.
 "Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."  Philippians 2:1-4

Our Lord and Savior died to himself in order to bless others.  One of Diotrephes' shortcomings was that he thought of himself as equal to an apostle, thinking he had more authority than they.  

"So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you."  I Thessalonians 4:8.  

Another example of his evil was the time when he accused John speaking against him in a wicked and unjust way.  

"But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."  Ephesians 5:3-4

Let us not become like Diotrephes and lose our souls eternally.  He was selfish for not wanting to help and show concern for others but only for himself.  Finally, John said his evil deeds were going to judge him and bring him into punishment.  

I leave you with a question:   Which of these two men are you?  Are you imitating what is good or evil?  Are you walking in Truth being worthy of God?  Whatever your answer may be, it will determine the final destination of your soul.

May the Lord help us to walk in Truth and in a MANNER WORTHY OF HIM.  May we imitate what is good and reject what is evil so that we may see HIM.


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