3 John Lesson

Choosing Our Friends Carefully

GOOD AND EVIL

3 John was written by the Apostle John, in Ephesus, in A.D. 90.   In his third epistle, John contrasts the character of two vastly different figures:

  1. Gaius, who was good,
  2. Diotrephes, who was bad.

Our focus verse for today’s lesson is:

  • “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.  

GAIUS

John calls Gaius, “The beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth (3 John 1).”   He mentions that he has received good reports about Gaius for, “Acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers (3 John 5).”

DIOTREPHES

By way of contrast, Diotrephes did not receive commendation from John, quite the opposite!   Diotrephes was not accepting what John had tried to tell him in previous letters.   John calls him out for, “Unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and he forbids those who desire to do so, and puts them out of the church (3 John 10).”

BAD COMPANY MAKES US VULNERABLE TO SIN

John paid attention to the type of people that he associated with and so should we!   The Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians:

The people that we associate with influence how we behave.   That is why John wrote what he wrote.   If we spend our time with people committing sins, there is a high probability that we will find ourselves being tempted to sin more in our own lives.  

Conversely, if we surround ourselves with Godly people, there is a far greater chance that we will grow and mature in our faith as we seek to imitate their righteous behaviors.

There are three takeaways from John’s third epistle that we will highlight as part of today’s lesson:

  1. The first takeaway is that we need to evaluate the people that we associate with.Are they Godly people, like Gaius, seeking to serve the Lord?   Or are they sinners, like Diotrephes, with selfish motives seeking only to serve themselves?This epistle is a call to action!   As we read it, we should become motivated to seek out the Gaius’ in our lives and try to imitate their righteous behavior.   Conversely, we also need to recognize the Diotrephes’ in our lives and disassociate ourselves from them before their bad morals corrupt our behavior,
  2. The second takeaway can be found in the influence that Gaius had on John.   Gaius was a follower of Christ who lived his life in such a way that others noticed his love for the Lord.   How about us?   What do other people say about our faith?   During His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Mathew 5:16.   God wants us to live our lives in such a way that others see our love for the Lord and are brought closer to God as a result of having known us.   Each of us gets only one earthly life, and we all will be judged by God for how we choose to live it.   (Hebrews 9:27).   John’s inspired writing is an encouragement to us to evaluate our lives and make sure that we are putting God first and surrounding ourselves with people doing the same.   God has a plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11), but His plan will only work if we seek it out,  
  3. The final takeaway from today’s lesson is to identify the people in our lives that are only out for themselves and make sure that we are not associated with them, and that we do not imitate their selfish behaviors.  

CONCLUSION

We are blessed to have God’s word to encourage us to live lives in accordance with God’s will.   If we pay attention to what the scriptures are telling us, we can avoid potential pitfalls in our lives and avoid temptations that cause us to stumble.   One of the ways that we do that, is to imitate those that put God first and distance ourselves from those that put themselves ahead of God.  

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • “Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!   But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night.He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.   The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind blows away.   Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.   For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” – Psalm 1:1-6.

Comments

Pat Dermody

If we surround ourselves with God loving people, we improve our chances of not only growing in our faith but reinforcing our beliefs. We can help one another and our example can be spread out further.

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James A Guillory

Always always keep your eyes on Jesus and your walk with him, always to walk with him in a way that pleases him and the closer we walk with Jesus the more and more His character will reflect out of our daily walk and we will be the influence in other people's lives that draw people to Christ!!

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