Description / Transcription
CHRIST COVENANT CHURCH
Date of Sermon: 07-31-2022
Well, good morning, again. So good to be together as we come to God’s Word and go ahead then and open your Bibles to 3 John if you haven’t done so already. 3 John is right towards the very end, if you’re trying to hunt it down. It’s probably not a very common stopping point for many of us, but if you’re looking for it, 3 John is the one that comes right after 2 John, so if you get to that point, you’ll know that you’re close. In fact, you’re very close, 2 John’s a short book, just like 3 John.
As we’re getting started, just want to share a word of gratitude with you this morning, something that I’m thankful for. I am thankful for our neighbors. We have just the very best of neighbors. They are dear friends to us and wonderful folks. In fact, I’ve told that if we ever need to sell our house, I think I might try to list them in the real estate listing. I have to talk to realtors, I don’t know if that’s something you can actually do or not, but alongside kind of the neighborhood amenities, I’d put neighbors right there, fine people, wonderful folks, get along great.
They’ve been very wonderful to us. One of the just examples of that that I was thinking about is just this recently I’ve, my grill was shot, kind of bit the dust. My neighbor next door was very gracious to let me borrow his grill over the last few weeks whenever I needed to grill something. Not to like his borrow his grill and like, you know, carry it over to our house to use it and then take it back, but to just take our stuff over there and to grill. And fortunately, because we are good friends, this is not a cumbersome thing to do. We enjoy the time kind of hanging out around the grill and talking and chatting and such.
So we’ve been doing that a little bit more of late and just this past week I was over there grilling some steak or burgers or something and so, you know, as a good grill master would do, I’m gonna set a timer and think about that and so I look at my watch and set a timer for how long to go and he happened to ask, you know, “Do you like your watch, the Apple watch thing you’ve got there?” And I said, “Well, yeah, I mean, it’s fine, I guess. To be fair, I probably don’t maximize this watch as much as I could. I’m sure there’s some features that I’m not making the most use of.”
But one thing that my watch does that I do find actually helpful is it gives me reminders, reminders of things. You know, maybe your phone does that, maybe you have a watch that helps you out with stuff, but reminders. Reminders of important stuff, important stuff like, hey, stand up. That’s, I got that reminder earlier this week, I was sitting at my desk and doing some work or whatever, and my watch just buzzes and says, “Hey, it’s time to stand up.” I appreciate that. Unfortunately I couldn’t stand up at the moment, I was busy with something, but I appreciate it. It was a kind reminder. I know my watch is just trying to help me out.
But those can be helpful things, right? Reminders. And apparently I’m not the only one who needs those kind of reminders, because as important of a person as I am, I doubt we would build this entire feature into watches and phones for just somebody like me, I guess, who must have trouble remembering to do that, as mundane and common as it might be. And someone must have determined that it’s important that we do so, important enough to build it in by way of reminder. Little reminders about simple things that apparently can be easy to forget about or to overlook and that nonetheless over time add up to make a really big difference.
Reminders can be very important. I think that’s maybe part of what God has for us as a church this summer in this series that we have been walking through, Unsung Heroes. As we’re walking through looking at some of the lesser known, or maybe lesser celebrated, lives of Scripture and we’re seeing in them not a full library of strength in any one of them, because after all they are actually just real people, but as we’re seeing certain strengths and certain values in their lives, I think that God is giving us something of just reminders of some basic essentials, some basic essentials of the faithful Christian life.
Some reminders of some of the essential aspects of a faithful Christian life. Not always new things for us to see, but things that are nonetheless important by way of reminder. And that’s what we’ll find this morning as we come to this man Gaius and looking at his life and what we see in 3 John.
So we want to read this letter together. We’ll go ahead and read the whole thing, might as well, it’s not very long. Then we’ll consider some reminders that we can see here from Gaius’ life. We’ll read the whole thing but we’ll focus on the first 10 verses together this morning.
Read with me then.
“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.”
“Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”
“I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.”
“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.”
“I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.”
The elder, the Apostle John, writing here to the beloved Gaius. There’s not actually a lot that we know about this Gaius. For starters, Gaius was a popular name at the time. I don’t know if you’ve ever done one of these Google searches. You can Google “most popular names” and you’ll find any number of websites that will share with you the Social Security Administration’s list of the 100 most popular baby names from the previous year and you can actually do some more looking and figure out the 100 most popular baby names from a lot of different years. You can organize it by decade or by state, I don’t know you’d want to do that, but perhaps you would be curious about that sort of thing.
Sometimes expectant parents will do this to see if the name they’re considering for their child will be one that shows up a lot in their elementary school years. I don’t think that my parents actually did me the favor of doing that kind of research on my behalf. To be fair, there was not Google at the time so I recognize that that introduces a couple of extra steps for them to take, but in my own grade, as far as I can remember, there was also a David Barron, there was a David Bass, to go along with the David Baxter, and that’s before we ever made it past the B’s for the last name. I can just tell you from experience that if you have to go to the third letter of your last name to distinguish yourself from your classmates in terms of tests or homework papers, you’re just writing the whole thing out. You’re just going to write the entire thing out every time.
Perhaps little Gaius had the same kind of headache growing up. It was a popular name. So while that name Gaius appears several times in the New Testament, specifically Acts 19 and 20, 1 Corinthians 1, Romans 16, it’s not likely that the Gaius that we’re reading about this morning is one of those, the same one here that John writes to. It’s certainly not possible that we can know that with any certainty. So what we can know confidently about this Gaius is what we can really gather just from this letter, and there are some significant things to point out.
Briefly, we know that he was some kind of leader, most likely in his church. And that he was a beloved friend to John. That he had been an encouragement and a support to some traveling missionaries, that’s these brothers mentioned here in verses 3 and 5 who very possibly came from John’s church, having been sent out as itinerant preachers or missionaries. And that this ministry that Gaius was engaged in was something that was vigorously opposed by this other man Diotrephes, who we see mentioned here in verses 9 and 10.
So John’s writing, then, both to express his joy and his gratitude about what he’s heard, about what’s going on in Gaius’ life, but also to encourage him to press on, to keep going despite whatever kind of opposition he might be experiencing, that it’s a faithful and good thing that he’s doing. That’s essentially, though, what we know about Gaius, and yet from this we can still glean some important reminders for our lives today. Three, to be precise.
First of all, a reminder to walk in the truth. A reminder to walk in the truth.
There’s a reminder here to work for the truth.
And then lastly there’s a reminder to watch out for pride.
Walk in the truth. Work for the truth. And lastly, watch out for pride.
Let’s look first at the reminder to walk in the truth. Look at verses 2 through 4. It seems that John and the church of which he’s a part again has received a report from some brothers, again possibly these are members that have gone out from John’s own church, but wherever they’ve come from, they’ve been sent out as itinerant preachers, as Gospel teachers, as missionaries, and these men who had been sent out had apparently been received by Gaius, they’d been treated well by him, and now they’ve returned to John’s church to give an update, to give a report. And it’s a good report about Gaius. That report included this good news, that Gaius is walking in the truth.
And John was relieved and rejoiced to hear this, that Gaius was continuing on in the truth that he had received, that he had not departed from what he had been taught. But also that he’s living it out.
Here’s James Boice, how he puts it: “Gaius had obvious heard the truth of the Gospel and had received it wholeheartedly with the result that the truth was now in him and was causing him to pursue vigorously that way of life which the truth indicated.”
And what does that way of life look like? Well, one way we could say it is living a life of faith and repentance in response to God’s Word. Living a life of faith and repentance in response to God’s Word. Walking in the truth is a life of faith that begins in seeing Jesus, the Son of God, who took on flesh and who became man that He might bear our sins for us and that He might bring us to God. It’s seeing Jesus who said of Himself, “I am the Way and I am the Truth and I am the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
So it begins in becoming a follower of Jesus as the embodiment of truth and beginning the lifelong process of reordering your life completely around Him, living all of your life in light of who He is. Walking in the truth is living a life that is shaped by Jesus and by the Word of God.
Friends, if you’re here this morning, you’re joining with us and you have not yet begun this kind of life, let me just say that we are so glad that you’re here with us, or perhaps that you’re listening online, and I hope that you’ll consider these reminders. This reminder from Gaius this morning, but mostly as a way of considering Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you to keep joining us. I want to encourage you to keep coming. I want to encourage you to keep considering this life, considering this Jesus, and if we can help you in that process, please know that we would love, the people in this church would love to do that.
But of course living this life, walking in the truth, living this life of faith, doesn’t mean a life of perfection, or that there won’t be setbacks for us. So in line with the rest of Scripture, John makes it explicitly clear in his first letter, 1 John, that walking in the truth actually includes an ongoing acknowledgement of our sin, that we will consider to struggle with. 1 John chapter 1, verses 8-10: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us.”
So walking in the truth involves also acknowledging and turning from our sins. It’s a life of faith and it’s a life of repentance, and this is the life that Gaius had entered into. And it’s the life that by God’s grace he was continuing to live because faith and repentance are not only the first step into this life, faith and repentance are the steps of a life with God, of walking in the truth. Walking in the truth is a life lived in light of the truth and responding to it with faith and repentance in an ongoing way.
This is actually the life that leads to consistency in our character as we grow in our conformity to Christ. It leads to consistency in our character as we grow in conformity to Christ, but it also leads to health in our souls. Did you notice that? It leads to health in our souls.
Look at John’s prayer. He says there in verse 2, “I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health.” Notice here, by the way, that it’s not somehow less than spiritual to desire good health or even good circumstances, not for ourselves and not for one another, but that that’s not a guaranteed result from faithful living, so John’s praying for that.
And as such, Gaius’ life in John’s prayer also serves as a reminder that there is far more to life than good health and pleasant circumstances. You can have all of that and yet have a soul that’s in turmoil.
But John here is confident about the wellness of Gaius’ soul. He’s confident about the wellness of Gaius’ soul. Why? Verse 3: “For I heard that you are walking in the truth.”
Friends, you see that we simply cannot enjoy spiritual health. We cannot have healthy souls, we can’t enjoy closeness with God while ignoring His Word, without actively seeking to walk in the truth.
So listen to how David Jackman summarizes it: “Gaius was a man whose whole life was shaped by God’s truth. Not only did he faithfully believe it, he continually practiced it. There is no greater spiritual prosperity than that. His life was all of one piece, the things he believed, he lived out.”
That’s the kind of life that by God’s grace we’re trying to pursue here at Christ Covenant, and we should know this morning, Church, that this is always a present active way of living. It’s not something that Gaius had just done at some point back in the past, or for some time in the past. John says, indeed, you are walking in the truth. It’s present tense.
And so it is for us this morning. It’s a present tense question: Are you walking in the truth? Are we walking in the truth?
John rejoiced to hear that Gaius was doing so and he writes to express that joy. And isn’t it true that if we are recognizing and experiencing how urgent and how blessed it is to walk in the truth that then we would necessarily want to also be involved in the work, feel the need to be involved in the work, of sending out that truth to others?
You see that walking in the truth leads to working for the truth, and John writes to express his gratitude that Gaius is doing just that. Look at verses 5 through 8, because again here we see that these brothers, these itinerant Gospel preachers mentioned already in verse 3, who return to John’s church with a good report regarding Gaius walking in the truth, also gave a good report about him and about the reception and the support that they received from him. John writes here to commend him for it: “Beloved, it’s a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified about your love before the church.”
Gaius served these traveling missionaries with the ministry of hospitality. Of course, it’s obvious here, we’re reading, we don’t see that word “hospitality” actually mentioned here in the text, but that’s what John is describing. These men, they were brothers in Christ when they showed up, but they were strangers to Gaius when they arrived. One of the primary Greek words for hospitality is actually just that. It breaks down into “love of stranger,” love of stranger, loving the stranger by welcoming them in. And perhaps because of these verses here, if Gaius as an unsung hero is known for anything, maybe he’s known for the ministry or in connection with hospitality.
It’s a vital practice within the Church. It’s a vital practice within our church. We might ask as we look around, this is a large room. We have a lot of newer folks here. We might ask how it is that in a church this size that brothers and sisters who begin as strangers might find their way to become friends. There are probably a number of answers to that question, but certainly one of them is through the ministry of hospitality. That’s an important piece.
Mike Miller is actually going to preach on that next Sunday evening, so I’m not going to steal anymore of his sermon here on that this morning.
But given what we can see about Gaius’ life, we wouldn’t be surprised to discover that he was practicing that kind of hospitality in the context of his own church.
But as we’ve seen already, the hospitality specifically that’s being commended here is actually being practiced with those who are coming from another church, specifically those who were traveling as Gospel missionaries to spread the truth about Jesus. That was vital work. In part because as we see in verse 7, these men had, it says, gone out for the sake of the name. That is, they had gone out for the express purpose of preaching and teaching about Jesus doing the work of helping to support and build up and extend the Church, and in so doing, it says, they had gone out with this commitment, to accept nothing from the Gentiles, or from those who were not believers, at least yet, in Jesus.
That makes sense. It makes sense because while there may be a good number of ventures about which Christians and non-Christians, believers and unbelievers, might share an interest, an investment in, or even to do so perhaps together, but proclaiming the truth about Jesus and building up the Church, that is the unique prerogative of the Church, of Christians, of those who have come to believe the truth about Jesus.
So these men, it says, went out committed to depending upon the help and the hospitality of other believers living in other places. So that’s what we see her in the text, but the context is also important here. I don’t know how much you keep up with all the latest archeological studies that are coming out, but you might not be aware but the latest archeological data that’s coming out is showing that there was, in fact, no internet in the first century. We might ask the question, “How did they do it? How did they get along?”
No way to quickly and easily keep up with friends and family living in other places, but to be quite frank, you probably didn’t have a lot of friends and family living in other places, far beyond you. A lot of your community was very locally defined. In addition, of course, the hospitality industry has grown leaps and bounds since this time. There was no Airbnb app at the moment. You couldn’t just Google best pizza spots in Ephesus. There were certainly places you could stay, there were inns, though those could be at times dangerous. Sometimes those would be filled with certain temptations. Not the most encouraging spot for a traveling preacher, a Gospel preacher, missionary, to stay and be encouraged on their way. So as they went out, they did so depending upon the reception and the hospitality and the help of other Christians living in other places who would at least initially be strangers to them.
Not just to receive them with a place to sleep, though no less than that, but perhaps at times also to help support them and encourage them and send them on their way again. That’s how these missionaries could keep going. That’s how they could keep going.
So it’s interesting even just to see this morning how much the early spread of the Gospel depended upon this ministry of hospitality. It’s why John’s so eager to express his gratitude here to Gaius – Brother, it’s a faithful thing that you do – and encourage him to continue. Why? He says that’s what we ought to do, to support people like these, and that in so doing we actually find ourselves to be fellow workers of and for the truth.
You see, that’s what Gaius was. That’s what Gaius was, a fellow worker for the truth. Like most all of us here this morning, he wasn’t one who went out for the sake of the name. Which doesn’t mean that he wasn’t personally involved in sharing the Gospel with those around him. Again, we look at a person like Gaius, we probably wouldn’t be surprise to see that this man was one committed to doing evangelism with those around him, neighbors and friends and family.
But we’re reminded here that along with the importance of sharing the Gospel with those who are close to us, it’s also important and a privilege to be involved in sending the Gospel to those who live beyond us.
While our context is obviously different, there’s still a role for that kind, this kind of hospitality in supporting the work of missions, the preaching, the proclaiming, the teaching of the Gospel around the world today.
We might even think of our own church, like when we have our missions conferences and we need places for those church planters and the missionaries, Gospel workers, or the pastors, maybe coming from other places, coming in to stay, to enjoy some fellowship, maybe somebody to simply just listen to them, to pray for them, a place to be engaged and to be encouraged, maybe a place to have somebody that would drive them around, or maybe let them borrow a car so they could drive themselves around.
Honestly, at a church like those, we have those kind of workers, at a church like ours we have those kind of workers coming in all the time, and I know actually that a number of you are engaged in just that kind of thing, and you should be encouraged. It’s a faithful thing that you do.
I think there’s also a broader application for us here this morning, though, because really there’s a broader question that Gaius’ actions are responding to, and that’s this, that’s this question – What can I do from where I am? What can I do from where I am with the resources I’ve been entrusted to steward to encourage the work of sending out the truth?
Or we might even hone that in a little bit more based on the example we see in Gaius’ life. What can I do not only to send out Gospel workers, but to help them keep going once they’re out there? What can I do not only to help send out Gospel workers, but to help them keep going once they’re out there?
Of course, that ministry, that work can be very rewarding, and no doubt we could hear many testimonies to such from those we support and send out. But it could also be very difficult, and the finances sometimes can be the least of the worries. The spiritual challenges, the burdens that are faced, the unique temptations that are experienced. The common temptations that are experienced in a different place, the distance and separation from close friends and family, the significant life moments, the holidays, the family events that are missed while they’re gone, the ongoing realities of living in another culture. Sometimes loneliness, the discouragements, the pressing needs for wisdom.
This is where a Gaius-kind of ministry can be so important. How can we as those not called to go out lean in to help those who are keep going? How can those of us not called to go out lean in to help those who are keep going? And we have so many opportunities just here within the context of our own church, not to mention if we were to think of all the people, the workers, the works, that just by virtue of relationships in this room would extend beyond those supported by our church, but you might not be aware that we are currently supporting, as a church, over 90 different agencies, including over 60 individual workers directly engaged in Gospel works all around the world.
So I’m so thankful for the leadership of Mike Miller, thankful for the leadership of our outreach and missions team. I’m thankful for so many of you here in this church that give and support and pray and host and encourage and visit and write so that we as a church can be involved together in this Gaius kind of ministry, and by God’s grace we are, and it’s something that we can give great thanks for.
But as we look towards the fall, as summer is moving towards an end here, and as we look towards the fall, maybe the start of a new ministry here, what an opportunity for us to reflect perhaps, maybe just to be encouraged in what you’ve already been doing and to see it’s a faithful thing that you’re doing, to keep going.
Or maybe for some of us it is to think, “How could I be more involved in this kind of ministry?” Maybe it’s to grab one of those supported workers booklets that we have and to start with your family, or maybe with some roommates, around dinner, to just pray through those workers. Maybe with our small groups beginning back to their regular schedule of meetings as we get started back this fall is to say, as a small group, let’s choose a missionary to adopt for this coming year, to pray consistently for them and look for practical ways to express encouragement. Maybe it’s to plan to use some vacation time to go and visit one of those workers who might welcome a friendly face and a visit from home.
I know that just this week I was talking a little about this to Mike Miller who mentioned to me that a number of our church planters or pastors overseas that we’re involved with, supporting, have mentioned to him how encouraging it has been when some folks from this church, who happened to be vacationing in the area, simply stopped by to worship with him on a Sunday morning, and mentioned, “Hey, I’m from Christ Covenant. Know that we support you. It’s a great privilege.” Just to see and be encouraged in that way.
Or maybe it’s to participate in a short-term mission trip, like some number of you have done this summer, to come alongside or participate in and encourage those supported workers in their ministry. Or maybe it is in prayerful dependence upon God to ask and think about increasing your giving.
But here is an opportunity for us to pray, or maybe to e-mail Mike Miller and ask what would be a helpful thing to do. We can’t each of us, all of us, do everything and we don’t need to, and it won’t all look the same, but let’s continue to pray and ask God for creative ways that we might actively be fellow workers for the truth.
Two important reminders from Gaius’ life. First, walk in the truth. Second, work for the truth.
One final reminder that comes really to us as a sort of warning this morning, and more from the contrast that we see between Gaius and Diotrephes this morning, and that’s this – that we should watch out for pride. Watch out for pride.
Look at verses 9 and 10, and we’ll look at this one briefly together. But like Gaius, we don’t know very much about Diotrephes. But unlike Gaius, what we know isn’t really good. Verse 9 you see here says that Diotrephes had disregarded apostolic authority. Apparently a prior letter had been sent, written to the church, but Diotrephes had refused to acknowledge it. Not only that, he had been actively undermining John’s ministry, spreading malicious falsehoods in the church, sowing seeds of discord, and he was even it says here trying to put a stop to the support of those very missionaries that Gaius is commended for helping. It’s again part of why John sits down and writes this letter, looking to encourage and to strengthen Gaius’ resolve in light of Diotrephes’ opposition.
But what we want to see this morning as we move towards the close is not just what Diotrephes was doing, but why he was doing it. What was behind what he was doing?
Look what it says: “Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first.” Pride. Self-assertion. The desire to be first, the lust for position, the craving to be celebrated, the longing to be served. It’s something that is deadly, actually, to us as individuals. We see here it’s also so divisive and disruptive and even destructive to the life and the work of the church, and so it’s something that we need to be on the watch for.
Because it’s not just something that is a temptation that is particularly peculiar to certain folks. It’s a temptation that resides in the heart of every fallen human being, and it remains in the life of every born-again Christian.
It will not be possible to walk well in the truth and it will not be possible to work well for the truth if we are given over to, if we are eaten up with pride.
Thankfully, it seems here that Gaius is not, is one for whom pride is in check.
So we might ask the question then this morning, “How is that the case?” Well, it’s not necessarily plastered on the text this morning, but I think there is a clue for us here about something that can be of help for us as we look to do so. Look one more time at verse 6, look one more time at verse 6, because John says there, “You’ll do well to send them on their journey in a manner that is worthy of God.” In a manner that’s worthy of God. It’s the motivation that John provides for Gaius to this work that he’s involved in, the worth of God. The worthiness of God.
Of course, that’s what’s behind, we’ve heard this before, here and other places, no doubt, that’s what lies behind our word for “worship,” worth-ship. Worship is to recognize and respond appropriately to worth. Worship of God is to recognize and respond appropriately to God’s worth. It’s not only the motivation here that John provides for walking in the truth and for working for it, it is also the antidote to the disease of pride that is so deadly and will destroy both of those.
So here’s the thing – God is worthy because of who He is.
I want you to listen just to part of our confession of faith, the Westminster Confession, how it summarizes the Scriptures in describing God. I’m reading from a modernized version this morning, and I’m reading only selected parts here for brevity’s sake because it goes on for quite a bit, and yet listen to how God is described.
God is infinite in being and perfection. He’s completely pure, unchangeable, eternal. He’s beyond our understanding. He’s almighty. Completely wise, completely holy, completely free, completely absolute. He is completely loving, gracious, merciful, and patient. He overflows with goodness and truth. The only source of all being. Everything is revealed and completely open to Him. He has complete sovereign dominion over all things.
We might ask how can human pride thrive in light of who God is. Standing in that light, as we gaze into the perfections of God, how can thoughts of our own greatness swell up into our hearts? How can, when it comes to walking in the truth, and when it comes to working for the truth, how can we not also then agree with the confession as it goes on to say, “Therefore to Him is due whatever worship, whatever service, whatever obedience He is pleased to require from angels, human beings, and all other creatures. God is worthy because of who He is.”
But here’s one more thing we need to remember, especially when we consider this sin of pride as we see it in Diotrephes, who loved to put himself first – to remember Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God. He is the image of the invisible God. He’s the Word made flesh. He’s the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of His nature, and that Jesus, who is the same Jesus who said, “I am the Truth,” also said, and interestingly here said this in the context of a dispute among His followers about who would get the places of honor, but said, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them, but it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all, for even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
You see that He who is eternally first did not grasp at being first but showed His greatness actually in taking on the form of a servant and humbling himself, to be born and to die as a man that we might be born again, that we might have life with Him, and therefore Paul says God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, the name in which these brothers were sent out, the name in which we worship, the name in which we serve, the name in which we walk, the name which we hold out to the world as the name by which all men and women might have life, the name of Jesus, so that at the name of Jesus every knee would bow and every tongue would confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
So then Gaius and Diotrephes, I guess along with him, they remind us then to watch out for pride. They remind us also to fight pride with worship.
Friends, that’s part of what makes what we’re doing here this morning even so utterly important, so crucial for us, to gather together, to worship, week after week after week, and to remember, to remember little reminders perhaps like this, little reminders, though, that can be of such great importance, that we must walk in the truth, encouragement to work for the truth, to watch out for pride.
Three basic reminders, simple yet truly significant, as we walk in them.
So may God help us to remember, and may He help us to live in these ways.
Let’s pray to that end.
Father, thank You again for Your Word this morning, and even just simple reminders like these, from another life, in another time, in another place, and yet significant in bearing upon our lives today and now. Help us to be those people who would walk in the truth. Strengthen us as we look to lean in and work for the truth and help us, God, to watch out for the growth of pride in our hearts. O God, even now as we sing again, would You help us in our worship to see Your greatness, to see the greatness of the Lord Jesus, and to grow in our love and affection that You would become greater, that we would become less in our own thoughts and minds. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.