Make sure you follow good examples

Today’s Reading: 3 John 1:1-14 

Key Verse: Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 3 John 1:11

The third letter of John is one of the shortest in the New Testament but it has much to say to us. It’s a warm and honest pastoral letter. A straight-forward message from a pastor to his people. Where encouragement is deserved it’s are given, but where wrong is evident it’s not glossed over.

It’s largely made up of an assessment of three people he knew in the church. This kind of personal appraisal happens in large organizations where a person’s superior writes out an appraisal his abilities and shortcomings at work. A schoolteacher makes the same sort of assessment when he or she writes out a pupil’s report at the end of term. These reports are usually confidential, but in this instance, John’s assessment is made public to the whole world.

These three men are given as examples of the qualities that please God and the bad behaviors that can only cause damage to the person and the local church. Two good examples and one bad one. The bad example is Diotrephes he hindered others because he loved himself and wanted to have the pre-eminence.

But there were two good examples. Gaius who served others. He abounded in spiritual health, his life a visible lesson  because he was filled by the love of Christ. Also, Demetrius who attracted others. He was commended by all that knew him as a true man of God, a worthy ambassador of the Lord he served.

Most of what we learn in life is by imitating others. It’s natural for us to look up to others as our model and to copy them. John has made his searching assessment of these men and he leaves us with these words of advice: “Do not follow bad examples but good examples.”

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