Wow, what a stupid title. Anyway, here’s the outline of a devotional on 3 John I did in staff meeting a couple months back. This is part of my campaign to throw out my notes that are lying around and to put their content in a more permanent place (i.e. the interweb).

Truth

  • Truth is the basis for fellowship in the body of Christ (v. 1). People naturally gravitate to those who hold something in common with them; we have in common the truth of Jesus Christ.
  • Walking in truth (v. 3) leads to love (v. 6). When we really believe the truth, it will permeate our lives; as a result, we will love others.

Love

  • Love is an overflow of truth (vv. 3-6). Once again, when we are saturated with the truth of Jesus Christ, we will love.
  • Love supports those who proclaim truth (vv. 5-8). The primary object of love is those who bring the truth of Christ.
  • Love does not reject truth like Diotrephes did (v. 9). Love does not stand apart from truth. Genuine love rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). It prefers truth to preserving one’s own pride.

What is not love

  • Putting yourself first (v. 9). Love is giving; the love of Christ means giving yourself to the service of others, counting them “more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
  • Not acknowledging authority; showing disrespect (v. 9). Love must be shown not only to peers but to those in authority. Respect their position, knowing that God has placed them over you (Romans 13:1). Yes, this means that you can’t mock the President, whoever he or she may be. Shake his hand, smile, and tell him why you think he’s wrong.
  • Being unwelcoming (v. 10). Don’t give the cold shoulder to other people just because you don’t get along with them.
  • Preventing others from being welcoming (v. 10). Don’t tell your friends to give the cold shoulder to other people just because you don’t get along with them.
  • Falsely accusing others (v. 10). This may be unintentional — you could be making false assumptions or judging someone else’s motivations or attitude…only God can do that (1 Corinthians 4:5).
  • Abusing authority (v. 10). Diotrephes used his authority to shut down his opponents. Remember that we are called to serve, not to lord it over others. Do not exceed the bounds of your authority.

Imitate

  • We are imitators, whether we like to admit it or not!
  • Imitate people who do what is good (Demetrius in v. 12), not people who do what is evil (Diotrephes in vv. 9-10). “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals'” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Bonus! Consider this analogy:

Truth : Love :: Faith : Works

Sorry about that…the SAT is a distant but painful memory for most people.

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