Crown of Life Lutheran Adult Bible Study
May 6, 2012
Introduction: A very senior Apostle, in the twilight of his life and ministry, is writing to a church carrying out its assigned mission in the face of the expected opposition from the natural enemies of the church. What ongoing perspectives can we gain for ministry and our mission today in Fort Myers?
I. Truth-born love
3 John 1-4
To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
1. The Elder: The significance of John’s position in life and ministry.
2. Gaius: John’s Christlike love for him mentioned often.
3. John’s desire for him: health, prosperity, spiritual health.
4. John’s joy: reported faithfulness, spiritual children walking in the truth.
1. What is the connection between truth and love?
2. Practically, how can we show this love, find this same joy in serving our Lord and the fellowship of believers?
II. Self-less Love
3 John 5-8
5Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.
1. The self-less efforts he expended for unknown brothers.
2. Those efforts did not go unnoticed.
3. You would do well to continue what you have done before.
4. That’s God’s name may be glorified.
5. They seek no support from those they are trying to reach.
6. What want to want to continue to be co-workers in connection with the truth.
1. How does the Lord want us to view our fellow believers?
2. How are we to view our missionaries?
3. What can we do to show our support for fellow believers/missionaries?
9I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 10So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
1. Unpreserved letter of John?
2. Diotrephes’ unloving attitude: pride leading to evil words against John.
3. His further evil action: removing those from the church who sought to help the missionaries John had sent.
1. Is there a danger for us today?
2. How can we cut down on the evil spoken of others while at the same time cultivate more open exchanged between us?
IV. God-Imitating Love
11Dear 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. 12Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.
13I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.
1. The vivid contrast between good and evil.
2. Demetrius is spoken well of by all.
3. Pen and ink vs. face to face, literally, “mouth to mouth.”
4. Greeting the brothers by name.
1. To be a brother to someone, what needs imitating today?