Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Mining the Scriptures: 3 John 13-14

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As John closes his epistle, he notes that there is much more he could write to Gaius, but it was his preference to share those things “face to face.” This no doubt was in part a result of his relationship with his beloved friend, but there are also advantages to a “face to face” conversation.

We can learn much from this expressed desire. In our time we communicate not only through written letters, but also through truncated social media posts, email, telephone and video calls. None of these methods of communication are as effective as “face to face.”

Human beings communicate through body language and inflection almost as readily as through the words themselves. Whenever possible, be it exhortation or admonition, such sentiments are best expressed “face to face.”

As John closed his letter he expressed the hope that he would have that “face to face” meeting with his friend. He prayed God’s peace upon Gaius, a welcome respite considering the conflict he was experiencing with the contentious Diotrophes. What a wonderful comfort to know the concern that faithful brethren have for one another. Such expressions of love are always beneficial and appreciated.

Mining the Scriptures: 3 John 9-12

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Can you imagine the audacity of a man who would seek to exalt himself against an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ? That is exactly what Diotrephes did, as he sought preeminence in a local congregation, and refused to accept John and his companions.

This note, which explains the tactics of Diotrephes, serves as an object lesson to Christians today. The man lied maliciously about John. Further, he compelled others to do his bidding, and put them out of the church if they were unwilling to go along with his agenda.

The lesson, concisely put in a quotation most commonly attributed to Edmund Burke, is that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” God’s word tells us what to do with men such as Diotrephes (cf. Tit. 3:10).

In contrast, John calls upon his readers to imitate good rather than evil. Where Diotrephes is shown to be an example of evil, John puts forth Demetrius as an example of good. He had a good reputation, one that was valid because he was obedient to truth. For this, he received the commendation of the great apostle.

Mining the Scriptures: 3 John 5-8

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3 John 5-8

Gaius was a wonderful and hospitable man. This is evident from our text, where the beloved apostle John commends him for the love he showed for “the brethren and for strangers.”

Though hospitality is a physical thing, it is a spiritual work. It is a means of supporting the Christian laborer, as evidenced by the words of our text, “If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well.” One who is doing the Lord’s work should be encouraged and helped in that work. This is something that even the babe in Christ is able to do. To put it simply, you may not be able to eloquently share the word, but you can supply a comfortable bed and warm meal for those who do!

2 John 9-11 also indicates that the work of hospitality is a spiritual endeavor. John there indicates that the offer of your home to a teacher is the equivalent of extending the hand of fellowship. That is why we are not to extend such hospitality to a false teacher, for “he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (11).

Hospitality is the Lord’s work!

Mining The Scriptures: 3 John 1-4

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3 John 1-4

Some of the greetings in the epistles of the New Testament are wonderful expressions of praise to the faithful. This is a grand example of such a commendation.

Gaius was an exceptional Christian. John’s words were not false flattery. These are inspired words, and Gaius here received praise from the Holy Spirit.

What was Gaius commended for? He walked in truth! Where many today put little emphasis on the truth of God, Gaius was notable because of his allegiance to it. As John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (vs. 4).

Here is the key. Gaius not only familiarized himself with God’s truth, but he walked in it. He was obedient to it. He lived his life by it. “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).