This message was part of the ‘Little Letters’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in mid 2018. The full series included the following sermons:
- Little Letters
- Little Letters
This sermon was based on 3 John.
1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
2 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. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Support and Opposition
5 Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6 who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8 Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.
9 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 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.
11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12 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.
13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.
Truth and Love – The Roots of the Church
- The Church is built on the amazing truth that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour and that He came to die for us. We need to remember the truth of what Jesus did for us and what it now means.
- We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love each other as we would want to be loved.
- In 3 John, Gaius is praised for living in truth and love – loving those around him and seeking their needs above his own. Gaius is perfectly demonstrating hospitality.
- Hospitality prevents us from being individualistic which is really countercultural in Western societies. We are called to love those around us, go out of our way to serve them and show God’s love to them. Shift the focus from what you can gain from an encounter with someone to how you can serve someone.
- Hospitality let’s us be enablers. By stepping out first and offering love to someone, it can free them to go on and do the same thing to someone else.
- Hospitality is integral. The Bible calls us to practise hospitality in Romans 12:13 and Hebrews 13:2. We are reminded that everything we have, we are just stewards of and are therefore called to be open-handed.
How to make hospitality central?
- Our actions and our words are so important. How can we encourage someone this week? Or how can we do something kind for someone when we see they are struggling, even if we don’t know that person well?
- Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to someone who you could reach out to, or ask Him for ideas to do some creative hospitality. Ask God to give you strength and love to be generous and hospitable to people you find difficult and see how you can love them this week.