Sunday School Material 5-3-15: Work Together for the Truth

(III John; 5/3/15)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Gaius set a fine example to follow, while Diotrephes set a terrible one. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to follow Gaius’ example.

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Read III John 1

I. Salutation. John writes to his friend. The friend’s name is Gaius. John mentions his loving Gaius in the truth. 

Applications –

- Friends in the truth. Notice in vs. 1 that it is important to have friends in the truth. First, there are too many people who have no friends. Some are lonely, and others are trying to make it through life by themselves.

However, God said that it is not good for man to be alone. This idea includes it not being good for anyone to try to live this life with no friends.

Second, there are even fewer people who have “friends in the truth.” This idea includes friends who are friends because of commitment to understanding and living by the truth. Church should be a place where we develop friends in the truth. Let’s work on developing friendships of truth in our churches.

Read III John 2-12

II. Message. John commends Gaius for his godly reputation of walking in the truth. A part of walking in the truth is showing and funding hospitality for those who are serving the Lord.

Diotrephes (dee-ott’-ref-ez) has a terrible reputation of being self-centered and hostile towards John and his work. However, Demetrius has a godly reputation.

Applications -

- Encouraging well-being. Notice in vs. 2 that John is concerned with his reader’s health, wealth, and spiritual well-being. In like manner, we should seek the well-being of one another.

In addition to praying, we should encourage one another to do those things that are within our power to help us be wise stewards of our health, wealth, and spirituality/discipleship. Let’s work on encourage one another’s well-being.

- Ministry fruit. Notice in vss. 3-6 the joy of seeing some fruit from your ministry. First, as disciples of Christ, we should be concerned with helping people get saved and growing in the Lord. We can do this with our example. But we should also do it through strategic encouragement.

Second, it is rewarding to see those we minister to actually growing in the Lord. Think about how it feels to see people not only join church but to become disciples and take on leadership roles and face personal challenges in ways that glorify God.

Third, it is good to let people know when you believe they are doing well. Unfortunately, when you are among immature people, you have to be careful about public praise.

However, private praise is good also. Don’t wait until people are dead or gone to let them know how much you appreciate them. Let’s work on producing and appreciating ministry fruit.

- Being a supporter. Notice in vss. 6-8, 12 that it is good to help those who are doing ministry. First, there are many people who are already doing great things. They simply need some support. Instead of all of us trying to serve in Africa or build houses for the homeless, we can simply support those who are already doing a great job.

Second, we should strive to live so that people will feel comfortable supporting the ministry that we are engaged in, as was the case with Demetrius.

This calls for being faithful in our work and accountable with those things placed in our trust. Let’s work on supporting the ministry of others and being trustworthy enough for people to support us.

- Trouble makers. Notice in vss. 9-11 that there are some bad acting people in the church who need to be dealt with. First, as with Diotrephes, there are people who are more concerned with their own agenda than with God’s agenda. We should be aware of them and make sure we are not one of them.

Second, there are times when such bad elements have to be dealt with. There are times for warning and even dismissal if necessary.

Third, as in vs. 11 you can tell who is who by their behavior. Christianity is not about simply having a large amount of Bible knowledge at the tip of your tongue. God is calling us to live by His word.

Let’s work on being aware of trouble makers in the church and dealing with them in godly ways.

Read III John 13-14

III. Closing. John has more that he wants to say. However, he wants to talk to Gaius face-to-face. He urges the greeting of the friends by name.

Applications –

- Supportive relationships. Notice in vss. 13-14 the importance of having relationships in the church. Woe unto us, if we continue to major in teaching and carrying out activities, but fail to develop supportive relationships among those in the church.

We are members of a body, and the body parts need to be supportive and in relationship with one another. We are far from this when it takes people over a year to feel connected to the church family.

Let’s work on developing supportive and encouraging relationships in our church family. (The Pastor is working on the implementation of growth groups to help us move in this direction.)

Conclusion: Let’s work on following Gaius’ example. God has much for those who obey His will.

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