3 John
Who Wants To Be First?

Sermon Notes

3 John 11 (NASB), “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does what is good is of God; the one who does what is evil has not seen God.”

3 John (NASB) The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I was overjoyed when brothers came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.5 Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brothers and sisters, and especially when they are strangers; 6 and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.

7 For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8 Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may prove to be fellow workers with the truth.9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with malicious words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brothers either, and he forbids those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does what is good is of God; the one who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we testify too, and you know that our testimony is true. 13 I had many things to write to you, but I do not want to write to you with pen and ink; 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face. 15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.

  1. Do not imitate what is evil (Diotrephes).

• He loves to be first (v.9). • He does not accept/submit to the apostle John. • He accuses John with malicious words (v. 10). • He does not welcome travelling missionaries or those who do.

“Zeal for doctrine has in too many instances been narrow and prejudiced, mingled with the infirmities of personal pride and party spirit, and has hence led to unnecessary divisions and alienations of those who were in reality one in the faith.” - Charles Hodge

  1. Imitate what is good (Gaius).

• He puts others before himself. • He supports traveling missionaries. • He walks in the truth and in love (grace). • He brings joy to John and the church.

  1. God knows the difference.

First, Do not imitate what is evil (Diotrephes). Second, Imitate what is good (Gaius). Third, God knows the difference (and the specifics by name).

CONCLUSION: Who Wants to be First?

Mark 10:43 (NASB), “Whoever wants to become prominent among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wants to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”