III John

Vs. 5, “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you.”  Gaius was commended for doing what Diotrephes was not; giving hospitality.  This is why it was so important to know the truth, for Diotrephes swung on the other pendulum by completely refusing to show hospitality.  Gaius is a wonderful example for us as we consider someone who stood up against opposition and did what was best.  John writes to send encouragement since he was not able to come right away and deal with Diotrephes.  John also points out that Demetrius was another wonderful example to look to.  In this letter, we see the importance of Godly pastoral authority.

Regarding application…Addressing Conflict.  Vs. 11, “Dear 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.”  I appreciate how John does not ignore the situation.  Rather, he firmly addresses it and will come soon to handle such conflict.  Having just used Diotrephes as the bad example, John now commends Demetrius.  Perhaps you have had experiences of a “Diotrephes” in your own church.  I completely believe that Godly leadership should have the confidence and wisdom to address such conflicts in the church.  And if you are not in a leadership position be like Gaius and Demetrius who chose to do good rather than evil towards others.

Galatians 6

Vs. 7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”  Question: Are we living by the flesh or by the Spirit?  Paul now shares some practical ways we as Christians can live in community with each other.  We are to share our burdens with each other (vs. 1-5), but must be careful to do it wisely and gently.  We then are reminded of the responsibility we have as Christians (vs. 7-10).  Doing good things will not save us, but one of the sure evidences of saved people is doing good works.  Our lives as Christians is not just a personal faith, but a sharing of community in the church and in this world.  We are called to share the love of Christ and do good in His name!  In the last part of our chapter (vs. 11-18), Paul uses this opportunity to summarize his overall purpose of why he is sending this letter to Galatia.  Remember, Paul is responding to the Judaizers who are trying to force the old ways upon Gentile believers (vs. 12-13).  Most importantly, Paul reminded them that his identity was found in his new creation through Jesus Christ (vs. 14-18).

Regarding application…Don’t Give Up!  Vs. 9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  There will always be opportunities to do good in this life.  It takes time, blood, sweat and tears to build God’s church.  There are undoubtedly moments where we just want to throw up our hands in frustration.  Don’t give up.  Question: How do we stop from being weary?  Spending time with Jesus.  Hear Jesus’ own words in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  In God’s timing…we will reap a harvest!  But, we must be patient with each other, bearing the fruits of the Spirit that we read about yesterday.  And when it comes to the church, look how Paul made sure we didn’t forget about how important it was to love our fellow believers and do good for them!  What a timely reminder as I am preparing to ask my own church to step out in love and service!  I love God’s timing!

Revelation 2

Jesus speaks directly the churches, so let’s examine a bit further into each church:

Ephesus

.”  Ephesus had become a large & proud church…they had accomplished plenty.  Discerned false teachings, suffered for Christ, grew in their knowledge…yet they had lost the most important ingredient of all: Love.  Without love the light of Christcould go out.Vs. 4, ”

Smyrna

.”  Smryna had opposition from both unbelieving Gentiles & hostile Jews.  Though they lived in a affluent city, they found themselves in poverty (maybe because of sanctions against Christians at the time).  They were a picture of a suffering church.  Small & beaten…yet Jesus reminded them that the crown of life awaits them in this temporary world we liven in.Vs. 9, ”

Pergamum

.”  Pergamum was a city full of idolatry…and where idolatry is…Satan flourishes.  This was not a easy city to live in as a Christian.  Christians were compromising their faith & were peer pressured into following the crowd.  They were accepting things that God had clearly laid out to his children that are wrong….Idol’s & sexual immorality.Vs. 14, ”

Thaytira

).  We must be careful when it comes to accepting activities in this world that contradict our Lord!.”  Thaytira would be the opposite of Ephesus …plenty of love, but no discernment.  They were easily swayed by false teachers, particularly a woman prophetess by the names Jezebel (Vs. 20, ”

Regarding application…Good News & Bad News.  Vs. 23b, “Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”  Just when we think we are doing well in our churches…in our walks with the Lord…we are reminded here in Scripture that there is no time to grow complacent.  I am reminded of when someone tells us, “I have good news & bad news.”  We usually don’t even want to hear the bad news in the first place.  Jesus came to us today with good news & bad news.  Yet, the beauty of Jesus is that He made sure to praise the churches for the good things, share the bad things in truth & love, and then share the best part by sharing what happens when we overcome!  Dearest brothers & sisters, as Jesus searches our hearts today…let him show us what it is in our lives that we need to correct!  Let us not be like Jezebel from Thyatira who was given the chance to repent, but chose to harden her heart instead.  Let us overcome together in prayer & petition to our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ!