Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Healthy Christian Souls love to do right - 3 John 1:9-11

3 John 1:2 "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers."

Today's post continues a series of posts derived from the smallest book in the Bible - John's 3rd Epistle. The above opening verse is identified as the key verse and spells out the theme of 3 John, namely "Healthy Christianity". The phrase within 3 John 1:2 has captured my attention in that the Apostle describes his readers as those who have "prospering souls". In this series we are exploring the idea of "the healthy Christian soul". Thus far we have looked at how healthy Christian souls....

1). Prize walking in the truth
2). Prize faithfulness to the Lord. 
3). Love the work of God

We continue onto the fourth trait of the healthy Christian soul expressed by the Apostle John in his third letter, namely...

Healthy Christian souls love doing right
3 John 1:11 reads - "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God." A healthy Christian does not view good works as duties to perform but as delightful expressions of love. When the heart of a person is regnerated and converted in saving faith, God begins to take what are "have to's" and turns them into "want to's". 

Why would John urge his readers not to imitate what is evil? There was a man at the small church to which he wrote who was exercising tyranny over the flock - a man by the name of Diotrophes. The irony of Diotrophes was that even though his name in the original Greek means "nourished by love", the kind of love he fed upon was not God's love, but self-love. The result? Chaos. A quick summary of Diotrophes unhealthy soul provides a contrast to what John is urging his readers to be: namely healthy Christiani souls. Notice quickly the signs of unhealthy Christianity in Diotrophes:

1. "loves to be first", i.e self-love 
3 John 1:9

2. "does not accept what we say", i.e self-sufficiency. 3 John 1:9

3. "unjustly accusing us with wicked words", i.e accusing. 3 John 1:10

4. "does not receive the brethren", i.e argumentative. 3 John 1:10

5. "he forbids those who do so", that is, Disotrophes opposes those who are united around the cause of those advancing God's Kingdom in Christ. Hence, Distrophes is divisive .

When we take all five of the traits of unhealthy Christianity: self-loving, self-sufficient, accusatory, divisive, argumentative; we can see why John is urging his readers not to imitate such a man. Instead, John is urging his readers to not just be good people, but to be the kind of people that have works flowing from God's goodness flowing through them. Galatians 5:22-23 explains perfectly what such a lifestyle ought to be: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Therefore healthy Christian souls love to do right.

More tomorrow

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