Litmus Test for Christians
By Rev. Brian H. Mathis CSC, Ordained Minister Church of God, Cleveland TN
If you have never really looked at 3 John1:1-15, it is one of the three Epistles written by John the Apostle and is a total 15 verses containing 330 words it’s located between 2 John and Jude in the New Testament while it might seem like a small insignificant part of the whole Bible John addressed a particular relevant point at issue with in the church then and now and that is one of Christian character and how we are to treat all those who call Jesus Lord. You see the letter was written to a friend and fellow laborer in Christ by the name of Gaius. Just so you understand this man was not something so great in the early church that we have records recording all that he did for Christ the truth is nothing more than what you read in this passage is known about him. He was just a Christian like you or me who sought to serve God and those who followed Jesus.
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. 3 John 1:5-8 (ESV)
However the letter also addresses another individual who professed Christ, however John declares that he is not faithful to the church. His name is Diotrephes and this is what John said about him;
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. 3 John 1:9-10 (ESV)
Does this sound like something you may have experienced as you have attended or were part of a church? Having to deal with someone who desired to maintain control or who failed to recognize that God was the authority over their situation driving out all who did not agree with what they thought or did. Are you of this mindset that the church is yours and you won’t be run off by anyone and that no one is going to make changes that you don’t agree with? If so I want to say this were you are will not see any growth until you accept the truth. The truth is God does not bless evil and when we treat one another in a manner that does not show the love of God than what we are doing is evil. John went on to say:
11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 3 John 1:11 (ESV)
Do you want to know if someone is walking with God or not. John provided the litmus test; if what we do can be considered evil or wrong we are far from Him. If what we do is good than God is present and working in our lives. The sad part is I don’t think in our world today individuals have a moral enough compass to determine which is which. So now we call evil good and good evil. If you want to be found like Gaius; faithful and true to God, than it is time you learn to walk in the light of God’s Word.
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