May 28

Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 1
     Psalms 81-82
     Isaiah 29
     III John 1
''I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (III John 4)
       You may ask why a little book, composed of only 14 verses, has merited a place among the 27 books of the New Testament. Of course, a closer look and deeper study reveals a wonderful insight into the Christian community about the time of the turn of the First Century.
       The names of three men are mentioned in III John, and each of these finds his counterpart in churches today. There is Gaius, the dependable layman in the church, who is unselfish and hospitable in opening his home to strangers. Then, there is Diotrephes, whose character is revealed in this brief sketch. He was the kind of man who wished to impose his will upon the rest of the church, and forced others to do things his way, even if he was wrong. The third person is Demetrius, a fair-minded man concerned only with the truth and apparently not interested in personalities. It has been suggested that Demetriusdelivered this letter to Gaius, after being written by the Apostle John.
       Gaius-The first eight verses of this epistle reveal this man Gaiusto be the kind of church member who strengthened the church toward New Testament evangelism and world missions. This man loved the truth and faithfully gave of himself and his resources that others may know the truth. The foundation for all missionary activity, all soul-winning efforts, is described in verse seven.  Why do we go?  For the sake of the Name - Jesus! That is the motivation of the true missionary, to go not in the name of the church or religion, but in the Name of Jesus. 
        Dioptrephes-Not only is there great rejoicing in local churches, but  often there  is reproach. In Diotrephes, we see the characteristics that have limited the work of the Kingdom of God and sullied the witness of the church.
        Often in the New Testament, people with pagan names changed their names when they became a Christian. This man did not. His name came from two words which mean ''zeus-nursed''. This reveals his pagan background, and he refused to change his name, which revealed the kind of spirit he had. The flagrant sins of which Diotrepheswas guilty were ambition and authoritarianism. John stated that Diotrephesloved the pre-eminence. He was the kind of man who wanted to be the chair1nan of all the committees, the moderator at all meetings, and prominent in the denomination. He wanted to call all the plays, pull all the strings, and have everything revolve around him. He loved the pre-eminence. This type of person is a poison and a cancer to the Body of Christ called the local church.
       Demetrius - This letter was probably delivered to Gaiusby Demetrius. It was a three-fold recognition given to him that is the highest imaginable. First, Demetriushad a good report of all people. That means those in the church family, in the community, and all who knew him. Secondly, his life is devoted to truth. In the third place, John added his own apostolic approval and his commendation of this man. Demetriusmay have been a missionary himself. He may have been one of the traveling evangelists, and needed this word of introduction to Gaius.
       These are three kinds of church members. Which of these men are you most like today?  In your prayer time today, ask God to remove every characteristic from your life that is found in Diotrephes. Develop those that will make you a Gaiusor Demetriusin your church.
       The island of Jamaicais a beautiful place to visit for a vacation, but you do not have to venture far from the resort areas to discover immense poverty, an awesome disease rate, incredible drug sales, and atrocious living conditions that these people face every day of their lives. What would be the greatest need in a place like this? We have searched our hearts because we have ministered there many times. There is a great need to reach the youth, because they are the part of the drug culture, and there are many efforts to do this. There is a great need to help these people, who are in poverty, build their churches and to have plenty of food. There is a tremendous need everywhere you look, but we believe the greatest need in a place like Jamaicais to train the national leaders to serve the Lord in the churches. If they are trained and committed, all the other things will happen.
''Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are hopeless against our prayers.'' SidlowBaxter