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Questions for the Heart - 3 John 1-4

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 29, 2019 1:00 am

Questions for the Heart - 3 John 1-4

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 29, 2019 1:00 am

Third John is a personal letter between the great Apostle John and one of his closest friends, and it's astounding that the issues they faced haven't changed much over the past two millennia. As Pastor Davey unpacks the first four introductory verses, he raises five questions for which the answers are known only to each of us, respectively, and to God. So, let's use these promptings as a mirror for our souls and reflect upon how we are progressing in our own walk with the Lord.

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Over many acquainted with bought into the deception that gives us life plan for himself one day he can retire and get away from people and problems.

But here's what happened in the planning and saving and longing for the day when he can live for himself. He finally makes it any finally arrives with a shriveled up heart moment you decide what life is all about you is the moment you forfeit the kind of joy. John is going to describe the unwisdom for the heart. Stephen David continues through his series called cards from John. We've arrived at third John third John is a letter from John to one of his closest what's astounding about this letter is that the issues faced by John's friend are the same issues you face today. This lesson will be very practical. Stephen will be teaching from third John over the next several days as he begins to unpack the first four verses today you're gonna be faced with some questions, the kind of questions that only you can answer for yourself and the answers will help you understand the condition of your heart. This is an important lesson. So if you're able to open your Bible to third John is Stephen begins this lesson called questions for the heart here on wisdom for the heart is a fallen angel is been studying human tendencies and fault lines for several thousand years. He knows our tendencies is not on your reader signs you know that we normally shy away from sticking out. We would far rather choose comfort over character would much rather have happiness that holiness would rather talk about ourselves, then service was constantly running around seeking this context is in the within the assembly seeking some believer to Valerie Karen that discredit distract digraph first Peter five. What gets his attention more than anything out that what he hates the side of more than anything in the world today is the sign of a growing committed Bible saturated Christ honoring believer and he probably only dates that are or not nearly as much as the assembly of believers who are Bible saturated in Christ honoring devoted committed believers over the last few sessions we've been studying together John's warning to an anonymous woman and her children. He can write another postcard which we begin exploring today call third John turned their this is the shortest of John's three letters for second and third John third John is shorter than second John Neff you're comparing the length of these two letters right now instead of listening to me you're right. Third, John has more verses than second John verse numbers were added.

By the way, 1551 by an English printer name Robert Stevens was a tool and an aide to help the Bible student know where to pick up and verses to memorize wonderful when I say third John is shorter in length. The second John referring to the Greek language in which the letter was written in third. John has 26 less words than second John, which means my sermon series and third John will be about three sermons shorter than second John think that by faith I speak for your edification letting you know that and hoping that John is not only a personal letter between the apostle John in one of his closest friends. It also gives us some of the most interesting glimpses into life in a first century church. We got to discover that the church hasn't changed all that much, because people have been changed all that. Even though brand names and logos, and we are hearts the needs we have remained the same one where he wrote this in his introduction to third John that I found helpful. He writes wherever there are people there are problems, and wherever there are problems, there is the potential for solution. Third, John will make us face the question honestly in my part of the problem or up heart of the solution. You might remember in second John, the main concern of the apostle John was to warn this woman of heretics were going to try and use your home as a base of teaching operation will third John. The problem is not a heretic. The problem is hothead by the name of diopter fees and will get to him in a sermon later. Follow along as I read the introductory opening remarks of John in this letter, the elder to the beloved JS, whom I love and truth, beloved, you could render that my dearest friend. I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers for. I was very glad when brethren came in, testify to your truth. That is how you are walking in truth, I have no greater joy than to hear of my children in you'll notice immediately that except for a few modifications. This introduction sounds exactly like his introduction.

In second John, so what I wanted is his work in this ongoing series together. We put these postcards side-by-side is only approach. John's introductory comments today little different but I want to do is ask you some questions and I want to go to the Texan unpack the right answer.

I'm going to call these five questions questions for your heart and I'm saying that because you're the only person in here that fully knows the answer to these questions, apart from God. Question number 110 I think about look forward to and work toward most in life go back to the introduction where John identifies himself once again as simply the elder present computerized instead of throwing his weight around by announcing I'm the last living apostle member we covered that in second John instead of saying I was in a meeting of you. I am one of the original 12. He doesn't do that. Instead, he emphasizes his past oral shepherds heart was adjusted apostle delivering to this recipient and the church involved some kind of official word is official, it's inspired God's brave word but is going to emphasize that as an elder.

He is watching over believers with a heart of concern and love determine elder Presbyterians can also be rather literally translated old man old man entered the first century, the term typically referred to older men with the nuance that they were older men, who by virtue of their lifestyles have earned the respect of the body they leave. John, I think here is representing both meaning he is representing that he is a shepherds heart over the flocked and he will be leading and influencing a number of churches in the area nearby but is also I think referring to himself as an old man, you could revisit the old man to my dearest friend gazing immediately. Who this was.

We know John is in his early to mid 90s as he dashes off these two memos. These two postcards closely together second and third John by the way I say all that this was set up the question, what's John doing doing what he loves doing. He's doing what he's been doing. He's doing what he's look forward to doing writing letters of encouragement to other believers making contact.

Discipling serving Christ praying teaching younger believers. I think John would have understood the perception and worldview of our generations, planning and longing for the ages of summer.

After 65 about 95 or you can finally get away from it all.

Finally live unencumbered by the problems and the people of life can't wait till I reach that today I'm right off in the sunset. Beloved one of the vilest distractions of the devil that you need to save everything you can and plan everything in your life toward that glorious day when you ride off into the sunset and live off the interest of that money and get away from people and get away from serving other bats that were against stewards about is the goal to eventually reach the point where you get to go away and watch the tide coming is that I'm 60 now so I can be blown I'm older, I'm not as old as you but I'm over me encourage you, as your pastor teacher that this can be the most productive season in your life for the cause of Christ. You know that older house parents, teachers, doctors, Dennis Palmer's painters, bookkeepers, secretaries are needed in ministry positions and places all around the world today. The church is in need of volunteers in every facet of business life from carpentry technology. John might be an old man, but instead of reaching for the rocking chair. He still has some health he's reaching for the pen and another sheet of papyrus paper is dashing off another memo… Always engaged, involved, praying, and he's actually planning to go and visit dance in that church as well.

Now I feel I got the kind of guy that if he got in his way and run over you with his car. They probably wouldn't even notice. Except the little speedbump don't reach for the rocking chair that is your goal in life and I'll never forget reading although I've long since forgotten the authors name rather tragic line where he said that he said this, I have never known a happy old man I've never known happy old man. How many do you perhaps it's because the older men he was acquainted with had bought into the deception that if he gives his life to plan for himself and his estate in his finances and his portfolio so that one day he can retire and get away from people and problems. But here's what's happening in the process of planning and saving and longing for the day when he can live all for himself.

He finally makes it finally arrives. But he arrives and in and through that process.

He arrives with a shriveled up parked matter how old you are 18 or ADA matter. The moment you decide. Life is all about you is the moment you forfeit the kind of joy that John is going to describe in this brief letter, but for starters, let me reintroduce you to the apostle John, who happens to be happy old man. Question number two. Is there anything or is there anyone I'm discipling or encouraging in the faith, he writes next, my dearest friend beloved Gaius, whom I love in true, we frankly don't know anything about Gaius.

Apart from this postcard.

There are other men with the names that appear in the New Testament using one of them.

Gaius was actually very common name. It was one of 18 names the Roman families gave their firstborn sons as were the first name so very, the fact that he's hosting global workers those were serving the church in their travels implies that he has some well and is using it for the glory of God. What we do know is that he was one of John's closest friends and really that's all you need to know to appreciate Gaius John Ferdinand four times with the terms beloved you'll notice in verse 1000. Beloved first two. He refers to him again, you could write in the margin of your notes.

My dearest friend in verse five the beginning.

He refers to them again like that over in verse 11 still talking to Gaius refers to him as beloved or my dearest friend Paul, why do we use the same word when he called Timothy his beloved child in first Corinthians 417 and then again where he called Timothy his beloved son, second Timothy one and verse two and I said in my heart I know I said again while the believer is never referred to in the New Testament as a child of the church were his children of the church shirts didn't birth you in that regard.

What we do find in the New Testament as a reference to spiritual children who are under the care of those who either let them to faith in Christ or are discipling them in the word of God. They are children, not biological offspring. They are spiritual offspring further down in verse four John I to Gaius as one of his children. Effective use of the possessive adjective in referring to Gaius is one of my children and is emphasized which strongly suggests that John had personally led Gaius to faith in Christ is John's passion to disciple make to encourage tutee. This is is is joy leaving somebody through the gospel and then listening to Van in their presence, praying with them as they call on the name of the Lord to be saved. Romans 1013 dictators in any anything more thrilling than that one of my greatest concerns is the most Christians I know in the church at large of never once attempted to lead an unsaved person through the claims of Jesus Christ in their presence. Help them as they call on the name of the Lord to be safe and what really bothers me. What concerns me is that the average Christians that I meet don't seem to lose any sleep over that.

Do we have spiritual offspring. Question number three. If my physical health, matched my spiritual health, what kind of shape what IBM John writes in verse two beloved, my dearest friend. I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good how just as your soul prospers that this is by the way, a very typical introductory comment in letters and John's generation which basically means I hope you're feeling well. Nothing wrong with that effect. This lying here in the text. I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health was shared in correspondence with unbelievers. In fact, they would be praying to their God for this.

It was so common, they reduce that phrase to six Latin letters which basically represented the six words that can be roughly translated. I hope things are going well but John you'll notice adds another line which the pagans would never do any emphasizes spiritual health workforce soul here, just as your soul prospers.

It's a it's a figure of speech that refers to the spiritual life to notice the implication spiritual health is the ultimate measurement of a healthy life. In other words, measure how well you're doing in life not to your body but to your soul. Nothing wrong with physical health. John wanted it for Gaius. Hope you're feeling well you're doing well taking care of your body is a God-given stewards of you ultimately belong to your creator, guidance, and that body is in yours at his but answering this question correctly getting the right perspective will keep us from falling into the idolatry of John's generation and asked where the body becomes the priority I mean everything is measured by what it does for our body are physical and material benefit, even for the Christian physical health can become an unbalanced pursuit. We we can become with the culture around us that is literally obsessed with the physical condition and this is in a new problem evidently is writing the people in the first century just as we note the problem that in the 21st century by George Whitfield, one of the leaders in the great awakening in the 1700s, wrote in his journal.

On one occasion of the sad condition of people who were close more concerned about a pimple on their face than the rottenness in their heart. She John is he's really subtly informing us that it's possible to have physical health without spiritual help. It's also possible that spiritual health without physical health. By the way, that is usually dangerous. You probably live long enough to know that some of your most powerful moment have been your weakest moment some of your most intimate seasons with Jesus Christ have been your most difficult season of life.

Here is the danger it's possible to have a healthy body without a healthy spirit which makes you an unhealthy Christian you can be prospering physically, materially, financially, while at the same time going bankrupt spiritual question number four. Does my personality reflect a personal commitment to demonstrate Christ like. Notice verse three for I was very glad when the brothers when brethren came in, testify to your true love that I just got triggered by your he's a bracelet that is you are walking in truth. John is already addressed the same phrases first and second letters true is tantamount, it is equal to all represents the character in the nature and the gospel of Christ. So John is saying I'm hearing from the brothers are coming back and forth through Ephesus and I've got word from them that that your you're walking in the truth you're taking it outdoors your learning the truth. You're living the truth you're not just talking about Jesus you're living a lie. Jesus is what a follower wants to do. Gaius was developing the reputation of Christ likeness in following hard after Jesus one theologian lived on 50 years ago used to repeat the statement of Jesus Christ never once asked for admirer. Yes, for followers will demonstrate his character to their loved ones to their church to their classmates to their coworkers to the world around one more question. What makes me celebrate like nothing else in life. John writes in verse four. Notice this, I have no greater joy. What he means is I got a lot of joy.

Things may be happy that I've got no greater joy than this. To hear of my children walking in the church. He says essentially the same thing in his second you ratchets it up even further by saying this isn't something that just makes me happy. This isn't something that just gives me joy. This happens to be my greatest joy.

What makes you feel your greatest joy. What is it that charges your batteries corporate logos.

The name on your car. The name on your handbag and name on your lunchbox John. The greatest joy in life you knows wasn't even something he had wasn't even something that God was doing for him or in him. His greatest joy was the Christ was doing some thing in the life of someone like he'd invested. John writes here. My greatest joy is Gaius. We don't know much about him but we just know John's arms full gratitude to Gaius was perfect, the chaos was walking in the truth pursuing progressing his goals which was crying. He was the genuine. He wasn't an admirer of Jesus follow this old man he opened his to him. There is no greater joy time today to collect on the questions Stephen gave in this lesson called questions for the heart.

This is wisdom for the heart, and Stephen Davey is working through third John in a series called postcards from John.

If you miss the beginning of this lesson and want to hear the whole thing or if you missed the previous lesson in this series there are two ways for you to get caught up. The first is by installing the wisdom for the heart app to your iPhone or android smart phone.

That app contains all of the lessons in this series as well as the complete archive of all Stephen's teaching all of that and more is also available on our website which you'll

By the way, you can also watch the video of Stephen teaching this series to the church he pastors.

That's not true of every series in our archive but everything from the last five or six years, including this series has been videoed and you can watch those on the app or website. Stephen is the pastor of colonial Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina is also the president of shepherd's theological seminary. If you or someone you know is interested in seminary training.

Consider shepherd's seminary shepherd's seminary and colonial Baptist Church host an annual conference for church leaders called the shepherds 360 national church leaders conference all pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, and church leaders are welcome to join us in October as one of our listeners. You have a special opportunity we have a code for you to use when you register.

That'll give you a discount to the conference will also be invited over to our studio for a special lunch with Stephen and Pastor Erwin links her will be able to tour the studio meet the staff and enjoy a meal. Stephen and call us at 86 648 Bible for information and the code and join us tomorrow for more wisdom for the heart

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