Auto Generated Transcript
Good morning. I want to invite you to open up to third. John. I’m going to dismiss our 1011 year olds for their class just so you can find the book of third John, If you go to the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, you flip to the beginning of Revelation. There are two little short books at the very beginning of Revelation Third, John’s only 15 verses. It’s kind of easy to miss, but it’s the third book from the end of of the New Testament, so you’ll find it there. We’re going through a series together on the small books of the Bible. One, because I am I love to just knock things off the checklist of of going through accomplishments in my day and short books of the Bible are an easy way to do that. You read through books of the Bible that God desires for us to know, and I think it’s healthy for us to also see just the truths that are locked away in these scriptures that we sometimes pass by because of of how brief they often are. And this book is no different than that. And be able to encourage us and what God desires for us. My desire in going through these books of the Bible is for us to see what it what it means for us as believers to be able to make an impact for Christ in this world. And so as we’ve looked at some of these books in the last week, you guys studied Haggai, of which I’ve not been able to listen to online yet, didn’t really have those resources available in India.
But we studied previous to that, the book of Philemon, which is an encouragement for us to think outside of ourselves and what God desires to accomplish, which is bigger than ourselves. And that book encourages that the person of Philemon to think outside of himself and what God desires to accomplish, to encourage us to do the same. And last time I spoke, we were in second John talking about speaking the truth and love and how you, in truth, love people for the cause of Christ and sharing the truth of who God is through the way that you love others. And today I want to talk about Third John from the aspect of encouragement. And so I hope today you leave encouraged by what this passage of Scripture says and what encouragement means to the life of the believer. And I talk about encouragement and being an encourager. That’s just kind of one of those generic general words that we can pass over. I want to be an encouragement encourager and we think about encouragement that way, and maybe we even would qualify ourselves as being encouragers in this world. But I really want to flesh out what this means for us. I want to apply it to the way that our church has made an impact in the world around us, both here locally and abroad, and just continue to encourage you in that way and maybe share a few stories along the way.
We might might shed a tear or two, but, but the big important part I want us to get is how much God desires for you to be an encourager in this world. If there’s if there’s one thing that’s true about encouragement, it’s that everyone needs it. No matter who you engage in this world, there is something about their lives. They need encouragement. And I think it’s important for the body of Christ. Let me just before we lead into this text, let you see how significant the the thought of encouragement is. If you were to open up the Book of Acts and just read the story of the Book of Acts unfold, the Book of Acts is how the spirit of God works through the people of God to accomplish the will of God. And it starts in Acts chapter one, verse eight. God calls us to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, uttermost parts of the world. And what Jesus is saying Acts one eight before he ascends to heaven. He’s calling his church that begins in Jerusalem as crucifixion. He’s calling his his church to go out into the world. And they do. They expand out of Jerusalem, into the region of Judea, Samaria, uttermost parts of the world.
And what causes the church really to expand was persecution. In Acts Chapter four, the church starts to experience it from the church in Jerusalem. The religious leaders come down on on the church leaders at the time. And and they say things like, we would rather obey God than men and proclaiming his name. One of the individuals that we’re introduced to in Acts Chapter four and verse 36 is by a man by the name of Joseph. But Joseph isn’t what he goes by through the rest of the Book of Acts. In fact, acts Chapter four and verse 36 is where he changes his name. One of the things features the early church would do is when someone would display certain characteristics that were godly, they would then rename that individual according to that name that displayed those godly characteristics. And so what happened with the apostle Paul, who was first called Saul or even even Peter, who was Simon, this individual named Joseph, they remarked in his characteristics in Acts Chapter four and verse 36, he was an encourager. And so he took on the name Barnabas, which means encourager. What was so important about Barnabas in his encouragement is that Barnabas plays a significant impact on how the gospel goes out throughout the world, because in Acts Chapter nine, we’re introduced to a character who was persecuting the church. So persecution is what spread the church. There was one person who spurred on that persecution who’s name was Saul on the road to Damascus.
He was transformed by Christ. When you read about Saul in Acts Chapter seven, he was there for the first Christian martyr who was Stephen. He was there at the stoning and gave the approval of the stoning of Stephen on the road to Damascus to persecute the church Further. He has this conversion to to to the Lord and becomes a believer when he became a believer in Acts Chapter nine, it says that he goes to the church in Jerusalem, but no one wanted to believe him. Everyone looked at Saul, who would later be called Paul and was like, Yeah, right. We know what this is. This is a trick for you to gather us in so that you can lop off our heads. We’re not falling for that, buster. But one person came into his life and encouraged him. And that was Barnabas. And so the church says to Paul, okay, if you’re really a true believer, don’t hang around the church in Jerusalem. You’ve been persecuting us. Go back where you’re from and encourage people there towards Jesus. And so they Paul went back to Tarsus, where he was from, and started proclaiming the name of Christ. But in Acts Chapter 11, Barnabas says he’s continued to be talked about throughout these chapters. They hear a story that people in Antioch, which is north of Jerusalem, are coming to Christ, and so they say, okay, Barnabas, you’re an encourager.
Go up to Antioch and check out what’s happening there. And so in Acts Chapter 11, it shares this story. It says in verse 22, The news about them reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem talking about Antioch, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. And when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them. That’s what a encourager does, right? All with a resolute heart to remain true to the Lord, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith and considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. And He left for Tarsus to look for Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him back to Antioch. And for an entire year, Paul and Barnabas met with the church and taught considerable numbers. And look at this. And the disciples were first called Christians. In Antioch. It was the encourager. Barnabas goes to Antioch, encourages believers that demonstrate a life so much that reflected Jesus that that the church there is where they’re first called Christians or Little Christ. It was a it was a name to mock Christians, but it’s it’s the name that we carry today as those that want to demonstrate Jesus in their lives. They are Christian. But it was Barnabas who not only encouraged Paul at his conversion, but then remembered Paul went back to Tarsus, got Paul, brought him to Antioch.
That further encouraged Paul in the work of the ministry beyond Antioch. So much of the New Testament written by the apostle Paul. But that story begins. Through an encourager. Encouragement is important to the body of Christ. And that’s exactly how the letter of Third John intersects with our life and what John desires to accomplish in this letter. John writes to an individual named Gaius for the purpose of of showing him or encouraging him to remain faithful to Christ and showing us how his life has been not only an encouragement to John, but an encouragement to the believers around him. And so for these first four verses, we’re going to look at what what the life of an encourager looks like characteristically verses 5 to 8. It shows how that works out practically. But John writes this letter for the purpose of encouraging Gaius, which further encourages the church and the significance of what it means to be an encourager and how that impacts not only the body of Christ, but the world around you. So when I say I hope you leave encouraged today. I would fail if that did not happen. And so in third, John, this is how John opens up his letter, referring to himself as the elder, the elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love. In truth beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health just as your soul prospers.
John starts this letter. He starts on the significance of truth, which we we remarked on in second, John, as as a statement he repeated throughout this letter to love one another in the truth that if you truly love someone. You share the truth with them? After all, Jesus said, it’s the truth that shall set you free. And seven times within this letter, just these 15 verses, John, again continues to reflect on this word truth and how significant it is in our lives that we find our identity and who God is. And so we talk about the truth, the church, and holding the truth. We don’t utilize the truth to beat people up with. We don’t utilize the truth to prove to people we’re right and they’re wrong. We utilize truth in order to serve people that they may see the goodness of who God is and glory in that name. You’re created in the image of God for the purposes of which God has designed you. And the only way to live out your life for that purpose is to find God in who He is and who you are in light of who He is. The truth is the pillar to that. Heard a story of a young man. Going off to college. He wanted to run for that particular college in the mile run. One of the reasons that he felt the need to do that at this college is because his dad was a runner at that college and competed in the track and field and he ran the mile run.
So he thought, just like his father, he would make his father proud and he would compete. Only problem with him competing for the school as the mile runner is that on this team is the best mile runner in the country. And as he goes on the day to compete for the position to be the mile runner on this team, he recognizes something that that no one else in the school wants to compete for this position because the guy running is so good that he is the only other person that shows up to run, to compete, to be the representative for this school as the mile runner. And he lost. Horribly in that race. But he writes a letter home to his father and he says, Dad, you’ll be so proud of me. I competed against John Martin, the fastest runner in the country. He actually finished second to last, but I took second place. The point of that. Is not to diminish the truth, rather. To share the significance. Of the truth. Not shy away from it. But they be honest and the truth of who God is because it is the truth that sets you free. In verse two, John goes further and he says, Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper. And be in good health just as your soul prospers.
And so and so John is saying, listen, stand for the truth and you stand for the truth. And that’s important in the life of an encourager. But in addition to that, my my desire for you is that you continue to prosper in this word for prospering is literally translates to have a good journey. That encouragers are interested in the life of an individual that they would experience and have a good journey in this world. And when he’s talking about this to guys, he’s saying both physically in good health and in your soul. My desire is that you enjoy this journey and you continue to do so. But the way that he expresses this. He says, This is my prayer. And to live a godly life. I think what John is saying is that it takes godly people around you to encourage you through the idea or through through prayer. Have a good journey, both physically and spiritually. And verse 3 to 4, he goes on then from there and he says, For I was very glad when Brethren came and testified to your truth that that is how you are walking. In truth, I have no greater joy than this to hear of my children walking in the truth. So John is saying, you know, as I think about the way you’re living your life, it’s an encouragement to other people around you that you are being an encourager and walking in the truth.
That encouragement from John is encouraging guys, but guys in return is encouraging other people because he’s demonstrating a life of not only proclaiming Jesus but living it. And that’s exactly what this phrase walking in truth means. It’s not just a profession of the lips. But a living of your life. This is say about you this morning. If someone just not not listened to the words you say. But the way that you demonstrate yourself. Would they recognize by the way your character demonstrates itself that that is a person that loves Jesus? John in this letter is encouraged by the truth in which Gaia stands for and the journey that he is living, both in his speech and in his life. And he calls it this walking in the truth. Encouragers walk in the truth. If we were to ask this morning. Okay, what what does that look like? How how does it how does it demonstrate itself when you just can you just call yourself an encourager and that makes you an encourager? I mean, what what does it mean to walk in the truth, to be an encourager in this world? And then and then he gives this example in verses 5 to 8. He says, If you want to know, guys, how how I’ve seen you demonstrate this in your life, what makes me excited to be near you as a believer? It’s this.
It’s beloved. You are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they’re strangers. And they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God, for they went out for the sake of the name. Talking about Jesus accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore, we ought to support such men so that we may be fellow partakers fellow workers with the truth. And so he’s saying in this story, these individuals went out for the sake of Christ and they didn’t accept money from the unbelieving world, but rather trusted in God’s church to provide. So they continue to glory in the name of God. It’s not it’s not the unbelieving world that needs to do that because there’s glory that can be given to them for this, but rather it’s the church working together to proclaim the name of Christ to the glory of God that they would be the ones God utilizes for His great name. And guys, do you know what makes this encouraging for me? Is that you’re willing to encourage others even when they are strangers. For the sake of Christ. And what John is describing here is exactly what missions is. Are living a missional life. John Piper in his in his book Let the Nations Be Glad, which is a book on missions, gives this one statement. He says missions exist because worship does not.
That the reason individuals go into this world to proclaim the name of Christ is because people of this world don’t know the God who has created them for the purpose of finding their identity in him and being set free because of what Christ has done for them. And so missions exist because worship does not. I don’t want to take for granted what stated within these verses between verse five and eight is, as John outlines this example. Now, for some of us, it just makes sense that when Christ is made known into our hearts that we would make him known in the lives of others. But, you know, the church hasn’t always lived that way. Especially in the region of Great Britain. There was a type of theology that was taught during a particular time in the 1700s and 1800s where in the heathen world they would say if God wanted to say them, He doesn’t need this, he doesn’t need us, He can just save them. But there was a man by the name of William Carey that went throughout the region of Great Britain and England, and he began to proclaim to the church that God has called us into the into the world, into the world of the heathen in order in order to share the goodness of who Christ is. And so he preached to the church the need to send people forth into the world.
They had not been sending people forth into the world. And finally, he steps forward. When the church felt ready to send someone forth, he steps forward as the first volunteer to go into the world to proclaim the name of Jesus. And William Carey has been dubbed the father of modern missions because of that. And they send him. To Calcutta, India, as far east, really into India as you could go. So John is saying in this passage, the way that we see the encouragement in your life is even when strangers are coming before you for the sake of Christ, you’re doing whatever it takes to send them on their way. And that’s so encouraging. You know, as I reflect on the significance of this story and how how it intertwines into what Alpine Bible Church represents, can I can I just encourage you and what God is doing in our body as as we live out passages like this to reflect the goodness of who Christ is? Yesterday lost less than 24 hours ago. A group of us came back from India as a representation of our church family. And we went there to serve alongside of some individuals that we support as a church. On the left is Joseph Thomas. On the right is his wife, Sandra. In the middle is their daughter, Phoebe. They have another younger son named Edwin. I don’t have time to go through all the pictures from our trip this week.
So this is this is the best quality one I could find. Real quick to show you. You all as a church family. But just so you know how their story intersects with ours and our part in encouraging the ministry that’s taking place there. I’ve known of Joseph for probably over a decade. My home church is involved in ministry in India, and they would go back and interact with several pastors and servants in India for the sake of the gospel. And they would come back and they would share names of particular individuals they encountered and one person they would always share about when they would come back that I would hear a name tossed around was Joseph. How impressed they were of his integrity and the type of man that he was and the way that they were conducting ministry in India. But my home church wasn’t involved in any ministry that he was done. They just noted what type of individual he was, his wife was, and how impressed they were with him. A few years ago, our church sent out, I think it was a little over six years ago. We sent out our first missions team to India and then we did it again in two years later. We just sent our third group over into India. After we came back from our second trip, Carroll Roberts wanted to get more involved with what was taking place in India, and so she happened to call Joseph during that time, not not really knowing everything that was going on.
Joseph shared this with us when we were in India this last time, and Karen knew of this story. But to give you a little background to Joseph and Sandra’s life, they grew up in a in a leper colony. Joseph’s father was a leper who was also a drunk and his mother couldn’t make ends meet. To be able to take care of their family. And so because she knew that she couldn’t make ends meet, she dropped Joseph off at an orphanage that was led by the great Emma Thomas, who was in different books. I think he’s even written about in The Voice of the Martyrs because his life’s been persecuted so much. But he is he has influenced thousands of orphans for the cause of Christ, started Bible colleges, hospitals, leper colonies. And Joseph was one of the children that was brought to that orphanage to be cared for under Emma. And when his mom dropped him off, she disappeared and Joseph never saw her again. Also grew up in that same leper colony, trained under him. A Thomas Joseph went on to Bible college. When they graduate this Bible college, every student does the same thing. They get a Bible, they get a bicycle to go out into the world and they take a martyr’s oath. Which means they they say that they ready to give their lives for for Christ no matter the cost.
And Joseph went out and started doing ministry and he struggled. In fact, by the time Cara called to to get into supporting with Joseph and helping him out, he told us on this trip that he was at a place where he was ready to quit. Fact, he and his wife were already having conversations about going just getting secular jobs and stopping the ministry they were doing because they didn’t have enough money to even put food on their own table. If you know anything about Joseph in his heart, he cares so much for the lepers and the kids in the slum schools because they came from that background that even when when other kids didn’t have anything to eat, he would take from his own money and just give to them. And he would go without just a supply for people. When Cara called, she just asked, you know, what would it take for you just to be able to make ends meet for your family? How much? I’m finding out that mounts. She just started to support and then our church joined in in that. To encourage them. To show that we’re with them. And then from our church, I think a little over $400 a month flow has been flowing from us to them to be able to support the ministry. But from that point, Joseph continued in ministry and today he’s got two slum schools for to educate kids that would have no other means towards to receiving an education.
A leper colony. And one of the things we also visited on this trip was a brand new orphanage that had just opened up with over 60 young girls within this orphanage that are being educated and and taught and also being brought to the Lord. And and he’s got more on top of that. He’s teaching in public schools as well and has his hands in all sorts of ministries. And from here, it’s only going to continue to grow. Why? Because of the Ministry of Encouragement. And then we talk about places that are churches involved. Can I can I tell you this morning, just because we share about India and our church is involved in India, when we talk about encouragement, I’m not saying to you this morning that you need to be involved in India. What I’m saying to you is that God has built your heart in such a way that His desire for you is to use your life to be an encourager for him. It’s not that you have to be passionate about this place. The God wants to move in your heart in such a way that you be passionate about something. My God would lead you in an area in which you could share the goodness of who God is and encourage the life of those around you.
If I were just to share just the full circle of the story. One of my favorite highlights in all of this is one day we were in the leper colony and Joseph brings this lady over. And the first thing that he says to me when he introduces her, he says, this is the woman at the well. And here we are in the leper colonies of India, which if you if you’ve listened to the stories that we’ve shared about India, the leper colony is already the outcast, the outcast. They’re considered the delete. The people that are the untouchables, they they are there because they believe God’s cursed them in this world for some reason. So they’ve got to stay there and they can’t be helped. And that’s just where they’re at. They’re not loved and in that community. This is the most unloved woman in that community. This is the woman at the well. The lady who has to go to the well at the middle of the day. Apart from anyone else that goes to the well, because people don’t want to talk to her love on her. And Joseph asked me to pray for her. And her husband has recently died. And so she is all alone. And then Joseph shares with me what she represents in his life. When he was growing up in the streets of a leper colony, living functionally as an orphan. His mom couldn’t make ends meet.
When he would go to this lady’s house, she would take what little she had of rice, food and feed him, not knowing what kind of individual he would become and how the Lord would intersect in his life and what he would would would flow what would flow through his life because of what Jesus has done. And here I have the opportunity to pray for an encourager who had nothing. Who happened to encourage a young orphan who had become a man that is being used of the Lord to impact India tremendously. And what a joy that is. As a church family. I think it’s important for you to know, as we just left that ministry, where God continues to have a tremendous impact on what is is doing there for the sake of his name, that we are able to even give a monetary gift of $8,000, that the work of the ministry continue to go forth for different fundraising that we had happen through the church. People that donated the yard sale that we had and gifts from people that even went on the trip to be able to give to them to say, as a church family, we’re behind you. We love what you’re doing. And I keep going. Keep going. And and when you look at this passage again and this story in verse six, it says, and they have testified talking about the church, looking at the life of Jesus and how he’s being an encourager.
They have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. The gods using this church and Gaia’s church to encourage the the greater body of Christ. And while we over in India, one of the main one of the individuals that helped this new orphanage start is a man by the name of Kirk. He’s the one that went to India and helped Joseph set up this new orphanage. And he’s got orphanages all over the the world in places that are just some of the most horrific circumstances that you can imagine. And he started this one and asked Joseph to lead it. And, you know, he sits down with me as we’re watching the team representing our church, just play with the kids and love on these kids that have not been loved and interacting with them, he says. You know, out of all that’s happening today, can I tell you the most, most important thing to me? And, you know, I’m thinking he’s going to say how much money you give me or something like that because they need money for this place. He says, you know, the most important thing to me is. As your local church and the church that you represent. Because when the church is healthy. God is powerful for the Lord. Guys. When resting in Jesus. How powerful you become in the Lord.
You know, we can be encouragers to India. And it doesn’t just have to be India. Your heart. Your heart is passionate about you. I think of even what Alpine Bible Church represents here in Utah. I mean, India is an easy place to recognize the need, and I don’t want to downplay it, but it’s an easy place to recognize the need because the physical need that’s there. But I don’t want to overlook the physical need to the point that I recognize that everywhere, spiritually, all of us are in need. Every person you ever encounter in this world, regardless if they physically have or not, or in need of some form of encouragement. Because spiritually, all of us are depraved. Even Christ. First Corinthians 12, verse 26, says this If one suffers, we all suffer. And so to be an encourager in Christ is not just meeting physical needs, but to recognize we have emotional. We have, more importantly in all of it, spiritual needs that every person I encounter in this world is an opportunity for me to be a source of God’s glory being made known in this world. And so when you when you think about what our church represents, how how important it is just to consider what’s already been done and just praising God for that and the work taking place in India and what God is doing in our church and rejoicing in Christ because the encouragement that’s going forth.
And even now this morning. To be an encouragement towards one another. And as you see in verse three and four, as as John says, that I am encouraged because you’re an encouragement and how that fuels the body of Christ to continue to promote the glory of God in this world. And as you think about. Our church family. Can I tell you one of the concerns that I had? I knew when I when I was going into this world, wherever God would send me, I knew I wanted to be in place, a place in this world where the population of the Christian community was small and I wanted to be a part of a work that would just be a light and darkness. I wanted I wanted to do that. But one of my concerns I had, wherever God would lead me, I was open to anywhere in the world where wherever God would lead me. I didn’t want our church to be the place where that glory stopped. And what I mean is this I’m minored in missions in school. And one of the things I studied as I looked at missions work is that sometimes when missionaries would go to places to start churches, that that they became dependent on the resources. And one of the places I studied was the country of Haiti. And my parents do mission work in Haiti once or twice a year.
They’ll go over there and help in that country. But it’s interesting when you study when missions work started in Haiti in the 1950s and 60s, they’re poorer today than they were in the 50s and 60s when missionaries started to do work there. Now, I’m not saying that they necessarily were the place that they that the resources stopped there, but that was a concern of mine that our church, when we started, we were dependent on resources from outside of this community where we would grab Ahold of the resource and just just contain that within ourselves. And I don’t want to be a container. I want to be a channel. That the goodness of God is he blesses us, continues to flow out of our lives. And if I thought of a practical illustration of that, there is a similarity to the state of Utah. That’s a lot like Israel. In the country of Israel, you have you have the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. That flows between that from from the Sea of Galilee, a river that actually flows north, which is rare into the Dead Sea. In Utah, you have the Great Salt Lake, the Jordan River that flows into that into the amazing, incredible, lovely Utah lake. Right. From a fresh body of water into salt. But both the Dead Sea and the Great Salt Lake. You know what lives in those things? Nasty, dirty brine shrimp and then nothing else.
I mean, it is lifeless, but you look at the Sea of Galilee and that’s where Jesus did ministry. There are resources there. That’s where Jesus called his disciples. There is life around that sea. Do you know why there’s life in the Sea of Galilee? Not in the Dead Sea. And while there’s life in the Utah lake but not in the Salt Lake. Because there’s channels that flow in and out. Sea of Galilee has channels that spill into the sea and out from it. You know what happens when you get to the Dead Sea? There’s no escape. It’s stagnant. That’s where the water goes and it stops. Same thing with the Salt Lake. The point is this my concern for our church. I don’t want to be a container. I wanted to be a channel. God as we receive resources to start, how how can we become a people where that doesn’t end with us, but rather continues through us? And I think as you just read this letter, as you look as at our church, as it continues to grow, that you see that that life growing in us, that we’re demonstrating the goodness of God. But can I tell you, in order for that to continue and the reason why that has happened within us is that that idea of accomplishing or seeing things works go forth for Christ. It doesn’t start with just looking at works to do for Christ, but rather that transformation begins in you.
In order for you to become a channel of God, you’ve got to first intersect in your relationship with God and allow God to work on your heart to transform your life. And as you experience His grace, it flows from you because that goodness is too great to contain. I think out of all the transformation that takes place, the most important transformation in order to be an encourager for Christ, the most important transformation that takes place happens in your heart. That’s exactly why Kirk said, Out of everything that happens in Indy, you know the most important thing to me. As your local church. Because when that’s healthy. The body of Christ abroad is healthy. And so when you consider the works that God has called you to do, you can’t you cannot impact any everywhere. But but God can use you to impact somewhere. And as you you allow God to refine your heart. And what that is, the place that it’s transformed is, is in him. And you become a channel of his grace as you allow it to flow out of your life. And just so we get that picture, John continues his story on and says, let’s let’s just juxtapose this for a moment against Gaius, who is an encourager to the body of believers, to this other guy. Look, if you’re going to make your name in scripture, you do not want to be this other guy.
He says, I wrote something to the church about Diotrephes. Who loves to be first among them does not accept what what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds, which he does unjustly, accusing us with wicked words and not satisfied with this. He himself does not receive the brethren either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church. So we’re saying, guys embraces these individuals that that want to go out for the work of the Lord to encourage them further. But you know what Diotrephes does. Nothing. Because you know what he’s interested in. Himself. This individual. It’s not this theological difference that he’s having with the church, but rather the difference that he’s having is just that, that the thing that’s in the way for diotrephes to be used, for God to see transformation, to go forth and to be an encourager in this world. It’s himself. I said he either puts himself before others or he puts others beneath him either way. It’s him. And so John makes this statement where I want to conclude in this thought of third John and make application for us this morning. It says Beloved. Don’t imitate what’s evil. Look, Diotrephes isn’t going out and beating people up. He’s not even necessarily preaching a false gospel. In this passage. He calls it evil what he is doing.
And really all he’s simply doing is putting himself first. Do not imitate what is evil. What is good. The one who does good is of God. And the one who does evil is not seen. God. Look, I know this morning some of us could say, you know, I don’t have a whole lot to do stuff with. But I want to tell you, being in India this past few weeks, I saw people living in tents, multiple people living in tents, miles upon miles of just the worst poverty you can imagine and some of the happiest people. And they still find ways. To be an encourager. John’s encouragement to the church. Is for us to consider how to continue to live a life that that as it’s transformed by Jesus, to continue to see this world transformed. Not not like the Dead Sea. Or you become a container where things die, but rather from you flows this encouragement. And I would say for us this morning, I hope, I hope we would all call ourselves encouragers, at least to some degree. Maybe not all the time. Maybe you got a little grumpy spirit, a little Eeyore hiding in you every once in a while. But maybe you say, Man, I want to be an encourager. I am an encourager and I want to continue to encourage. What what does that look like? How can we how can we flesh that out rather than just put the label on ourselves as we’re good? Pat on the back.
We did something for anywhere. Encourager How can how can we really live a life that continues in in encouragement in this world? And as I think of. An example. For us, the greatest example always comes down to Jesus. I think the encourager of encouragers is Christ. Though being king of kings, Lord of Lords humbles himself to the form of a servant. Not because he needed to, but because we needed him to. To rescue us from our condition of sin. To bring us eternal life in him. As we trust in Him, we find that eternal rest of joy in Christ forever. The greatest encouragement we could ever receive in Jesus. It’s found. You know, there’s one word. As you look through the gospels that continues to reflect a statement, an adjective that just shows us what type of encourager. Jesus was. And that word, I think, is the word compassion. Seven times in the book of Matthew to refer to Jesus’s ministry uses the word compassion. And in fact, in teaching us about compassion as an encourager, Jesus said this, but go and learn what this means. I desire compassion. And not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. Jesus. And teaching us in this passage of Scripture is quoting from Hosea chapter six, verse six. But contextually in Matthew nine, what’s happening is that Jesus is again being criticized by the religious leaders.
Matthew, Chapter nine. He’s just come before Matthew or Levi, the tax collector, and he’s called Matthew to follow him as one of his 12 disciples. And he goes into Matthew’s home and he eats with sinners and tax collectors, and the religious leaders come up to Jesus and criticize him for doing that. And Jesus’s remark to the religious leaders is to recognize that their religion is doing no good because it’s void of people. And so he makes this statement, I desire compassion and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. And so what Jesus is saying to us, the thing that’s significant about the life of the believer is that the believer live a life of compassion. And if I were to flesh out for us this morning what it really means to be an encourager. It’s to consider what this word compassion means. And in Greek, listen, this word compassion literally means if you want to be an encourager in your life and demonstrate that through your life to be a channel of his grace, not a container. This word compassion means to enter into their suffering. It’s not a word that just stands back and says, I’m an encourager that says nice things. But rather it’s an individual that intersects with life wherever they are on their journey and ask the question, What would it take to see the glory of God and the grace of Christ be made known in your life? How can I be used of the Lord to allow that intersection with God and you to meet through me? See him glorified and you benefit from the presence of Christ being made known in your life.
What can I tell you how this looks for us as a church family? Five years ago, calling Joseph Thomas on the phone in a place in his life where he wants to give up. And you say to him, what would it take to see you continue to go forth? Everyone you meet in this world needs encouragement. And I think for us, it’s easy to recognize in the physical need where it’s depraved in this world. But I don’t I don’t want in thinking so much about beyond these walls that we neglect what’s right outside of our doors. Physical needs are prevalent. Yes, but you are in a place where people intersect your lives in darkness, that you can be an encourager in Christ. Not a container, but a channel of his grace. How? Enter into their suffering. I think one of the greatest masks Satan can put on for us in our lives is to fill us so much with physical things in this world that we don’t recognize just how empty people are when they get behind their doors. Where does that leave you? A place to enter in. With compassion. Knowing compassion marked Jesus’s life.
Colossians says this. So. It’s like the concluding thought. So. As those who have been chosen of God. This is the church, holy and beloved. Put on a heart of compassion. Guys, if you want Jesus to be used to use you in this world. If you want to see Alpine grow and you want to see an impact made in this world, it’s not it’s not just showing up on Sunday. I think this is an important part. This is where God works in us to transform our lives. But it doesn’t end here. It does not end here. It continues on Monday. When you wake up and you recognize just how much you need God’s grace in your life and in that continue to experience a transformation in Jesus. And then when you go in this world. You enter into their suffering. In Philippians and talking about Christ and living a life that’s demonstrated Christ. It says this in chapter two, verse one. Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, look, if you want to encourage people in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the spirit, if any affection and compassion. Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness, selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind. Regard one another as more important than yourselves. I hope.
I hope when you look at a passage like this. You see how important you are to the body of Christ. Encouragement breeds encouragement and compassion breeds compassion. I mean, your presence here this morning for the community and encouragement is important. Your presence beyond this and the community around you is important. God, God wants to use you and God can use you. You can’t make an impact everywhere, but God wants to use you to make an impact somewhere in church you are doing it. We’re not a container. We’re a channel of God’s grace from India and here locally, God uses you to accomplish his will in this world. I remember as we were in the leper colony, and I want to say we had this tremendous effect on all the physical things that we did there, but we didn’t. But I could tell you the most important thing that we did. I mean, we’re with orphans who are told that they are not loved, that they’re in this circumstance because they deserve it. We’re with lepers who are in that circumstance because they’re told that they deserve it. And we come and we say we love you and Jesus loves you. Love. And the love of Christ. The healing that brings to the soul. I remember I’m sitting there and we’re looking at the lepers and we’re trying our best to just serve their physical needs and take care of them. We took some nurses with us on this trip and I’m just kind of standing there praying for people wondering what in the world I’m doing in this room other than praying for people.
And then I see this lady who who just sits back and just tears going down her eyes and she just says, I can’t believe you came all the way over here just to love on us. Just to show us you care. Just to encourage us in our heart. And guys, you don’t have to go to India to do that. But how important it is to recognize that the church, the body of Christ, is being a demonstration of exactly what John says in Gaius, as seen in Alpine Bible Church. That through our lives. Becoming channels of his grace. Can I tell you? I can’t wait. I can’t wait to meet Jesus If I have lived the type of life that enters into the suffering of others and cares for the needs of widows and orphans. How joyful that will be, that just as my king was a king of compassion, that our lives as a church, a community in Christ, would be one that carries compassion with us. I think the work of the Lord shines forth in the compassion, encouragement of His people. Not putting ourselves first. Loving others for the sake of Christ. You want to be a world changer. If you want to be an encourager. Let’s continue to be people of compassion.