From Pastor Perry

3 John 5–15 (ESV)
Support and Opposition
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.
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.
11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.
Final Greetings
13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

This letter is addressing a problem that happens in a lot of churches.  There is a leader name Diotrephes, who puts himself first.  We do not know if he was a pastor or a layman, but John must address him and his ego.  Churches often succumb to power struggles which should not happen, but it does.  A church leader who puts himself first is not working for God, but against God.  If you are going to put anyone first, it should be God.  Second, you should put other’s needs before yours.  Then comes the leader.  If you are a leader in the church, be careful how you use your authority and influence.  If you get upset because the others want to do it their way, remember it is their church too.  If you are getting upset, you must ask your self, 1) is the choice scriptural, and 2) is the decision using God’s resources is a Christian and Godly way.  If what they are wanting is not Scriptural or Christian, then one must stand firm.  But if you are standing firm simply because you wanted to do it your way, then you need to look into the mirror and reexamine your motives.  As a pastor, I know that things will not always go my way.  I pick and choose what is worth fighting for and when is it best to back down.  It’s not always an easy call.

I pray: O Lord, help me to lead in a Godly way, not my way.  Help me to put other’s needs before my needs.  Help me to be a servant, and to serve in love.  Amen.

3 John 1-4
Greeting
1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

I want to focus on verse 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  This is my joy as well.  I have three children... a 22 year old, 18 year old, and a 15 year old.  My greatest concern for my kids is their walk in faith.  I have prayed for them since they were conceived, praying for them to be dedicated to their faith in Christ and to marry a dedicated Christian.  This should be all parent’s joy, knowing that there children believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  It would be such a loss to have a child walk away from the truth instead of walking in the truth.  So far, my prayer has been answered.  Let us all pray that our friends, loved ones, and family walk in the truth.  O Lord, I give thanks for the faith you have given me and the many gifts... especially the give of eternal life in your Kingdom.  I pray that you use me to plant the seeds of faith in those around me so that they too walk in truth.  Amen.

2 John 12–13 (ESV)
Final Greetings
12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

We have been without power for three days due to a storm.  I am so tired that I can’t keep my eyes open.  Why I left these closing words off yesterday, but thank the Lord that I did.  Because I’m going to bed early (written Friday night).  Verse 12 needs to be read by all today’s youth and young adults, who have forsaken face to face communication and now text what should be spoken.  John had a lot more to say, but he wanted to speak it face to face.  He wanted full communication, which written or texted messages cannot deliver.  Face to face contains voice inflection, pauses, and many more characteristics that cannot be conveyed through print or texting.  I remember a commercial for Southwest Airlines that showed a man (the boss) whose company was going down because they had gotten away from the basics.  They had neglected their clients by saving money and not seeing them in person, but instead calling them over the phone.  Profitability rose for a short time and then the clients began leaving.  The boss is handing out airline tickets to the employees to get out of the office and go see their clients in person.  There was one ticket left.  They asked “What about the last ticket?”  The boss said that was for him, he was going to visit an old friend.  It wasn’t said, but you knew it was a BIG client that had left.  The boss knew the importance of face to face communication, but who had sacrificed it for the sake of money.  I think this captures John’s attitude and should ring strange into the ears of the youth today who think it nothing to break up with someone by texting, or firing someone over the phone.  Do you want to be proposed to by a text message or by someone you love in person?

I thought I was tired, and this would be quick... but I was wrong.  I pray: O Lord, help me to not forsake the gift of face to face communication.  Help me to remember that the Gospel lesson can be spread through other means, but face to face is the best.  Amen.

2 John 4–11 (ESV)
Walking in Truth and Love
4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

As a Christian, it is easy to talk the talk, but the real measure comes in the walk.  John writes “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.”  Many Lutherans will say, whoa baby!  We are save by grace through faith, not by works.  This is true, but John is telling us to walk the walk too!  John states: “8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.”  Our walk proves our confession.  We do not earn it, but our works do validate our faith.  We will see this in Ephesians 2:8-10.

Ephesians 2:8–10 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I pray: O Lord, I do confess with my mouth and my heart that you are my Lord and Savior.  Help my hands and feet confess too!  Amen.

2 John 1–3 (ESV)
Greeting
1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:
3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

The word “elder” means priest or pastor.  In the Lutheran Church, we use the term elder to be more like a deacon, a support staff or helper of the priest/pastor.  The “elect lady and her children” is the Church and all the believers.  The church has always been referred to as feminine and it is the Bride of Christ.  The children are the believers who know the truth.  This letter is written to the believers.

I pray: O Lord, I am a believer, and I belong to the Church, the elect lady.  You have called me and chosen me to be a child of God.  Help me to walk according to your ways and help me to not resist the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.  Amen.

Latest comments

05.03 | 22:15

Pastor. since I did not get to attend church today, I read your blog and found it
to be so informative for Ash Wednesday. Thanks for your comments.

...
25.12 | 07:53

Amen+

...
28.11 | 13:00

Happy Thanksgiving

...
03.11 | 01:46

A-Men!!!

...