Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #278 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 3rd John today and our focus is on The Greatest Joy a Parent Can Have, + The Danger of False Teaching: When to Welcome Strangers and When To Repel Them. + Charles Spurgeon On Parenting Quotes. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Manama, Bahrain, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, parts unknown, Taiwan, Punjab, Pakistan, West Bengal, India, Hong Kong, New South Wales, Australia, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Duluth, Minnesota, Hutchinson, Kansas, Beaumont, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, Norfolk, Virginia, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Lansing, Michigan and Boston, Massachusetts. Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Short episode today, which is fitting for the second shortest book in the Bible – 3rd John. Yesterday, we discussed a Christian’s call to rudeness: How John commands that we must not greet or help false teachers as they are in the middle of their mission. So – if a false teacher comes to your door, says John – do not even say hello them. Don’t invite them in. Don’t engage them. Don’t take their literature – have nothing to do with them. (Noting again that this is NOT a command to be mean in any way)
Today’s letter, on the other hand, commands hospitality to strangers in a sort of 180 from what we read yesterday.
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 5-8
So, John – you are telling us to show hospitality and kindness to one group of people, and zero hospitality to another group – this doesn’t sound very tolerant – what’s the difference, John? And the answer is that God’s Word takes teaching very, very seriously. Remember the warning from James 3:1
Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment. James 3:1
Teachers are judged more strictly than other people, because when they stray away from the truth and teach error, their error is multiplied greatly, because others hear their error and may be convinced by it. And, as our next passage will make clear – James and John aren’t talking about people who teach false things – they are focused in on people who teach false things about Jesus and God – those who masquerade as Christians, but teach heresies. These commands to not show hospitality or give greeting are very specifically focused on false teachers who appear to be Christians, so this isn’t singling out people who are of other religions, or atheists, or agnostics, or whatever- just people who claim to be of Christ, but are teaching things contrary to what He taught. Here’s what Peter says about these false teachers:
There were indeed false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved ways, and the way of truth will be maligned because of them. 3 They will exploit you in their greed with made-up stories. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep….17 These people are springs without water, mists driven by a storm. The gloom of darkness has been reserved for them. 18 For by uttering boastful, empty words, they seduce, with fleshly desires and debauchery, people who have barely escaped from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them. 20 For if, having escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, “A washed sow returns to wallowing in the mud.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 and 17-22
As you can see, this is severely serious- those who teach falsely about Jesus are in great, great danger – their destruction is not sleeping. Have nothing to do with those who claim Christ and teach falsely – teaching things that contradict what Jesus Himself and the apostles taught.
One more focus – and one of my favorite verses, is vs. 4. In fact both my wife and I have more than one t-shirt with this verse printed on it:
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3rd John 4
As John uses this verse, it is not merely a parenting verse, but he is applying it here also to those whom he has taught, discipled and ministered to. Speaking as a father, though- I can confirm what John has said. I love my kids, and there are many things they have done that I am proud of, and give me joy, but nothing brings me joy more than knowing they are following God and walking in truth, and – conversely, almost nothing is more heart-rending then when they are not. Here’s what Spurgeon says on this passage:
It is grievous to see how some professing Christian parents are satisfied as long as their children display cleverness in learning or sharpness in business, although they show no signs of a renewed nature. If they pass their exams with credit and promise to be well fitted for the world’s battle, their parents forget that a superior is calling, involving a higher crown, for which the child will need to be fitted by divine grace and armed with the whole armor of God. If our children lose the crown of life, it will be but a small consolation that they have won the laurels of literature or art. Many who ought to know better think themselves superlatively blessed if their children become rich, marry well, strike out into profitable enterprises, or attain eminence in their profession. These parents will go to bed rejoicing and wake satisfied—though their boys are on the road to hell—if they are also making money. They have no greater joy than that their children are having their portion in this life and laying up treasure where rust corrupts it. Though neither their sons nor their daughters show any signs of the new birth, give no evidence of being rich toward God, manifest no traces of electing love, redeeming grace, or the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, yet the parents are content with their condition.
I hope no parent will allow their children to grow up and leave their roof without knowing the doctrines of the gospel, the life of Christ, and the great precepts of Scripture—without having as clear an understanding as possible of the great principles and plan of salvation. It should be the holy ambition of every parent that his entire family should be renewed by the Holy Spirit. Happy as a marriage day is that day when a parent sees his child surrendered to the people of God, having first given his heart to Christ. The joy of the text is that the children “walk in the truth”—the actual demonstration of the power of the gospel in their lives. This proves that the teaching was well received, the feeling was not mere excitement, and the profession was not a falsehood but was done in truth.
Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Notes (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1689.
Bible Memory passage for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Church in Salinas, California.
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