WEEK SEVEN, DAY THREE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK SEVEN THEME: HOSPITALITY
DAY THREE THEME: HOSPITALITY IN THE CHURCH
SCRIPTURE: 3 JOHN (CEB)
“From the elder. To my dear friend Gaius, whom I truly love. Dear friend, I’m praying that all is well with you and that you enjoy good health in the same way that you prosper spiritually.
I was overjoyed when the brothers and sisters arrived and spoke highly of your faithfulness to the truth, shown by how you live according to the truth. I have no greater joy than this to hear that my children are living according to the truth. Dear friend, you act faithfully in whatever you do for our brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers. They spoke highly of your love in front of the church.
You all would do well to provide for their journey in a way that honors God, because they left on their joyrney for the sake of Jesus Christ without accepting any support from the Gentiles. Therefore, we ought to help people like this so that we can be coworkers with the truth.
I wrote something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, doesn’t welcome us. Because of this, if I come, I will bring up what he has done making unjustified and wicked accusations against us. And as if that were not enough, he not only refuses to welcome the brothers and sisters but stops those who want to do so and even throws them out of the church!
Dear friends, don’t imitate what is bad but what is good. Whoever practices what is good belongs to God. Whoever practices what is bad has not seen God. Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius even the truth itself. We also speak highly of him, and you know that what we say is true.
I have a lot to say to you, but I don’t want to use pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will speak face-to-face. Peace be with you. Your friends here greet you. Greet our friends there by name.”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD ~ THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: It is God’s TRUTH that sets God’s children apart from all others. The truth is not something that can be falsely presented. You cannot pretend truth. Truth is in and of itself, and our job is to seek it and to live within it.
As we live within the truth fear and judgement no longer have any power over us. What others may say or how others may feel no longer threatens those who are living in God’s truth. Sometimes we live in a truth that we think is from God but the result is just the opposite of what God would want. The only way that we can be free from “tradition” and open to truth is in time spent individually and corporately fleshing out what God’s Word really says rather than how it has always been interpreted.
We need to release ourselves to drop all former “truths” in search of the one and only TRUTH. As we engage in the new learnings that will be shown us through God’s truth, we will shine like the stars. Our whole persona will begin to reflect this new SPIRITUAL TRUTH that superceeds all myths and fears.
How do we keep ourselves from buying into others’ truths in order to stay true to God’s truth….we must continually open our eyes to God’s Word, listening through the Holy Spirit and understanding it in context and traditions of its inception.
In these verses from 3 John, it is clear that one church has determined their own set of right and wrong and therefore are not open to hearing from another group who are going around and spreading the TRUTH. This particular church has set their own preferences above the TRUTH of God and therefore picks and chooses who they will welcome and be hospitable to and who they will not….the “cookie cutter” syndrome. Many churches get caught in this trap…as long as you look like me and think like me and like what I like and shun what I shun, you are welcome in my church – we can get along. Many times those church members don’t even know why they think and believe how they do, they are just following someone else’s opinion rather than searching God’s Word to understand the rightness or wrongness of their understanding.
Where is the diversity in that. If God’s TRUTH had felt that way, we would all look the same and be the same and act the same, because He would have created us without diversity. However, that is not how this creation/GOD’S CREATION is. All birds are called birds, from the bird family, but they are all uniquely and individually their own kind of bird. There are not just blue birds and red birds, there are thousands of differing kinds of birds, but they have much in common. God’s creation from animals to plants, to ocean creatures, to humans shows that GOD is limitless in imagination and understanding, and therefore so should we be. We are all welcome in God’s Kingdom and should follow God’s example of acceptance and love.
Let us let down all our urgently clutched strongholds that divide and separate us, and let us pursue continually and open mindedly the True Word of God, accepting first our own individuality and purposes and likes and dislikes without judgement and then passing that love of self onward to others in accepting and healing ways.
Praise be to God for such opportunities!