And you were dead in the trespasses and sins2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.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. (ESV)
Love and truth are deeply connected. The concept of loving in truth implies a corrective standard by which to live. That means both individuals will be wrong! But the love we have in Christ will overcome those wrongdoings.
Support Others in Gospel Ministry (v. 5-8)
We are to love and support missionaries in all our efforts by financially supporting or serving them “in a manner worthy of God” in order to be “fellow workers” with them.
Beware of Selfishness & Slander (v. 9-11)
Case study of Diotrephes: 4 areas of warning
Pride (“puts himself first”)
Refuses to acknowledge authority of Elders/Apostles
Slanderous/gossip: “talking wicked nonsense against us”
Stopping gospel fellowship and work
Testify to God’s Grace (v. 12-15)
Demetrius’ example, in contrast to Diotrephes, shows us that a person affected by the gospel will be seen by all and consistent with Scripture.
Scripture: 3 John
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[a] 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.
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.
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. (ESV)
Love is Walking According to God’s Truth (v. 1-6, 12-13)
3 truths that will be with us from God and Jesus
Grace – God’s unmerited favor for us
Mercy – forgiveness for our guilt
Peace – the result of grace and mercy
Application: what truth do we struggle believing will be with us? What area do we struggle extending to our brothers and sisters?
It is not enough to just know the truth but we must also act on it (love). It is a commandment (v. 4,6)
Watch Out for Counterfeit Truth (v. 7-11)
Counterfeits look like the real thing but are worthless in the end
The cost of counterfeit truth is significant and eternal
Practical ways to discern counterfeit truth:
Know what the Scriptures say (v. 6)
Increase the time around other truth-seekers (Christians) who will hold you accountable. Meet one-on-one with them. Ask questions and/or be ready to give answers.
Invest in a Systematic Theology book (Wayne Grudem’s Introduction to Systematic Theology is a good start)
Scripture: 2 John
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.
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.
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. (ESV)
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (ESV)
Critics often say the disciples made this story up
Roman guards and rocks are hard to move
Women’s testimonies were not accepted in court at the time and Roman soldiers were not known for their honesty
All of the disciples were tortured and most of them killed
Response: Worship (v. 9-10, 16-20)
Jesus is God! (v. 9, John 1:1-14)
He rose from the dead (v. 5-6)
A few more reasons we worship Him:
He is more powerful than nature and government (v. 2-3)
He cares for the voiceless and makes them part of His great work (v. 5-7)
He has all authority in both heaven and earth (v. 18)
He has given us a mission and is always with us (v. 19-20)
Scripture: Matthew 28
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)