2&3 John


The theme of these two letters is truth. When Jesus prayed in John 17 He prayed for the fulfilment of God’s plan in His life here on earth. He prayed for  his disciples and for you and me who would be taught by them. Twice in this prayer He asked God to sanctify us in truth. In verse 17 He made it clear that God’s Word is truth. The word sanctify, means “set apart”. He was saying that we are set apart from the world by the Word of God as we live by it. It is when we are set apart from the world that God can use us for His plan and purpose for our lives.

I never planned to be a pastor. It was not on any bucket list nor something I considered even in my wildest dreams. I was serving in the Church teaching children in Sunday School and the church was engaged in the latest programs to grow the Church but I observed that these programs promised growth but didn’t deliver. Apparently the church leadership observed the same thing so they changed programs often. It seemed there was always a new program on the horizon that was going to transform any church and cause it to grow in number.

One day my wife and I were in the local Christian Book store buying supplies and I saw the book Harvest written about the Calvary Chapel movement. I was interested in it because it had a chapter on Jon Courson. I had been listening to him and Pastor Chuck’s teaching on the local Christian radio station and wanted to read about them. As I read the book I realized that what was happening in the Calvary Chapel movement was like what had happened in the first century Church. I had never seen anything like that take place in Church and was told that was the first century and things are different now that the Church is established.  In the last chapter, Pastor Chuck gave the philosophy of ministry of  Calvary Chapel based on what the Apostles and the early Church were doing in Acts 2:42,“And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” NASB

Pastor continued on through the passage, ending with this phrase from verse 47, “…And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” NASB

When I read these verses the light came on. It is the Lord who is building His Church and all the programs we were doing were really in the way of what God wanted to do. They were really just works of men that subtly or otherwise were robbing glory from God by bringing glory to the works of men. Our works were wrong and our motive was suspect.

I started reading, and later teaching, the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and God’s plan for my life began to unfold. That was over 30 years ago. Since then I have been reading through the Bible each year and I can honestly say God’s blessings through His Word are new every morning! Years later at a Pastor’s Conference I took my book Harvest and asked Pastor Chuck to sign it which he graciously did. Along with his signature he wrote, 3 John 4. I know what he and the Apostle John, meant, for I too have experienced the joy of watching people give their life to the Lord and live for Him. Truly there is no greater joy.

There is a danger though that John is deeply concerned about. There are those who come into the church and intentionally or unintentionally add to or take away from the truth of the Word of God. I once learned of a believer who came out of the church of Satan. When he served satan he would go to a christian church each Sunday and sit with the people and fellowship with them. As they talked he would start to plant seeds of discontent with the pastor and the church. He would say things to discredit the pastor or complain about his teaching. His goal was to hinder and destroy the ministry and he was deceiving the people to the point where they were caught up in a movement against the Church. I have found that the more casual christians are with their Bible reading and devotions with God the more easily they are deceived. Some people will only read certain portions of the Bible. Other people will listen and learn the doctrines but never open their Bible to see if what they believe is true. Still others read about God, or read a “christian novel” and repeat what they have learned, but they never, or rarely, read the Word of God. This is a set up for disaster and deception. In my reading from the Bible it is clear that we have an enemy that wants to enslave us and destroy the ministry of the Church. The casual christian is his easiest target.

It is important that we read and study the Word of God. It is equally important that we approach the study of the Word of God with an attitude of a student who is being taught by the Master Teacher, our Lord Jesus. It is the clay that is molded and shaped by the Master. Not the Master molded by the clay. Israel was guilty of this as we read in Isaiah 29:16, Jeremiah 18:1-9, and again, Isaiah 64:8. Let me ask you this. Do you know where to find these books in the Bible? Do you know what they are about?

Jesus was teaching God’s plan and his purpose for coming in John 8. John 8:30-32 records that, “As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. Jesus therefore was saying to those who came to believe in Him. ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” NASB

The goal of the enemy is to rob us of the truth so he can keep us enslaved. If we were to continue reading in John Chapter 8 we would see that this was exactly the case with those who were “trying to be religious.” They thought they were serving God. They were trying to serve God, but in reality they were deceived to the point where they were serving the devil. Of them Paul said in Romans 10:2, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” NASB

They were lacking truth.

The danger of deception is real. The consequences of being deceived are frightening. This is why John is so concerned about being anchored in, and living by the truth of God’s Word. So am I. Sadly,  from christians, I hear a lot of opinions, teaching, and quotes from social media but few from the Word of God. O how I wish it was the other way around!

I long for the joy that comes when I see and hear of those who are walking in the truth! I rejoice greatly when I see and hear about it!

May God be glorified!

Pastor Dave