An Open-Heart Policy

OPENING PRAYER

“Lord, open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law” (Psa. 119:18).

Read: 3 JOHN 1–14

1 The elder,

To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

Reflect: WOULD YOU RECEIVE A COMMENDATION FROM THE APOSTLE JOHN? COULD YOU BE “WELL SPOKEN OF” FOR YOUR LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS TO GOD?

In his previous letters to groups of believers John detailed why we should love each other. This personal letter to Gaius is direct and practical. “Walking in the truth” means showing persistent, practical kindness to God’s people, even to those we do not know well (5).

Through Jesus, God demonstrated his desire to include, not exclude. If God invites everyone and Jesus has died for everyone, then we need to have the same open-heart policy too. Our natural “tribal” tendencies are to be replaced with an attitude of accepting fellow Christians whoever they are and wherever they are from (8,10). Here’s a quick test. After a church service do we (a) head for a familiar face or (b) look to welcome a newcomer? When we meet together with other churches do we (a) stick with the people we know or (b) strike up a conversation with someone we have never met? When a parent with lively children arrives at church, do we (a) aim to provide engaging activities to include the children or (b) tut at their unruly behavior?

Churches are not perfect places, because they are full of imperfect people (9,10). John reminds us to imitate those (like Demetrius, 12) who are imitating Christ.

APPLY

Ask yourself if you go to church hoping to receive or prepared to give?

CLOSING PRAYER

God of grace and mercy, renew Your heart of love for Your people in my own heart and life.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider