3 John 13-15 How to Invest Yourself in Others
We are going to look at four characters in the book of 3 John. Each of these characters shows us how to live a life of love. Some are good examples and some are bad. But each example helps us to understand how to live a life of love. We looked last week at a guy named Demetrius. He taught us the importance of good communication skills. Today, we will look at John. John teaches us the importance of building our character so that you can invest your life with other people.
John is the leader and the last example in the series. John teaches us the importance of our character development, of leading by example. You know to live a life of love, you have to get to know people. There are going to be times when people will watch you and learn from you. To someone you are a leader. To someone you are a mentor. If you are going to live a life of love, you need to develop your character.
This entire letter gives us an example of how to lead by example. This letter illustrates John’s leadership style. He was the head of a group of churches in what is today modern Turkey. Today, we are going to learn about the importance of sharing our character, or investing ourselves in the lives of other people. You are a leader to someone. Someone is looking up to you. Someone is watching you. You are someone’s hero, or model for Christ. As a result, what they will learn from you says volumes about your walk with Jesus. How you handle situations, experiences, and how you relate with people will make an impact on someone. Since you know Jesus Christ, you will want to share your life with Jesus Christ – with people who do not know Him.
God is very interested in developing your character so that you can share your characteristics with others. He wants to use you to bring people into His family. He wants you to invest in the lives of other people. Here we have four important leadership skills that every Christian will have to share at some time or another.
FOUR IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Here is the leadership style of John. There many different types of leaders and you can learn from every kind. Here, we have the leadership type of John. His leadership was based on “sharing the truth in love.”
|Person||John’s Leadership Skill|
Leaders follow other great leaders. John followed the leadership of Jesus Christ. He took what he learned from Jesus and led this group of believers. The same is true for each one of us. Every Christian is a leader to someone else. They may be children, or they may be friends and coworkers. A father is a leader to a family. A mother is a leader to her children. They may be other Christians or non-Christians. Every Christian is a leader to someone else. We follow Jesus and others follow us. Therefore, we need to share four important leadership skills.
You have to learn to ENCOURAGE.
“Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually.” (3 John 2, HCSB)
One of the characteristics of a great leader is that s/he encourages others. John took the time in his letter to encourage Gaius. He said in effect: “You are doing a great job.”
You have to learn to EXPOSE.
“This is why, if I come, I will remind him of the works he is doing, slandering us with malicious words. And he is not satisfied with that! He not only refuses to welcome the brothers himself, but he even stops those who want to do so and expels them from the church.” (3 John 10, HCSB)
Sometimes when you lead others, you have to expose the faults. We talked about this in dealing with conflict. In every conflict, there is a root problem. The important thing to remember is to SOLVE the problem without DISSOLVING the relationship. Just because there is a disagreement, it does not mean there has to be war. There is always a solution to the problem that has a “win/win” solution. No matter what other people say, in the Christian life, there can always be a “win/win” solution. We have to look for that even as we expose the faults and problems. While it may be painful to expose the faults, discipline is necessary for Christian growth.
“In the case of our human fathers, they punished us and we respected them. How much more, then, should we submit to our spiritual Father and live!” (Hebrews 12:9, GNB)
““If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke (CORRECT) him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.” (Matthew 18:15, HCSB)
The Bible clearly teaches that we must learn from one another. This will sometimes include a form of correction.
You have to learn to EQUIP.
Sometimes a leader will have to spend time helping someone get off to a good start. As Christians, we should not just say to someone: “Go do this because the Bible says so.” We should help them do it. We have to give them instruction, tools, or examples so that they may do something correctly. John spent time with Demetrius and he vouched (certified or attested) for him. John said: This is a good guy. I say this because I have equipped him to do this work.
“Demetrius has a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. And we also testify for him, and you know that our testimony is true.” (3 John 12, HCSB)
“He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.” (Titus 2:14, HCSB)
God will use you to help someone do a good work. God gives us spiritual gifts and natural talents. He also gives us mentors that teach us how things should be done. God uses us to prepare God’s people to do good works.
You have to learn to EXPLORE.
John was their role model. Role models are the explorers. They are the ones who take the first steps into something new for others to follow. They are the ones who blaze the trail for others to follow. When something new comes up, leaders are the one who finds a way to approach it and deal with it. Leaders are the ones who lead others. You know if you are a leader if there are people following you. If you are the first in line, then you are the leader. In the Christian life, there will be people following you. They will watch you. They will take notes. As a result, your Christian faith has to grow. If you are a father of a two-year-old today, you cannot lead the same way when that two-year-old is 12 or 20.
If you are single today, you cannot lead the same way who you meet your spouse, or even after you get married. Not even if you have been married 50 years will you be able to act the same way. By the nature of us living on earth and growing, we follow Christ. As we follow Christ, it is a great adventure that we need to explore.
Role models are people who teach as well. By its very name, a leader who is a role model teaches another person how to act. John was this church’s role model.
EXAMPLES OF ROLE MODELING
You explain the truth.
“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.” (3 John 11, HCSB)
John gives them an example – a good example. He then tells them to follow it. He even points to the fact that our FAITH is proven by our ACTIONS (BELIEF is proven by our BEHAVIOR). The “truth” is that he who does good is of God. It is a characteristic of a Christian to do good, to act good, and to be good.
There is going to be times in which you should just teach something. Tell the one who is learning what the facts are. Explain the truth to them.
You teach the truth.
After you tell them the truth, you have to teach the truth.
“For I was very glad when some brothers came and testified to your faithfulness to the truth—how you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 3–4, HCSB)
The Israelites were told in Deuteronomy to teach their children the truth that God is one, and that God loves them. Truth is often taught.
““This is the command—the statutes and ordinances—the Lord your God has instructed me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to enter and possess.” (Deuteronomy 6:1, HCSB)
You model the truth.
“I have many things to write you, but I don’t want to write to you with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace be with you. The friends send you greetings. Greet the friends by name.” (3 John 13–14, HCSB)
Truth is taught. Most times though, it is “caught.” This means that what I say is learned by the one learning from me. The real way to do something is taught not on a piece of paper, but in real life. Anyone who has gone to school to get a degree and then worked in a job knows very well that just because they taught you something, it does not mean that that way is THE way it is to be done.
Explaining the truth is not enough. A truth that is explained also needs to be modeled. John did not just write about it. He lived what he wrote. He even said that he would rather come and teach in person.
Your character matches your conversation.
“…And we also testify for him, and you know that our testimony is true.”
(3 John 12, HCSB)
“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
(James 1:22, HCSB)
Finally, what I teach must match how I act. What I believe must match up to my behavior. If it does not, then it is fake and it is not to be trusted. If we are really going to live a life of love, we will have to:
We have to show it in so many ways that whom we mentor (and invest our lives into) will know what following Jesus and living a life of love is all about.