Mimicking the Master

May 17, 2019 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Foundations, The Gospel, Christian Living Scripture: 3 John 1:1–15

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 17 May 2019

Text: 3 John 1:1-15

Opening Discussion:

Starting at birth, children are wired to learn from imitation. Did you ever try sticking your tongue out at a newborn and witness him/her sticking their tongue back at you? As they grow, their ability to imitate develops also. As they learn to speak, they not only learn words through imitation, but also common expressions. What are some of the funniest imitations you have observed from children? Share your story.


Ligon Duncan once asked; “everybody follows somebody, don't they? You choose whether you're going to follow those who do good or those who do evil." The apostle Paul said “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

3 John is a letter written by the apostle John, to an individual by the name of Gauis. The subject of this letter is the practical proof of a Christian’s profession to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  There is one command in this letter, and that is found in 3 John v11.  “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”

They key word being imitate. This is the Greek word mimeomai, which is where we get our English word mimic from.  The apostle John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is saying “do not become a mimic of what is evil. Don't imitate evil models, instead follow what is good. John is applying the moral test from 1 John that helps us distinguish the difference between a true Christian and a false Christian.  The Apostle says in 1 John 1:6 “If we say that we have fellowship with him [God], and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth”. Liars profess Christ, but do not possess Christ.  Who and what we follow has eternal consequences. Who and what we follow matters for the glory of God.

Investigation & Interpretation:

  • Read: 3 John 1:1-15
  1. What kinds of people are called “beloved,” both in this book and in the rest of the NT? v.1
  2. What does John’s prayer for Gaius say about his spiritual health? v.2
  3. What brought John the greatest joy? Conversely, what do you think would have brought him the greatest sorrow? v.4
  4. Who was Gaius showing hospitality to? v.5
  5. How was Gaius’ “love” demonstrated? v.6
  6. What were Diotrephes’ character problems? v.9
  7. What 4 things was Diotrephes guilty of, according to this verse? v.10
  8. Why did Demetrius have such a good testimony? Who testified to his good character? v.12

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

Charles Caleb Colton was an English cleric, writer and collector who died in 1832. He is famous for coining the saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” According to verse 11, what should we imitate and what should we not imitate? Why?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

God desires his children to exercise hospitality. During Ramadan we see Muslims exercising sometimes extravagant hospitality. What are some practical ways that we Christians could show Christ-like hospitality here in the UAE?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

Is your life a testimony to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? Do people see Christ in you? What are some practical ways our lives can bear testimony to the faithfulness and goodness of God?


We are not to follow the lead of those who do evil, but of those who do good. Workers of good are of God. Workers of evil do not have a relationship with Him, or even truly recognize Him. Demetrius was one of these workers of good, having a good testimony before everyone, including John and his friends, and the truth itself. 

The apostle John gives us an apostolic exhortation and a Christly example to follow.  ‘Gaius,’ he says, ‘You must not imitate Diotrephes’ behavior because -“By your fruits you shall know them.”’  John tells us not to follow the example of Diotrephes. The models we choose to mimick must be people who sacrificially love, not one who seeks to be preeminent. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1  “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Paul can say follow me because he is following Christ. Can we say the same to others? Our greatest example of all is Jesus Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve”, Philippians 2:5-8  “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.”

Ask yourself today who are you mimicking, and what type of example are you leaving others to follow? Is your example helping others to be more like Christ, or more like the world? And again, underlying all of this is the truth. The truth that needs to be spread. Does your role model, love the gospel, does he have a passion to spread the gospel? Is he/she helping you be more like Christ or more like the world?


Prayer Points:  

  1. Pray that NLC would keep following Christ with a total commitment to making and developing disciples of all nations through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. Pray that NLC would be imitators of Christ, pressing forward after the upward call.
  3. Pray that NLC would be equipped, willing and ready to boldly share our faith.

More in Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

June 14, 2019

A Good Example

May 31, 2019

A Bad Example

May 24, 2019

Together for the Gospel