A Good Example

June 14, 2019 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: 3 John 1:11–15

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 14 June 2019

Text: 3 John 1:11-15


Opening Discussion:

Being discerning and the ability to judge is something we need to do every day. We judge the fruit we choose from the grocery store, whether it is too ripe, rotten, too small or too big. We judge the bread we buy from the bakery or the store, whether it is too stale, or fresh, brown or white, too soft or too hard. Share your story when you failed to be discerning when it came to a purchase you made. 


‘Judge not lest ye be judged’. This verse in Matthew 7 must be one of the most misunderstood verses in the whole bible. What the verse says in the context of the passage is that we must in fact judge, but we must NOT judge in a hypocritical way. Matthew 7:4 says “how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?” We must help our brother/sister take the speck from their own eye, but we cannot do it unless we take out the log in our own eye first. We need to judge ourselves first before we can help others. In our passage from 3 John 11-15, the apostle John says we must be discerning. We must judge in a proper way. We must be able to identify what is good and what is evil. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian, does not mean they are a Christian – THE MORAL TEST. The person who does good is of God, the person who does evil is not of God. The person who does righteousness is of God. The person who has a pattern of sin is not of God. John does not see the marks of a Christian in Diotrephes and he plans to deal with him when he comes to the church. 

The apostle Johns’ command here is simple…DO NOT IMITATE EVIL BUT IMITATE GOOD.

John had already written to the church, but Diotrephes, because of his arrogance and selfishness, would not listen to him. Because of that, John was going to reprimand him for his wicked and unjust accusations, lack of hospitality, and threatening other believers, so that they also refused hospitality, lest they be thrown out of the church.

The apostle John is telling Gauis not to follow the example of Diotrephes who was doing evil, but rather follow the example of Demetrius, who was doing 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.

Though John had many things to write, he would rather say to them face to face, and planned to visit them shortly. In closing, he offers a blessing of peace and personal greetings.

Investigation & Interpretation:

  • Read: 3 John 1:11-15
  1. What should we imitate, and what should we not imitate? Why? v.11
  2. Why do you think this verse 11 was placed between the descriptions of Diotrephes and Demetrius?
  3. How would you know that someone’s testimony was true? v.12
  4. Why do you think that face-to-face communication seemed preferable to written communication to John? v.13, 14
  5. What is the bond of friendship that we as Christians have? v.15

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

We need to be careful always to follow only the example of those whose words and actions are in line with the Gospel. What then is the true gospel and what is the false gospel?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

The unbelieving world celebrates celebrities and models their lives after sports personalities, business professionals, actors and politicians. Why do you think this is? What single motivation should determine a Christian’s pursuit? Why?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

Christian faith always has moral evidence. Our belief always affects our behaviour. What moral evidence do you think there should be in someone who professes to be a Christian?


Someone has put it like this: “My life in God—that’s salvation. My life with God—that’s communion and fellowship. But my life for God—that’s service.” This epistle deals with my life for God, and it has to do with walking and working in the truth.

We need to live for what Christ loves and be ready to die for what Christ hates. Die to our selfish, prideful ambitions and live for the gospel. Do you love the gospel? If yes then we need to be actively involved in sharing the gospel and supporting the workers of the gospel. We have to embrace them when they're faithful to the truth. We can't see them as a threat to our positions of power and preeminence. What the apostle John is saying to Gauis is applicable to all of us, we all need to be doing the work of uniting our church.  We all need to unite together in the truth. We all need to be welcoming and hospitable toward faithful Christian evangelists and missionaries.

If we're going to follow an example, may it be an example of one who sacrificially loves, not one who seeks to be preeminent. For the gospel to spread, the church has to firstly submit to the authority and headship of Christ, “..who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18


Prayer Points:   

  1. Pray that the Lord will bind our hearts together in unity around the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  2. Pray that the Lord will bind our ambitions with one mind to be making disciples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  3. Pray that there will be peace in our church as we enjoy God and glorify Him together.

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

May 31, 2019

A Bad Example

May 24, 2019

Together for the Gospel

May 17, 2019

Mimicking the Master