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3 John

 

  • 3John 1:1 The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 
  • 3Jo 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 

This verse has been used to promote the popular prosperity doctrine that started in the 1980s in the United States. Unfortunately it has robbed us of so much, its hard to begin to explain. First of all it robs us of giving because we "love." Apparently threatening a curse and judgment from God if we do not give was not enough so they changed tactics and started enticing us to give so that we would receive back double or triple what we give. 

Talk about robbing God, that has robbed us of giving because we love to help, we want to further the gospel and we love those that preach the gospel. I would much rather give to provide a poor missionary with a bicycle to go from village to village, than to give to a rich TV evangelist that has 4 or 5 vacation homes as well as his own mansion. 

I don't want to give because I'm hoping for a return on my giving. My return would be the joy of seeing souls brought to Jesus Christ or see a hungry child have something to eat. 

It has robbed us also of the correct understanding of being blessed by God. When I think of being blessed, I don't think of the material realm. I think of spiritual blessings. The true treasure to seek is more of God and more of His presence in our lives. To emphasize the material is to rob us of concentrating on the things of the spirit that are unworthy to even be compared to the material. 

God has better things for us than what we think are good things. A poor man who has the joy of the Lord is better off than a rich man who is miserable because he is always afraid of losing what he has. Jesus told us not to seek treasure on earth but in heaven. This treasure in heaven is most probably not jewels, silver and gold or things we consider to be treasure. Whatever it is, it will be good, we can trust God for that. 

I'm tired of hearing offering speeches that promote prosperity as well as threatening speeches that scare someone into giving. The apostle Paul says to give as the one purposes in his heart. I know Jesus said to give and it shall be given unto you but that is the law of sowing and reaping and applies not just to giving money but to how we treat people. If we give mercy, we receive mercy. If we judge harshly, we reap the same. If we give, we shall not be in want but God will care for us. We reap what we sow. This doesn't mean that we will get rich if we give to a rich evangelist. 

I would rather give when I see a need and God puts it into my heart to help. I would rather give out of love and not have to be prompted or talked into it by a big offering speech or promises of prosperity. Its fun to give when we give with compassion and love. Its not fun the other way. 

  • 2Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 

I believe God is looking for those that give because they love Him and have compassion on the lost.

  • Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Some compel us to give by encouraging us to even go in debt and charge our credit cards. How can giving someone else's money be right? 

When John speaks of prosperity, I believe he is talking of having a prosperous journey or having success in our work for God. He wills that they be in good health and is prosperous in what they do. I do not believe he is speaking of material wealth here for most of the apostles were killed for their faith and died without having anything in this world's goods to boast of. 

  • 3John 1:3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 
  • 3Jo 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 

This also should be our delight, to see people walk in truth. Especially those we have brought to Christ through our testimony. To see one who receives Jesus Christ and visit them years later to discover they are still walking in the same faith is enough to make us shout and praise God for eternity. What joy that should bring us. 

  • 3Jo 1:5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 
  • 3Jo 1:6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 
  • 3Jo 1:7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 

They went forth to preach the gospel but receiving no payment for the same from the Gentiles. It seems as if people helped willingly here to support those that preached the gospel to the Gentiles. The apostle Paul also refused to receive wages for himself although he collected funds to help the poor in Jerusalem. 

It is well to take offerings to help the poor and support those the leave secular jobs to preach the gospel. We need to support them. However, we must remember that offerings are just that, offerings. It is what we offer and willingly give to help. It should never be forced by intimidation such as scaring people with a curse or it should not be to promise them wealth. If we really love God, we would not rob God of any offerings. If we don't want to give then it wouldn't do us any good to give anyway. 

Living by the law of love is so much better. When we can get to the place in our walk with God that we do all things or don't do other things because we love Him so much, we will live in joy and not do things out of fear which is religious bondage. 

  • Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 

This is joy, this is peace and this is what the old timers used to refer to when they said, "He's got the victory." 

  • 3Jo 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. 

This is why we give, to help, to love and support fellow helpers in the spreading of the truth. 

  • 3Jo 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 
  • 3Jo 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 

Every congregation that has ever existed will have those that envy, despise and do it in the name of religion. We will have those that want to exalt self above others and rule. We will have those with religious spiritual pride that thinks themselves higher than they ought to think. The spirit of humility will be in a true believer. Sometimes we may tend to think ourselves lower than we ought to think. 

  • 3Jo 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. 
  • 3Jo 1:12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. 
  • 3Jo 1:13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 
  • 3Jo 1:14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. 

John's word should be studied diligently. He preaches love so strongly emphasizing it above all things but he also warns against false doctrines, anti-Christ spirits and tells us not to even invite them into our homes. So we must take all he teaches and not just one side. Everything in God's word must be balanced and taught in context and not emphasize one doctrine and ignore all others. In all things we must walk in love. Give in love, serve in love, serve in humility, and walk in sound doctrine. Those that preach love and avoid biblical doctrine, are not preaching truth. That is not real love. True love will be accompanied by truth. Love that has to lie, deceive or ignore the word of God, is not the love that comes from God. 


 
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