Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: Defining ERRANT EXCLUSIONS From God's Circle Of True Fellowship
(3 John 9-14)
  1. Introduction
    1. In our effort Biblically to withdraw from fellowship with parties who are opposed to fellowship with God, there is an inherent danger of wrongly excluding fellowship with those who truly walk with God.
    2. 3 John was written to show the extend to which God's fellowship INCLUDES others who walk with God, and 3 John 9-14 gives us insight on what constitutes errant exclusions from God's true fellowship:
  2. Defining ERRANT EXCLUSIONS From God's Circle Of True Fellowship, 3 John 9-14.
    1. After John's introduction to his spiritual brother, Gaius, in verses 1-8, John reported his letter to the Church of which Gaius was a part had apparently intentionally not been read there, 2 John 9.
    2. A certain Diotrephes who had influence in that body habitually (present tense) did not officially receive the apostles, cf. 3 John 9.
    3. The sinful CAUSE of this rejection of the ministries of John and the other apostles by Diotrephes arose from his sinfully lustful drive to put himself first, 3 John 9b.
    4. Thus, not wanting any competition from John or anybody else, Diotrephes had worked three ways to topple anybody who stood in the way of his lust for preeminence in the body, 3 John 10b,c,d:
      1. John revealed Diotrephes had been bringing false charges (phlyaron) against the apostles to discredit John and the other apostles in an effort to sway the church away from respecting and heeding the apostles to follow himself, 3 John 10b with Bible Know. Com., N.T., p. 914.
      2. Also, Diotrephes had refused to show hospitality to godly ministers like John when they had arrived at the Church like 2 John 10 teaches we are to do toward apostates who come to us, 3 John 10c.
      3. Then, when other believers in the Church had tried to house these godly ministers, Diotrephes had put a stop to it, and even put such members of the body out of the Church, 3 John 10d.
    5. Consequently, the Apostle John wrote to Gaius that he would "call to mind" that Diotrephes had been doing when he arrived, meaning John would appropriately use his apostolic authority to deal effectively with Diotrephes so as to put an end to his errant exclusions in the body, 3 John 10a; Ibid.
    6. John then urged Gaius not to imitate what evil in Diotrephes' errant exclusions, but to imitate what was good in heeding John's teaching of showing hospitality to the godly and submitting to the ministry of godly apostles, 3 John 11a in view of 3 John 9-10.
    7. In fact, John revealed one who practiced receiving the apostles and housing godly ministers was godly, but practicing what Diotrephes did indicated spiritual darkness in the believer, 3 John 11b; Ibid.
    8. Then, to exemplify his own call against errant exclusions, John urged Gaius to honor Demetrius, the man who was probably carrying this epistle to Gaius, 3 John 12; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, "Introduction To The Third Letter Of John: Characteristics of the Letter."
    9. Before closing his letter, John revealed he intended to follow up this epistle with his own future appearance at the Church, indicating he meant what he had said and intended to apply his apostolic authority to deal with the error of Diotrephes in support of not errantly excluding godly brethren.
Lesson: (1) Though God calls us to SEPARATION from (a) apostates who deny Christ's Person and Work and, (b) in second degree separation from ungodly believers for BIBLICALLY SPECIFIED deeds on their part, (2) He does NOT want us to separate ourselves or to excommunicate from our circles of fellowship (a) fellow believers who are BIBLICALLY obedient to God, (b) ESPECIALLY if our MOTIVE is to gather a following around OURSELVES versus our HUMBLY serving the Lord!

Application: (1) We must be SURE there is a BIBLICAL BASIS for ANY move on OUR part to AVOID fellowship with another person: anything short of this makes us LOVELESS, the opposite of what GOD commands of us as His people in Romans 13:8. (2) Then, IF we ARE a TRULY LOVING person, we should NOT let the lust for having the "PREEMINENCE" over God's people rule us (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4b), but follow Christ's example in SACRIFICING SELF for the cause of God's will, and humbly address the needs of others God wants us to help, cf. Philippians 2:5-11; Romans 12:16!