"FOLLOWING AFTER GOOD"
I. THE STORY OF TWO MEN.
A. Diotrephes, a man who loved preeminence and had set himself against the apostle John.
1. Mark tells us of an interesting event in the life of Jesus.
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus, saying, Master, would you do us a favor?
And he said unto them, What do you want that I should do for you?
They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.
But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, You shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and will be baptized as I am baptized:
But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared.
And when the ten heard [it], they were very displeased with James and John.
But Jesus called the disciples and said to them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your servant:
And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
2. This Diotrephes seemed to be a minister of one of the churches and was doing just what Jesus had told His disciples they were not to do, that is, exercising lordship over the people.
a. He was speaking malicious words against John.
1. Sad, but it seems that some are so deluded that they think that God has called them to speak malicious words against true men of God who He is using.
b. He would not receive the brethren.
1. In those days this was of utmost importance. They did not have Hampton Inn's where you could get a comfortable nights lodging.
2. They had to find someone who would open up their home to them.
3. One of the requirements for the elders in the church was that they were given to hospitality.
4. There were men of God who were called as evangelists who would travel around ministering to the scattered churches.
5. Diotrephes would not receive them, but even worse,
c. He would not allow others to receive the brethren.
d. He would kick out of the church those who did.
3. John said that he would deal with him when he came there.
a. I can imagine what happened when that son of thunder dealt with him.
1. Good report, that is he had a good reputation. His life was a good witness for Jesus Christ.
a. Jesus had told His disciples that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit came upon them to be witnesses unto Him.
b. In the book of Acts as the early church was selecting deacons, they were looking for men with honest report. It is the same word in Greek. Men whose lives were a good witness.
c. Demetrius stands out as a sharp contrast with Diotrophes who was a bad witness.
2. He was of the truth.
a. Back in verse 4 John had said, "I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truths."
b. John says that he bears record of Demetrius that he was walking in truth.
II. FOLLOW NOT THAT WHICH IS EVIL, BUT THAT WHICH IS GOOD. VS. 11
A. Throughout life we will have people who are bad examples and those who are good examples.
1. I think of all of the little girls who sought to follow Madonna's example, and wore lacy clothes and sought to be sexy.
a. So many of those impressionable little girls messed up their lives and their futures by their endeavor to be sexy.
b. They were following a bad example.
2. I think of the boys today who want to follow the example of Dennis Rodman.
a. We see them going around with their colored hair, and displaying an attitude of arrogance.
b. We watch them bully their way and disdain the rules.
3. Many people do not recognize the truth that is expressed in the Bible that, "No man lives unto himself."
a. There are always those who admire you and are using you for an example for their lives.
b. Your child is learning how to be a parent by watching your example.
c. We need to set a good example, even as we need to follow good examples.
B. Paul the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians, "Follow me, even as I follow Christ."
1. He wrote to Timothy to be an example to the believers.
C. In Hebrews we read,
Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
D. Jesus said,
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
E.Peter tells us that Christ has left us and example that we should follow in His steps.
III. TO ME, ONE OF THE STRONGEST INCENTIVES TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE IS NOT BECAUSE IT IS THE BEST THING TO DO. THAT IT HAS IT'S OWN INTRINSIC REWARD.
A. There are others who are looking up to me as an example.
1. Dad's if you will look behind you, there is a little boy who is trying to walk in your footsteps.
2. Mom's, that little girl is trying to grow up to be just like you.
3. How do you want them to be when they grow up?
4. Just know that they are learning from you and looking to you for their example.
IV. THIS PASSAGE SHOWS TO US THE IMPORTANCE OF NOT JUST BEING THE RIGHT ROLE MODEL, BUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT ROLE MODELS.