Thursday, July 17, 2014

DAY 786 - Without Love and Hospitality (請按此處收聼廣東話Cantonese podcast click here)

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                               Today's Reading: 3 John 1:9-15

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Bible Study

     In the first part of John's letter to Gaius is to praise him for his love and hospitality. In todays second and last part of John's letter, John's shows his real purpose of writing this letter. It is to tell Gaius to aware of a person in Gaius church who is stirring up rumours and separation. 

Let's take a look at what Bishop N.T. Wright says ( ) :
     John has to warn Gaius about Diotrephes.  Diotrephes loves to be in the front of everything…He likes to throw his weight around, as the Corinthians did when they informed Paul, their founder, that he would have to produce letters of reference if he wanted to visit them again. He has slandered John himself behind his back; he has refused to welcome bona fide(in good faith) fellow Christians into the church, and has dealt harshly or even violently with those who have tried to bring them in.  Sadly, most of us know people like that.  If it's John's word against that of Diotrephes, I know who I would find it easier to believe.
     Another thing we don't know about the scenario is what the relationship was between Gaius and Diotrephes.  Why is John warning Gaius about what he will have to say if he comes to the church where Diotrephes is, or is trying to be, in charge?  Presumably Gaius needs to know this, either because he is part of that church himself, or because he is a near neighbour.  Either way, it is not a happy picture. 

N.T. Wright. The Early Christian Letters for Everyone. Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011, p.185.

      Do you have this kind of person in your church? How can you tell that person is doing the similar thing as Diotrephes to divide your church? How willing are you to warn other people in your church like what John did to protect your church from separation? 

Let's have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe":

Spiritual Journal

    The title I heard from Jesus today is: Without love and hospitality

    The message I got from Jesus today is a good way to discern who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. This kind of thing is very, very difficult to discern. 

     John gives us a simple way to do this kind of discernment. Those who love and are willing to welcome Christians in good faith and good guys. And, those who are full of the opposite of these two Christian characters love and hospitality turning them into hatred, rumour, slander, rejection are bad guys. Well, but sometimes those bad guys can disguise of what they really are, so they can also be loving and welcoming, only to those they think are useful!

     The wisdom I learn from my 26 years as a priest is that I always tell people this:

      You would never know whether someone is a good guy and your good friend until some conflict of interest happens.

     What I have found out is that good people won't turn to become a lion wanting to chase you, kill you and eat you alive, even in a situation that he or she thinks you can't get along with. But, bad guy like Diotrephes would do things like that, slandering and not appreciating, rejecting and not welcoming.

     Hope you got this wisdom today so that you can like John to warn your Gaius not to be deceived by your Diotrephes to protect your church from being divided.  

Dear Lord Jesus,
Lead us to have the wisdom to discern and the willingness to warn other people like what John did that our churches can be protected and your Kingdom extended. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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