3 John 1.9-10 – Truth in Humility

Having seen a good example in vv.5-8, John now gives us an example of what to avoid.

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.

10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

When we acknowledge the truth of Jesus, and submit our lives to this truth, we will find ourselves wanting more and more not to act like this.

The example here of Diotrephes is certainly what not to do.

He was proud – …likes to put himself first…

He was putting himself as the ultimate authority in his own life – …does not acknowledge our authority.

He was gossiping – …talking wicked nonsense against us.

He was refusing to show hospitality – …refuses to welcome the brothers

He was preventing others showing hospitality and excommunicating them from the church – …stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

When we see examples like this in God’s Word, we would do well to remember the principle of 1 Peter 5.5, James 4.6, and Proverbs 3.34, wherein we see that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Image result for god resists the proud but gives grace to the humble

“The truth of Jesus that guides our lives will surely help us to resist pride and receive grace.”

When we truly acknowledge, profess, and possess the truth of Jesus, there will be more humility than pride in our lives, and we will want to resist pride at all costs, and receive grace above all else. 

Point to ponder – What am I doing today to resist pride and receive grace?

Prayer – Father, we thank you that your Word has both good examples and bad examples in it for us to learn from. Help us to learn from this passage in 3 John today, help us to resist pride, and help us to receive grace more abundantly than we could ever imagine. Amen. 

Obadiah 5-9 – Boasting

In Obadiah 1-4 we read that pride was a serious problem for the Edomites, the decedents of Esau, twin brother of Jacob. Here, in verses 5-9, we see that they also boasted in their allies, those nations around them whom were thought to be friendly;

If thieves came to you,

if plunderers came by night—

how you have been destroyed!—

would they not steal only enough for themselves?

If grape gatherers came to you,

would they not leave gleanings?

How Esau has been pillaged,

his treasures sought out!

All your allies have driven you to your border;

    those at peace with you have deceived you;

they have prevailed against you;

those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—

you have no understanding.

Pastor and Bible commentator David Guzik, writes this,

‘When God brings judgment against Edom, they will know the sting of treachery against them. The alliances they once trusted in would come to nothing, and they would be double-crossed by their former friends. The Edomites were proud of their political alliances, but God would break their pride and bring them low.’

People are fickle, if you go to any sports game you will see fans cheering their team on one minute, then lamenting the fact that “My grandma could have scored that!”, or “He couldn’t hit a beach ball with a cricket bat.”…heroes one minute, incompetent lucky-to-be-pro-sportsmen the next…

But, what should we boast in?

The Bible says we should boast only in the Lord; His person, His works, His ways, His will. Really, are people worth boasting in? None of us are righteous by our own accord, all our righteous acts are like filthy rags before God (harsh, but true).

There is one worth boasting in, isn’t there, one who brings hope for the future and for today, one who took the nails, one who tore the veil, only one spotless lamb.

Let us boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ.

Scriptures to meditate on today;

Jeremiah 9:23

Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;

Psalm 20:7

Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

Galatians 6:14

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Obadiah 1-4 – Pride

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, a mere 21 verses, and, at first glance, its not very promising; it talks of Divine judgement against Edom. But, as with the full counsel of the Word of God, there is always hope.

Obadiah’s name literally means worshipper of Yahweh, servant of Yahweh, and there are 13 Obadiah’s in the Old Testament, one of them could have written this book!

Today, vv.1-4 talk of pride, the major point of contention between God, Obadiah and his original intended audience, but, we can certainly take something from this…

The vision of Obadiah.

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
you shall be utterly despised.
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,
in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
“Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
though your nest is set among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.

Pride is such a dangerous thing for us to have because it is deceptive…we read that pride deceives the heart, and this is something God simply does not want in people (Proverbs 16.5)…we can boast about anything really, can’t we…job, house, car, cars, clothes, gadgets…forgetting that all we have comes from God anyway…and we should boast in nothing other than the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (Galatians 6.14).

For Edom, the original subject of this short text, they boasted in their surrounds. They lived in the clefts of the rock, the place we would now know as Petra, Jordan. They felt so secure being in that place but failed to realise that God can shatter pride just as easily as He can shatter stone walls (Joshua 6 anyone?).

The other side of this is humility, demonstrated impeccably by Jesus. Our attitude, actions, and reactions can be proud, or they can be humble.

Scripture to think on today;

Philippians 2:1-11 ESV –

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Luke 2:51 ESV –

51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV –

9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Hebrews 5:7 ESV –

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Luke 22:27 ESV –

27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.