3 John 1.11-12 – Truth in Testimony

After a good example and a bad example, John starts to wrap up his letter about individually living the truth with a testimony.

11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

Demetrius is given as a good example of one living the truth, he has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. To this, John adds his testimony, which he says is true.

How then do we go about getting a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself? I’d suggest we start with v.11; imitate good and do good.

How do we imitate good?

Look to those in church leadership – Hebrews 13.7

Look to those who serve the most vulnerable – James 1.27

Look to those who care for the smallest of our family – Matthew 18.10

Look to those who put other’s needs above their own – Philippians 2.3

The truth of Jesus professed and possessed will start to change us from the inside out, and will inescapably draw us towards examples of the Godly character John speaks of (vv.5-6, 12).

Over time, we will start to imitate the good we see in others, and eventually become a witness ourselves to the truth that lives in us, all to the greater glory of God.


Point to ponder – who can I imitate today, or who can I witness to today?


Prayer – Father, we thank you for the examples of Godly character that you have put in our lives. Help us to all grow into these very examples, so that the truth of Jesus can be passed on, inherited, and witnessed to everyone we meet. Amen. 

3 John 1.1-4 – Possess, Profess, Witness

Often times the shorter letters and books in the Bible are overlooked, 2 John and 3 John to name but two.

Simply, bigger ≠ better.

3 John starts very similarly to 2 John, and we read of truth four times.

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

John starts by introducing himself as the elder, the same as 2 John, and whereas 2 John was written to a collective (to the elect lady and her children), 3 John is addressed to an individual (to the beloved Gaius).

We see that no matter who is being addressed, be it collective or individual, truth needs to be at the forefront of our minds and lives

How do we know that this is the case? How do we know if the truth we profess is actually the truth we possess? Well, John shows us how we know when he writes I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth

Real, genuine truth will always impact our lives in a way that is visible to others. John knows that Gaius is walking in the truth because people have seen it in action.

In other words, Gaius was a visible witness to the truth.  

For us, the truth we profess needs to become the truth we possess, and when we are displaying it in our lives how it has changed us, we know we are on the right path. 


Prayer – Father, we thank you for your Word, we know your Word is truth, help us to be people who possess what we profess, and to be people who are a visible witness to the life-saving, life-changing truth of Jesus. Amen. 

Revelation 11.3-14 – Wow!

Sometimes you just read things in the Word of God and you’re not sure whether to shout YEAH! as loud as you can because our God is just amazing, or whether to bow your head in reverence because our God is just amazing.

3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. 7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, 8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!”

And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

Wow.

What a way to start the day! …after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Sometimes you just read things in the Word of God and you’re not sure whether to shout YEAH! as loud as you can because our God is just amazing, or whether to bow your head in reverence because our God is just amazing. Are you with me? That mix of feeling ten feet tall because the power that did that lives inside you, or feeling just a centimetre tall because the power that God has just humbles us so much. Wow.

So, these two men (If anyone would harm them is male in the original language) are traveling and speaking powerfully for the Lord under His protection (if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed).

Then, when their word is finished, they are killed by our great enemy and their bodies lie in the street in the city that our Lord was crucified in. How degrading, body in the street. Then, even worse, for three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. Their deaths are celebrated and people from all over the world will tune in to see.

Then the spine-tingler, they are resuscitated by the power of God and nobody is left in any doubt as to how this miracle has happened! We read at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. Do we shout in triumph or do we bow in reverence, but wow! The breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet. The power of the maker of heaven and earth knows no bounds! This same power is available to us; God is in us, God is for us, and God is with us.

Today, what hurdle do you need to overcome with the help of this power? Knock, seek, pray, ask, and rest easy that the power that gives life, the power that resuscitated God’s two witnesses is available to us.

Revelation 10.8-11 – Bittersweet

8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying,

“Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me,

“Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”

10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

Often in our lives we have experiences that can be both bad and good, don’t we. They are often described as bittersweet. Living here in Bahrain, seeing friends that quickly become family leave for pastures new is probably the hardest thing, and these experiences are certainly bittersweet. Bitter in that we will miss their friendship and fellowship, but sweet in that we know they are moving on with the Lord to an exciting new chapter in their lives, following God’s call (and often the demands of an employer) and faithfully going where He is leading.

Here, John is given something bittersweet, he says, I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.

For those of us who have made a commitment to live for Jesus, who have given control of our lives over to Him as Lord and Saviour, who are living the Christian life (whatever your preferred phrasing may be on the matterI), the Word of God is sweet as honey, Psalm 119.103 confirms this.

God’s Word feeds us, fills us, and fires us up, it calms us, consoles us, and counsels us. Simply, it is good for us because we know the central tenet is that God loves us and sent His son (AWANA Cubbies badge, please!), and that if we truly trust and believe this He will save us unto eternal life.

However, the other side of the coin is bitter. For those that don’t accept the crux of Christianity, for those that refuse to accept the fact that God so loved the world that He gave His only son and that whoever believes in Him shall never die, for those who make themselves enemies of God, the Word of God is bitter because it convicts them of their sin, and gives them a message they do not want to hear.

It is not our job, or even within our capability, to change the heart of man, only the Holy Spirit can do that. But, through reasoned conversation, through evidence, examples, and facts, through a changed life and a testimony we can present people with an introduction to the Saviour, to Jesus Christ, and He will take it from there.

Then, what was bitter will become oh so sweet to those we have shared with.

So, who can you share with today?

Revelation 10.1-7 – Time with God

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying,

“Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”

5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

In chapter 9 we saw six of the seven trumpets blown and now there is an interlude, a break until we reach chapter 11. The best solution as to why is that this is a time for repentance; those living on the earth when the preceding events have taken place now have an opportunity to turn hearts and minds to the Lord.

An angel appears wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. Some ask if this is Jesus, but a more likely solution is that this is Michael, the mighty angel referenced in Daniel 12.1. Why does Michael have a rainbow over his head and a shiny face? Think back to Exodus 34.29-35 when Moses had to veil his face because He had spent time with the Lord. So Moses then, and Michael here, reflect the glory of God by being in His presence.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we can’t spend time with God in prayer, spend time worshiping Jesus, or spend time meditating on the wondrous works of the Holy Spirit to the extent we need to veil our faces; both Moses and Michael have spent time in the presence of God.


However, the principle is still very applicable for us; spend time with God and reflect His goodness to those around us.


When we have spent time in dedicated prayer, when we have worshiped, when we have pondered the deep truths and amazing goodness of our God, we feel different, don’t we? Then, when we feel different in this way, our actions follow accordingly.

So, we spend time with God and we reflect that to those around us witnessing through our actions and reactions just how good, loving, merciful, and gracious our great God is.

Michael here announces that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled. We are not announcing the coming judgement of God on a fallen world, but nonetheless, our changed lives proclaim a great witness to others when we have spent time with the Lord.

So, have you spent time with Him today?