3 John 3-5 (NIV) 3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you.
“As in the previous letter, John is delighted to know that someone is ‘walking in the truth’, behaving with that integrity which both reflects and embodies the truth of the gospel itself. We can take it that this involves not just correct doctrine and proper outward behaviour, but that love for God and for one’s fellow believers which, for John, is the sign that the truth of the gospel has really been grasped, not as an abstract idea but as what it is, the very life of God himself at work in his people. It is this love which must then flow out into hospitality to fellow believers.” (Tom Wright, Early Christian Letters for Everyone, 183)
Prayer: Lord, may your love be made tangible through us as we grow in our love for you and for one another “not as an abstract idea, but as what it is, the very life of God himself at work in his people.” In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with “God and God Alone” by Chris Tomlin (click here).
1 John 4:10-12 (NIV) 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
The Cape Town Commitment – “We love the living God.”
“We love God with passion for his glory. The greatest motivation for our mission is the same as that which drives the mission of God himself – that the one true living God should be known and glorified throughout his whole creation. That is God’s ultimate goal and should be our greatest joy. Loving God in the midst of a world that rejects or distorts him, calls for bold but humble witness to our God; robust but gracious defense of the truth of the gospel of Christ, God’s Son; and prayerful trust in the convicting and convincing work of his Holy Spirit. We commit ourselves to such witness, for if we claim to love God we must share God’s greatest priority, which is that his name and his Word should be exalted above all things.”
Prayer: Lord, we humbly ask today that the whole of our lives would glorify you so that your name would be made known through us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
1 John 1:1-4 (NIV) 1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
“There is a heart and vision expressed through these first four verses of the true community of believers centered on Spirit reality/encounter with a historical, tangibly real Jesus, that is continuously welcoming in others into the same fellowship with one another and the Lord. Others are to hear the declaration of the message, but also sense from those doing the declaring this warm, pastoral invitation to a deep and intimate sharing of life together, ultimately life in and for the Lord.” (Tom Wright, Early Christian Letters for Everyone, 130)
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the true fellowship that we have in you and in this shared life together that “make our joy complete.” May there be even more sharing of our lives as we encourage one another to live faithfully for you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “Yours (Glory and Praise)” by Elevation Worship (click here).
3 John 1-2 (NIV) 1 The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
“The nature of John’s heart toward Gaius is also expressed in the affectionate terms used – ‘my dear friend’ – and in other translations the word ‘beloved’ is used. The meaning conveyed is ‘dearly loved by God.’ God the Father said of Jesus, his Son – ‘This is my beloved Son…’ Apostle John referred to himself by this name – ‘beloved’ – the ‘beloved disciple, the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ The idea of one’s ‘name’ is very important in the bible. God changed people’s names because he was changing their identity – to an identity to reflect him, his heart, his mission – an identity they were called to live out. In Christ, we bear his name. Through faith in Christ, the name, ‘beloved’ becomes our name. God calls his children ‘beloved.’ And that truth reality creates a new identity, a new life in us, a new work in us that brings joy.” (Carol)
Prayer: Father, thank you for calling us your “beloved” and for giving us a new identity in Christ. Help us to view and uphold one another in this new identity that you have given to us as your beloved sons and daughters. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship God with singing “Son of Suffering” by Matt Redman (click here).
3 John 4 (NIV) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
“The elder finds no greater joy than hearing from others that his spiritual children are living faithfully in the truth of the gospel, which takes the topic of truth out of the abstract and makes it intensely personal… Despite any differences with 1 and 2 John, the criterion of the elder’s joy is the same—seeing Christians living out the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as defined by the tradition in which the elder stands (cf. 1 John 1:1–4). There is nothing that pleases the elder more than to see Christians faithfully adhering to the apostolic teaching about Christ. The Venerable Bede’s comment on this verse continues to resonate with pastors and others in Christian leadership: ‘There is no greater joy than to know that those who have heard the gospel are now putting it into practice by the way in which they live.'” (Karen H. Jobes, 1, 2 and 3 John, 286, 293-294.)
Prayer: Lord, we lift up our churches, missional groups, FOJ, youth and campus ministries to you. Fill us and empower us to daily walk in your truth, and to love others into that truth. May we taste great joy in seeing others living faithfully for you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in thanksgiving to We Praise You by Matt Redman (click here).
Romans 5:8 (NIV) 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:10 (NLT) 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
“It is only by recognizing the truth that all are sinners, but that all can receive God’s love, mercy, and grace in Christ, that we can genuinely love ourselves and others while being fully informed about our own poor capacity for love and about the worth of others. Yes, that neighbor wronged us, but that does not disqualify them from our love, for God loves them and us, even though we are both undeserving sinners. It is only knowledge of that truth that permits us to receive God’s love in Christ, and then to love others as ourselves. It is in and through such ‘truth and love’ that the elder assures us that grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ will be with us always.” (Karen Jobes, 1, 2, and 3 John, 258)
Prayer: Father, wash us again with the truth of your love, mercy, and grace in Christ. Use us to love others as you have loved us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman. (Click here)
2 John 7-9 (NLT) 7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. 9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.
“We have to get our thoughts right about Jesus…The more we know the truth, the more we can walk in love—the truth of who Jesus is, what he’s done for us, his life, death and resurrection and all that it means for us in this world and in the kingdom to come. The more we can navigate this world of lies, deceptive teaching and antichrists, with the eternal truth living in us, with Jesus alive in us, the more we can walk in love, obeying his commands, loving one another in humility and with sacrifice.” (Adapted from P. Jason Park’s message)
Prayer: Father, help us to grow in the truth of who Jesus is as we read your word so that we can better love in truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to “Echo Holy” by Red Rock Worship. (Click here)
1 John 3:18 (NIV) 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
“The close connection between truth and love in the Johannine writings is worth thinking about, for in our modern way of thinking truth is cognitive while love is emotional, and the two are not necessarily related. For the elder and author of 1 John, they are so closely related that they are essentially concomitant; one cannot love genuinely apart from the truth, and one does not know truth truly until one loves. We cannot think rightly about ourselves or others until we perceive the truth that is revealed only in Jesus Christ: that we are all sinners whose sin separates us from God and from one another, and especially from those we would most wish to love. Any ‘love’ based on something other than the reality of the human condition is merely wishful thinking, falsely based on an illusion that things are other than they are.” (Karen Jobes, 1, 2, and 3 John, 258)
Prayer: Father, I confess to you that I cannot love apart from your truth. Help me today to think rightly about my life and how you love me in truth so that I can love others in truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to “Here Again” by Elevation Worship. (Click here)
2 John 4-6 (NIV) 4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
“These new believers are now walking in the truth, walking with Jesus, the living, eternal truth himself. This whole process of loving one another, reaching out to others, loving them and walking with them in the truth – this is what the Father has commanded us to do…This needs to be constantly renewed and passed on. It’s not my idea, or even the elder John’s idea – it’s Jesus’ idea, it’s the Father’s command, it’s God’s will for us as human beings, especially as children of God, to love one another. Here, to love is specified as walking in obedience to God’s command. And what is God’s command? To walk in love; to live out together Jesus’ love.” (Adapted from P. Jason Park’s message)
Prayer: Father, we say yes to your command to walk in love! Renew me in your love today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to “One and Only Jesus” by Vertical Worship. (Click here)
Let’s read aloud the following scripture and prayer.
1 John 3:16-18 (NIV) 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
“Holy Spirit, breath of God and fire of love, I cannot pray without your aid: Kindle in me the fire of your love, and illumine me with your light; that with a steadfast will and holy thoughts I may approach the Father in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who reigns with you and the Father in eternal union. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer)
Prayer: Thank you for the fire of love in our hearts. We pray, breathe on us even more Lord! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to “Spirit of God” by New Life Worship (click here)