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The Big Little Books of Truth and Love - Part 5

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For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. 3 John 3-4 (NASB95)

 

Intro: We’ve spent many weeks now looking at the 2 & 3 letters of John and by now you should know their theme: truth and love.

The third epistle of John is a case study in the principles of truth and love. In it there are two men in contrast: one living out a balance of truth (Gaius and love and the other living out of balance (Demetrius). We’ve already learned from Gaius that a man living in balance is spiritually healthy: he has a healthy diet of God’s Word; he exercises regularly by putting into practice what he’s learned from God’s Word; and he gets plenty of rest, spiritually that is, where he retreats from the hustle and bustle to reflect upon and commune with God.

Today we look at the second we learn from Gaius as a man living out the balance of truth and love. Gaius was not only spiritually healthy he had a good testimony. Now I don’t mean that he had developed a good three minute presentation of his salvation experience or that he had a colorful journey from lostness to savedness. I mean that his lifewalk was a testimony to his relationship with Christ.

When Christians thought of Gaius they thought about his close walk with God. When lost folks thought about Gaius they thought about a man with integrity and a big heart. That’s a good testimony, well thought of in the church and respected by the world.

Just in the past few weeks I’ve ran into people who know members of our church, one in the Cool Springs Best Buy, another at a prayer rally at the Y, and another Radio Shack at Opry Mills. Thankfully, each of those times the members they knew were good folks. But it’s not always the case.

“You’re the pastor at Cedar Hill? Yeah, I know one of your members. How’s old ___________.” Never heard of him.

Or they’ll tell me something I didn’t want to know about one of my members.[1]

Way back in ancient times the old Apostle John ran into some brethren and when he asked, “Do you know a guy named Gaius?” They said, “Oh, yes. That man is walking in the truth. He’s living out a balance of truth and love.” That’s the way it should be.

How do you get a good testimony? By walking in the truth and there are three elements to that…

 

I.                    Gaius walked in the truth of the gospel message

There has never been a time since the gospel message began that it hasn’t been mocked and ridiculed. But in these last days it seems the good news of Christ’s work on the cross is believed to be anything but the truth, a truth maybe, but not THE truth.

The only message, the only truth that sets you free and gives you life is the gospel.

Gaius believed the message preached to him and it changed his life. Just like it did Paul who said…

 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 (NASB95)

 

There was evidence of a transformation in his life. And there was a desire to see others transformed by the power of the gospel.

 

Secondly, Gaius had a good testimony because…

 

II.                  Gaius walked in the truth of the Scripture’s teachings

Jesus, in His great prayer for the disciples and those who would be transformed by the gospel they preached, prayed…

 

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17 (NASB95)

 

What is the Bible but the Word of God? If it is the Word of God it is the Word of truth Jesus prayed about. Our testimony for Christ is inseparably linked to the Scripture and our submitting to it. In the first Psalm a m an liked Gaius is described…

 

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 (NASB95)

 

Note that whatever he does he prospers. Remember verse one? What better to prosper than a man’s soul?

 

Finally, Gaius had a good testimony because…

 

III.               Gaius walked in the truth of the Savior’s presence

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 (NASB95)

We know truth through Christ.  But we don’t just know about it; we experience a personal relationship with the One who embodies it.

Gaius had a good testimony because he walked in the Truth with a capital “T.”

Conclusion: Tina Blessit tells the following story: In the fall of 2005, my 9-year-old son, Austin, had his tonsils removed. Before the surgery, an anesthesiologist came in to start an IV. He was wearing a cool surgical cap covered in colorful frogs. Austin loved that "frog hat." When the doctor started to leave, Austin called out, "Hey, wait."

The doctor turned. "Yeah, buddy, what do you need?"

"Do you go to church?"

"No," the doctor admitted. "I know I probably should, but I don't."

Austin then asked, "Well, are you saved?"

Chuckling nervously, the doctor said: "Nope. But after talking to you, maybe it's something I should consider."

Pleased with his response, Austin answered, "Well you should, 'cause Jesus is great!"

"I'm sure he is, little guy," the doctor said, and quickly made his exit.

When Austin's surgery was finished, the anesthesiologist came into the waiting room to talk to me. He told me the surgery went well, then said, "Mrs. Blessit, I don't usually come down and talk to the parents after a surgery, but I just had to tell you what your son did."

Oh boy, I thought. What did that little rascal do now? The doctor explained that he'd just put the mask on Austin when my son signaled that he needed to say something. When the doctor removed the mask, Austin blurted, "Wait a minute, we have to pray!" The doctor told him to go ahead, and Austin prayed: "Dear Lord, please let all the doctors and nurses have a good day. And Jesus, please let the doctor with the frog hat get saved and start going to church. Amen."

The doctor admitted that this had touched him. "I was so sure he would pray that his surgery went well," he explained. "He didn't even mention his surgery. He prayed for me! Mrs. Blessit, I had to come down and let you know what a great little guy you have."

A few minutes later, a nurse came to take me to post-op. She had a big smile on her face as we walked to the elevator. "There's something you should know," she said. "Some of the other nurses and I have been witnessing to and praying for that doctor for a long time. After your son's surgery, he tracked a few of us down to tell us about Austin's prayer. He said, 'Well girls, you got me. If that little boy could pray for me when he was about to have surgery, then I think maybe I need his Jesus, too.'"

Tina Blessit, "A Prayer Before Surgery," Today's Christian (July/August 2006), p. 27

That kid was a little Gaius in the making. As we close this morning let me ask you…

What kind of testimony do you have?

 

If I were to run into someone who knew you and they found out I was your pastor what would they say? What would I have to say?

If you want to have a good testimony(and what believer wouldn’t?), walk in the truth of the gospel message, walk in the truth of the Scripture’s teachings, and walk in the Truth with a capital “T.” If this brought John joy, imagine how much joy it brings our Savior.


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[1] Adapted from a Warren Wiersbe commentary

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