Thursday, December 26

“Work together for the truth”

Scripture: Psalm 117, 119:81-176, 2 John, 3 John

2 John 10–11 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.

3 John 7–8 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

Observation

In these two letters, John speaks of traveling teachers, some good, some bad.  Those who share the gospel, the teaching of Jesus, are to be welcomed and shown hospitality.  Those who don’t share the teaching of Jesus are to be rejected and not welcomed.  

Why?  Itinerant teachers were dependent on others’ hospitality, not only for food and shelter and support, but for endorsement and recognition in the host community.  By welcoming the teacher, you endorsed them to the rest of the community.  They were no longer strangers, but accepted guests, and their work was approved.  This was central to the spread of the gospel at that time.

So if they brought the gospel, show hospitality and “work together for the truth.”  And if they didn’t stick to the gospel, don’t welcome them, for “anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.”

Application

How to apply this today?  Hmmm…

First, truth matters.  The early Christians had no qualms about rejecting people who were spreading falsehood or some story other than the gospel.  While we should never be harsh or unkind, we must also be clear about accepting gospel truth and rejecting falsehood.

Second, our endorsement matters.  You have more influence than you know.  Others are watching.  So be careful what or who you endorse.  

Third, partner with those doing gospel work.  It looks different today than it did in the first century, but we still should offer help and support to those doing gospel work around us and around the world.  Let’s “work together for the truth.”

Prayer: Lord, help me to be clear about the truth, to endorse those who share it, and to work together for the truth of the gospel.