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Read Introduction to 3 John


“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.”



John now addresses Gaius as “beloved.”  The following is a command on how to deal with Diotrephes. 

do not imitate what is evil,

“Do not” in the Greek means to stop something already in process – “Stop copying Diotrephes’ conduct.  Don’t cave in to pressure from him.” 

but what is good.

“Imitate what is intrinsically good, Gaius.”  “Good” means good of intrinsic value. 


Christians should be careful about their role models. 


Godly men should never be intimidated by Diotrephes types of today.  If they see leaders jockeying for the top spot because they want to build a name for themselves, recognize this for what it is – a power grab.  If they acquiesce and yield to the Diotrephes of today because he has money or influence, then they put their church and the work of God in jeopardy. 

Do you follow “good” or “bad” leadership?  Paul deemed himself adequate for others to follow, “I am following the Lord closely enough for you to follow me.”  We imitate others only to the extent that they imitate Christ. 

1 Co 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

The Thessalonians saw God in three men: Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  They could see what God was like through these three men.  God can reveal Himself through regenerated men.

1 Th 1:6-7,  6 “And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.”

Ga 1:15-16,.: 15 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood…”

God exhibits His Son through our conduct.  People who watch our lives should see Jesus in us like a daughter sees what she wants to be in her mother.  A consistent testimony is a wonderful sight to behold. 

Sometimes sheep follow so far behind the Shepherd that they cannot see Him so we follow other sheep that see Him.  We must follow godly sheep if we are new sheep or out of touch sheep.  That is the next best thing to following the Shepherd.  Our ultimate aim is to follow the Shepherd. 

The Shepherd will change the entire trend of our lives.  Sin, all of a sudden, becomes a big issue to us.  Our orientation to please the Shepherd becomes all-important.  We have a new trust, a new tone, and a thrust to our lives.  We do not receive a rebuilt motor but a brand new motor for living. 

Some sheep follow wayward sheep.  Other sheep even follow goats.  When sheep follow wayward sheep or unsaved goats, their lives will go far astray.