Sermon Discussion Guide: 4/14/24

Sermon Recap:

Text: 3 John

Big Idea: Our joy is directly tied to what we value most.

Summary: In this message, the Buddhist philosophy of alleviating suffering through the eradication of desires was juxtaposed with the Christian worldview that says that humans are designed with desires, and those desires are good, until the become disordered. When our values are not rightly aligned with God's design, then our disordered desires dictate how we live and where we believe we will find joy. To depict the joyful life, three portraits are supplied in this short letter.

The first portrait is that of Gaius. He is praised for his hospitality and generosity toward the traveling teachers and evangelists. He labors and sacrifices to bring blessing to others. This is so much the case, that the Apostle John commends him for his labors of love. Diotrephes is identified as an influential leader in the church that consistently puts himself first. He discredits and slanders John and those who are with him. He uses his power in the church to suppress assisting these traveling teachers and excommunicates anyone who stands in his way. Demetrius, is acknowledged for his goodness that is known by everyone. He lives what he preaches. He leaves the fingerprint of "goodness" everywhere he goes.

The way that each of these three live their lives is a reflection of what they value and what they believe is the best way to live. Gaius and Demetrius have chosen the route of living for the good of others, after the pattern of King Jesus. Diotrephes on the other hand orders his life around himself, and ultimately is robbed of the joyful life. 

Discussion Questions:

1. What faults do you find with the Buddhist philosophy of ending suffering through detachment from desire?

2. In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it difficult to live with our desires in a way that mirrors God's pattern for us?

3. Share a story of a "Gaius" that you have known? What specific actions or qualities can you identify?

4. Share a story (with appropriate discretion) of a "Diotrephes." How did things get to be bad? How did things end? Was there damage from it?

5. Share a story of "Demetrius," who is known all around for his goodness. Describe the characteristics that gave him or her such a reputation.

6. When you think about your reputation and legacy, what positive qualities can you identify in your life, and what areas do you have conviction?

7. In what ways has God designed your personality, giftedness, and specific home makeup to be a home of blessing to those around you, like Gaius?

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