3 John 1-4
Intro: Today we will read a Bible text often misunderstood, misused
and Abused by False Teachers today. A favorite verse for Prosperity Preachers.
Prosperity Gospel; Word of Faith; Name & Claim; Health and Wealth
Wealth and Health is the will of God for all people who trust and obey. If you have enough faith and do/give enough money, God will give you power, health and money. Converse: If you are sick or struggling financially, you must not have Faith, not enough Faith.
Hard Line: Bold, unabashed, unflinching
Soft Sell: Minimize Sin; Delegitimize Pain… God wants us all to enjoy the Good Life, Now.
t/s – These False Teacher, Prosperity Preachers love 3 John 2
Gordon Fee, “the basic Scripture text of the cult of prosperity”
Misunderstood, Misrepresented, Twisted…
3 John 1-4 Fascinating to me, because properly read, this is A Solid Biblical Perspective on Prosperity
Background: Walking in the Truth – 2 & 3 John… Old John
Truth = Reliable, Right, Real… Jesus & Gospel
Know the Truth; Truth within; Truth as a way of Live.
3 John will use “Truth” six times in only 15 verses.
Gaius = unknown, leader of a church near Ephesus
We only know that John Loved him (beloved 4X)
Note: Plural pronouns… to the church also
t/s – Today, John’s greeting… opening remarks!
READ 3 John 1-4
Beautiful Biblical Perspective on Prosperity:
Pray for and Pursue with Passion the Prosperity of the Soul.
Understand Prosperity from a Biblical Perspective
Exp – “Prosperity” = English, “to be successful; esp. financially”
Ill – Mark Twain, “What gets us into trouble is not what we
Don’t know; it is what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”
When you read the word Prosperity in the Bible, it does not mean, to be successful, especially financially.
Prosper = odos – way or road; eu – good…
• To have a good journey (eu & odos – way, road)
• Metaphorical – Things will go well for you..
Life as a Journey… Not Home!
• Always Passive = God gives us a Good Journey
• Only used four times in NT (Rom. 1:10; 1 Cor. 16:2)
Key: Just as your soul prospers = Prosperity of the Soul is Priority
The inner man; the essential part; spiritual life; moral fiber
Soul = Your Life in its essential part; as you relates to God!
ILL – Soul is difficult to define, but we all know what we
Are saying when we sing, “It is well with my Soul!”
Soul Prosperity is Walking in the Truth (Read Vs. 3)
• The Truth of Jesus (Gospel) as a consistent, habitual way of Life; Obedience, Love and Truth!
The one thing which makes a man’s soul healthy is to get
Jesus Christ into it! MacLaren
ILL- The most prosperous Soul I know lives on social security.
She is Blind; and all her worldly possessions fit in my office
Godly; Grateful; Kind and quick to smile
She Walks with Jesus; Delights in his Word; prays without c easing…Body is wasting away, but her soul is prospering.
App – “Prosperity” defined by New Testament; not by a TV preacher; not by a Real Housewives or an American Dreamer.
To Prosper is to Journey well; to travel on the Truth Road.
t/s – Once we gain a biblical Understanding of Prosperity —
shedding the deceptions and misconception of culture; we can…
Pray for Prosperity in All Respects.
Exp – Memorize vs. 2 for your prayer life.
In all respects, not “above all things”…
John clearly prays for Gaius to get along well in every way:
• Health; material provision; family relationships…
• No shame or fault in that kind of prayer.. Be Honest.
The priority is Soul Prosperity…
FIRST Focus– Is my, Is your, Soul Prospering?
ILL – Bill Hendricks, “For many contemporary Christians, such a prayer would be a prayer for poverty.”
Imagine your bank account equal to soul prosperity.
Imagine health or appearance reflecting the condition of your soul.
App – Soul Prosperity is the Focus; the Priority.
• In sickness or poverty , a soul can prosper
• Health and Wealth often stunt the growth of a Soul.
Danger when Outward runs ahead of Inward Prosperity.
Pursue Soul Prosperity with Passion.
Exp – Love for Gaius (child) meant passion for his Soul.
Vs. 3 – very glad Vs. 4 – No Greater Joy
Ill – What do you want for your kids; grandkids?
What is your Passion and the theme of your Prayers?
• Athletics Success; Friends; Academics accomplishment
Go well for them — socially, physically, … Soul Prosperity.
Confession = My Passion is misplaced. (would you admit it?)
Ill – Living in a hall of Mirrors — distorted and disoriented
App – Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness…
Jesus told a parable that speaks to the priority of Soul Prosperity.
Tell Luke 12: 16-21… Soul, Soul, Soul used three times in the telling.