What Kind Of Christian Are You? No. 4.
For Dependable Christians! Part B
Reading Acts Ch. 19 v 23-41 + 3 John v12.
Demetrius The Dependable! 3 John v 12.
B. Let's Think About The Principle:
"Demetrius hath a good report of all men, and of the truth itself; yea, and we also bear witness, and ye know that our witness is true."
The Apostle John wanted those to whom he was writing to follow a good example v 11.
"Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."
The Universal Dictionary tells us the word example means someone or something that serves as a model or pattern for imitation or duplication; an exemplar.
John is warning his readers not imitate someone like Diotrephes. If you wish to follow an example, then follow Demetrius! He's worth taking note of.
(i) This Demetrius Was Concerned About His Testimony! v 12a.
How important is testimony?
Sir Bernard Burke thus touchingly writes in his Vicissitudes of Families, "In 1850 a pedigree research caused me to pay a visit to the village of Finderne, about five miles Southwest of Derby. I sought for the ancient hall. Not a stone remained to tell where it had stood! I entered the church. Not a single record of a Finderne was there! I accosted a villager, hoping to glean some stray traditions of the Findernes. 'Findernes!' said he, 'We have no Findernes here, but we have something that once belonged to them. We have Findernes' flowers.' "'Show them to me,' I replied, and the old man led me into a field that still retained faint traces of terraces and foundations. 'There,' said he, pointing to a bank of garden flowers grown wild, 'there are the Findernes' flowers, brought by Sir Geoffrey from the Holy Land, and do what we will, they will never die!'"
So be it with each of us. Should our names perish, may the truths we taught, the virtues we cultivated, the good works we initiated, live on and blossom with undying energy. Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
The point is, is it correct to imitate human leaders? Well, yes, if they have been a wonderful example of Jesus Christ. If their testimony is true. Why? Testimony is important! In Phil. 3 v 17 Paul puts it like this.
"Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example."
Paul also reminds the Corinthians in 1 Cor. ch. 11 v 1.
"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."
It’s an accepted fact, we cannot see God, but we can see God at work in the lives of His people. The godly life and consecrated service of a believer is always an encouragement and stimulus to others. The unknown penman to the Hebrews says it like this. Heb. 10 v 24.
"Consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."
John reckons Demetrius is a man who stands out as an example, he has a good testimony, he has a "good report", in other words he is an excellent witness amongst all in his church fellowship. All the members knew and respected him. They loved him, and thanked God for his consistent life and ministry. Yes it can be a dangerous thing when "all men speak well of you" (Luke 6 v 26), it is a marvellous thing when every believer in the local church acknowledges your testimony as one that glorifies God.
(ii) This Demetrius Was Controlled By the Truth! v 12b.
"And of the truth itself."
It is not by any stretch of the imagination that we can say this man was perfect, rather it is that there is a delightful consistency about his lifestyle that corresponds with the Word of God. The very Word of God cries out to the testimony of this Demetrius as being true.
My dear brothers and sisters, it is a thing most wonderful when we can set our lives beside the Word of God and our testimony and His Word blend as if one.
A glory gilds the sacred page, Majestic like the sun;
It gives a light to every age, It gives, but borrows none.
William Cowper (1731-1800).
A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting him whenever and wherever his people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
Centuries of experience have tested the Bible. It has passed through critical fires no other volume has suffered, and its spiritual truth has endured the flames and come out without so much as the smell of burning. W. E. Sangster.
The question should be asked at this point! Does God's word control your life?
If we are to be real and not false, we must allow the Word of the Lord to have control in our every day living. So what do I do that this might happen?
Should I learn special passages? Should I only attend to the words of Jesus?
Should I stick with the New Testament only? Well, I don’t think so! You see, as we read in the Bible, we soon discover that all of Scripture has infallible, inerrant authority for our lifestyle. "All scripture is given by inspiration and therefore is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, (or mature, complete) thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3 v 16 & 17).
And it’s not even simply memorising passages, it's not simply talking about the Scriptures, it has to be an allowing of the Scriptures to take control of us. How do I do that? John 15 v 7.
"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you."
In other words, by staying with Him and in Him we shall glorify God, enjoy Him forever, and show the world we are true disciples.
(iii) This Demetrius Was Considered By John To Be True! v 12c.
Although little is said of Demetrius in Scripture, what has been said of him is very well worth noting as I said earlier. Here is a man who understands that the testimony matters to God and it therefore should matter to us.
John himself was without any shadow of doubt a man of God. His words about Demetrius carry great weight indeed. Can I say dear folks, it is a thing most wonderful, when asked about someone in your congregation, you can give a good testimony off. And may I say secondly in that area, this is something we should all aim for. To be a Demetrius type character in the Assembly of God's people will do more for the glory of God than anything else I know. When our character or testimony speaks so loudly and clearly to the glory of God men and women in your area will sit up and take notice and become willing to hear what you have to say. The very real problem with many dear, professing Christians today is, what we are, is speaking so loudly to our detriment, the world cannot hear what we are saying about the love of God.
"In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language." Mark Twain.
That can be our attitude to testimony. We often say, I can't understand why people do not understand my testimony. The reason being folks is, what you see and hear is totally different to what others see and hear. If that’s the case, is it not time we did a little stock taking of how we are living and what we are saying
The reason the name Demetrius was placed into the cannon of Scripture was, I am perfectly sure, to cause us to examine our own testimony in the light of the Word of God and thereby get the balance right.
Every believer possesses the equipment necessary to win victory in the daily struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. The crucial weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, which is likened to a small, easily wielded weapon used for close, precision work. This sword is given by the Holy Spirit, who is the resident truth-teacher in every Christian's heart. It is the Word of God, which must be used specifically and precisely to be effective in the believer's life. The sword of the Spirit is used very effectively in two different ways, one, we learn to use the sword in the defensive, and two, we need to learn to use the sword in the offensive.
On the defence, we must learn to use the Word to ward off the blows and thrusts of Satan, who is constantly trying to tempt us at our weakest points. On the offence, we must be just as careful and sharp as we wield the sword by teaching and sharing God's Word wherever we can to cut through the Devil's dark kingdom.
Dr. John MacArthur reminds us, "there are three approaches to God's Word which can be likened to three visitors to a beautiful flower garden. We can be butterflies who flutter about, obtaining little of real value, or we can be botanists who carefully study the details and the fine points of the flower but who fail to find any real nourishment. Or we can be bees, who sink deep into God's Word, going in empty and coming out full of His truth, wisdom, and power. How we choose to use our sword of the Spirit determines whether we will know the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat." End Quote!
Is the bible sufficient? Does it need defending or protecting?
The godly Spurgeon said well: "there is no need for you to defend a lion when he's being attacked. All you need to do is open the gate and let him out."
Beloved, a testimony that measures up to the Word of God will know continual victory.