Monday, December 07, 2009

My Christmas Wish For You

A large part of Christmas is “gift-giving.” Now believe me, I love gift-giving at Christmas but sometimes it is a hectic part of the Holiday Season that can steal our joy. We have to find the right gift for each person. Then we have to get them all wrapped and in some cases mailed in time for them to be opened on Christmas morning. So between all of the list-making, shopping, wrapping and mailing, the whole process of “gift-giving” often causes us more stress than it does joy. And in most every case, the gift always focuses on the physical. But what if we were going to do something different this year and instead of a physical gift we were going to give each other a spiritual wish for Christmas. Let me share with you what Christmas wish I would give to you.

My Christmas wish for each of you comes from the little postcard of a letter called Third John found in our New Testament. This letter was written by the Apostle John who also wrote the Gospel of John as well as First and Second John and the book of Revelation. Third John is one of the shortest books in the New Testament. It has only 14 verses in the English text and contains less than 300 words in its original language.

John writes this letter to a man named Gaius which was a very common name in the first century and was one of the most common names in the Roman Empire. There are 4 Gaius’ in the New Testament. There is a Macedonian mentioned in Acts who travelled with Paul on his third missionary journey. There is a man of Derbe mentioned in Acts 20:4 who travelled with Paul from Macedonia to Asia. There is a Corinthian man who Paul baptized (I Corinthians 1:14). And there is the recipient of Third John who was a convert of John (v4) and was at the very least an influential person in the church. Gaius was without question a beloved Christian leader seen by John calling him “Beloved” four different times (v1, 2, 5, 11)

But notice John’s wise for Gaius. It is seen in the phrase in verse two, “I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health just as your soul prospers.” This was a standard greeting and did not imply that Gaius was ill. The word “prosper” is used here and in Romans 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 16:2. It means to succeed; have things go well; or enjoy favorable circumstances. John’s prayer is that Gaius would prosper in two areas seen by the words “health” and “soul.” The word “health” is obviously speaking of physical health. John’s desire for Gaius was that his physical advancement would be equal to his spiritual advancement. The word “soul” speaks of Gaius’ spiritual life which was vibrant and growing, characterized by “walking in the truth.” This is the ultimate goal of every Christian pastor and parent - That we would teach the truth; that our people (children) would understand the truth; and that our people (children) would live out the truth.

So that is my Christmas gift to you. It is a wish that your spiritual life would be so vibrant and your love for Jesus so genuine that I could say that my wish for you this Christmas is that your life as a whole and your physical health would prosper in the same way that your spiritual life is prospering as you walk in the truth of God.


Derek said...

"Man I am pumped" your sermon yesterday along with the drama skit was Awesome you sermons usually rock but yesterday was definitly the word of God speaking truth.Thank you for my first gift of Christmas.

Pastor Scott said...

Derek - Thanks, bro! I really appreciate feedbakc and the encouragement. That drama really was awesome, wasn't it?

Anonymous - Maybve I'm just dull but I am not following your comment at all.

Becky White said...

I wish for you the same! Merry Christmas Pastor

Pastor Scott said...

Thank you, Becky! Blessings to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Pastor Scott said...

Thaks, Anonymous. I appreciate the kind words. My desire is to get more creative as I age, not less creative. Thanks for your encouragement.