The Firsts: 3 John 1 – Doctrine

NIV 3 John 1:5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

I certainly have wondered how the Kingdom of God can be populated by such a variety of people, even in my own church.  I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of several doctrinally different denominations over the years but they each shared one life-changing reality: committing your heart and mind to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus trumps everything else.  Our differences can make us seem like strangers to each other but we do have a powerful common bond. 

“Showing hospitality to others—particularly strangers—requires a level of trust and acceptance that is not necessarily required of us in our everyday lives. It forces us to rely on a common bond in Jesus Christ, rather than a particular blood relationship or shared experience. It forces us out of our comfort zones and into a territory where we must place our trust in God.” Chuck Swindoll

Doctrine should certainly become a cherished part of our personal faith but not necessarily our requirement for anyone else.  We are both bonded and constrained by our commitment to honor God and build our relationships on the uncommon power of the love of Jesus to unite even a variety of faithful doctrinal strangers.  

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