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No Greater Joy

No Greater Joy

Jun 05, 2016

Passage: 3 John 1:4

Preacher: Steve Haines

Category: Sunday Evening

Keywords: culture, faith, joy, walk


Former Associate Pastor Steve Haines returned to Grace Baptist Church to help celebrate Pastor Tom Ascol’s thirtieth anniversary as senior pastor. He preached from 3 John 4, one of Pastor Ascol’s favorite verses, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” John here is writing to what are apparently his children in the faith, that is people in whose conversion to Jesus Christ John played a role.

There are several elements to John’s joy. The first is that the church progressed. As believers walk in the faith, the local church, of which they are a part, is strengthened and is able to grow and flourish. Second, a pastor has joy as he watches his flock mature. John’s use of the word “walk” indicates a manner of life, a pattern of activity. The walk his children exhibited, being faithful to the Lord and His direction for their lives, gave John, the pastor joy. Third is the character of the “walk.” The walk showed the reality of changed lives. As true believers the experience of coming to Christ ought to work a change in their lives. One of the, perhaps the major, characteristics of the Gospel is change. Change in masters brings changes in the servant and his activities and direction in life. In fact, a lack of a changed life ought to raise questions about the sincerity and certainty of a conversion experience and commitment to Christ. If there is no visible change, there are legitimate concerns about the veracity of the conversion experience. Finally, a pastor’s joy is real as changes in lives imply the existence of moral absolutes. Despite modern moral relativism, God’s laws contain absolutes. Compromise with absolutes is not an available option.

There is a cost to adhering to these absolutes. Pastor Haines referred to the story of Peter’s obedience to the Lord in Luke 5:1 – 6. Peter was a skilled fisher. Fishing normally took place at night. Peter and his partners had been unsuccessful the previous night yet the Lord told him to pull out into deep water in the middle of the day to let the nets down for a catch. While perhaps humiliated, having a preacher instruct him in his vocation, or embarrassed in front of the watching townspeople, Peter obeyed. For him obedience to the absolutes in the command of the Lord was of greater value than standing in the eyes of me.

Returning to 3 John 4 our speaker noted “walking” with the Lord can be costly as evidenced with Peter. It may have financial burden in lost opportunity. It may come at the expense of social standing as people question your thinking and worldview. It may even impinge upon family relationships. Yet, walking with the Lord has its own benefits. It may bring joy to the pastor but, more importantly, it brings relationship and love with the God to whom a faithful pastor always points. That relationship with Jesus Christ is available to all who call on His name.