-Third John is a short letter to Gaius, who is in the truth and beloved in truth by the apostle. Gaius is prayed for in several ways by John. His health was a concern as well as the prosperity of his soul. He carried a great testimony of his spiritual fruit, which gave John incredible joy (3 John 1:1-4). *Application* A good testimony means a whole lot. Imagine the smile that came over John’s face as he penned these words, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 1:4).” This is a reminder to follow authority in our lives (Hebrews 13:17). Compare the testimony of Gaius to Diotrephes and we see the difference (3 John 1:9). The truth is the full counsel of the Word of God. We must walk in it, which means we live it out, we actually do it. The Bible is consistent and accurate. We do well when we follow its instruction with obedient application.
-Gaius had done faithful things with much effort in the way of caring for sojourners that were strangers. These were travelers sent out by God accepting nothing from the Gentiles. The encouragement from John was to always support people like these who are giving up houses, homes, brothers, sisters, and family members to face the hardships of spreading the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29, Luke 14:26). This makes us fellow workers of the truth as we treat them in a manner worthy of God (3 John 1:5-8). *Application* We often get the opportunity to host people that come along our path in ministry work. Just recently our home received a missionary living in Israel working with Russian and Ethiopian Jewish immigrants in Natanya, just north of Tel Aviv. A few months ago we hosted children from several different countries who were orphans traveling with a ministry team spreading the good news of Jesus Christ across this country and raising awareness of those less fortunate in foreign lands. We became partakers in the greater Kingdom work when we show hospitality and welcome these who are laboring in the Name of Jesus and need help. Don’t miss your opportunities to be blessed in so many ways!
-John had to do some disciplinary writing concerning Diotrephes, who liked to put himself first (pride), and did not acknowledge God-given authority (rebellion). John planned to tackle this problem face to face if the Lord allowed him to come. John wanted to expose what this man was doing for the purpose of correction and restoration. He wanted to put an end to the “wicked nonsense” of this man. Besides Diotrephes’ pride and rebellion, he was not welcoming the brothers with Christian hospitality and even keeping people from being welcoming by putting them out of the church (3 John 1:9-10). *Application* We can see the extreme nature of this vanguard of selfish living in this text. John gives us the theme of giving in the truest sense here. We must live in subjection to Christ and to one another if we are to walk in truth. Evaluate yourself before God. Are you a Gaius or a Deotrephes? Be honest, God already knows your heart.
-The theme becomes: “Do not imitate evil but imitate good (3 John 1:11).” The facts are simple, whoever does good is from God, whoever does evil has not seen God. John mentions one other brother, Demetrius, who received commendation as one having a good reputation among everyone and the truth itself from God and the apostles (3 John 1:12). John brings his short letter to a close in the same manner as 2 John. He prefers to come see these people in physical presence as opposed to simply writing them. This again reveals the relational nature of John, who was known for his great love themes in Scripture. In the last verse he pronounces peace and greetings each by name (3 John 1:13). *Application* We too need this relational component to our Christian ministry. Without it we will have a hard time fulfilling God’s great command to love one another. This is essential for our joy and peace. It may not always be easy, because we live in a fallen world with fallen-imperfect people, but there is really no way to grow in our faith if we are reclusive and withdrawn. God teaches so much when we live in community with others. We learn to share, love, and forgive among many other things. Practice relational ministry and be blessed! This is the truth, walk in it as children of the most high God!
Verse to Memorize: 3 John 1:4