THE NEW TESTAMENT
Chapter One hundred-twenty-eight
The Third Epistle from John
The following introduction is taken from the NKJV Personal Study
Bible, Thomas Nelson publishers, 190,1995.
John addresses this epistle to an individual named
Gaius...the Christian faith, called "the truth," is to be lived
in love with all of God's people.
AUTHOR AND DATE
Third John was probably written by the author of 1 and 2
John sometime between A.D. 85 and 95. See introduction to 1 John:
Author and Date.
Gaius probably attended a church in a city of Asia
Minor....it is apparent that Diotrephes had gained control of the
church, and in his arrogance had rejected the apostle John and
PURPOSE AND CONTENT
This letter applies Christian principles to church life and
administration. Gaius is commended for continuing to walk in
Christian truth, showing generosity to local church members, and
aiding travelling evangelists. Diotrephes is condemned for his
prideful rejection of the apostle, domination of the local
church, and refusal to give hospitality. Finally, Demetrius, a
felloe Christian and perhaps the bearer of this letter, is
recommended to the confidence of the church.
(1). Salutation (1-4)
A. Assurance of love and prayers (1,2)
B. Joy over a good testimony (3,4)
(2). Encouraging God's workers (5-8)
A. Extending hospitality (5,6)
B. Helping the missionaries (7,8)
(3). Reproving opponents of truth (9-11)
A. A rebellious leader (9)
B. Malicious words (10)
C. Evil acts (11)
(4). Commending a good example (12)
(5). Conclusion (13,14)
John starts with a HUGE positive in writing to Gaius. It
concerns them both being "in the truth." How could it be
otherwise for John. He had walked and talked with Jesus for about
three and one half years. He certainly KNEW THE TRUTH. So did
Gaius. Hence John's greeting him "in the truth" (verse 1).
Verse two has often been used by "health and wealth"
preachers of Christianity, that with their formula (which means
believing them and supporting their work with money) they will be
guaranteed "wealth and health" and all prosperity in this
The facts are that it just does not work that way for
EVERYONE, at all times and in all places. Just a look at various
accounts in the Bible, can show you this teaching is incorrect.
Then to make it simple, just look at Hebrews chapter eleven.
There are MANY factors that must take place, which includes God's
will, to bring about physical wealth and health. Just because you
accept Christ as personal Savior and start to follow the way of
the Lord, does not automatically guarantee you will be wealthy
and in super health for the rest of your physical life. Certainly
in the apostles Paul's life there were times when he was in need,
and times when he abounded, but as he said, he had learned that
whatever state he was in physically, to be CONTENT! There are so
many factors to consider, not the least, is the factor of God,
and His plans for your life, and the work He may have in store
for you within the Gospel work. There is the factor of you
yourself, how you use what you have been given, how wise you are
in the mammon of this world. When you become a child of God, you
do not become the Lord's little toy robot. The Father leaves you
to still be a free moral thinking human person. He often leaves
you to make mistakes and/or bad decisions, in various areas of
your physical life, which can then effect your wealth and your
health. If you do not obey the laws of health (correct diet,
exercise, enough sleep etc.) you can hardly expect God to bless
you with super health.
So this second verse is not some "catch all" or "quick fix"
waving of the magic wand, as some false teachers would like you
to believe (if you support them in physical ways). John was
remembering Gaius, and prayed for him, that he would be in
prosperity and health. John's personal desire was for it to be
this way with Gaius. I think we should be able to relate to this
with common and general understanding, as we may write to someone
and start our letter with, "I hope this finds you in good
prosperity and in health" or "You are my dear friend and my
prayer for you are that you will prosper and be in good health."
It is a GENERAL friendly statement of your personal desires and
wishes for your friend. The rest of it all must be left up to God
and the wisdom of the individual (in their daily life) you are
John tells Gaius he rejoiced greatly when people came from
his congregation and testified of the truth that was in him, that
he walked and lived in the truth of God. It was a tremendous joy,
no greater a joy, for John, than to hear his spiritual children
walked in the truth (verses 3,4).
And should not that be as we would want to hear. It is with
GREAT PLEASURE that I sometimes hear from God's people, that they
are studying their Bible along with this Website and all the
studies on it, and WALK the straight and narrow road of
salvation. It is with pleasure I sometimes get an email, telling
me how pleased they were to find this Website. I do have the
daily stats from the people who host this Website and at present
(October 2007) there are about 500 people who use this Website on
a daily basis. All that said, the MAIN thing is that people
around the world are walking in the footsteps of our Lord and
Savior Christ Jesus, and sticking to the truth of His word. Being
willing to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of
John praises Gaius for his charity to the brethren and to
passing Christians who travel through his part of the world.
Gaius was kind and charitable in physical ways to the travelling
true Christian ministers, who did not take or expect physical
needs to be met in their lives from the Gentiles per se. Not that
some Gentiles no doubt did support the travelling evangelists,
but they did not look for it or expect it. John encourages Gaius
to continue in those good works among the brethren and those
passing through where he lived (verses 5-8).
With what we have been given we all should be helping those
in need, in whatever way we can. For some it is taking time to
help and serve in physical ways within charitable organizations.
For others it is physical goods, food, clothes, etc. to
charitable works. And for others it is money they can give to
those in need. For still others it is a mixture of all the above
ways to serve others.
We need to be, in one way or another, GIVING BACK to others
what the Lord has given to us. We should not forget that prayers
for others is a very important part of giving back and serving in
God's work. There are some who may have only "time" to give, time
in prayer. Maybe they can pray for long periods of time for all
kinds of people and situations and needs in the Church of God.
Prayer like that is a wonderful blessing to be able to give in
serving in the work of God.
I'm giving !! to this heading here. This is one TREMENDOUS
section of the epistles of John, that may be overlooked by many.
It is a section FULL and DEEP with truth on "church government."
Many may miss it, if they have not experienced churches that
ABUSE. If you have never been in a congregation (single or
organizations of more than one congregation) that is RUN and
DOMINATED by an INDIVIDUAL as KING-PIN, or the "little Hitler" of
the congregation, then you may miss what John is hear saying in
the next verses.
It may SHOCK some of you, to even think that what John says
in verses 9-11 is TAKING PLACE WITHIN A VERY TRUE CHURCH OF GOD!
But it was indeed. The true church of God, the very Body of
Christ, is not immune to the "take over" by INDIVIDUAL people!
What may have started out as a good run local (or national or
worldwide) work of God, CAN be turned into a ONE MAN
If you have forgotten Acts 20, you need to turn there right
now and read it all again. Start in verse 17 and read to verse
38. Now MARK verses 29-30; never forget those verses. Paul was
inspired to say that after he departed from them, some would come
WITHIN, like grievous wolves would enter among the people of God,
and would not spare the flock. Some of them would be from THEIR
VERY OWN MINISTERS! They would begin to speak PERVERSE things,
and do it all to draw away disciples who would follow THEM. They
would want to be the king-pin, the one that others would look to
with "awe" - "Oh, he has a special connection with God" - "Ah,
he's the very chosen one of God, to do the Lord's end-time work."
Such are the thoughts and words of people who come under the
spell of a DYNAMIC speaking leader, or one with domineering skills.
We have in recent "church" history people like Jim Jones
leading his followers to death. We had Korish, and his followers
in Waco, Texas, having his followers giving their wives to him,
and many other crazy things, that ended up with many of them
dying along with Korish.
THEN, for you one time (maybe still are) members of the
WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD, we had Herbert W. Armstrong claiming to
be God's end-time "apostle" and the only true church of God on
earth, and an organization DOMINATED by that ONE man, who turned
many things upside-down and inside-out when it came to the
doctrine of "church government." And did EXACTLY as we read here
in verses 9- 10. THROWING MANY OUT with an ERRONEOUS false
doctrine of "church disfellowship." In that organization for way
too many years, there was ONE ONLY leader of it all. Herbert W.
Armstrong, and the local ministers became little drill sergeants,
who cast people out with the command of their voice.
For any of you who have experienced this, and are still
getting your mind sorted out over it all, read verses 9 and 10
VERY SLOWLY. What you may have gone through IS NOTHING NEW to the
Body of Christ. Paul said it would be (Acts 20) and John, near
the end of the fist century, was writing about one SPECIFIC
church that was GOING THROUGH the experience of a ONE MAN
Diotrephes, was a Jim Jones, a Korish, a Herbert Armstrong.
He wanted the PRE-eminence. He used malicious words, AGAINST, note
it, think about it, against John the apostle of Christ! This just
blows me away. John, who worked with, talked with, ate with,
listened to, Jesus the Christ, for three and one half years, was
BEING SPOKEN AGAINST, ignored, having malicious words cast at
him, by this fellow called Diotrephes. This guy was not only not
receiving the brethren, but was also FORBIDDING others to receive
them. And I guess those others were LISTENING and OBEYING his
dictates, too many of them sure were.
And, just as in any "cult" - those who objected to it WERE
BEING CAST OUT OF THE CHURCH!
Does this all sound FAMILIAR to some of you? Yes it does,
and so it is as wise King Solomon said, "There is nothing new
under the sun."
If you have come even close to knowing or experiencing a
Diotrephes, then you need to take the time to study ALL my
studies on CHURCH GOVERNMENT. The truth of that subject CAN BE
KNOWN, and once you know it, then you will be set free by the
truth, indeed Jesus said, "The truth shall set you free."
And in passing, it is not wrong at times to NAME NAMES and
get specific with sins and errors of false teachings and those
who expound them. Here is a New Testament example of getting
specific when it was needed to be specific.
After talking about this false doctrine and mannerism of
this dictator leader, John puts it where it is, DO NOT THAT WHICH
IS EVIL, but THAT WHICH IS GOOD. Doing the right is of God, doing
what is not right means you have not seen God, or you are
wandering from God. Again, it is just that simple folks. The
right is of God, the wrong is not of God (verse 11).
We finish with a POSITIVE. Demetrius had a good report of
all people (people that mattered) and a good report of being in
the truth. John says he and others being record that this was
correct. He knew that they knew his record was true. Obviously
Demetrius was to play a part in the lives of this congregation,
which we are not instructed in as to how.
John again says he had many things to write to them, but
would not with pen and ink, he hoped to be visiting them very
shortly and speak to them face to face (verses 12-14).
What wonderful three epistles from John the apostle. What
wonderful truths they contain.
It all boils down to LOVING GOD, and what true love is. Love
towards God, love towards fellow mankind. The TWO PARTS of the
magnificent TEN COMMANDMENTS.
As John finished with, I will also:
"Peace be to thee, our friends salute thee, Greet the friends by
name" (verse 14).
Written October 2007