Greeting to Gaius
"The Elder, to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Gaius Commended for Generosity
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name's sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.
Diotrephes and Demetrius
"I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.
I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name. (NKJV)
I. Introduction: Gaius “Who Is He?” (verse 1-2)
John addresses this epistle (letter) to Gaius
A. Gaius, "the beloved" which meant, he was a personal friend of the Apostle John(3 John 1-2, 5,11), "walking in the truth" (vs. 3,4), and doing "a faithful work" "toward them that are brethren and strangers withal" (vs. 5,6). John had a true brotherly love for this child of God. It’s not known if Gaius held any office in the church, but apparently was a man of wealth and influence.
B. Concerning Gaius’ Welfare: (vs. 2)
I hope you prosper in “all things” even as your “soul” prospers.
1. Prosperity in physical health (medical)
2. Prosperity in your “soul” (psyche-mind)-Let the mind of Christ dwell in your mind.
3. Prosperity in your daily affairs (secular)
Note: To live a “holistic” Christian life, it is necessary to have prosperity in every “sphere” of life. (Mind, body, and soul) The Christian should to a certain extent expect the comfort of life, even in the midst of spiritual warfare. Jesus came that we might have life…and that life more abundantly. But understand, to pray for the abundant life also means that the devil is going to come against any prosperity you are given because it represents the blessing of God and is another witness to how great God is, and as your life witnesses in a world of darkness, (when Jesus is lifted up above the earth) others who are still walking in darkness will be drawn to the marvelous light that shines in you.
II. John: “A Reason to Rejoice” (verses 3-4)
A. The “Brethren” (traveling Evangelists) came and talked about your walk in Christ.
You light shined that others could see the “good works” that were in you. They said you are a “living” testimony. You were living according to the truth despite the spirit of error that attacked the churches.
B. A Pastor’s Joy: To hear that the flock is ”Walking in the Truth”
Learning the Word and Lighting the World through personal evangelism: (by their daily life’s testimony and the spread of the Gospel.)
III. Calling: “Evaluation” (verses 5-8)
A. Christian faith: Your life example of hospitality exemplified true Christian faith. (vs.5)
“You have conducted yourself as the faith-the Christian religion, required you to act, in all that you have done, both to the brethren at home, and to the strangers-(traveling evangelists), who, in the course of their travels, have visited your house”
B. Christian Love: Your hospitality was a testimony of your love before the church (congregation) You proved to be a faithful and loving servant. (vs. 6)
C. Christian Influence: “For the Gospel sake”
The evangelist went out, taking nothing from the Gentiles. The term "Gentile" embraced all who were not "Jews," and it is evident that these persons went forth particularly to labor among the pagan. When they went, they resolved, it seems, to receive no part of their support from them, but to depend upon the aid of their Christian brethren, (vs.7)
D. Christian support: “Aid and Support” (vs.8)
All of us should show hospitality and render help to those who evangelize and preach the Gospel Why?
1. The work in which they are engaged is one of pure benevolence. Pastors, Ministers and traveling preachers who are truly dedicated to the work of the ministry and the cause of Christ simply love what they do.
2. They have no selfish aims and ends in it. They are not in it for the money. It’s in their heart to serve the Lord. They do not even look for the people whom they are privileged to minister to supply of their personal needs
3. As indicated in the church covenant, we are obligated to give to the support of the ministry, the relief of the poor, ands to spread the gospel throughout all nations. We ought, therefore, to help them in their work, and to contribute to their support.
IV. Diotrephes: A “Contrast” to Gaius (verses 9-11)
An Example of Unchristian like Spirit:
Here is a very different example and character: Sadly, an officer, a minister in the church, less generous, and antisocial and less communicative.
A. Character: His temper and spirit—full of pride and ambition: He loved to have the pre-eminence. (Obsessed with sitting in the 1st chair ) This ferment sprang and wrought betimes. It is an unseeming character of Christ's ministers to love pre-eminence, to affect presidency in the church of God.
B. His contempt of the apostle's authority: Scoffs at the letter, and notion of anyone who wants to show hospitality.
His actions and behaviors are contrary to our ministry appointment, talking against us with malicious words. Strange that the contempt should run so high!
Warning: Extreme ambition will breed malice against those who oppose it. Malice and ill-will in the heart will be apt to vent themselves by the lips. Out of the issues of the heart, the mouth will speak: Watch the poison in your heart and watch what comes out of your mouth.
John said: "I wrote to the church in recommendation of such and such brethren. But Diotrephes was not receptive to us and would not honor the letter and testimony included in it." This seems to be the church of which Gaius was a member and Diotrophes was a “wannabe” deacon or even a “wannabe” Pastor
C. John’s Apostolic Response: “I’ll remember His deeds (Malicious gossip) (vs.10)
That is, he would punish his arrogance and presumption; would take measures that he should be dealt with in a proper manner. What had been done was public. It pertained to the authority of the apostle, the duty of the church, and the character of the brethren who had been commended to them.
Note: 1. If the letter was written, as is supposed by the aged John, and his authority had been utterly rejected by the influence of this one man, then it was proper that that authority should be asserted.
2. If it was the duty of the church to have received these men, who had been thus recommended to them, and it had been prevented from doing what it would otherwise have done, by the influence of one man, then it was proper that the influence of that man should be restrained, and that the church should see that he was not to control it.
3. If the feelings and the character of these brethren had been injured by being rudely thrust out of the church, and held up as unworthy of public confidence, then it was proper that their character should be vindicated, and that the author of the wrong should be dealt with in a suitable manner.
D. John’s Advice: “Beloved, don’t follow what’s evil” (vs.11)
“Follow that which is good. He that does good is of God. He that does evil has not seen God.
E. Demetruis: Another Example of a "Good Report" (vs.12)
Not much is known about Demetruis other than what John writes here. He was probably another member of the church where Gaius was; or he might have been one of those whom the apostle recommends to Gaius. He seems to have been an excellent person: all testified of his righteousness. the truth-Christianity, itself bore testimony to him; and the apostles themselves added theirs also.
Conclusion: I have many things to write, but I won’t with pencil or pen. I hope to see you shortly. We will speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends salute you. Greet the friends by name.
Dr. William Edward Boddie