Summary: How to treat good preachers, and correct those who mistreat others.
1. This letter centers around four men:
John: the writer and protector of God’s work
Gaius: looked after traveling preachers
Diotrephes: an egotistical leader who mistreated traveling preachers
Demetrius: a leader of good reputation
2. They represent both positive and negative examples.
3. III John is a circulatory letter and accompanied II John.
II John tells who not to have in your pulpit.
III John tells how to treat good preachers, and corrects those who mistreat them.
B. JOHN: THE GENTLE ROCK
“From John the elder, to Gaius whom I deeply love” (v.1). “I have much to tell you. I won’t write, but will soon tell you face to face. Friends have sent their love. Give my special greetings to everyone” (v. 13, ELT).
1. John probably led Gaius to Christ, “My children” (v. 4).
2. John wanted Gaius to help take care of itinerant preachers.
3. Uses his usual vocabulary, i.e., truth, love, children, received, etc.
C. GAIUS: ONE WHO ACTED RIGHT
“Dear friends, some traveling preachers have told me how God blesses you because you live a life separated from sin in fellowship with God . . .you did right by taking care of traveling preachers. They told us here in Ephesus about your friendship and financial gifts. You sent them on their way with a generous gift. Because they travel for the Lord, they don’t take money, housing, or clothing from the unsaved, even though they preach to get the unsaved converted” (v. 2-3, 5-7, ELT).
1. John prays for Gaius to prosper, “That you may prosper” (v. 2).
2. John rejoices his son in the faith follows his example.
3. “Thou doest faithfully” (v. 5). “You do out of loyalty to God.”
4. “The church” (v. 6). The traveling preachers told the Church at Ephesus.
5. “Bring forward on their journey.” Provided financially.
6. “Fellow-helpers” (v. 8). To give money is to minister with them.
7. Gaius works with traveling preachers and God.
D. DIOTREPHES: A HURTFUL EGOTISTICAL FALSE TEACHER
“When proud Diotrephes became the leader in the church, he loved to put people in their place and did not acknowledge biblical authority. He refused to listen to me. When I am come to you, I will tell you the things he is doing and will confront him with the things he says about me. I will rebuke his insulting language. He not only refuses to welcome traveling preachers, but tells everyone else to reject them. When they entered the church he threw them out. Dear friend, don’t let his bad example ruin you. Remember, if you follow the good, and reject what is bad, then you will prove you are God’s children. Those who live in evil do not have God and are far from Him” (vv. 9-11).
1. Most believers adopted Christian names, but Diotrephes means, “nourished by Jupiter” therefore, not completely separated to God.
2. Gaius and Diotrephes pastored churches near each other.
3. The only threat John makes, “I will remember his deeds” (v. 10).
4. John wrote the church, Diotrephes probably destroyed the letter.
5. Diotrephes forgot that, “In all things (Christ) should have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). Diotrephes wanted Christ’s place.
6. Was Diotrephes a false teacher?
a. Loved himself first and foremost.
b. Not received the word from an apostle (rejected authority) to his church.
c. Personally rejected “receiveth not” (v. 9).
d. His works were evil inspired. “Preaching against us with malicious words” (v. 10).
e. Shows hate rather than love.
f. Condemned by an apostle.
a. “Don’t follow evil” (v. 11). Negative role model.
b. “Follow God” (v. 11) because you are good.
Are we good because we do good things?
Do we do good things because we are good?
E. DEMETRUS: GENUINE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER
“Everyone knows Demetrus has a truly genuine testimony of living right. I also know this record about him is true, and everyone knows I speak the truth” (v. 12, ELT).
1. The perfect tense in the Greek language is used to show certainty.
2. “He that doeth good is of God” (v. 11). Because Demetrus was good, he did good.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.