Summary: As a church leader, your behavior often determines the growth of believers and whether or not the church has a dynamic ministry for Christ. THIS is what the letter of 3 John is all about, leadership within the church.
As we continue our studies in the writings of the Apostle John, we begin to look into the book of 3 John. My plan is to spend just two studies in this book. It is believed that John the Apostle wrote this book or letter around 85-95 AD. It was written to a man named Gaius in order to warn against rejecting true ministers and spiritual leadership.
Like 1 John, this letter does not address any specific church. It’s written from a pastor whose leadership and authority have been unduly rejected. So John now appeals to another leader to hear and receive his instructions.
The same situation still existed to cause the writing of this letter as was the case when John wrote his second letter to the chosen lady. 3 John is a general epistle governing traveling ministers. After the apostles died off, a clash arose over the ministers of local churches and the traveling ministers. There were some false ministers who had begun to fill the pulpits of the local churches and others who had begun to travel about taking advantage of the Christians who were kind enough to provide them food and lodging during their ministry and stay.
Because of this abuse, some within the churches arose and began to oppose all traveling minsters. In 2 John, John writes the elect or chosen lady to warn her of false teachers. But on the other hand, he writes this letter to Gaius to encourage him to receive the true prophets. This letter shows that the conflict had become so heated that Diotrephes was even trying to have church members expelled if they accepted the traveling minister. We’ll talk more about him next week. So let’s begin tonight’s study of 3 John: 1-8.
I think most everyone would agree that leadership within any church is critical. Church leaders are chosen to lead people to Jesus Christ. That means that how leaders live and behave is of critical importance. Their lives affect the lives of the whole church. I have heard said more than once at more than just this church, “What I do on my own time is MY business.” Not if you are chosen to be a church leader.
As a church leader, your behavior often determines the growth of believers and whether or not the church has a dynamic ministry for Christ. THIS is what the letter of 3 John is all about, leadership within the church.
Three leaders are seen, two were godly men and one was a troublemaker. The first leader was Gaius. He is a picture of the spiritual and beloved leader, a man who took the lead within the church by reaching out and helping all those who needed help.
READ v. 1. Gaius was a dear friend of John. Four times in this letter, John calls him dear friend—three of which are in these verse we look at tonight. Gaius was dear to the heart of John. He was deeply loved. Apparently they were close friends, but their friendship was not the main reason for their bond.
The main reason for their close bond was Christ. Gaius had trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior and was faithful to the call God had given him. He was a leader in the church and he did his job well. He lived for Christ and performed his functions for the sake of Christ and the church. John loved Gaius because he was both a dear friend and great servant of Christ.
READ v. 2. We see from this passage that Gaius prospered spiritually despite ill health. He was apparently a man who suffered some illness or disease or was at least subject to being sick a lot. His health crosses John’s mind, and John wants him to know that he is praying for his soul to prosper. Note two things:
1. Gauis’ soul DID prosper. John actually says that it “is getting along well.” The idea is that he was growing spiritually, growing stronger and stronger in Christ and in the fruit of the Spirit. He experienced the fullness of God day by day.
Gaius, the church leader, prospered in that he experienced both abundant and eternal life. He knew God’s care and guidance every day of his life.
2. John prayed for Gaius to enjoy good health and that all would go well with him. In this case, John wanted Gaius to be prosperous and fulfilled and satisfied in all of life.
This should be an encouragement to us to be praying for one another—for all believers—to be prosperous and fulfilled and satisfied in all that we undertake. Nothing can take the place of peace of heart and mind. And peace comes only through Jesus Christ.
READ v. 3-4. Gaius walked in the truth. Two things to note: