Summary: These are the last recorded words of John. One’s last words often tell us where his priorities were.
John’s third letter is addressed to Gaius, "my dear friend."
The central thought is found in verse eleven:
"Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God."
Imitate good people. Don’t imitate bad people.
Sounds kind of trite. Yet it is an essential teaching of the well balanced Christian life.
The lives of Gaius and Demetrius were worth imitating.
Verse 4 - Gaius walked in the truth
Verses 5-6 - He was faithful in what he did for the brothers, even though they were strangers. (This could have been because he was hospitable to itinerate evangelists.)
Verse 12 - Demetrius had a good reputation.
The lifestyle of Diotrophes was not to be imitated.
Verse 9 - Always wanted his own way, wanted to be "first".
Verse 10 - He was a malicious gossip; not content; refused to be hospitable and confronted those who were. (A person finds it difficult to love others when they don’t love themselves.)
John’s last words teach us to find a Christian like Gaius or Demetrius to imitate, and not to be fooled by those like Diotrophes.
Do not be fooled by someone who acts like they are spiritual. Examine their lifestyle characteristics to see if they are worth imitating.