Summary: Don't imitate what is evil, but rather what is good. Even in the church and even in leadership we can find poor examples. We shouldn't walk after the example of men and women like Diotrephes. We should instead follow the example of men and women who exhib
Who are you imitating?
Lighthouse Assembly of God
Pastor Greg Tabor
Text: 3 John (NIV)
Let’s look at the introduction to John’s letter:
To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
In these verses we are introduced to a man named Gaius. It is my understanding that Gaius was a very common name in the Roman empire. This man is singled out as being someone whom the apostle John, mentioned here as simply “The elder,” loves and heard good news about and is filled with joy about his life, which is being conducted in accordance with the truth. Gaius may have been a convert of John’s, being that he refers to him as one of his children in verse 4. Or he may simply be referring to him as one of his children because John is an apostle ministering to those in various churches and he looks upon those in these churches as children in the faith whom he is nurturing. In any case, like any pastor or parent, there’s no greater joy than that those under your care are “walking in the truth.” If you are a Christian parent in here surely you can’t possibly think of a greater joy than that your children are faithful in their walk with the Lord. And John experienced hearing the testimony of Gaius’ commitment to the truth via brothers that had come into contact with Gaius and now had come to where John was at.
5Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.
Now John commends his friend for his faithfulness in showing hospitality to those who are “strangers.” The very fact that he is acting in kindness and love towards these “strangers” reveals his true colors, so to speak, that he is a true Christian. He’s a Christian in action not merely in profession. It is obvious from the text that these “strangers” are traveling ministers. Verse 6 reveals to us that they had told the church where John was at about Gaius and his display of love to them via his hospitality. The second part of verse 6 through verse 8 is very insightful. John seems to reaffirm here what Gaius is already doing when he says, “You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.” He was already doing this, but it never hurts to reiterate it. John puts his stamp on how they are to be sent, “in a manner worthy of God.” They are to be treated right. Why is that the case? While people in general should be treated right, concerning these people Verse 7 tells us, “It was for the sake of the Name that they went out…” What is this referring to? The men Gaius is and should continue showing hospitality to are men that have evidently given their lives to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And from this particular profession it is obvious they would receive no help from “the pagans.” In fact they were supposed to be reaching the pagans, not having their income supplemented by the pagans. They should support these men and by doing so become partners with them in their ministry. This reminds me of the blessing we have of having missionaries from various parts of the world come to our church and we are privileged to give them an offering and support them monthly. Beyond that we feed them and put them up in a hotel and insure that they are provided for when they minister at our church. We are obligated to do this and we should do this. We should treat them and others like them with the red carpet treatment.
9I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 10So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.