PRAISE OF LIVING IN TRUTH
Instructions to continue, follow and support those living in truth.
The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Dear 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. 3 It 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. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth. 9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 10 So 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. 11 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. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone– and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true. 13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.
This little letter is individually directed to a believer named Giaus. We have here individual instruction from an Apostle to an individual believer for daily living. We can look at this short letter as practical straightforward advice about the Christian faith. We should note that the adviser walked, talked, touched, and lived committed to Jesus Christ. This man is an Apostle of the One who condemned sin in His flesh and rose bodily from the dead.
It seems John new Gaius well enough to call him “my dear brother.” Moreover, as we read, it appears that John wanted the letter to not pass through others’ hands because an administrator in that church did not pass it along (see verse 9). There seems to be some background with a letter John previously wrote to that fellowship and such behavior was habitual by this individual.
Believers follow the Apostles’ teaching because they are the ones sent by Jesus with a witness of His life, death, and resurrection. Even in verse 7, we see John says to support those that go out on behalf of “The Name.” John knows intimately what that means.
Diotrephes, a leader that rejects status of Apostles, seems to want it for himself. He does not follow the Apostles’ instruction and sets a bad example for the congregation. John son of Zebedee doesn’t seem to call this man unorthodox but instead gives the indication the issues will be dealt with by him in person. He wants Gaius to follow men in the fellowship who are Christ-centered and not self-centered. He points out for Gauis to look to the good example of Demetrius.
As believers, we follow the One they believe in and God gives His witness through His Son, and His Son has sent witness by His 12 foundational representatives. The Apostle knew Jesus and so it is to their teachings we have our instructional foundation for daily living, Those who reject the Apostle’s status and teaching refuse Jesus. The word and title of Apostle means “one sent” and in this case sent by the Lord Jesus. Accordingly, we have their witness in the New Testament.
Furthermore, there is no need for others to hold the Apostles of Christ “title”. We do need the example of those who follow Christ’s and we can even call them apostles of the church but not Apostles of Christ. We have the Apostles’ witness taught in the Holy Bible. Those that reject the Apostles teaching may be suffering from the same type of issues as Diotrephes… which John said… don’t follow such a man.
Questions to Apply:
1. Do you regularly read from the Apostle’s teaching in the Bible?
2. What does it look like in today’s church to ‘love to be first?’
3. How much do you weigh the Apostle’s words in the Bible against other wisdom, self-help books, or other religious teachings?
4. How can you help safeguard your local church family against one person ‘taking over’ and leading folks away from Jesus at the center? Whose job is that?
BMD (& TMB)