5 Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brothers and sisters, and especially when they are strangers;
Third John shows us the importance of hospitality in the Christian community. At this time in history the ministry of hospitality was essential for the spread of the gospel. Inns were not a safe or enjoyable place to stay for a traveling minister of the word. So when a believer was willing to open their home it was a great blessing and ministry to the Lord and His kingdom.
Not only did Gaius open his home to fellow brothers in Christ, he also opened his home to strangers. This is lost in many of our modern churches. When we think about how lonely and disconnected people are today, it shows us the power behind hospitality. Think about the impact it would make if every Christian found someone from church who was lonely and hurting and invited them over for a meal. Think about many of the college students who are separated from their families and the impact that could be made if they are invited over for a meal.
Hospitality is not complicated, and it doesn’t call for having an elegant home or meal. It simply calls for opening one’s home to the work of the Lord and allowing a fellow brother or stranger to come and find rest and love. Many times, we believe that ministry simply happens behind a pulpit, but without the ministry of hospitality that was faithfully shown by Gaius, the early church would have struggled. This is why John calls him beloved.
3 John 6-7 New American Standard Bible
6 and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.
All of us in the body of Christ are in this together. John writes that they have testified to your love before the church. In Christianity love requires action and especially sacrifice. Gaius demonstrated both of these through opening his home and also giving financially.
To send someone on in a manner worthy of God speaks of doing all things in the character and nature of Christ. Jesus spoke continually about the importance of love, but He not only spoke and taught about it, but He also lived it before the disciples and others to see. Ultimately, He demonstrated the love of God by dying upon the cross. He didn’t deserve the cross but chose the cross because of His love for us.
Those who were traveling ministers of the gospel couldn’t expect to accept financial support nor lodging from unbelievers. When John writes here about accepting nothing from the gentiles, John is speaking of unbelievers. When a person answers the call to be a traveling minister of the gospel they rely fully upon the Lord for all things. Often the way God is going to meet their needs is through the sacrificial giving of other believers.
When we open our homes and we give financially to the work of God’s kingdom, God will open up blessing in our lives. There is a principle in God’s kingdom of sowing and reaping. Unlocking the blessing of God in our lives is a result of being obedient when the Lord moves on our heart to give. God will always honor obedience. God will never overlook obedience. The more generous we are with our finances and our resources, the more we reflect the character and nature of who Christ is.
3 John 8New American Standard Bible
8 Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may prove to be fellow workers with the truth.
How is it that Gaius was supporting fellow traveling believers who were teaching God’s word? He was doing it through offering them hospitality and offering them financial support. When we come alongside fellow ministers of the gospel through hospitality or through financial support, we become partners with them in the ministry.
Not everyone can go into the mission field. Those who God has financially blessed in the body of Christ should be willing to turn around and be a financial blessing to those who are in need. The reason that God blesses us in life is so we can turn around and be a blessing to others. Those who horde the resources that they have fail to understand the principle of sowing and reaping in God’s kingdom.
We will reap whatever we sow into. If we so into the things of God’s kingdom, we will reap a great measure and increase of God’s kingdom in our lives. If we sow into the world and use our financial increase on our selfishness, in time it will simply release into our lives destruction. God has called us to be a generous people because it is simply a reflection of who He is.
3 John 9 New American Standard Bible
9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.
Diotrephes became an issue in the church. He was driven by pride and a love of power and position. These are the very two things that caused Satan to fall from Heaven. Satan was originally created perfect and good and his name was Lucifer. But in His love for power, position, and to be greater than God, he was removed from heaven and his character and nature were completely changed.
Those in the body of Christ who simply desire power and position are driven by pride. They desire the recognition of people and desire to be worshipped and placed on a pedestal. Diotrephes was causing major problems in this local church and John was going to bring correction.
Even when we have to bring correction, we do all things in love. But we can never avoid confrontation if it is needed. Many people do not enjoy confrontation, but often times in situations like these it is needed. Because if a problem is not confronted and continues to exist, it will become a cancer and before long it will completely cripple a church and will ultimately destroy the work that God desires to do. Often the greatest enemies of God’s work is ourselves. We must remember the devil can’t force us to do anything. He can tempt us to operate in the flesh and gain glory for ourselves, but the one making the ultimate decision is us.
3 John 10 New American Standard Bible
10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with malicious words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brothers either, and he forbids those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
One of the responsibilities of those in leadership is to deal with issues that arise. Often these issues must be dealt with in person and dealt with face to face. The idea of confrontation is not pleasant to many people. But confronting issues and confronting those who are causing problems must be done in the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
John points out two major issues that Diotrephes is causing in the church: he is unjustly accusing with wicked words and he is not receiving those John is sending and is actually putting them out of the church. This is causing major issues in the church because those who were being sent from John were true teachers of God’s word. Most likely Diotrephes was involved in some kind of false teaching. Those who were coming to preach the truth and confront what was being falsely taught were not allowed to enter and were being put out.
When John arrived personally, he would deal with this personally. Sometimes we may wonder why the apostles were so very important in the life of the early church. They were trusted with teaching the truth and they were entrusted with leading God’s people. Quality leadership done under the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit is essential for the increase and advance of the Kingdom of God. There are times when difficult decisions and things have to be said. But if we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, do all things in love, and say all the Holy Spirit is leading us to say, God will empower us for whatever He is calling us to do.
3 John 11 New American Standard Bible
11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does what is good is of God; the one who does what is evil has not seen God.
John has just finished writing about Diotrephes and the activities he is involved with. His actions were evil within the church. But now John turns his attention back to Gaius and states do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. John is encouraging and commanding Gaius to imitate Jesus Christ.
Often when it seems that evil is prospering and advancing, we may want to return evil with evil. But John makes it clear those who do evil and partake of evil have not seen God. It is the person who knows Christ who will live and walk as He walked. Our growth in Christ is progressive. We continually move from immaturity to maturity. In this world we will face people who sadly have given their hearts over to wickedness. But we must respond with love and with the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let us never forget our battle is not against flesh and blood, it is against the powers and principalities of the Heavenlies. But thanks be to Jesus we are the ones who have authority that comes directly from Jesus Christ.