3rd John is a private letter between the Apostle John and a Christian named Gaius. It provides glimpses into the character of three different men in the early church, from whom we can learn our lessons today.
A man who helped God’s work: Gaius
Gaius, the recipient of this letter, is John’s friend (3 John 1:1). John calls this man a “dear/ beloved friend” (verses 1, 2, and 11). Gaius is commended for his hospitality to traveling preachers of the gospel (verses 5, 6 and 8); for his faithfulness (verse 5); for his love (verse 6); and for walking in the truth (verse 3).
That is probably why John Bunyan, needing a name for his innkeeper in The Pilgrim’s Progress, chose the name “Gaius.” Gaius’s means “happy” or “one who rejoices,” and Gaius seem to have known the joy that comes from serving the Lord and walked in the truth. John says “I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth” (v 3).
Gaius was also generous and loving toward all–John testifies again “you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have stood witness of your love before the church” (vs 5-6). What a powerful testimony! This raises the question, what do people testify of us?
In Challenging times like these let us serve the Lord joyfully especially help people meet needs that they cannot meet themselves. I honestly think, Project Ezra is a good platform to start, to joyfully reach out to someone in need. Doing good is evidence of a Christian’s faith and salvation.
A man who hindered God’s work: Diotrephes
We have the following statements made about Diotrephes: 1) he loves to be first; 2) he refuses to welcome the apostles; 3) he maliciously spreads gossip about men of God; 4) he withholds hospitality from other believers; 5) he requires others to follow his poor example; and 6) he excommunicates anyone who corrects him.
Diotrephes was inhospitable and pugnacious. Instead of seeking to be the servant of all (Mark 9:35), Diotrephes loved to be in the limelight. John’s admonition to Gaius to “not imitate what is evil” (3 John 1:11) is probably another way of saying “don’t be like Diotrephes.”
Christ like living has no place for power-hungry, jealous, slanderous men who reject the God’s word. “Rather, must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught” (Titus 1:8–9).
I am reminded of an Indian patriotic leader, Mahatma Gandhi who said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Citizens of the great LIGHT should produce light, let us be careful to lead others to church not away from church.
Finally, a man who honoured God’s work: Demetrius
There is, a third generation mentioned here, Demetrius, John says: Demetrius has testimony from every one, and from the truth itself; a widely accepted and honored man (3 John 1:12) Here's a man you can trust, a man of the truth and has borne testimony from all that he is to be trusted.
Demetrius is given to us as a commendable example of a role model that all of us, irrespective of who we are, could and should follow
Help, hinder or honour God’s work? Paul says to the Corinthians (11:1) 'Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ'. The road to perfection is by being Christ-like and going the extra mile to do everything especially in service and love. It is having the mind of Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father, I want more of you in me, so my life will serve Your purpose and advance Your Kingdom daily. Let me will joyfully and wholeheartedly serve you in Your Church and in a community that needs Jesus. Amen