III John A Case Study in Hospitality & Character
The Apostle Of LOVE
III JOHN A Case Study in Hospitality & Fellowship
III John, is a wonderful Book of the New Testament about fellowship! It is the third in a series; I, II & III John are all written by the Apostle John. Although the size of a memo; a mere thirteen verses, it is rather great as far as substance. It can be read in only a few minutes but it will take a lifetime to fully absorb! III John is the shortest book in the entire Bible!
John is one of the few faithful followers that was with JESUS until the end. He was an enthusiastic eyewitness during Jesus’ Ministry while incarnate in His sinless body of flesh! John refers to himself as “The Elder,” he used Ephesus as his base during the latter part of his ministry. Of the three letters this is considered to be the most personal! After a visit by some of the Church there are some valid compelling concerns. John responds to those concerns in this letter.
III John begins with a warm salutation with John commending them once again for walking in TRUTH! He expresses his desire that their soul would prosper and that they would be in good health! John has some real concerns because of Diotrephes a leader who wants the preeminence and is quite unkind to those who oppose him. To the degree he tries to put them out of the Church.
God never intended for His Church to become a legalistic hierarchy. “God is not a respecter of persons.” Although our gifts, talents, positions and calling vary our significance and importance to God are equal. For example a pastor may carry the Church on his shoulders but Jesus Christ is the Head of HIS CHURCH! He can & will carry a Pastor who is honorable, leads by example and faithful to HIS WORD! Our Lord will do amazing things through those who are loyal and sincerely embrace the TRUTH of HIS WORD!
The key scripture in III John is: “Dear friend, you are Faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you…”
In III John we find two very radically different men who greatly differ in their approach to Ministry. Gaius is a man of hospitality and welcomes others. John writes and commends him for his faithfulness and generosity. But on the other hand Diotrephes, who is self serving John rebukes because of his prideful conduct! He being quite the contrary would not welcome those John had sent to help. He was insecure and quite selfish! He did not want them to have anything to say because he was intimidated and wanted to be the center of attention. He maliciously gossiped and attempted to slander and undermine the good intentions of those who were actually sent by the Lord. John gives us a portrait of these two men. One demonstrates GENUINE service to God the other his own SELFISHNESS!
John wants them/us to have true fellowship. Fellowship means to have equal company with one another, to have partnership. Diotrephes had something else in mind. He wanted to instead control the people of God. He was not kind to those who John sent to evangelize, teach, preach encourage and equip the believers in his province. Although they were received by other members. Diotrephes wanted to be first! “I wrote to the Church, but Diotrephes who loves to have the preeminence among them did not receive them.” He did not practice good hospitality as John stresses!
It is important to always remember, True Ministry is for the sake of God not our own! We are to minister through the direction of the Holy Spirit. This is what places us on one accord. It takes place inside as well as beyond the walls! In of ourselves we have no power. But as we submit to the WILL of the Lord we access the Power of the Almighty! We must be willing to humble ourselves and set aside our will for the greater GOOD!
It is important to keep in mind that GOD Is omniscient and in HIS time HE will bring to the Light whatever is happening in the dark! Whatever we do we should do it unto the Lord! Rather than receive them Diostrephes attempted to tarnish their credibility. Sad to say but true this still goes on to a degree sometimes. Jesus Christ was not accepted everywhere that He went. There were times when He was mistreated and grossly misunderstood. We must always remember that the Church belongs to Jesus Christ. He died for His Church! There is much spiritual warfare that goes on within and around God’s Church and many lose sight of ALL that the LORD has done that we all might have spiritually enriched lives. Christianity was meant to be an everyday lifestyle. "Jesus Christ is the Way the Truth & the life!"
Keep your focus on the Lord! In this 21st century no doubt even more so… One must keep in mind that God knows our hearts intents! He knows who belongs to him!
There are times when we may have to take a back seat and sometimes we must be in the forefront! There are times when we must confront sin. There are times when we must walk meekly yet emit power. We should always be willing to repent of any sin and walk by faith! However, what is most important; whenever or wherever we come together our goal in worship should always rest on the desire that our Lord Jesus Christ be the main attraction. His Holy Spirit should always have the preeminence!
The Bible from the beginning to end confronts us rather often and teaches us that sin is missing the mark. It always points us in the direction of God! It is really important to know that there is much going on NOW to minimize sin and label it unconditional love. However we must still confront sin. In ourselves as well as others This is what true Love is all about! Sin separates us from God and leaves a doorway open for the enemy to gain a stronghold! It hinders the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT to bring forth deliverance. As we grow in the Grace & Knowledge of our Lord and apply His Word to our own lives we should begin to progressively sin less. If we should sincerely seek to consistently seek God’s Word to resolve our life problems or issues in a way that is pleasing in HIS sight we will see miraculous things happen? I wonder how much further along we would be as His Church if this was really put into practice?
Here is what happened in III John! Listen to what III John says: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 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.” Does this sound familiar? It is possible that a faithful brother Demetrius who had a high regard for TRUTH carried this letter from John to Gaius. John wants them to know how important it is to make it a priority to maintain Christian principles and to the sharing of The Message of Christ Jesus!
Jesus is coming back! We are to live as though He were going to return at any moment. We must diligently seek to live our lives to please the Lord and share this Great Gospel! We are a long way from Judea. The fact that we today, here in the United States of America in this 21st century have access to this great Gospel demonstrates the miraculous power of our Lord and that His Word is reaching the uttermost parts of the world.
John not doubt is concerned about what he hears and he assures them that at some point he will come and visit them and see them face to face! But in the meantime; "Dear friend, do not imitate evil but what is GOOD. Anyone who does GOOD is from GOD. Anyone who does evil has not seen GOD…” He who has an ear let Him hear what the SPIRIT is saying:
It is far better to obey GOD than seek the approval of man. Live each day to Please GOD!