3rd John Survey

3rd John Survey

3rdJohn Survey

 

 

The Love Of a Brother (1-2)

 

1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

 

There is no greater unity, no greater friendship or even love that is not bound and sealed by truth. We spoke of this last week and we have it here presented again.

 

Here ‘the elder’, whom we understand to be the aged apostle John, writes a letter of Commendation, rebuke, recommendation and intentionto Gaius whom he calls endearing ‘The wellbeloved’.

 

Often times you have heard me refer to you all as “Beloved”. A term, not only of the expression of my love for you, but of infinitely greater value,the position of your love in the father.

 

You are the Beloved of God, this is the standing that you have in the father for your love for the Son.

 

Consider Paul as he opens his great epistle of Romans to the Christian church in Rome.

 

Rom 1:7

 

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God,calledto besaints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

Those who are the Lords are beloved of the Lord, this is his Church, this his bride.

 

But it was not always the case for the gentiles, the beloved of God was Israelbut now a beloved that was not the beloved, is beloved.

 

Turn to Romans 9:22

 

In a passage that speaks so clearly ofthe sovereignty of Godwe have the purpose of God demonstrated.

 

Whatif God, willing to shewhiswrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass,thatin the place where it was said unto them, Yearenot my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

 

 

You were chosen in himas the “Beloved” of God.

 

In 2 Thess 2:13

 

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

 

In the wonderful Song of Songswhere we see the love of the Church for Jesus and the love of Christ for his church, the word ‘beloved’ appears no less than 33 times out of the 113appearances of the word in the Bible.

 

If you have believed the Gospel of Christunto the Salvation of your souls, you are beloved of God and of Christ.

You are the reason he came,

You are the reason he died,

You are the purpose of his creation.

 

No longer do you ever need to feel insecure.

 

Eph 1:5-6

 

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

 

If you have been accepted in the Beloved, no longer do you need to chase the love of others, you are beloved of God.

 

 

Our passage begins with the expression as both the love of a brother, but also imbedded within the entire understanding of the word,is the Love of God.

 

 

1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

 

 

The wish of the elder for his beloved Gaius is that he would prosper and be in health. Of all the prosperity man could enjoy, not one of them could be of greater value than the prosperity of Good Health.

 

How many there are who have prospered in matter, only to have their health taken away. What enjoyment is there in worldly goodswhen we do not have the ability to enjoy them as we would? Those who struggle with health can understand that, above all things, the prosperous physical lifeis a healthy physical life.

 

But notice that it is not just a physical prosperitythe apostle wishes for his brother, but one compared to the prosperity of his soul;

 

 

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

 

 

What incredible wealth can that be? Imagine that the health of our earthly tabernacle was as vibrant as our heavenly one!

 

This is a wonderful greeting from the elder and demonstrates the love of a brother.

 

This is the love we are to consider for one another;

  • One that acknowledges the Love of God for us, because we too often forget.
  • And one that desires for a brother today, that which they will inherit forever.

 

 

 

The Care For The Church (3-8)

 

3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 7 Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

 

It’s the care for the Church that is evidenced in Gaius. His love for the truthand his walk in the truthis demonstrated by his faithfulness in all that he does for the brethren and for strangers

 

Notice first that the truth that is in Gaius is witnessed;

 

3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee,

 

All people who love the truth can testify of the truth that is in others.

 

There are those who do not have a love for the truth, and just as Jesus came to bear witness of the truth, those who received not that witness call him a liar by not believing his testimony, the Gospel itself!

 

But if they loved the truth, they would hear him.

 

Think for a moment, what is it we come to believe if we have no love for the truth?We choose a lie!

 

Why would people choose to believe a lie?

 

The Bible says it is because they take pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

Speaking of the time of the end when antichrist is revealed, the Apostle Paul says;

 

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

 

They choose to believe a lie because the truth reveals what they take pleasure in most!

 

But not Gaius, it was testified by others that the truth was in him because he walked in the truth;

 

3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.

 

The manner of your life is the witness of your life.

 

  1. If you love the truth, you won’t lie.
  2. If you love the truth, you want to hear the truth only. (Not platitudes, not falsehoods, not ‘ear tickling’, not flattery etc), only the truth and yes even if it hurts.
    1. Prov 9:8-9 says “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. 9 Giveinstructionto a wiseman, and he will be yet wiser:teach a justman, and he will increase in learning.”
  3. If you love the truth, you will love Jesus; because he is The way, the truthand the life (Jn 14:6) all who are of the truth follow him!

 

 

 

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

 

John’s love for the Church is that it walks in the truth. Our love for our own children is that they walk in the truth.Indeed, there is no greater joy!

 

In just such a way there is rarely a greater sorrow than to hear of those who walk in lies and unrighteousness.

Our burden that we have for the world is because it does not know the truthwith many who will not want to hear it.

 

But John sees that those who love the truth, who walk in it, will desire to share it even at their own cost.

 

 

5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

 

 

Strangers have even borne witness of the faithfulness of Gaius.

 

The word “Strangers” indicates both those who are yet unbelievers but also non-Jews, gentiles. Both could be referred to here.

 

These have been dealt with faithfully by Gaius and they witnessed his love, his charity of them before the church.

 

The picture is that of loving and faithful behavior of Gaius to those who do not know the Lord, the gospel then believed, and they come into the church and tell of the faithfulness of Gaius to the church body.

 

The second half of verse six John says, whom (These same strangers, and brethren)if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

 

Gaius is encouraged to bring them forward after a godly sort, teach them the way of God, show them “how to fish”.

 

We remember the old saying, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

 

Gaius is encouraged that, no matter how much time he spends with the brethren that in the end of that time(however long) they are brought up, disciples, in accord with the Lord.

 

The Bible speaks of the purpose of the Church to “preach the gospel” (Mrk 16:15) and make disciples of men, teaching all nations(Mt 28:19-20).

 

If he does this, John says “Thou shalt do well”.

 

 

“Well done my good and faithful servant

 

Just here, in the latter half of this sixth verse we have been given some confidence in how we might hear of the Lord those most wonderful of words when we enter in to his presence “Well done my good and faithful servant”.

 

This is how we might be confident to enter into the joy of our Lord, by bringing people forward after a godly sort.

 

 

So now verse seven indicates that Gaius taught them well as John relates;

 

7 Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

 

These did the charity done to themby Gaius and took nothing of the gentiles for the work, whom John desires also to receive, to bless them, to befellowhelpers to the truth.

 

Notice the consistency in the distinction with 2 John, when John warned of deceivers and told the brethren NOT to bless them,NOT to bid them “God Speed”,  For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 Jn 11).

 

But now in his blessing of the faithful evangelists, he does so that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

 

Do you see the beautiful consistency even in the distinction between the passages?

 

Beloved you can share in the success of the Gospel by your help to those who preach it and share it. BLESS faithful ministries that are actively sharing the gospel of Christ, bless it Financially, bless it Encouragingly, bless it Provisionally,bless it Prayerfully.

 

Financial (obvious)

Encourage (make the way comfortable through numerous helps, even in the smallest of things)

Provisionally(Providing food, fuel, accommodation, other necessities)

Prayerfully (Obvious)

 

There you have four ways you can be partakersand “fellowhelpers to the truth

Beloved, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the value of each one of those things to a faithful ministry.

 

This is why we should always look to support missionary work that is faithful to the Lord.

 

 

 

The Condemnation Of Contention (9-11)

 

9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteththemout of the church. 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

 

 

John is certainly not backward in coming forward. He tells it like it is respecting Diotrephes.

 

The pride and arrogance and unwillingness to bless and encourage Godly brethren, John states, is the greatest indication the man “hath not seen God” in other words, he is not born again, does not know God, is not known of God.

 

We can often be slow in this judgement, but not John. He puts two and two together and knows that this man does evil and is not to be followed.

 

  1. First; he is evidenced by his pride: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them.
    1. Here is likely a man who is a pastor and desires to Lord it over his congregation and have the “preeminence” as opposed to the service.
  2. Second, he will not be hospitable to the brethren: I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

 

  1. Titus tells us that one of the key characteristics of a Pastor is hospitality; Titus 1:7-8 says 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
    1. This is not a man who qualifies for any role of leadership in the Church!

 

  1. Thirdly he is one that sows discord among brethren; 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words.
    1. This being one of the seven things that are an “abomination” to the Lord (Prov 6:16-19)

 

  1. Fourthly he is a dispiser of that which is good: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteththemout of the church.
    1. Those who love the Lord love the people of the Lord, those who love the world, hate those who love the Lord.
      1. Jesus said “18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me beforeit hatedyou.” (Jn 15:18). This man is not one that “doeth good”

Finally John summarizes the lesson for Gaius; 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

 

Truly,it is not that complicated in the Eyes of John. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

 

Follow that which is goodand do not follow that which is evil!

 

There is something self-evident in the writing of Johnto be willing to make such an important issue, plain.

 

  • If we are to follow that which is good, then it stands to reason we can recognize it.

 

  • If we are to follow not that which is evil, it stands to reason we should be able to recognize evil.

 

Beloved we again return back to Hebrew 5 as Paul teaches that it is through the reading and the knowing of Gods words continually that we are, by reason of use able to have (our) senses exercised to discern both good and evil.(Heb 5:14)

 

JOHN’S simple admonishment leaves no alternative. The command he gives MUST be able to be obeyed and we become fools when we over complicate the matterby not judging that which is eviland that which is good, when John tells us NOT to follow evil and ONLY to follow GOOD!

 

In Churches filled with people who are unwilling to read their Bibles, all you hear is condemnation against the discernment (Judging) of evil.

 

It’s interesting that an unwillingness for discernmentcoincides with an ignorance of scripture.

 

Those who love the truth will feed on it daily, those who lack a love for it will starve themselves from it.

 

There is a condemnation of godless contention by John, we would do well to learn from it.

 

The Legitimacy Of A Broadcaster (12-14)

 

12 Demetrius hath good report of allmen, and of the truth itself: yea, and wealsobear record; and ye know that our record is true. 13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peacebeto thee.Ourfriends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

 

 

Now it is Johns promotion of the legitimacy of a faithful broadcaster that John give witness of.

 

He concludes the condemnation of the unjust Diotrephes and commences the commendation of the just Demetrius.

 

12 Demetrius hath good report of allmen, and of the truth itself

 

Would you love to have a commendation such as this witnessed of you?

 

What a joy that would be to have any godly man commend you to others for the work of the Gospel, to report and declare the truth of God’s word to Gods people.

 

Imagine getting the commendation from the Apostle John?yea, and wealsobear record; and ye know that our record is true.

 

To think that the one who had seen Jesus with his eyes, who had looked upon him, heard him with the ears, and who’s hands have handled of the word of Life, to testify of you and your witness of the truth, for all the world to know and sealed it in a book as a recordfor all eternity, what an incredible thing that would be.

 

But, hey, you don’t get that opportunity. A bit late.

 

 

Yet there is a testimony of Scripture far more infinitely greater than this, when that which is spoken in darkness is heard in the light and that which is spoken in the ear in closets is proclaimed upon the housetops;(Lk 12:3)

 

When Jesus, the one whom the entire volume of the book is spoken of, when Christ says to you Well Done my good and faithful servant,then the accolades of men, even an apostle means little. The pats and the platitudes of all the great men in the world will mean nothing compared to when the King of King calls you by your new name, a name that defines exactly who you are.

 

You are aware that we get new names, yes?

 

Revelation 2:17  [Pergamos] “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receivethit.”

 

Revelation 3:12. [Philadelphia]“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God,which isnew Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: andI will write upon himmy new name.”

 

ALL the names given in the Bible have a meaning, there are no names given that don’t have a meaning in scripture.

 

We name our children names that sound nice and pleases us, but God will name his children names that defines them,that please him.

 

Imagine being named by the name above all names, Jesus Christ?

 

Each of us have opportunity to be of good reportto the Lord and used for his pleasure and named for his purpose. Our love for the truth can begin today.

 

13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 14But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peacebeto thee.Ourfriends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

 

Indeed, we shall shortly see John and show him our joy at receiving his letter. We will certainly speak face to face, I don’t know how, I’m sure there will be a line…but we will see him.

 

I pray your love for the truth will reflect how much you have enjoyed Johns letter to Gaius, his Condemnation of Diotrephes and his Commendation of Demitrius.

 

I pray that whatever work you do, both directly by sharing the Gospel of Christ and growing in your faith, and indirectly through your prayers, provisions, encouragements and finances, you do so knowing that you will share in the work you have blessed and helped! As Fellowhelpers to the truth

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