3 John – Day 5
Read 3 John 11-13
John includes three names in this letter.
Gaius is a dear friend who models the truth of Jesus in his life and actions. He knows the commands of Jesus and walks in them. He is a great supporter of the gospel message and those who carry it. He cares for other ministry workers and offers them the hospitality of his home and food, thus enabling them to do the work of God. He is loving not just in word, but in what he does.
Diotrephes is unloving toward others. He sees other ministry leaders and workers as a threat. He refuses to “share the stage” with anyone because he loves to be the center of attention. He even runs off other believers so that he can maintain control over the people in his church. He is likely worried and threatened by other believers, fearing that if other churches start in his area that he will lose influence and power. Furthermore, he spreads malicious nonsense (i.e. gossip) about John and others. John knows what is happening. But he doesn’t feel pressure to confront Diotrephes immediately, and he certainly is going to ask his dear friend Gaius to do it.
The third person John mentions is Demetrius. Demetrius must have been a remarkable man because John says he “is well spoken of by everyone” (3 John 12). That’s a pretty amazing complement, but John goes further. He says that Demetrius is well spoken of by the truth. It sounds like an awkward statement so it’s good to explore what John is saying.
When we read the Bible, we think that we are doing all the work. Hebrews 4:12 says, For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Did you catch that? “The Word of God is alive and active.” And “It penetrates” our being, going down to the unseen places in our lives. What this means is that when we read the Bible, the truth of God’s word, IT responds by reading us, penetrating our lives, and judging our thoughts and attitudes.
So, when John says that Demetrius is spoken well of by the truth he means that when the truth examines Demetrius, IT says, “Well done. You are faithful. You are walking in the truth. You are the arms and the feet of Jesus. You are an imitator of good.” Wow!
Like his second letter, this letter is short but packed full of truth. Yes, John can write letters and thanks be to God that he did and that we can read them. His great desire though is always to be face to face. He wants to put down the ink and pen (remember, they used to be separate—smile). He wants to get up, put his travel sandals on, and see Gaius. He wants to visit the churches. He wants to sit down with Diotrephes and help Diotrephes see that his pride is destroying his testimony and hindering the work of God. He wants to assure Gaius of his prayers. And he wants to continue to support the message of Christ as it goes out.
There’s always a little danger in saying be like “so and so” or “so and so”, and yet it’s still appropriate to want to “be like” and model the character of Godly people. We have one perfect model, Jesus, and lots of imperfect models, his followers. When it comes to his followers we are discerning, we see their failures, and we avoid following their weaknesses or sin. At the same time, when we see Godliness in their lives we should say, I want more of that.
- Examine the characteristics of Gaius and Demetrius. What characteristics do you see in their lives that have or want to see in your own life?
- Examine to characteristics in Diotrephes’s life? What characteristics of his might you also struggle with? What do you see and want to make sure aren’t in your life?
Consider writing down a key verse or verses from today on an index card or small piece of paper and carry it with you today. Look at it as often as you can as a reminder of what you learned today.