The Way - Day 209 (3 John)

Daily Reading:
3 John
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
In what ways has your love for God lead you to be hospitable to brothers and sisters in Jesus?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 103:1-2
OPTION 2: Proverbs 25:11-12
OPTION 3: Matthew 7:7-8
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for 3 John (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Introduction to 3 John
This is John's final letter in a series of three which were written sometime before the close of the first century. Much like 2 John, this letter is also addressed to a specific individual, which is rare in New Testament writings. While 2 John was written to an unnamed Christian woman to warn her against showing hospitality to false teachers (2 John 1), this particular letter was written to a man named Gaius (v.1). Although we know little about this man except what is written in John's letter, we can safely assume that he is a member of one of the churches John oversaw.

Similar in nature to John's second letter, he writes regarding the issue of kindness and hospitality. In John's second letter, he warned a certain family about the dangers of showing hospitality to those who spread lies Apparently, false teachers had journeyed into the city where this family lived and took advantage of her hospitality by either staying in her home or receiving some kind of assistance from her. John was not condemning her willingness to help others, but rather her aid to men whose teachings were contrary to the truth. At the heart of his letter are these words, " If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds" (2 John 10-11). In contrast with his second letter, John writes this one to commend Gaius for demonstrating kindness toward other believers as well as strangers (v.5). However, John is also quick to expose the lack of hospitality of another man named Diotrephes (vv.9-10).

Regardless of this letter's small size, there is a very important lesson to be learned about the necessity of demonstrating kindness toward others. When a person shows care and concern for the needs of others, he is ultimately reflecting his own love for God. John desired the church to be filled with believers who willingly placed the needs of others above their own and through John's writing, the reader is able to see an example of a man who lived this reality.

3 John 1-14
John, who writes near the end of his life, refers to himself as "the elder" and addresses his third letter "to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth" (v.1). Because this name was common in that culture, the reader is provided with no further information regarding Gaius other than John's mention of him in this letter; however, it is safe to assume that he was a member of one of John's churches that he had visited in Asia Minor. According to verse 13, John even anticipated to see Gaius "face to face" in the future. But even though the reader is not privy to many details about this man's life, John seemed to hold him in high esteem. In fact, John pens some words of praise for the reports he has heard concerning Gaius' life, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (vv.2-4). Gaius seemed to model Christian character, not just in words but also in his actions. Receiving the news about Gaius' spiritual condition caused John to rejoice in the knowledge that those in whom he had invested time, were now flourishing in their daily walk (v.4).

John moves from a general commendation to a specific instance of praise in the life of Gaius, "Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church" (v.5). While the woman who received John's second letter was warned about showing kindness to false teachers, Gaius was commended for his hospitality toward teachers of the true gospel, whether he knew them or not. There were traveling teachers in this day who were spreading the message of salvation and hope through Jesus Christ but whenever they entered a city, they were dependent on other believers to show them hospitality so that they could do their work. Apparently, Gaius was a shining example of someone who offered these teachers housing, food, and maybe even financial assistance during their visit to his city. John mentions that others ought to follow the example of Gaius because when they receive teachers of the truth into their home, they "become fellow workers for the truth" (v.8); in other words, those who show kindness share in the reward of their faithfulness.

In contrast to the kindness modeled by Gaius, John writes about a man named Diotrephes who was self-centered and refused to place the needs of others above his own (v.9). Instead of demonstrating the attitude of a servant, Diotrephes wanted others to serve him. John writes that he "loves to have the preeminence among them..." (v.9), meaning that he wanted others to put him first; of course, this type of attitude is contrary to biblical teaching. In response to Diotrephes actions John gives him a warning, "Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating [talking foolishness] against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church" (v.10).

John has presented the examples of two men in this letter: Gaius and Diotrephes. Gaius was kind and hospitable to others while Diotrephes was selfish and arrogant. With these two examples in mind, John writes, "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God" (v.11). Our actions demonstrate who we love.

Dear God, may I be known as someone who demonstrates kindness toward those who believe and teach the truth. May they find a place of rest and comfort in my company.