Greetings: 3 John 1:1-4.
John identifies himself as the elder in this letter. John addresses this letter to his well beloved brother Gaius. Gaius was a common name. He was a faithful believer and a leader in the local church. Love is the common bond that binds believers together. John gives the importance of truth in the letter. He prays for the well being of his friend Gaius, knowing that his physical condition can affect the spiritual health of the church. John also rejoices over the report that Gaius is doing well spiritually and helping the traveling missionaries. John had no greater joy than hearing that Christians are walking in the truth. The word "truth" appears four times in the first four verses of this letter. This highlights the importance of sound teaching in the church. Christians have the responsibility to live according to the truth given in the Bible. There is no greater joy than to hear that churches are faithfully preserving the truth. There is no conflict between truth and grace. Jesus himself became the embodiment of grace and truth (John 1: 14). When we embrace the truth and earnestly love others, we follow in the footsteps of Christ. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Example of Gaius; 3 John 1:5-8.
Gaius had shown hospitality to traveling evangelists and strangers. Christians are strangers and sojourners in this world. Our citizenship is in heaven and we are just passing through. Now we live in the hope of glorious inheritance in heaven. Welcoming others in Christ's name is the same as welcoming Christ (Matthew 25:40). An elder must be hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2; Hebrews 13:2). John applauds the church and Gaius for supporting the faithful gospel ministers. They have gone out for the sake of the gospel, looking to the Lord for their support. They refused to receive any support from unbelievers. It is a privilege and responsibility of believers to support God’s servants. By doing this they become fellow workers in the ministry. We should support and pray for the servants of God. Gospel ministry is a team work. Christians are fellow workers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9).
Beware of Diotrephes: 3 John 1-9-14.
Diotrephes may have refused to accept the authority of apostle John on the pretext of autonomy of the local church (Vs 9). Gaius and Diotrephes were evidently leaders in the same church. Diotrephes wanted to have preeminence in the church. He also refused to welcome servants of the gospel on the pretext of contending for the truth. It caused great harm to the testimony of the gospel and the growth of the church. He loved himself more than anyone else. Diotrephes looked at the missionary work with contempt and excommunicated those who had supported it. Christians must be beware of such proud individuals. Gaius was encouraged to follow the good examples of Christ and apostles. Someone has suggested that Paul mentions the names of over 100 fellow workers in his letters. Gospel work is a team effort. Demetrius was proved to be a faithful brother. He had good testimony among believers. Anyone who encourages Diotrephes like- leadership becomes a partner in their evil works. Pride is extremely dangerous and harmful to the work of God. But God's grace can change prideful hearts and use them for his glory (Acts 9). Pray for a humble heart that pleases God. John had many things to write to Gaius but he desired to speak to him face to face. John ends his letter by greeting friends and wishing them peace. May God help us to follow the good example of Gaius and Demetrius. The church should promote personal and sincere fellowship with Lord’s servants.