3 John 1.13-15 – Truth in Talking

Today 3 John finishes remarkably similarly to 2 John.

13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink.

14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

Now here’s 2 John,

12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

Both speak of John having much to write, both tell us of his desire to not write with pen and ink

3 John 1.14 is the perfect ending to this letter about living out the truth of Jesus personally, because personal truth always wants to connect with other personal truth.

So, simply, when we profess and possess the truth of Jesus, this will ALWAYS result in the desire to spend time with others who have professed and possessed.

Preaching through Hebrews we phrased it like this – 

There is no true heart change and decision for Jesus that results in the desire to NOT be with other believers.
Simply, followers desire fellowship.

John then finishes with a familiar blessing in Scripture, for which we have the resources in Jesus. He writes, peace be to you, and again, the truth of Jesus lived out in our lives brings true and lasting peace (John 16.33, John 14.27, Galatians 5.22). 

3 John shows us how the truth of Jesus looks in our individual lives, and this ending shows us how we are to interact and talk to others; face to face, with peace, and as friends.

Point to ponder – Do my interactions look like this?

Prayer – Father, we thank you that despite this letter being short it speaks to us in powerful ways. Help us to live the truth of Jesus both collectively as believers, and individually too. Amen. 

3 John 1.11-12 – Truth in Testimony

After a good example and a bad example, John starts to wrap up his letter about individually living the truth with a testimony.

11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

Demetrius is given as a good example of one living the truth, he has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. To this, John adds his testimony, which he says is true.

How then do we go about getting a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself? I’d suggest we start with v.11; imitate good and do good.

How do we imitate good?

Look to those in church leadership – Hebrews 13.7

Look to those who serve the most vulnerable – James 1.27

Look to those who care for the smallest of our family – Matthew 18.10

Look to those who put other’s needs above their own – Philippians 2.3

The truth of Jesus professed and possessed will start to change us from the inside out, and will inescapably draw us towards examples of the Godly character John speaks of (vv.5-6, 12).

Over time, we will start to imitate the good we see in others, and eventually become a witness ourselves to the truth that lives in us, all to the greater glory of God.

Point to ponder – who can I imitate today, or who can I witness to today?

Prayer – Father, we thank you for the examples of Godly character that you have put in our lives. Help us to all grow into these very examples, so that the truth of Jesus can be passed on, inherited, and witnessed to everyone we meet. Amen. 

3 John 1.9-10 – Truth in Humility

Having seen a good example in vv.5-8, John now gives us an example of what to avoid.

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.

10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

When we acknowledge the truth of Jesus, and submit our lives to this truth, we will find ourselves wanting more and more not to act like this.

The example here of Diotrephes is certainly what not to do.

He was proud – …likes to put himself first…

He was putting himself as the ultimate authority in his own life – …does not acknowledge our authority.

He was gossiping – …talking wicked nonsense against us.

He was refusing to show hospitality – …refuses to welcome the brothers

He was preventing others showing hospitality and excommunicating them from the church – …stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

When we see examples like this in God’s Word, we would do well to remember the principle of 1 Peter 5.5, James 4.6, and Proverbs 3.34, wherein we see that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Image result for god resists the proud but gives grace to the humble

“The truth of Jesus that guides our lives will surely help us to resist pride and receive grace.”

When we truly acknowledge, profess, and possess the truth of Jesus, there will be more humility than pride in our lives, and we will want to resist pride at all costs, and receive grace above all else. 

Point to ponder – What am I doing today to resist pride and receive grace?

Prayer – Father, we thank you that your Word has both good examples and bad examples in it for us to learn from. Help us to learn from this passage in 3 John today, help us to resist pride, and help us to receive grace more abundantly than we could ever imagine. Amen. 

3 John 1.5-8 – Truth in Hospitality

After introducing his letter to Gaius as being about the individual truth that we need to profess, possess, and witness, John now gives three examples; good, bad, and good. Today, the first good.

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

It appears that Gaius had been showing hospitality for these brothers, and was sending them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.

Even in the very early days of the church, it seems that there were travelling teachers, evangelists, and missionaries. These brothers had evidently been cared for by Gaius, then had told John about the hospitality they received (v.6a). 

David Guzik writes on this,

The reward for these support people is the same as those who are out on the front lines. 1 Samuel 30:21-25 shows this principle, where the spoils are distributed equally among those who fought and those who supported. King David understood that the supply lines were just as vital as the soldiers, and God would reward both soldiers and supporters properly and generously.

John says that these travelling teachers accepted no help from the general population, so the burden for their support should be met by fellow believers (vv.7-8).

Showing hospitality is an important thing to God (1 Peter 4.8-09, Titus 1.8, Luke 14.12-14, Matthew 25.42-46). It might not seem like the most exciting or glamorous of services to the Lord, but it’s something that we are commanded to do.

The good example Gaius gives here is that we are to care for those who are ministering to others.

Simply then, if all are called to minister in some way, shape, or form (Colossians 3.23-24), then all of us are called to show hospitality to somebody, somewhere, at sometime. 

Point to ponder – Who can I show hospitality to today?

Prayer – Father, we know that oftentimes hospitality is not high on our list of ways we think we can serve you. We thank you for your Word, and the encouragement and exhortation it contains towards hospitality. Show us today who we can serve and minister to, for your glory. Amen. 

3 John 1.1-4 – Possess, Profess, Witness

Often times the shorter letters and books in the Bible are overlooked, 2 John and 3 John to name but two.

Simply, bigger ≠ better.

3 John starts very similarly to 2 John, and we read of truth four times.

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

John starts by introducing himself as the elder, the same as 2 John, and whereas 2 John was written to a collective (to the elect lady and her children), 3 John is addressed to an individual (to the beloved Gaius).

We see that no matter who is being addressed, be it collective or individual, truth needs to be at the forefront of our minds and lives

How do we know that this is the case? How do we know if the truth we profess is actually the truth we possess? Well, John shows us how we know when he writes I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth

Real, genuine truth will always impact our lives in a way that is visible to others. John knows that Gaius is walking in the truth because people have seen it in action.

In other words, Gaius was a visible witness to the truth.  

For us, the truth we profess needs to become the truth we possess, and when we are displaying it in our lives how it has changed us, we know we are on the right path. 

Prayer – Father, we thank you for your Word, we know your Word is truth, help us to be people who possess what we profess, and to be people who are a visible witness to the life-saving, life-changing truth of Jesus. Amen.