Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Book of 3 John

Bible Study: The Book of 3 John

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

In 1:2 we can see that John recognizes that Gaius’ soul is prospering (in other words he is laying up treasures in heaven rather than on earth… following the ways of Jesus). John wishes him as much good health and prosperity as his soul has.

1:3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Brethren have reported back to John in 1:3 that Gaius is walking in the truth (John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me). Obviously Gaius is following Jesus’ teachings. In 1:4 when John refers to Gaius as his child, I believe he is referring not to his physical child, but to his spiritual family… John probably lead Gaius to salvation, then making him his child and John his father… John is very pleased that Gaius has continued to walk in the ways of Jesus.

1:5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
1:6 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:

Gaius does good for not only those he knows and is spiritual brothers with, but also shows his love and kindness to strangers… we need to recognize that only showing that we have Christ in us to those who are already saved doesn’t do any good for those that aren’t saved… we should show our love to all people… look at Christ, who prayed for his enemies while he was hanging on the cross. Jesus has given us the best example of how to live our lives… we need to walk as Jesus walked and do as he did, because this is the way we will do well, not only here on earth, but also in heaven.

1:7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

Even though you and I may not be good at preaching the word, we should accept the help others may give us in doing this so that we can do our part to get the word out and tell everybody the good news.

1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

Diotrephes is the pastor of another church. John wrote him a letter, but Diotrephes, who likes to be the most knowledgeable and be in charge is unwilling to allow John to visit the church.

1:10 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 casteth them out of the church.

Diotrephes speaks badly of John and his followers, probably out loud to the church congregation (something a good pastor wouldn’t do). Diotrephes won’t even receive John’s followers, Diotrephes fellow brethren, and forbids anybody in his church to receive them. If somebody doesn’t do something Diotrephes likes, he casts them out of the church… this seems like a dictatorship to me, instead of a family. To me this church sounds like it would be an unhappy one.

You know, the Bible talks a lot about doing things that are edifying to God and to the church, instead of to yourself… Diotrephes seems to only want to do things edifying to himself. Romans 14:19 also says, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” We should try to lift other people up and help them, and not just try to make ourselves look good. Diotrephes doesn’t want John and his followers to pay the church a visit, because he is afraid he will not look as good or as smart if they do.

1:11 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 reminds us that we need to good, not evil. A person who does good is of God, and a person who has evil in his heart and does evil things obviously doesn’t known God… I think you have to wonder about a person who claims to be saved, and yet does evil things. Diotrephes would be an example of one of these people… just reading John’s description of the things he does or refuses to do, I have to wonder if he really accepted Jesus as his savior and Lord of his life… when you become saved, a change takes place within you… not a physical change, but a change in your heart, because the Holy Ghost will be in you, and you will want to do good things, or to change for the better for God. Don’t forget, our flesh will still sin, but our soul will not. It is human nature to sin, but there is a difference between simply sinning, and trying to be better, than to have evil in your heart and want to do evil.

1:12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
1:13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
1:14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

In this epistle (letter) John has shown Gaius an example of a bad role model (diotrephes) and a good role model (Demetrius, who hath good report of all men and of the truth itself).

Having too much to write to Gaius in a letter, he tells him that he will be coming to talk to him in person. He wishes him peace, gives him greetings from friends, and tells him in the end to greet friends by name.



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