Demetrius’ Good Example
3 Jn. 11-14
This is the last part of the most personal letter of the Apostle John. We have talked about Gaius and
Diotrephes. Now we will be talking about Demetrius. Three men, two good, one evil. All of them
were involved in serving the Lord within the church. As I have mentioned last week, Gaius and
Diotrephes were probably pastors of different congregations in the same city. This epistle was
written by the “elder” who is non-other than the Apostle John, and Demetrius may be the bearer of
this letter to be delivered to Gaius.
I. Advice to Gaius (3 Jn. 11)
A. Follow not that which is evil.
1. Here is a good advice for Gaius and for all of us.
2. He that doeth good is of God.
3. The term “is of God” means, “is from God” in Greek and literally means the good
man’s actions and attitude is from God Himself.
4. We have many examples of people who doeth good in the Old as well as in the
New Testament. Their conduct reflects their relationship with God. Here are just
some role models we have to follow or imitate:
a. The Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph.
c. Moses, Joshua, King David, King Josiah,
d. Daniel and the Prophets like Elijah and Elisha
e. Paul and the Apostles, except Judas of course.
f. Barnabas, Priscilla and Aquila, Gaius and Demetrius.
g. Hall of faith found in Heb. 11
B. He that doeth evil hath not seen God
1. The one that doeth evil deeds is Diotrephes as we have seen in verses 9 and 10.
He has not seen or known God.
2. He may be a professing Christian but in reality, he is a liar. Just like his father the
devil. His slander against the Apostle John proves that indeed he is an enemy.
3. No love for others were shown by Diotrephes. No Godliness.
4. He wants power and authority with the church, but power and authority in the
church belongs to Christ and Christ alone.
5. False teachers, false prophets, leader of the cults, modern day preachers, who
preach wealth and prosperity, taking advantage of the people belongs to this
category. Living in luxury with their own private jets while their members were
living in hand to mouth existence.
6. We can see and conclude that false teachers, false prophets, cult leaders, etc.,
claimed to know God intimately but lived godless and loveless lives.
C. Three tests of reality in a believer as we saw in 1 John.
1. Test of truth. vs. 3 & 4
2. The test of love. v. 6
3. The test of goodness. v. 11
D. Things we are told to follow
1. Love. 1 Cor. 14:1
2. Good. 1 Thess. 5:15
3. Righteousness. 1 Tim. 6:11
4. Peace. Heb. 12:14
5. The example of our Lord. 1 Pet. 2:21
Illustration: Twas A Sheep, Not A Lamb
’Twas a sheep, not a lamb, that strayed away in the parable Jesus told. A grown-up sheep that had
gone astray from the ninety and nine in the fold. Out on the hillside, out in the cold, ‘twas a sheep
the Good Shepherd sought; And back to the flock, safe into the fold, ‘twas a sheep the Good
Shepherd brought. And why for the sheep should we earnestly long and as earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger, if they go wrong, they will lead the lambs astray. For the lambs will follow
the sheep, you know, wherever the sheep may stray; When the sheep go wrong, it will not be long
till the lambs are as wrong as they. And so with the sheep we earnestly plead, for the sake of the
lambs today; If the sheep are lost, what terrible cost some of the lambs will have to pay!
II. The example of Demetrius
A. The threefold witness to his faithfulness
1. He was well spoken of by everyone who knew him.
2. He was also guaranteed for by the truth itself. Here the truth is personified as a
“witness” and John no doubt meant that Demetrius’ character and doctrine
were in such conformity with that truth that the truth itself virtually spoke on his
3. As a third line of testimony, John wrote, we also speak well of him, and you
know that our testimony is true. John himself could personally attest the worth
of this man. Thus Gaius had no reason to hesitate showing Demetrius the kind of
hospitality he had shown others.
B. Demetrius was sound in faith. His name would indicate that he was a convert from
paganism but he was now a preacher of the truth.
C. I honestly believe that he was not the Demetrius mentioned in Acts 19:24.
D. Demetrius was a good role model for all of us Christian because he practices and
applies the truth of God’s Word in his life.
E. How about you, do you practice and apply the truth of God’s Word in your life?
F. John had warned that he was going to visit the church and confront Diotrephes (3
John 10), and no doubt both Gaius and Demetrius would stand with John in
opposing the “dictator.” They were the kind of men who would support the truth
and submit themselves to authentic spiritual authority. Because they followed the
truth, they could safely be imitated by other believers.
Illustration 2: Faithful Church Attenders
A study once disclosed that:
If both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72% of their children remain faithful.
If only Dad, 55% remain faithful.
If only Mom, 15%.
If neither attended regularly, only 6% remain faithful.
The statistics speak for themselves—the example of parents and adults is more important than all
the efforts of the church and Sunday School. Warren Mueller in Homemade, May, 1990
Illustration 3: Skewed Biography
Years ago, the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of
Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They
wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel.
As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and
godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience.
Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received
Jesus as his personal Savior.
Whether we realize it or not, our example leaves an impression on others. Anonymous
III. Farewell Greeting
A. Many things to write but would rather tell it personally when he comes
B. Peace! The lovely Hebrew word “shalom”. This reminds us of the Lord Jesus Christ’s
word in Jn. 14:7 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world
giveth, give I unto you.
C. John still remembers those words. Gaius would need them while Diotrephes is doing
troubles and strife.
D. Friends, by showing loving hospitality to other believers, they make new and other
friends. By this the network of love and fellowship continue to spread in other
places. This is still true today. Are you making friends with other believers?
Are you a good example to your church and to your community? How about to other
believers in others churches with similar faith, beliefs and practices? I pray that this
short message will motivate you to be a good example also.