A Letter to a Beloved Friend
3 Jn. 1-8
Among the three Epistles, 3 John is the most personal. It was written specifically to a person named Gaius. Probably this guy is a responsible leader in a church where John previously pastored. This letter can be divided into three parts mentioning about three men. Gaius the gracious one, Diotrephes the dictator and proud, and Demetrius, the dependable with good report of all men. In this message I have included illustrations about hospitality, one for our fellow Christians, one for our enemies. Please bear in mind that no hospitality must be given to false teachers.
I. Wellbeloved (3 Jn. 1)
1. Gaius is called “beloved” by John four times in this short epistle. He is a dear
friend. (3Jn. 1, 2. 5, 11).
2. The term “beloved” is only used for Christians in the New Testament (Col. 3:12, Philem. 1, 2, 2 Pet. 3:14, 1 Jn. 4:1)
3. John loved him truly and sincerely.
4. John loved him “in the truth” which means Gaius was sound in Christian
5. Evidently, he may have been won to Christ by John (3 Jn.4).
6. John had frequently received good reports from travelling Bible teachers and missionaries concerning Gaius’ spiritual growth and godly life. (3 Jn. 3)
II. John’s prayer for Gaius (3 Jn. 2)
A. Prayer for his personal life
1. John prays that all may go well with him
a. “That you may prosper in all good things”
b. This includes material or financial blessings which Gaius can use for serving
God, helping fellow Christians, specially travelling missionaries.
c. It may even include success in business, blessings for his children’s careers,
work stability and security.
d. Protection from all evil, both seen and unseen.
B. In Health
1. Physical health is always one of the concerns for the recipients of the letters not only now but also in the old times.
2. Regarding Spiritual health, John prays that Gaius’ physical health and strength would equal his spiritual health.
3. Evidently in this letter, John knows that Gaius is very healthy in his spiritual life.
4. Many Christians at present are healthier physically than spiritually. Many takes good care of their body but often neglect their spiritual health which is more important.
C. This prayer should not be taken as a proof text to preach health, wealth, and
prosperity gospel as other preachers are doing.
What makes us healthy in body? Plenty of good food, fresh air, exercise and rest.
The same can be said of our spiritual health. We need to feed on God’s Word, the Bible. It is milk and meat and bread for our hearts. We need to breath the fresh air of God’s presence in prayer. We need to rest by faith in the Lord’s promises and strength. We need to exercise our spiritual muscles
in service for Him. True spiritual health is having our whole spirit, soul and body controlled by the Holy Spirit and getting strength from Him. Anonymous.
III. His hospitality commended (3 Jn. 3 -8)
A. Some believers had come to John and had given him a good report of how faithful Gaius was in his Christian life. His public life was a good testimony to his inward life of faith. His life was controlled by the Word of God. Truth in the heart brings truth in the daily life.
B. Let me remind you that:
1. We should not only “know the truth” (Jn. 8:32)
2. Believe and know the truth (1 Tim. 4:3)
3. Obey the truth (1 Pet. 1:22)
4. Speak the truth (Eph. 4:15)
5. Do the truth (Jn. 3:21)
6. Walk in the truth (3 Jn. 4) like Gaius.
C. This brought great joy the old apostle John. To see your spiritual children, live their
lives according the truth of the Word of God is a cause of rejoicing.
D. Gaius was faithful and loyal. He showed this in the way he loved to take care of the believers and missionaries. Providing the needs of fellow believers is a Biblical command. Hospitality has to be shown by all believers (Rom. 12:13, Heb. 13:2, 1 Pet. 4:9), by widows (1 Tim. 5:10), and by elders (1 Tim. 3:2, Titus 1:8).
E. Gaius was faithful in serving the Lord’s people and servants (3 Jn. 5). The way I see it he was able to discern false teachers and refused help to them as commanded in 2 Jn 10 and 11.
F. Faithful Christians and preachers travelled much in those days and there were no hotels or inn to lodge in. Believers were to help them on their way with food and whatever things they may need. These acts of kindness and help were all evidence of good spiritual health. Gaius’ hospitality and kindness to Christian labourers were well known throughout the churches in that region (3 Jn. 6).
G. Faithful missionaries and preachers left their home and families in obedience to the Great Commission of the Lord. They had gone at great sacrifice and were “taking nothing” not accepting money or help from unbelieving pagans (3 Jn. 7-8). Why not? For the sake of His name. To maintain the integrity of the Lord Jesus Christ’s name.
His name is not just a label to tell who He is but it refers to His personality, and all that He is (Acts 4:12, 17, 5:28, 41).
H. There were many wandering beggars and religious teachers who made their living by their “begging and preaching”. Christ’s followers were not to imitate these. His servants looked to their Master alone to provide for their needs. If they asked unbelievers for money it would look as if they were working only for personal gain. It is sad to see today some so-called Christian workers always begging for money to “help carry on the work of the Lord”. It is not honouring to the Lord.
I. Christin leaders today should trust God and His people alone to supply their needs.
J. There is a special responsibility for true believers. They must support and help the true workers of our Lord. We should do all we can to encourage them.
K. If a believer loves the truth and walks in the truth, he will be a partner in the truth. He will show unity with them in their mission and will receive a reward Mt. 10:41.
Illustration 2: Where Heaven Is
A certain minister preached one day on Heaven. The next morning, he was met by one of his wealthy
members, who said:
“Pastor, you preached a good sermon about Heaven. You told me all about Heaven, but you did not
tell me where Heaven is.”
“Ah,” said the pastor, “I’m glad of the opportunity this morning. I have just come from the hill
yonder. In that cottage there is a member of your church who is extremely poor; she is sick and in
bed with fever. If you will go and take her a good supply of provisions and say, ‘My sister. I have
brought these nice provisions in the Name of our Lord and Savior,’ if you ask for a Bible and read
Psalm 23, and then get down on your knees and pray, if you don’t see Heaven, before you get all
through, I’ll pay the bill.”
The next morning, he said:
“Pastor, I saw Heaven, and I spent fifteen minutes in Heaven, as certainly as you are listening.”
Illustration 3: Giving Last Slice of Bread
“I have seen Christians in communist prisons with 50 pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonful of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold, and praying with fervor for the communists….
Afterward, the communists came to prison too.
Now the tortured and the torturers were in the same cell. And while the non-Christians beat them (torturers), Christians took their defence. I have seen Christians giving away their last slice of bread (we had at that time one slice a week) and the medicine which could save their lives to a sick communist torturer who was now a fellow-prisoner.”—Wurmbrand
Gaius hospitality to God’s servants is one we should follow. He had set a good example. His faithfulness in walking the truth is well known by his fellow Christians. It is not an outward show but a fruit of being a follower of the Word of God. Will you be like Gaius too? If you repent from your sins now and receive Christ as your personal saviour, you will become a new man and you can be like Gaius too.