Church Life PersonalitiesNovember 28, 2021
Church Life Personalities
3 John 1-14
John’s 3rd letter mentions 4 characters in the church and indicates whether their interaction within the church is helpful or hurtful to church life.
-As we walk through these 14 verses, we will see some things John either commends or condemns about these individuals and their interaction within the church and we will also pick up some application principles along the way for us to consider about our own interaction within the Lord’s church (true believers in Jesus Christ).
I. Gaius: A Man Committed to Truthing (3 John 1-8)
The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 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: Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
1. He was identified with Jesus (1) “I love [Gaius] in the truth.
-John had a common bond with Gaius—their bond: children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
-Our truest, strongest, and most worthy bond is the bond we have as fellow children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
2. He was nourished by the truth of Jesus (2) Gaius’ “soul prospereth”
-What was Gaius’ key to good spiritual health? This passage makes it clear that it was his pattern of living in relation to the truth of Who Christ is. (mentioned at least 5x’s)
-The best means of maintaining good “soul-care” is embracing, internalizing and applying the truth of Jesus constantly!
3. He was known by His handling of the truth of Jesus (3) others had noticed that “the truth…is in [Gaius]” and that he has shown a pattern of “[walking] in the truth”
-When you have a pattern of being nourished by the Word of God, it becomes obvious to others as they observe and interact with you.
-The pattern of Gaius’ life was one of remaining in line with God’s Word—not feelings, outside influences, societal norms, etc.
4. He was a contributor toward the ministry of Jesus (5-8) Gaius contributed toward the ministry of the Gospel as a “[fellow helper] of the truth”
-The implication here: Gaius was hospitable and generous toward some people who had come to his church whose lives were given toward Gospel ministry. (missionaries/Gospel workers/teachers)
1. Examine and repair your own pattern of truthing (4) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
-Who/what is speaking its truth into your life?
-Are you intentional with your reading/study of God’s Word…is it your regular diet?
2. Look for ways to partner with Gospel Work (8) We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
-Are you active in helping with Gospel work—going, giving, tangibly helping Gospel workers?
II. Diotrephes: A Man of UnChristlikeness (3 John 9-11)
-Diotrephes was a member (maybe a leader) in the same church as Gaius, but John graphically calls out Diothephes for unChristlike patterns & actions.
-As John’s letters and messengers arrived, Diothephes didn’t respect that authority and thus did not receive John’s teaching.
-Ultimately His problem was with God, not John.
-How do we know? He loveth to have the preeminence among them
-He wanted the power of authority and accolades for himself.
-What he lacked was a humble spirit of trustful dependence upon God whether he liked his earthly leadership or not.
B. Accusatory Tendency (10a) Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words:
-lit. he was slandering/gossiping about us with hurtful words
-Diotrephes spread things about John and His ministry partners that was hurtful and apparently not true!
-John: “This spirit of rebellion and accusation is not healthy for the church and believers need to purge this from amongst themselves.”
C. Self-Promoting Behavior (10b) and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive (acknowledge) the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
-(D. Akin) He acted exactly the opposite of Gaius, but then he went further. He slandered John, gave a cold shoulder to these missionaries from John, stopped others who would have received them, and kicked out of the church anyone who attempted to help them—all because he loved himself and loved his agenda, and he had to have his own way no matter what.
-Diotrephes’ agenda was so big to him that anything that did not fit into that agenda (including showing hospitality to ministers of the Gospel) was cast aside and those who did want to help were stifled and mistreated.
D. Negative Influence (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.
-Unfortunate truth: it is possible for Diotrephes-like thinking and actions to be contagious and one of the means of prevention is maintaining spiritual health by centering one’s life upon the truth of Who Jesus is!
1. Are your actions within the church consistent with Christlike love? (9-10)
-Are you self-driven in your actions and agenda or Bible-based?
-1 Peter 5:5-6 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
2. Look for and attach yourself to godly influences. (11) Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.
-Are those you are attached to and gravitate toward Bible-based in their thinking and actions or self-promotion based? You may have to make some hard choices in who you hang out with!
III. Demetrius: A Man of Godly Reputation (3 John 12)
A. Godly Testimony (12 a,c) Demetrius hath good report of all men…yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
-Demetrius was observed by people around him in general as well as by John and those around him and the observation was the same by all—a good report = has a good testimony/reputation
-What’s inside comes out eventually and is evident to those around.
B. Bible-Based Congruency (12b) and of the truth itself
-The Truth itself bore witness of Demetrius’s reputation.
-Other words: if you were to use the Word of God (Truth) as a measuring stick, Demetrius’ pattern of life was in line with It.
Principle: Consider your own testimony and congruency (12)
-Is the pattern of what is inside of you and displayed on your outside in line with the truth of Jesus as given in God’s Word?
-Do you seek to conform your life to God’s Word instead of trying to fit God’s Word into your predisposed way of doing life?
IV. John: A Man of Body Health Consciousness (3 John 13-14)
I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 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.
-John knew that personal fellowship was beneficial to “Body Health.”
-Bible-oriented personal interaction between believers cannot be replaced!
Principle: Consider your own contribution to “Body healthiness.” (13-14)
-Are you a body-builder or a body-hurter?
-The answer often hinges on whether you are self-consumed and motivated or others-minded because Jesus, your Savior is.