3 John -8

Friday, 10 July 2020

We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth. 3 John -8

John just said that the people he has been speaking about went forth “taking nothing from the Gentiles.” He now contrasts that thought by saying, “We therefore ought to receive such.” The word “we” is emphatic. Because these people are not receiving anything from the Gentiles, it is incumbent upon those in the church to ensure they are taken care of – completely and properly. They are to be welcomed and received in a way that tends to them without them needing to be personally put out in any way.

John then gives the reason for this, saying, “that we may become fellow workers for the truth.” The sense is obvious. In receiving and tending to these missionaries, they will not be spending their own money and resources. Thus, by tending to them, those who do so actually become participants with them in their ministries.

John is making a logical point based on the last few verses. We “ought,” or are “bound to,” receive such people. These visiting missionaries and evangelists are carrying out God’s will in furthering the gospel, and are doing it without being a burden on those they minister to. Therefore, it should be obvious that if we receive such people, we will be an active part of what they are doing.

Life application: Concerning missions work, there is an old saying – “Either go with your person or go with your purse.” Not everyone can set aside their life to head out into the mission field, nor would that be realistic. Instead, there are those who are called to missions, and there are those who support missions. In both instances, the people are filling different parts of the necessary roles for accomplishing the task. People who conduct the actual mission work are no more important, but they are worthy of the respect and honor of those who send them. This is the same as a pastor. He is merely fulfilling a different role than others, but he is still entitled to the respect of the position.

When receiving missionaries, pastors, or others, we are to receive them as equals – without elevating them in their person. And yet at the same time, we are to acknowledge their particular position. Using wisdom in supporting missionaries is important too. From time to time, missionaries need to be evaluated to ensure they are actually accomplishing the duties they set out to do. If they aren’t, then they should be recalled, and all support needs to be withdrawn.

A mission field for the sake of a mission field, without any mission work, is as pointless as mowing a lawn without any grass. Take all things into consideration, and be sure to receive the faithful missionaries as workers for the gospel of Jesus.

Lord God, help us to be attentive to the missionaries we send forth – taking care of their needs, receiving them with honor when they visit, and keeping them in prayer for success as they labor in the fields that they have been called to. May we never fail to be attentive to caring for them as they faithfully conduct their duties in furthering the gospel. All to Your honor, O Lord! Amen.












3 John -7

Thursday, 9 July 2020

…because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. 3 John -7

To get the whole sense of John’s words, the context of the entire thought should be considered –

“Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.” 3 John 1:5-7

John explains why it is good to send these missionaries forward on their journey in a manner that would be worthy of God. It is “because they went forth for His name’s sake.” It is a rather unfortunate translation, following along after the archaic KJV and not correcting their translation. The Greek reads, “for the sake of the Name.”

The force of the statement is pretty much ruined in the translation. As noted in the introduction to the book of 3 John, this is the only book in the New Testament where the name “Jesus” is not used. Instead, John says, “the Name.” It could be that by stating this, he was keeping the recipient from persecution if the letter was obtained by a person hostile to the faith.

For whatever reason, to say the simple words “the Name” is to identify Christ with the Lord of the Old Testament. Just as any Jewish believer would understand the title to refer to Jehovah, so any believer in Christ would understand this to refer to the Incarnate Lord, Jesus Christ. Thus, it is a direct reference to the fact that Jesus is God, as “God” is the nearest antecedent in verse 6.

It is the same thought reflected elsewhere in the New Testament, such as –

“They, therefore, left the Sanhedrin and went their way, rejoicing that they had been deemed worthy to suffer disgrace on behalf of the NAME.” Acts 5:41 (Weymouth)

These missionaries didn’t just go forward in the name of “God.” Rather, they went forward bearing the Name of Jesus Christ. And, it is in that Name that they made their proclamation to others. In this, John then finishes with, “taking nothing from the Gentiles.”

The word translated as “taking” signifies “accepting.” They would not accept help from those they ministered to, meaning “the Gentiles.” The word translated as “Gentiles” is ethnikos. It is an adjective used only in Matthew (three times) and in this verse. It especially refers to a non-Israelite, and thus a pagan.

The missionaries had taken the message out into the pagan world, doing exactly as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28 –

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

The message went out from the Jewish believers to the Gentiles. From there, both Jew and Gentile continued to spread the message further. The words of John here clearly demonstrate that the teaching of hyperdispensationalism – which says there are two gospels, one to the Jew and one to the Gentile – is a false and heretical teaching. John makes no distinction between the gospel that was first brought to the church he is addressing and to the gospel that went forth to the nations from them. There is one church that is made up of both Jew and Gentile, and that one church proclaims one gospel to all people.

Life application: It is one thing to help people out that are passing through the area where you live who simply need a hand. Maybe there is a flat tire, or maybe they are on their way to visit an ailing relative and are facing financial trouble getting there. This would be a completely different issue to John than when someone is going forth for the sake of the Name of God, and specifically the Name of Jesus Christ. Such people are worthy of being sent out in a fitting and respectable manner because their duties are the most important in all of human existence.

To this day, missionaries generally receive all of their support from other Christians so as not to impose any burden on those they are ministering to. Because of this, the message of the gospel will simply never go forward without the prayer, financial, and logistical support of other believers.

These past three verses together form a sound and logical reason for supporting mission causes and ensuring that missionaries receive all the support necessary to accomplish their tasks to the glory of God. Let us remember this as we give to the mission budget in our churches.

Yes, Heavenly Father! May our hearts be geared towards the care of our faithful missionaries as they go forth and spread the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world! Even if our financial ability is limited, our prayer ability is not. And so, Lord, give us the desire to keep these faithful servants in prayer, along with any financial help we can provide. To Your honor and glory we pray. Amen.










3 John -6

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

…who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, 3 John -6

John just said to Gaius that he does faithfully the things he does for the brethren and the strangers. He now explains how he knows this by adding on the words, “who have borne witness of your love.”

Word had gotten back to John, maybe even by direct testimony from those Gaius had taken care of, that he indeed was faithfully doing the things he was called to do. He tended to the needs of those who came, and he demonstrated his love “before the church.”

John’s words here do not mean that Gaius was a person such as Jesus referred to in Matthew 6 –

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” Matthew 6:1-4

Rather, Gaius simply did what he did without any fanfare and was noted as such. This is the idea that Paul spoke of in 1 Timothy 5 –

“Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.” 1 Timothy 5:24, 25

When one does good to others, what he does may be done quietly and without any trumpets blasting, but the things he does cannot go unnoticed. Such is the case with Gaius. From this note of acceptance concerning the deeds of Gaius, John then says, “If you send them forward on their journey.”

The Greek verb is in the aorist tense, as if an already-accomplished fact. Therefore, it better reads, “Having sent forward.” John is noting what Gaius has done, and he is acknowledging that it is the appropriate and godly thing that he has done. The deed done without fanfare is a deed which has been properly done and has met the approval of the aged apostle. This is because it was “worthy of God.”

Again, the Greek is closer to “worthily of God.” It is an adverb and a noun combination. The action itself is highlighted because it was done in a manner looking to please God. The whole clause precisely reads “having sent forward worthily of God.” With this in mind, John closes the verse with, “you will do well.”

It is in the future tense, showing that when such actions are taken, it is the appropriate thing that will have been done. The order of the entire clause hinges on this future tense, and the word “you” actually opens the clause. The whole thought reads, “You will do well, having sent forward worthily of God.”

The whole thought is one which acknowledges Gaius’ love, something acknowledged by the church, and John’s prompting to further demonstrate that love by taking the concrete steps noted here to send forth these people in a manner which is becoming of God. The next verse will explain why this should be.

Life application: The word “love” in this verse is agape. In this case, it conveys more than just a feeling, but rather includes his actions as well. To continue demonstrating this love, John notes that his hospitality should also include giving them provisions for their continued journey.

The somewhat unusual construction of John’s words, saying, “you do well,” is believed to be an idiom of the time which basically meant “please.” To understand this, one can simply reword the sentence – “Please, send these brethren forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God.”

The parallel most commonly found in churches today would be that of missionaries looking for financial assistance as they travel from church to church before departing for their mission field. We, as individuals or a church body, should welcome these people into our homes, feed and care for them, and then provide for them not only with financial assistance for their continued journey, but also a promise of support (if they meet the church requirements) as they live in their mission assignment.

A majority of these people have a true heart for the Lord. They are dedicating their lives to the continued spread of the gospel. Because of this, they should be received, tended to, and sent out in a manner worthy of God. Let us remember this as we set our personal and congregational budgets in the years ahead.

Lord Jesus, help us to be responsible people with the money You have provided to us. A fancy latte can be $5 or more. If we have one every day, that adds up to a lot of money. Is this the best we can do with that money when we have missionaries in our churches that are not fully funded? Help us to use what You have given us wisely. Is a fancy coffee of more value than their winning of souls to Christ? Help our priorities to be right, O God. Amen.




















3 John -5

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 3 John -5

John now moves from comments about his own personal happiness concerning Gaius to a commendation and exhortation of his actions. He begins this by saying once again, “Beloved.” It is the third of four times that he uses the term in this short letter, stressing the truly loving feeling that John held for Gaius.

John next says, “you do faithfully whatever you do.” The Greek is an adjective, not an adverb, and so it more rightly says, “you do a faithful thing, whatever you do.” The product of his labors results in that which is appropriate within the boundaries of the faith. And that product is the result of what he had been doing “for the brethren and for strangers.”

There are some differences in manuscripts here which alter the reading a bit, but the sense of the words is that Gaius was being a faithful servant towards those around him, both toward the brethren within the congregation, and also to any strangers who had come along as well. He was always ready to extend himself for others in a most charitable manner.

It should be noted that in this verse, the two uses of “you do” were  translated from two different words. As said, he is faithfully accomplishing the tasks, but the second word shows that he is diligently, even unceasingly laboring for these people. Together, these words sum up the entire scope of his faithful and welcoming ministry. To show a distinction between the two, it would be appropriate to say, “you do faithfully whatever you have worked at.”

Life application: Gaius was working in this manner for people he knew and for those he didn’t know. The “strangers” are more than likely traveling evangelists or missionaries, just like we have even today. Gaius was apparently opening his home to them and giving them all the assistance they needed so that they could save their money for places which weren’t as accommodating.

Just like today, if we travel, we will find that hotels and restaurants cost money. But if there are people willing to take us in during our travels, the bed is always more comfortable – even if it is a lumpy mattress. The food is always better – even if it is simple and not so tasty. And, and the friendship is always exceptional in comparison to a place we check in to where everyone is a stranger. A hospitable person or family is always the preferred option. This is a lesson for all of us.

If we have room and the ability to open our doors to those passing through, we should do so. The world has never been a safe place, but we can demonstrate faithfulness in opening our doors and trusting that we are doing a service that will long be remembered. When done in the name of Jesus, we truly are blessing the soul of another.

Thank You, Lord, for those who are willing to open their doors to us as we travel the highways and byways of life. May You bless them in all ways for their faithful and kind service to those they often don’t even know. And thank You for putting this on their hearts as we know all good blessings truly come from You. Amen.






3 John -4

Monday, 6 July 2020

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John -4

The Greek of the previous verse showed where the articles should rightly be placed. It said, “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in truth.” There was an article before the first instance of truth, but not one before the second. John now says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” In this, manuscripts vary. Some say, “in truth,” while others say, “in the truth.” It would be improbable that John said one and then another. Therefore, it is likely that he again says, “walk in truth.” The verse will be evaluated as such.

He begins with, “I have no greater joy.” There is an emphasis on the word “greater,” as it begins the verse in the Greek. It should be kept in that order to highlight this emphasis –

“Greater joy than these, I do not have.” John is placing the joy he will next explain as the highest joy he could possess while in this life. And that joy is “to hear that my children walk in truth.” The verb is actually a present participle, and it should be translated that way. Thus, it would say, “that my children are walking in truth.” It is a right-now, active process.

It is one thing to hear that your children walk in truth, which could mean from time to time, and it is another thing to know that they are walking in truth, which means right at this moment. The verbs are carefully selected to show what is truly pleasing to John concerning them. In this, he calls them “my children.” This probably shows that he is speaking of those he personally led to Christ. If so, then Gaius would be reckoned among them. The thought then mirrors what Paul said to those at Corinth –

“I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.” 1 Corinthians 4:14-16

There and elsewhere, a spiritual father/child relationship is recognized by Paul concerning those he had personally evangelized. In this, a father wants what is best for his children, and he will rejoice along with them when they are living properly. This is what John is now expressing to Gaius as his greatest joy. To be walking in the truth means that he is living in the sphere of what he had first been introduced to, without straying from the path of sound doctrine found in Christ. John is well-pleased with this situation in his beloved Gaius and any others who also faithfully walked.

Life application: John was commissioned as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. He walked with the Lord, learned from Him, saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, saw Him hailed as “the Son of David” on Palm Sunday, and watched Him crucified a few days later. He was given personal charge of Jesus’ mother as He was dying on the cross.

After the sadness of the burial came the glorious memory of the resurrection. He stood on the Mount of Olives as Jesus ascended to the right hand of God. All of these things he personally beheld and participated in. Therefore, when someone heard John’s words and accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior, John certainly rejoiced. But he had no greater joy than that those converts continued to walk faithfully in the truth of the gospel.

This encompasses the entire life experience for each person. In other words, the Great Commission was fulfilled in that person’s life. This was not only to “make disciples” and “baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” but also to “teach them to observe all things.” This is what brought John that great joy – that the gospel message would be continued on through them and not die out or be distorted.

John, being old and unsure of the timing of the Lord’s plan, could feel satisfied that what was given to him was safely passed on to others. And the stream of faithful transmission has been carried on through the ages, even until today. Despite the tricks of the devil and the deceit of deceivers, the truth is both available and flourishing in the world. Hallelujah!

Yes, Lord! Hallelujah and Amen! To know that Your gospel message has been safely protected and transmitted throughout the ages is a blessing to the people of the world. We know that we have a sure and firm foundation in the pages of the Bible and also from the mouths of those who properly and tenderly pass it on to others. Amen.