Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Proper Christian hospitality…

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Does John talk about healing?

3 John 3:1 (KJV) The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 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. 4. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 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 7. Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth. 9. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 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. 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. 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. 13. I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 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.

John writes unto the elder Gaius, as a friend and an exhorter in the faith. I don’t know about you but in this age of instant communication, there is just something beautiful about recieving something that someone has written manually. (I do, of course realize how ironic that statement is as I am currently writing in an electronic fashion)

John writes that his friend is beloved and that he loves him in the truth. We all need that, a brother who has common doctrine in common with us. This greeting tells us of two things:

* Unison of purpose between the writer and the sender
* The great affection that is between the writer and the recipient

As greetings go, this alludes a lot of the relationship between John and Gaius. That they were in contact and this was the communication medium of the day. John would be familiar to the recipeint and any possible readers as he states that he will be there to “speak face to face” (V14)

in verse 2 we read “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” is not John advising that he maybe healed of any infirmities that he has, but simply as any of us would state if we were writing a letter to someone we loved, that we wish they were in good health. Our words have little effect on whether they are or not.

This is similar to Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) that states: A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. When we are joyful or have our spirits raised, do we worry about our troubles or pains or aches? Actually, no! It doesn’t need to be laughter, I recently was really blessed by a bible study and prayer time that I attended that was truly Holy Spirit driven and spoke to me so deeply.

Gaius is a man of spiritual integrity (v3 & 4) John rejoices that this man he taught is advancing in the word of the LORD. That he is progressing and now discipling others. The lesson here is to be a Christian as opposed to talk about being one! He is faithful; he has a good reputation and just gets on with it! Talk about having a right heart.

Verses 5-8 talk about the correct way to receive the brothers, to be hospitable, to help them on their way, to not hinder them and they have rewarded him with a good report that has reached Johns ears. We have to do these things with the right heart, whether or not people will hear about them or not. We cannot be focused on the blessings or good words of other men, that will only lead to feelings of resentment and rejection when someone fails us.

I am somewhat the opposite, I love to teach the word of God but do not like the limelight as such, during my time at the Calvary Chapel in Porterville I have been wary of accepting plaudits and don’t really like a light shone on things I have done in the background. For a while I did the social media ministry there and kind of hid when that was being lauded. Believe me this is one of the few areas I have nailed down and I am not perfect in any way.

Because of Gaius example, the prophets have come and taken this example and taken nothing from the nations. In a few days we will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and we will look at a man who did likewise, in that day there were tensions between the native Jewish believers and the Greek Gentile believers. Gaius does not see that and is very similar to Colossians 3:22

…where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all…

We could learn from that today in the way we treat people, often times we look for differences when we should just simply love. I see that clearer now as I am a Scotsman in a foreign land that has difficulty orating in a clear fashion. People will avoid talking to me rather than having the inconvenience of having to listen attentively.

We all know a Diotrephes

On the flip side we have Diotrephes, who is like the folks I mentioned before. We all know a Diotrephes, he is the overbearing one who likes to lord it over people the second he has a little authority. My take on whatever the LORD has blessed me with drives me to kill any feelings that I am something special now. The correct heart is that I am in this role to serve and to learn rather to exert power.

Diotrephes is a hard act to see and even harder to deal with in the flesh. He is the one who is always in dispute with someone and cannot be corrected. If he wasn’t up to a task he would keep a stranglehold on it even if he wasn’t gifted in that area. He even refused to deal with John the beloved, a disciple of Jesus Christ. We read in verse 10 that if someone in his assembly showed good works to someone he didn’t like he would excommunicate them! What a character eh?

I would urge you to check your behaviour with the scripture, with emphasis on Galatians 3:11-12 and James 1:22, I find this a lot with knowledge heavy Christians, the ones that know the scriptures inside out but the application just isn’t there. Empty religion and dictatorship will not make a good Christian relationship. Another question to ask in your personal life is do you tear down more than you build up? Sobering thought, huh?

Demetrius is important too

V12 alludes to the deliverer (Demetrius) of the letter, that he has a good report and is trustworthy enough to carry such an important document. When I think of important documents I think of documents such as Scotland’s Declaration of Arbroath penned in 1320 or the USA’s Declaration of Independence and I think of the impeccable trust taken between the signers and the folks entrusted to deliver these documents and keep it safe from harm, not just any man gets that job.

Then John closes by explaining that it is a short letter because they will soon speak face to face. In my studies I have no idea whether this actually happened or not, but I am reassured of the kinship between author and the person receiving this letter.

God bless and TGBTG
TTE

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2 responses to “Proper Christian hospitality…

  1. Francis Alexander Mc Cafferty March 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I agree when we praise the LORD its his prayer anything we do its for God who guides us to make out that it is ours is wrong God will give us a gift that he knows we can do so its important not to self praise!

  2. Pingback: Ten Commandments through the eyes of the Epistles | Taking the Epistle

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