October 22 2021
Today, Friday October 22
The Blessing of Christian Friends
3 John 1:12-14 Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true. I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.
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.
The conclusion of the letter (3 John 13-14) is similar to the conclusion of 2 John, and perhaps was a standard way to end letters in John's day. The apostle planned to visit the church "shortly" (soon), which certainly was a warning to Diotrephes and an encouragement to Gaius and Demetrius. The beloved John had "many things" to discuss with the assembly and its leaders, things he would rather deal with personally rather than by means of a letter.
"Peace to you" (3 John 14) must have been a benediction of real encouragement to Gaius! No doubt his own heart and mind were distressed because of the division in the church and the unspiritual way Diotrephes was abusing its members.
John was careful to send greetings from the believers in the assembly with which he was associated at that time. "Our friends greet you.” What a blessing it is to have Christian friends! John was friend-maker. Diotrephes was so dictatorial that he had fewer and fewer friends, but John had more and more friends as he shared the love of Christ.
"Greet the friends by name". The aged apostle did not want to write a long letter; besides, he was planning a visit. He wanted to have Gaius convey his greetings to his friends personally and individually, as though John were doing it himself. John was not concerned about a church only, but also the individuals within that church.
It is interesting to contrast these Second and 3 John and to see the balance of truth that John presented. Second John was written to a godly woman about her family, while 3 John was written to a godly man about his church. John warned "the elect lady" about false teachers from the outside, but he warned Gaius about dictatorial leaders inside the fellowship. The false teachers in 2 John would appeal to love so that they might deny truth, while Diotrephes would appeal to truth as, in a most unloving way, he would attack the brethren.
How important it is to walk "in truth and love" (2 John 3) and hold “the truth in love”! (Eph. 4:15) To claim to love the truth and yet hate the brethren is to confess ignorance of what the Christian life is all about. When God's people love Him, the truth, and one another, then the Spirit of God can work in that assembly to glorify Jesus Christ. But when any member of that assembly, including the pastor, becomes proud and tries to have "the preeminence," then the Spirit is grieved and He cannot bless. The church may outwardly appear successful, but inwardly it will lack the true unity of the Spirit that makes for a healthy fellowship.
Today, for sure, we need more people like Gaius and Demetrius—and fewer like Diotrephes!