The wise elderly John wrote this brief letter towards the end of the first century. John sent this letter to a man named Gaius. Gaius often showed hospitality to traveling teachers & missionaries. While John praised his genourosity, he also warned him against a man who was refusing to listen to spiritual leaders in authority. This is a very personal letter and still carries the same theme of truth from the second letter. Truth & love must be tempered with wisdom.
Vs. 5, “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you.” Gaius was obviously a very good man who opened the doors to many travelers and Christian workers. Others were impressed by him and were encouraged by his generous heart. But we see another person in Diotrephes, whose motto seemed to be, “I must increase!”. He was a proud & arrogant man who challenged the authority of the church leaders. He was a man who did not help others and even threw some people out of the church.
Regarding application…Evil in the Church. Vs. 11, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God…” Struggles outside the church can be harmful…struggles within the church can be devastating. Diotrephes was out of control and was losing his moral standards & biblical standards. He definitely was not loving others and hit was hurting the church. When was as Christians imitate the world’s standards, it not only affects us…it effects everyone. When I first began as a youth director, there was a young man who had already graduated from high school, but he would come periodically to church. He was (from the world’s standard)…cool. All the boys wanted to hang out with him…he was rich, drove a nice car, physically intimidating, etc. He found it very funny to make fun of the younger boys. He would poke fun at their acne, or their height…and all the boys would transform themselves to his attitude and start laughing along and poking fun. It was an interesting phenomenon because they wouldn’t do this with each other until this young man would come. No matter what age, we are all very impressionable and if a popular/worldly person comes into the church and starts to imitate the world…it’s something we must be very careful of. Let’s look out for each other and makes sure that we are not imitating the world…but rather, imitating God.