What examples have others given to you in your life? Who taught you how to live by the way they lived their life? We can have many philosophies taught to us in lectures but the strongest lessons come through the examples others leave. We can learn what to imitate and what not to do in our lives from the lives of those around us.
REJOICE OVER OTHERS BLESSINGS (III John 1-4).
John writes to a friend by the name of Gaius. This could be a friend that Paul refers to by the same name in Romans 16:23. Whoever it is they are respected by John and loved “in the truth” (III John 1). We may love others immensely but never should we do so at the expense of truth. We may pray for others to have financial and physical blessings but to pray for their “soul” (vs. 2) to prosper, is the greatest need they have. We would should greater love for others in encouraging their spiritual work.
John rejoiced at the news of Gaius and those with him walking “in the truth” (vs. 3). For John, there was “no greater joy” (vs. 4). The most excellent news that we can receive is about a person coming to faith and those committing to continue to walk in the faith. We should celebrate the moments of conversion and spiritual growth.
RECEIVING OTHER WORKERS (III John 5-8).
We know that as we live in this world, we are not to be so sheltered that our in our daily life we never cross paths with unbelievers. It may be tempting to treat believers and unbelievers differently by how we help, but we are too consistent in our treatment of the “brethren, and to strangers” (vs. 5). Believers and unbelievers both will tell others of how we treat them. If we help them in their life and bring them closer to God “thou shalt do well” (vs. 6). We become examples to follow for Christ. Others will follow in suit “for his name’s sake” (vs. 7) because we led them toward it.
In doing so with the brethren, we become “fellow helpers” (vs. 8). In contrast to those that would receive and bless deceivers (II John 10-11) we promote the gospel and blessings, it brings into people’s lives. We are workers for God and co-workers with all believers empowered by the Holy Spirit.
EXAMPLES OF GOOD AND BAD WORKERS (III John 9-14).
Everybody teaches something. We are all examples of things to be imitated or not to be. John gave to his readers the example of a man that loved having “preeminence” (vs. 9) or feeling superior to all other ministers. This man would tear down others to make himself look better and would not “receive the brethren” (vs. 10). We have seen the countless times of people who attack other well-doing people of God to make themselves look smarter, better, and bigger than what they are. John warns to not follow or imitate “that which is evil” (vs. 11) because they are not of God.
We do have good examples of people who have lived for God. Not only do they have the testimony within themselves of being a good worker but have “good report of all men” (vs. 12). There are individuals that had the heart for God that we would do well in imitating their actions. Demetrius did not have many instances of his life given, but from the subject matter, it can be understood that he worked well with others. He received others to work with him.
John again has much to “write” (vs. 13) but chooses not to. To drive home this letter about receiving co-workers joyfully, he desires “face to face” (vs. 14). He also wants the community of believers to be so close that they go “by name.”