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Saturday, September 22 2012

The Epistles: Third John

Studies in this complete Epistles series:
What Is An Epistle? Luke Acts Romans First Corinthians
Second Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians
First Thessalonians Second Thessalonians First Timothy Second Timothy Titus
Philemon Hebrews James First Peter Second Peter
First John Second John Third John Jude Revelation


The apostle John's third epistle is a brief but powerful testimony of how converted people, in this case a man named Diotrephes, can fall back into carnal attitudes and behavior. John addressed the letter to a righteous man named Gaius, who may have been any one of the men by that name in the New Testament record.

The Holy Scriptures Gaius, a man of Macedonia, who accompanied the apostle Paul during part of a missionary journey (see also Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey):

"19:28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 19:29 And the whole city [see also The Epistles: Ephesians] was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre." (Acts 19:28-29 KJV)

Gaius of Corinth, Paul's host when he wrote the epistle to the Romans (see The Epistles: Romans):

"16:23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church [see Can You See The Church? and The Church In The End Time], saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (Romans 16:23-24 KJV)

Gaius of Derbe, who was among those who accompanied Paul into "Asia" (i.e. Asia Minor, known today as Turkey):

"20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea [see The Berean Lesson]; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus." (Acts 20:4 KJV)

"Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good"

John regarded Gaius very highly "in the truth."

The Road To Emmaus

"1:1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth." (3 John 1:1 KJV)

John emphasized the word "truth," in Gaius ("of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth"), as well as the faithful ones, students of John, with him ("my children walk in truth").

"1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 1:3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (3 John 1:2-4 KJV)

People of the truth recognize and welcome other people of truth, "fellowhelpers to the truth."

"1:5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 1:6 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: 1:7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth." (3 John 1:5-8 KJV)

John then addressed the spectacle of Diotrephes who had grown ambitious for himself, lusting to lord it over his brothers and sisters ("who loveth to have the preeminence among them"), resorting to isolating "his" church ("neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church") and slandering even the apostle John while doing so ("prating against us with malicious words").

"1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 1:10 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." (3 John 1:9-10 KJV)

What Diotrephes was doing was evil. John was on the way to deal with him.

"1:11 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. 1:12 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. 1:13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 1:14 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." (3 John 1:11-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: How do "ambitious" people turn a church into a cult?
See What Do Leaders Do? and Is Your Church A Cult?


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This Day In History, September 22

66: Roman Emperor Nero created the Legion I Italica (see also Legions Of Men And Angels and Nero's Torches).

1499: The Peace of Basel ended the Swiss (also known as the Swabian War) between the Holy Roman emperor Maximilian I and the Swiss Confederation.

1530: The first version of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession was presented to Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg after the Emperor had declared that the Confutation (August 3 1530) prepared by the Catholic theologians to refute the Augsburg Confession (June 25 1530) properly presented his Catholic faith. The Emperor demanded that the reformers return to the Catholic church and refused to accept the Apology when it was presented to him. See Emperors and Popes to understand that emperors always (past and yet future) claimed superiority to popes (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).

1556: Johann Agricola died at age 72. The "protestant" reformer, a friend of Martin Luther (he convinced Luther to study Roman theology instead of medicine) was an advocate of antinomianism (anti = "against", nomos = "law") - a Satanic blasphemy that falsely claims that Christians are "freed by grace" from the need to obey The Ten Commandments (see Antinomianism).

1692: The last official executions for witchcraft in Massachusetts. During the Salem Witch Trials, 8 people who been falsely accused of witchcraft were hung, bringing to a total of 13 women and 7 men who were put to death over the course of the brief witch-hunt era (see also What Does Wicked Mean? to understand how the word for witchcraft, wicca, is the same as the word for those who make false accusations against innocent people).

1784: A Russian colony was established in what is today Alaska. Russia sold the territory to the U.S. in 1867.

1862: Abraham Lincoln issued his first Emancipation Proclamation attempt to free U.S. slaves.

1896: Queen Victoria surpassed King George III (her grandfather) as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

1918: During World War 1 (1914-1918), British forces in Israel (then known as "Palestine," an English rendering of "Philistine") captured Nazareth and Haifa from the Ottoman (Turkish) forces (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1949: The Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb, ending the U.S. monopoly of atomic weapons.

1980: Polish workers won the right to form independent unions, from which came the Solidarity movement with Lech Walesa as its elected leader.

1980: The Persian Gulf conflict between Iran and Iraq erupted into full-scale war.

1991: The Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to public viewing for the first time (listen to our Sermon The Dead Sea Scrolls).

2011: CERN scientists claimed a discovery of neutrinos breaking the speed of light.


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