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Wednesday, March 20 2013
3 John: Follow Not That Which Is Evil, But That Which Is Good
"Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good"
The apostle John's third epistle (see also 1 John: 'If You Love The World, The Love Of God Is Not In You' and 2 John: The Bride Of Christ and The Great Harlots) is a brief but powerful testimony of how converted people, in this case a man named Diotrephes, can fall back into lustful attitudes and carnal 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:
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 Ephesians: Put On The Whole Armour Of God] 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 Romans: In The Heart Of The Beast):
"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)
Whichever it was, John regarded Gaius very highly "in the truth."
"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 [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]. 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)
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves"
John then addressed the abomination 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"). Diotrephes had become a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
"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)
The Messiah's command to not behave in such an egotistical manner was very clear. True Christians are not to lust for rule over other Christians, but rather to strive to follow Christ - by obeying His teachings. Years earlier, John and his brother James had learned that lesson, by means of a rebuke from the LORD, from which they never again crossed the line from servant to master (or "mister" - the spelling of the English master and mister are based merely on different pronunciations of the same root word which meant master). "Minister" means servant, while "Mister" means master.
"20:24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:24-28 KJV)
The Messiah warned further that those who do as they please in Christ's name (i.e. "Christian") have a rebuke coming from Him on the Judgment day.
7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
What Diotrephes did was evil. As the letter was written, 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.
Studies For The Book Of 3 John
This Day In History, March 20
141: The 6th recorded perihelion (the point in the orbit of a comet or planet when it is closest to the sun) passage of what was later named Halley's Comet (named after English astronomer Edmond Halley, 1656-1742).
235: Maximinus Thrax was proclaimed Emperor. He was the first foreigner (he was born in the Balkans of northern Greece) to hold the Roman throne, and the first Roman Emperor to have never been in Rome.
1413: King Henry IV of England died. He was succeeded by Henry V.
1568: Albert (German, Albrecht) died at age 78. The Protestant German ruler was known chiefly for ending the Teutonic knights government of East Prussia (as advised by Martin Luther) and founding a hereditary dukedom in its place. For that, he was placed under the ban of the empire by Emperor Charles V.
1602: The Dutch East India Company was established. It became one of the world's most powerful companies over its 96-year history.
1616: Sir Walter Raleigh was freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment.
1727: Sir Isaac Newton died at age 84. The English mathematician and physicist was best-known for developing calculus and for his studies of the Creator's laws of physics that governed motion.
1760: The great fire of Boston destroyed 350 buildings.
1792: The French Legislative Assembly approved the use of the guillotine for executions.
1815: Napoleon Bonaparte entered Paris after his return from Elba, beginning his "Hundred Days" reign before his defeat at Waterloo in Belgium.
1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, was first published in book form.
1916: In Switzerland, German-born Albert Einstein published his now-famous general theory of relativity.
1918: During the First World War, the U.S. took over Dutch merchant vessels lying in U.S. waters (the U.S. did not enter the war itself until 1917, more than half-way through the war that ran from 1914-1918).
1922: The converted navy coal carrier USS Jupiter was re-commissioned as the USS Langley to become the first U.S. aircraft carrier. Japan launched the first purposely-built aircraft carrier, the Hosyo, that same year. Britain was the first to have an aircraft carrier, the Argus, built during the First World War a few years earlier.
1948: The Soviet Union, in response to the signing of the "Brussels Treaty" 3 days earlier, withdrew from the Allied Control Council, ending all formal four-power control of Germany.
1956: Tunisia became independent from France.
1965: President Lyndon Johnson ordered 4,000 troops in to protect the Selma-Montgomery civil rights marchers.
1974: An attempt was made to kidnap Britain's Princess Anne in The Mall, London.
1985: Canadian paraplegic athlete and humanitarian Rick Hansen began his circumnavigation of the Earth in a wheelchair for spinal cord injury medical research.
1990: Former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos's widow, Imelda Marcos, went on trial for bribery, embezzlement, and racketeering.
1996: The British government announced that mad cow disease could probably be transmitted to humans.
2003: The U.S. began the bombing and invasion of Iraq in search of the nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction."