The Second and Third Epistles of John - Lesson 7

Scripture Passage: 
3 John 1:8-14

                            The Third Epistle of John                                    3 John 1:1-8                                 The Testimony of Gaius                                            (Continued)

  1. THE IMPORTANCE OF HOSPITALITY (3 John 1:5-8) (Continued)
    1. The Work of All Believers (3 John 1:8)
      1. To be fellowhelpers to the truth
      2. By receiving and helping the brethren
      3. By becoming a part of the ministry of others (2 Corinthians 8:23 – “Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper”).

                            The Third Epistle of John                                     3 John 1:9-11                             The Treachery of Diotrephes

  1. His Rejection of the Brethren (3 John 1:9)
    1. He Heard of Their Needs.
      1. John had written to the church.
      2. It was not a matter of ignorance.
      3. Note: the four levels of sin in Psalm 19:12-13
        1. Ignorant sins (Psalm 19:12a – “Who can understand his errors?”)
        2. Secret sins (Psalm 19:12b; Psalm 90:8)
        3. Presumptuous sins (Psalm 19:13a); these are sins that brazenly go against the clear teaching of the word and the clear will of God.
        4. The great transgression (Psalm 19:13b); this would be the sin that brings the full judgment of God, like the sin unto death (1 John 5:16).
    2. He Desired the Preeminence.
      1. Preeminence defined
        1. The word "preeminence" is only found three times in your Bible, but we also have four occurrences of the root word eminent. Let’s take a look at these scriptures and see if we can build a definition.
          1. Eminent  (Ezekiel 16:24; Ezekiel 16:31; Ezekiel 16:39; Ezekiel 17:22)
          2. Preeminence (Ecclesiastes 3:19; Colossians 1:18; 3 John 1:9)
        2. From looking at these passages we can see that the word eminent has a connection to “high places” or an elevated place and the word preeminence seems to mean “an elevated position or rank” or “superiority due to merit.”
      2. The preeminence belongs exclusively to Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:18).
      3. This is one of the great dangers of spiritual leadership (Matthew 20:20-21; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
      4. To minister we must become a servant (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:1-5).
    3. He Received Not the Brethren.
      1. He was lifted up with pride (1 Timothy 3:6).
      2. He refused to humble himself as a servant.
      3. He refused to minister to others.
  2. HIS REMEMBRANCE BY JOHN (3 John 1:10)
    1. His Words
      1. His prating; to prate is to talk much with foolish talk (Proverbs 10:8, 10; Ecclesiastes 5:3; Ecclesiastes 10:14).
      2. His malice; malice is ill will; it is the desire and the attempt to hurt someone else (Ephesians 4:31; 1 Peter 2:1).
      3. Diotrephes was speaking harmful things against John and those with John for the sake of his own promotion.
    2. His Works
      1. Diotrephes was not satisfied with speaking malicious words against John.  He had to do more.
      2. He rejects the brethren.
      3. He rejects those who receive the brethren.
        1. He forbids those who would receive them.
        2. He casts out of the church those who do receive them.
          1. This is not proper church discipline.
          2. This is a willful casting out for purposes of personal power (Isaiah 66:5; Luke 6:22; John 16:2).
  3. HIS REPORT BY HIS DEEDS (3 John 1:11)
    1. We Are Known by What We Follow.
      1. Whether we follow that which is evil (Exodus 23:2; 2 Kings 13:1-2; 2 Peter 2:1-2)
      2. Whether we follow that which is good (Psalm 38:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Ephesians 5:1)
    2. What We Follow Expresses Our Relationship to God.
      1. He that does good is of God (1 John 3:16-19).
      2. He that does evil has not seen God (John 3:20).
      3. This does not teach that those who know God are sinless.
        1. Truths about believers
          1. It is a proper desire to want to live without sin before God.
          2. The believer never has to commit any single sin.
          3. There is a victorious Christian life that is far above what most believers experience.
        2. Those who teach sinless perfection make a number of major errors in interpretation.
          1. They misinterpret a few key passages.
            1. Galatians 2:17 which states, "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid."
              1. Verse 16 had just made a wonderful statement on justification by faith.
              2. This verse which immediately follows shows us that if we are found to be sinners while we seek to be justified by Christ, then Christ is not the source of our sin.
              3. It does not teach that a justified believer cannot commit any sin.
            2. Another verse you usually see in this teaching is 1 John 3:9, which states, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
              1. The verse has at least three possible interpretations:
                1. Sinless perfection
                2. That the one who is born of God does not habitually commit serious sin
                3. That the part of man that is born again [his spirit] does not commit sin
              2. The first epistle of John was written by one man at one time to a certain group of people. He is not going to teach two completely opposite doctrines to the same people at the same time. Yet, John is clear in teaching that believers do commit sins. 1 John 1:8 states, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." More evidence can be found in 1 John 1:10 and 1 John 2:1. This passage cannot teach what some claim. Therefore, an alternative has to be found and there are viable alternatives.
          2. They confuse the believer's position with his practice (this distinction is what some call standing and state).
            1. Position - the person who has trusted in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and has been born again is placed, or positioned, in Christ. That is why so many New Testament verses speak of us being "in him."
              1. In Christ the Father sees us as sinlessly perfect.
              2. We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).
              3. In Christ, we are already seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).
            2. Practice - this refers to the practical daily life and walk of the believer. We may have all things in Christ, but that does not mean that we apply all of these things to our daily lives. God sees me as perfect in Christ, but I may not live perfectly in practice.
          3. They weaken the Biblical meaning of sin, sometimes to the point of redefining what sin is.
            1. Those who claim sinless perfection tend to minimize sin.
            2. Consider the following Biblical definitions of sin.
              1. Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).
              2. All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17); that is, if it is not righteous, it is sin.
              3. Failing to do something you should have done is sin (James 4:17).
              4. Whatsoever is not done in faith is sin (Roman 14:23).
              5. The thought of foolishness is sin (Proverbs 24:9).
              6. A proud heart is sin (Proverbs 21:4).

                             The Third Epistle of John                                       3 John 1:12-14                               The Task of Demetrius

  1. The Report of his Deeds (3 John 1:12a)
    1. The Evaluation of His Report: Good
    2. The Sources of His Good Report
      1. Of all men
        1. Of the saints
        2. Of the lost (1 Timothy 3:7; Colossians 4:5)
      2. Of the truth itself (3 John 1:3; 2 John 1:4)
  2. The Remembrance of John (3 John 1:12b-13)
    1. The Record of John (3 John 1:12)
    2. The Truth of John’s Record (3 John 1:12)
    3. The Quantity of John’s Record (3 John 1:13)
      1. Much more to say
      2. Too much to write with pen and ink
  3. The Reception of Gaius (3 John 1:14)
    1. Anticipation
      1. Of seeing him soon
      2. Of speaking face to face
    2. Final Greetings
      1. Peace to Gaius
      2. Salutations from friends
      3. Greet the friends by name.
Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 30:28

The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.