3 John is a short book in the bible. In fact, it only contains one chapter. Much like 2 John, which I’ve written about previously. it focuses on loving the people around us.
It also contains a warning, that when leaders aren’t full of love, you should continue to do so. The book itself doesn’t have any direction on leaving the leader or church structure, however, I think it can be assumed that if a leader isn’t full of Christ, then you can walk away.
After all, what are they leading you toward, if they don’t have Jesus?
What Is The Significance of 3 John?
1 This letter is from John, the elder.
I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth.
2 Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. 4 I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.3 John: 1-3
The Significance of 3 John
In the early church, they had many early traveling teachers. Back in those days, they didn’t have the Bible (after all they were living in the final stages of it). And they didn’t have the internet like we do today. This means the only source of communication was sending letters, which Paul did a lot. Or sending a traveling teacher.
Since they were working for the body of Christ, it was the custom to help pay their expenses and give them gifts to live on. This makes sense because they were traveling and didn’t have time to grow crops or work regular jobs.
It’s very much like missionaries in today’s church. They raise money to go into foreign countries to spread the gospel. And church people pay their way. In that way, the people who stay home can join in the blessing.
This is how things worked during the period that 3 John was written.
3 John: Caring for the Lord’s Workers
5 Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God.
7 For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. 8 So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.
9 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10 When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, but he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.3 John 5-10
3 John Teaches Us To Care For The Lords Workers
Today things run in a similar vein. We have traveling missionaries, evangelists, and teachers (usually selling their latest books). We still need to be wary of what people are teaching us, but learning from another perspective isn’t the worst thing in the world.
I don’t take anything as gospel until I compare it to the Bible and pray about it. False teachings can be difficult to spot, and they’re almost impossible to spot if you don’t know the bible.
That’s what Satan and the false teachers are counting on. They love ignorance and that’s how so many people have fallen to cults, lies, and the occasional fib.
If we don’t know the Bible, and won’t listen to God’s Voice nothing is going to be there to stop us from believing a lie. Prayer and the Bible are the easiest way to avoid false or ungodly teachers. Heck, I’ve avoided a few just because they wouldn’t admit that Jesus is the Son of God.
What you believe is entirely your choice, it’s up to you. But there are consequences to your choices, and just because something sounds great and inclusive. It doesn’t mean you’ll be saved.
On the other hand, these verses are talking about a leader that is abusing their authority, trying to keep teaching from reaching the church.
This sounds like a person who loves power, and influence and these are the types of people that shouldn’t be allowed in leadership positions.
I think the best course of action can be extrapolated here. It sounds like John is going to make a journey and deal with this guy personally.
When dealing with leaders like this, find someone in higher authority to discuss the issues, don’t let them lead you, but find someone who can help lead that person back to the truth.
3 John: Watch What Influences You
11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.
12 Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.3 John: 11-12
3 John: We Should Be Careful of Who We Follow:
I really hate it when I find a preacher that I really like, but when I listen to him something feels off. Then they go on and on about something that I know to be untrue.
Some things are just idle arguments, and they don’t matter. Other items are straight-up deception, these are the people who are twisting the truth trying to lead you away and steal your money.
No matter what their intentions (even if they have good ones) these are the people who are spreading lies. God will never contradict his word or character. If you hear someone saying something that goes against the Character of God and the Bible, you can honestly say they aren’t hearing him.
At that point, it’s time to confront or walk away.
I did that once years ago, and it cost me my ministry, my friends, and everything familiar to me. But it was still worth it, I didn’t wanna lose my soul to that lie.
Be careful who you follow, and let the spirit guide you.
3 John: John Says Goodbye, But I’ll Be On My Way To You Soon
13 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. 14 For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.
15 Peace be with you.
Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.3 John 13-15
It’s kinda frustrating to me, everytime John ends a short letter he says that he’s got more to say, but he wants to talk face to face. If he would’ve written it down we’d have more information.
At the same time he’s showing us that face-to-face conversations are far superior, and I love that about him.
I hope you liked my latest post. Let me know in the comments if I got it wrong.