This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on 3 John. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.
You can listen to the study by clicking here
In 2 John we are told not to be hospitable to false teachers, in 3 John we are encouraged to practice hospitality to those who are teaching the truth.
All we know about Gaius is that he was a dear friend of John.
John uses the term “my children” because his many years of ministry have made him a spiritual father to many people.
3 John 1:1-14 (NIV)
1 The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth. 9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. 11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone–and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true. 13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.
Two big themes in this letter are hospitality and the idea of physical and spiritual well-being.
“The Church is the Church only when it exists for others…not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
Helping and serving – Hospitality
The Greek word translated “hospitality” means “love of strangers.” One definition of hospitality is “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.”
The “hospitality” we are talking about is all about loving others through Christ and making people feel special.
The other major theme in this letter is about physical and spiritual well-being.
3 John 1:2 (NIV)
2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
John was concerned for Gaius’s physical and spiritual well-being. I think there are five areas that are really important for us to be aware of.
Praying Well / Eating Well / Moving Well / Living Well / Resting Well
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)
17 pray continually;
Eating is at the heart of our daily lives. Eating is a social event. Eating is a time for fellowship. It is around the table that we build relationships. Table fellowship was a big part of the ministry of Jesus and the life of the early church. Eating is far more than just eating.
That is why the enemy has twisted it. Our adversary is always twisting what is good and making a counterfeit. The counterfeit is to make food about us instead of about relationship with God and others.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I have food issues. I have addiction issues. You ever have a Kind bar? These are nice little bars that are fairly good for you. 180 calories. Taste good. Not loaded with a lot of preservatives. They consist mostly of nuts and dried fruit and honey. Here is the only problem with them. They are not big enough. When I finish one I want another one. Actually, before I finish the one I am eating I am thinking about eating another one. Trying to justify and rationalize it. I actually feel some kind of loss when I finish the bar. Why isn’t one enough? Why do I always want more? Because I am broken. There is something about the Kind bar that makes me feel good and I don’t want it to end. When it does, I am sad. And this is the struggle. I have to be willing to be sad and trust that God will move into these areas in my life. And it is a struggle. I have eaten for comfort for most of my life.
When I first started dealing with my eating a few years ago, Alice tells me I would actually whimper at night. I was eating enough, but I was not eating for comfort sake. I thought I was hungry but the reality was I was just mourning the loss of not satisfying my own uneasiness with food. I had to trust that God would meet me there and He did and does. That is why the praying well part of what we are doing is so critical. If you are not connected well, it is harder to sense His presence, His peace, and His comfort for you.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)
8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Our goal in moving well is not about trying to look good so that people will notice and admire us.
The goal of moving well is to improve our physical health so that we have more energy to engage in the life that Jesus has called us to. A full and abundant, now and forever life with mission and purpose.
Genesis 2:1-3 (NIV)
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
There was a time of “creation” (work) and a time for “re-creation” (rest). All work without rest makes the lives of people dull. God has planned both “stops” and “goes” in His schedule for us. It seems today that the “pace” for our lives is accelerating … Demands on our time become more complex and many people have lost the ability to stop and rest. God has planned “stops” periodically so that you can become fully awake and refreshed.
Living by doing the next right thing