1This letter is from John, the elder.
I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth.
2Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3Some 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. 4I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.
John is the spiritual leader of this church and it gives him great joy to find that this group of Christians has stayed faithful to their teachings. What a great testimony for any pastor to find that the teaching of his flock was strong enough and continues to live out the spirit of Christ even if he is not there.
Caring for the Lord’s Workers
5Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you.
John is praising them for being faithful and for all the hospitality they offer to those they don't ever know. They are truly living out God's command to love one another.
6They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God.
To hear the words "in a manner that pleases God" is a true testament of the love of the people of this church. This is clearly an example of how all churches should operate.
7For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. 8So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.
It is interesting here, that it is clear that these traveling ministers are working for the Lord. Also, that those same ministers should not accept support from anyone except a dedicated Christian. The thought here is that if they accepted support or material things from non believers, that it could hinder their message. Also, their task is to deliver the message of Christ to them so they could be saved and to teach them the truth. They need to have a clear head when teaching non believers, not one that may be distorted by the material things offered by such non believers.
9I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10When 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, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.
This individual, Diotrephes, desires to show himself superior and in a place of honor over these people. He rejects John's authority and assistance. This selfish pride leads to sin. These people may think they are serving God, but they are not fulfilling their part in spreading the message of Christ.
11Dear 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.
12Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.
We have to be careful not to get caught up in behaviors and activities that are common in this world and do not reflect God's character. We must be imitator of God, so that people that are seeking hope and answers can see Christ in us and notice that this is a difference worth changing your life for.
13I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. 14For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.
15Peace be with you.
Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.