Saturday in the Seventh Week of Easter

3 John 1-15

More on Hospitality

Third John is written to one named Gaius, apparently a leader in the church to which John was writing.  He writes to commend Gaius for his hospitality in receiving “the brothers.”  We spoke yesterday about how traveling evangelists often went from church to church in missionary activity.  In his second letter, John warned the church not to entertain anyone who denied that Jesus had come in the flesh.  In this letter, however, he affirms Gaius for receiving true preachers of the gospel.  All of this, of course, calls for discernment on behalf of pastors and churches.  Churches need to exercise caution in opening their pulpits to just any traveling preacher, indeed, perhaps even to someone of their own denomination.  The pulpit is not for just anyone who would like to stand up and say something.  It is a sacred piece of furniture, the primary purpose of which is to be the station where the gospel of Jesus Christ is carefully proclaimed.  Specifically, the pastor acts as gate-keeper for the church as he is especially entrusted to guard the flock from wayward teaching.  But the church as a whole must also guard the sacred deposit of the faith that has been entrusted to her by the hands of her Master.  Each member must be a devout listener and faithful student of the word, not accepting anything less than the straightforward preaching of the word in all of its fullness and glory.

Then John brings up one named Diotrephes.  He is someone in the church who apparently likes to have control.  He “puts himself first,” acknowledges not the apostolic authority, and likes to talk about other people.  Furthermore, he refuses to welcome the brothers, that is, the true preachers of the word.  And just in case there is a question about this, John reminds them that those who do good are from God and those who don’t aren’t.  Our Lord said, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20).  That’s how you can tell a Diotrephes from, say, a Demetrius, whom everyone knows is a good fellow.

So let the church welcome the pure and sincere preaching of the word, and rejoice in the truth.  For our Lord has “no greater joy than to hear that [his] children are walking in the truth.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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