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Gaius vs. Diotrephes, Rejoicing vs. Fatness: The doctrine of John applied (3John Expo)

“Gaius vs. Diotrephes, Rejoicing vs. Fatness:

The doctrine of John applied”

This message is An Exposition of the Book of 3 John.

In this Bible Study Message we will be covering all of the book of 3 John. We will discuss who Gaius was, and what his praise was as a faithful leader leading his rejoicing Church in the right way to walk; and we will also discuss who Diotrephes was and what his infamy was as a pratting and malicious fat leader leading his church in the wrong way to walk by example of his evil preeminence.

We will also apply the message of 3 John and consider its application for every church of every generation faithfully following the Law and the Gospel.


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Compiled by JS LOWTHER
renewedcovenantministry.com
servant@renewedcovenantministry.com

An Exposition of the Book of 3 John

Gaius vs. Diotrephes,

Rejoicing vs. Fatness:

The doctrine of John applied

Delivered on 6-15- 2021 / grego. 10-22-2021

 

3Jn 1:1  The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius,G1050, whom I love in the truth.
3Jn 1:2  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3Jn 1:3  For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
3Jn 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
3Jn 1:5  Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
3Jn 1:6  Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
3Jn 1:7  Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
3Jn 1:8  We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
3Jn 1:9  I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes,G1361, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
3Jn 1:10  Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
3Jn 1:11  Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
3Jn 1:12  Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
3Jn 1:13  I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
3Jn 1:14  But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

 

3Jn_1:1  The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

The name Gaius is from the Latin ‘gaudere’ “to rejoice” or ‘rejoicing’ and not Greek

The name is assigned of many companions of the apostles:

Act_19:29, Act_20:4; Rom_16:23; 1Co_1:14
3 John’s Gaius, is not believed to be the same with Gaius of Macedonia, Act_19:29, or with Gaius of Derbe, Act_20:4, but rather the Gaius of Rom_16:23.

Theme of Gaius name is important to consider as it is woven in this epistle as the doctrine of Rejoicing and having full Joy or joyfulness is woven through out the doctrines of John as taken from the whole of Scripture.

3Jn 1:2  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3Jn 1:3  For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.

Some verse from the Latin vulgate in helping to see where Gaius name is also a great epitaph for the Church, especially Gaius Church- under his leadership as a bishop / overseer as traditional history has held.

3Jn_1:3 gavisus sum valde venientibus fratribus et testimonium perhibentibus veritati tuae sicut tu in veritate ambulas

1Jn 1:4  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
vulgate 1Jn_1:4 et haec scribimus vobis ut gaudium nostrum sit plenum

2Jn 1:4  I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

2Jn_1:4 gavisus sum valde quoniam inveni de filiis tuis

 

Deu_28:47  Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;

psa_16:11  Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Now let me re-read this as we consider the meaning of this name ‘Gaius’ as we have seen it in Johns prior epistles and this one:

3Jn_1:1  The elder unto the wellbeloved ‘Rejoicing’, whom I love in the truth.
3Jn 1:2  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3Jn 1:3  For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
3Jn 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Regardless of if Church tradition is so concerning the Ephesian Bishop named Gaius, a common name known to everyone in the Roman empire due to Gaius Julius Caesar , or if John is using the meaning of the name Giaus, ‘ to rejoice’ , as a Rejoicing epitaph of a joyful church of truth, the theme is about Rejoicing, or having joy in the doctrine and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and the life he has brought you to according to his commandments in joy and love.

I believe the epistle of 3 John, is playing on the name of an archaic bishop Gaius, that he was a real leader and a true bishop of Ephesus and that John is both praising his leadship in rejoicing and his faithful and beloved church. This is my thought.
Tradition hold that the Gaius of Rom_16:23…Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluted you…
Is the same as the Gaius while the others are a different, the hospitable nature of the men seem to certainly indicate on hospitable and common nature in forming this connection.

It is agreed upon, however, that this Gaius was a bishop, or the head minister of the church where this epistle was sent and that as I has mentioned last sabbath, was most likely that of a Lystra valley church of which Ephesus did preside as the chief city, as well as the known place of John’s end of life and death.

And so my forward is this, Gaius is both the epitaph of the church he presides over and is the name of the Over-seer who is fulfilling the meaning of his name in the church where he Over-sees.

If Gaius is the same as he mentioned in Romans 16:23, then we see him as hospitable when dwelling in Rome, and if these 30-40 or so years later as John writes near the end of his days that Gaius moved to Ephesus or back to Ephesus.

Something that should be noted that men in the Apostles day with the apostles mission, moved to serve the churches needs is a thing we are not want to do any longer, and is a great shame to the faith in our present time and more so in the times to come of the European Church.

But here is Gaius the representative of rejoicing and Joy, and leading his persecuted brothers into the future with a love of the truth.

We aught to want to  be a Gaius Church, being well beloved of the Lord and His angels – his apostles, being praised in our prospering soul and spirit foremost than out health which should follow, even as our soul prospereth

And in all this having no hypocrisy or lies but rather rejoicing of God of our truth, that we truly and honest walk in the truth.

To have an angel like John say this to you, that he was pleased with the report of these things he saw when the brethren came and saw our walk and the walk of our children. As elect Ladies, Selected Lordesses of the Lord fulfilling the calling we have been called to, in rejoicing and Joy. To an apostle willing to die for the faith, and living his life to teach and preach the Word of God as the only rule of faith through Jesus Christ, would we in our home churches not be glad to hear this report of John as this epistle echoes his voice into the ages in saying:

3Jn 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

John continues to elaborate:

3Jn_1:5  Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
3Jn 1:6  Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
3Jn 1:7  Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
3Jn 1:8  We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

John praises the Church of Gaius calling them the beloved, as we see John and other apostles do time and again, taking the Israelite bridal epitaph of the church and crowning them with faithfulness towards those they have dealings with, either of the Churches of of the strangers that behold her example of a chased conversation, her life walk coupled with the fear of God in its dealings with others.

Here we even see that strangers, no Christians, and non-Israelites are speaking loud enough about the Church of Gaius, the Rejoicing Church that John where ever he is, prison, isolated, free and preaching or out fishing, he hears the voice of Christians and of pagans, of Israelites and of strangers praising the attributes of this little church.

3Jn 1:5  Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
3Jn 1:6  Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
3Jn 1:7  Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
3Jn 1:8  We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

It is evident that Christians in this time were on the move if they be called to evangelism, and churches help each other get the Evangelists and Ministers, and Pastors and Preachers and Teachers where they needed to go, from place to place, to place. And no differently than to day, if you needed to go to a church across ocean or even across a vast quantity of land you would contract with a currier of some sort to get you to the place you needed to Go, and like today so it was in the days of the apostles, they contracted with ‘strangers’ to shuttle them from one port to another, and these strangers shuttling and transporting the Christians would listen and see the faithfulness, love and charity of the churches in a cruel empire dominated by a dog eat dog mentality. A world much less cultivated in provisions than you have today. Less food, less clothing, all being harder to obtain, and the Christian Church of the Apostles were supplying each others needs by hard work, laboring with their hands to, as the apostle Paul says in:

Eph_4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

and

1Th_4:10-12 …increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
1Th 4:12  That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

The mentality John and Paul are commending is that ordained in the Law and wisdom of Israel, and is no differently taught of Paul in saying simply:
“walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

The strangers to the faith, or the stranger to the Israel of God, looks at this people who teach a thief sin, repentance of spirit and restitution of body and see him being encourages by the Law of God to Rather be a “laboror working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

What a change the Spirit of God and the Law of God teaches concerning true biblical brotherly love in regards to restitution and basic repentance that has the power to cause strangers to bless the Church. Much as seen in Deuteronomy 4’s ‘wise and understanding people that have God so near them…’

And sadly, today if I taught 1 lesson in a common evangelical and some reformed church on the law of biblical restitution as a means of developing brotherly love I’d hear with in the message or shortly after, if they were so patient, “that is legalism, that is old testament, that is the old law… we are under grace now bro. Joshua!’; and the sad reality is, this church of today is no church: they are  not of the word of God, they know no the bible, they have forsaken the lessons of Paul and John and of God’s servant Moses- these churches do not know what brotherly love is, they only know an emotion that makes the ‘feel good’ and that only for a moment, as that too will change with the whims an tides of the ages.

 3Jn_1:5  Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
3Jn 1:6  Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

My question for us as we consider this book of 3 John: If John would arrive in our homes and churches what would he find of us?

  • faithfullness to the brethren, and to strangers?
  • charity before the church… hospitality after a godly sort?
  • That simply
    3Jn 1:7  Because brethren go forth for his name’s sake taking nothing of the pagans and strangeers of the Gentiles. 
    3Jn 1:8  We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth?
    Would this be found in our homes and churches?

Or rather would we find the report of Diotrephes?

3Jn_1:9  I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
3Jn 1:10  Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

Sadly, I see in the midst of the people of the West the spirit and the church of Diotrephes, a name which caries with it nourished of god or of Dio, Fat of God, the Fatness of god.

This reminds me of the Song of Moses, concerning Jeshurun ‘waxing fat ‘ and then he kicks.

We are obviously reading of a schism, a division, that happened in this group of churches: one lead by Gais, the other by Diotrephes.
One lead by the rejoicing and the other lead by the nourshed, the fat …of god.

And in this schism, we see the subject of brotherly love as prior described being the principle reason for its division. Considering what john has prior said of ‘one who loves not the brethren that he is in darkness even at that moment’… this is a big deal.
And since John is here saying that he is even among these brethren, and yet the church of Diotrephes puffed up in his preeminence will not receive John or his Company, meaning Diotrephes is even rejecting John the last living apostle.

And so it is important to consider a few things of Diotrephes’ character as it has been preserved for us:
1. loveth to have the preeminence
2. among them
3. receiveth not
    a. fellowhelpers to the truth
    b.go forth inChrist’s name sake
    c. though they took nothing of the Gentiles
    d. and are journeing after a godly sort

Do you realize what this pratting and malicious fool has done? And what the Church of Gais must have done to receive this letter from John?

It seems obvious, that some of the brethren not with John but near by in neighboring churches were received of Gaius, while those with John were rejected and turned out on the streets even though they had their total dependency upon he church to supply their needs as an extension of God’s kingdom, and Diotrephes who was not a Christian but false one and now ‘preeminent’, showed himself in this act when he thought the time was at hand to over throw the apostle and the followers of the true way.

And It seems that Gaius stepped up to the task and said I will take in the brethren and I will do so rejoicing.

And so Diotrephes has his name written in the book of books, the holy bible as a name of infamy forever in his pratting and maliciousness desiring preeminence.
What did he do?
1. he was not content with receive such, to be fellow helpers to the truth. 
2. he himself receive not the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would,
3. and casteth them out of the church. 

Now I would cause you to remember, that Diotrephes did not take the brethren and the receivers of the brethren and throw them out the front door of a church building… But rather he excommunicated them.

  • You can not be among us as brethren
  • you can not worship with us in convocation, calling on the name of the Lord in Worship.
  • You are not welcomed among us  in times of need.
  • “Theonomic (God’s Law of ) brotherly welfare of love does not apply to you!”

This is what being cast our of the church or Ecclesia , the called out means.

 

Diotrephes, become the symbolic bad guy of church leadership in this epistle, and that in its circulation, I am sure did more damage to Diotrephes than hat he expected as it was signed by the hand of John the Apostle of Jesus Christ.

3Jn_1:11  Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

3Jn 1:12  Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

3Jn 1:13  I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
3Jn 1:14  But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

 

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About Lowther

I am a servant of YHWH through his perfect Son Jesu(s) Christ who's redemption power of my soul I have Faith in. Having been redeemed by the blood of Christ, I wish to no longer spend my time in the lusts of the flesh and of this world, but to promote the Gospel of the Kingdom by means of the New Covenant, a reNewal of the Covenant YHWH God has made with his people Israel in the blood of Christ (Jer 31:31 and Heb 8:8) which writes the Law of God upon the Heart and Mind beside the forgiveness of sin and transgressions. It is my mission to show the Israel of God the Salvation which is taught by the Scripture Alone and offered in all ages by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in the work of Christ Alone to the Glory of GOD Alone. I believe Christ Jesus is the incarnate Son of God as the WORD made flesh, and the son of man born of the virgin Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit: I believe Christ Jesus Lived a perfect life for us as a living sacrifice as well as a pattern of the Sanctified newness of life a believer has in Him, I believe Christ Jesus died a cursed death on the Cross for His people of Covenant who are sinners, and I believe in Christ Jesus who Resurrected with power from Death from the grave to Justify the offenders. This is the same Jesus who is indeed the Son of David and king of Israel, who is both LORD and Christ over all the kings and dominions of the earth! In the fullness of time YHWH will regather his people under the Head of the Church Jesu(s) Christ to effect his will according to the Lord's prayer, Psalm 2, 8 and 110 as well as Genesis 1:26. The focus of my administration of the Gospel is like unto my Lord's who said "I have come not but for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.."(Mathew 15:24), and so I have come to my European Kinsman according to the flesh. As a modern day Puritan separatist it is my goal to purify the church of Christ with Faith heretofore stated. I am studying to show my self approved, if you have any questions just ask!

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