"Fellow Workers for the Truth"
3 John 1-8
Wednesday AM Bible Study
March 19, 2006
John's third letter, like the second, is warm and personal. But those he
doesn't mention names in the second letter, he mentions several in the
There are three key players in John's third letter; and they give us the
three main divisions of this letter. Demetrius, one of the key players, is
a man that John had sent as a servant of the gospel. He was to be welcomed
and supported in his work; and with him came several others ("brethren", v.
5). But a second was Diotrephes. He may or may not have been an official
leader in the church; but he was definitely a church bully. He sought to
prevent the ministry of such men as Demetrius; and even went so far as to
reject John's letters. Gaius - possibly the pastor of the church - is written
to by John. John praised his good conduct toward Demetrius; but also
promises to deal with the behavior of Diotrephes.
Thus we have three divisions: Gaius (vv. 1-8); Diotrephes (vv. 9-11);
Demetrius (v. 12). A conclusion closes the letter (vv. 13-14) that is very
similar to the one at the end of the second letter.
* * * * * * * * * *
There are several men named "Gaius" in the Bible: the Corinthian Gaius (1
Cor. 1:14; Romans 16:23), the Macedonian Gaius (Acts 19:29); and the Gaius
from Derbe (Acts 20:4). The Gaius of John's letter may have been the Gaius
from Derbe; but this is uncertain. Clearly, though, he was a man of
outstanding character, for whom John had a great deal of love (vv. 1-2).
Whoever he was, he was a precious example of what it means to be a genuine
fellow worker for the cause of the gospel. We share with him the common
call to support the work of the great commission. He teaches us to be a
fellow-worker (see also Romans 16:3, 9, 21, 2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25; 4:3;
Col. 4:7-11; Phile. 1).
I. THE CHARACTER OF A FELLOW WORKER (vv. 1-4).
A. Love for others.
B. Devotion to the truth.
C. Integrity in daily walk.
II. THE CONDUCT OF A FELLOW WORKER (vv. 5-6a).
A. Faithful toward the brethren.
B. Thorough in what he did.
C. Loving in demonstrative ways.
III. THE COMMISSION OF A FELLOW WORKER (vv. 6b-8).
A. Providing hospitality to those who went forth for the gospel.
B. Sending them on their way in a worthy manner.
C. Seeing himself as a fellow worker in their commission.