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3 John

 

  • 3John 1:1 The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 
  • 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 

I am not going to assume this means John is wishing Gaius would become rich in this world's goods in what we might think is prosperity. I see it more like John is wishing him to prosper in spreading the truth of the word and that is brings forth fruit, and is successful. He hopes for the health of Gaius also. It would be like wishing a friend who is starting on a missionary journey to have success in what God is sending him forth to do. Naturally we can believe God wants him to have food, shelter, clothing and have enough to make his calling for the Lord possible and successful but I doubt that he is wishing Gaius would become rich. In saying that though, we know that Jesus taught us to give and it shall be given to us. So material prosperity has it's place but we are never to seek the riches of this world but the riches that is eternal.

  • 2Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 

I believe God is looking for those that give because they love Him and have compassion on the lost.

  • Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Some compel us to give by encouraging us to even go in debt and charge our credit cards. How can giving someone else's money be right? 

When John speaks of prosperity, I believe he is talking of having a prosperous journey or having success in our work for God. He wills that they be in good health and is prosperous in what they do. I do not believe he is speaking of material wealth here for most of the apostles were killed for their faith and died without having anything in this world's goods to boast of. 

  • 3John 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. 
  • 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 

This also should be our delight, to see people walk in truth. Especially those we have brought to Christ through our testimony. To see one who receives Jesus Christ and visit them years later to discover they are still walking in the same faith is enough to make us shout and praise God for eternity. What joy that should bring us. 

  • 3John 1:5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 
  • 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: 
  • 7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 

They went forth to preach the gospel but receiving no payment for the same from the Gentiles. It seems as if people helped willingly here to support those that preached the gospel to the Gentiles. The apostle Paul also refused to receive wages for himself although he collected funds to help the poor in Jerusalem. 

It is well to take offerings to help the poor and support those the leave secular jobs to preach the gospel. We need to support them. However, we must remember that offerings are just that, offerings. It is what we offer and willingly give to help. It should never be forced by intimidation such as scaring people with a curse or it should not be to promise them wealth. If we really love God, we would not rob God of any offerings. If we don't want to give then it wouldn't do us any good to give anyway. 

Living by the law of love is so much better. When we can get to the place in our walk with God that we do all things or don't do other things because we love Him so much, we will live in joy and not do things out of fear which is religious bondage. 

  • Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 

This is joy, this is peace and this is what the old timers used to refer to when they said, "He's got the victory." 

  • 3John 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. 

This is why we give, to help, to love and support fellow helpers in the spreading of the truth. 

  • 3John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 
  • 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doth, 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. 

Every congregation that has ever existed will have those that envy, despise and do it in the name of religion. We will have those that want to exalt self above others and rule. We will have those with religious spiritual pride that thinks themselves higher than they ought to think. The spirit of humility will be in a true believer. Sometimes we may tend to think ourselves lower than we ought to think. 

  • 3John 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 
  • 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. 

John's word should be studied diligently. He preaches love so strongly emphasizing it above all things but he also warns against false doctrines, anti-Christ spirits and tells us not to even invite them into our homes. So we must take all he teaches and not just one side. Everything in God's word must be balanced and taught in context and not emphasize one doctrine and ignore all others. In all things we must walk in love. Give in love, serve in love, serve in humility, and walk in sound doctrine. Those that preach love and avoid biblical doctrine, are not preaching truth. That is not real love. True love will be accompanied by truth. Love that has to lie, deceive or ignore the word of God, is not the love that comes from God. 


 
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