The picture of interecclesial affairs in the first century: An
imperfect network of congregations, calling for forbearance and patience, not
peremptory judgments by fallible leaders. Even the apostle John does NOT say,
"Disfellowship Diotrephes." "Wherever there is intolerance, wherever we find
conditions of communion among Christians, which Christ hath not clearly
enjoined... there is the spirit which is not of God... Alas! how much of this
spirit remains among us all" (JT, Herald 1850).
MY DEAR FRIEND GAIUS, WHOM I LOVE IN THE TRUTH: "Why is
Gaius loved so much? What inspires people to such strong feelings? One aspect of
this man's character is that he walks 'in the truth.' Walking in the truth is
more than just being good. It is consistency in so doing. It is a constant
pressing forward toward godliness. Naturally, the virtues espoused by Christ
bring out affection in others who are similarly driven. When they are
consistently employed by the believer, people are drawn to that individual. Even
among non-believers, compassion, honesty, humility, selflessness, joyfulness and
the like are natural magnets to a race of beings that are not consistently
exposed to such virtues" (KT).
YOU ARE FAITHFUL IN WHAT YOU ARE DOING: Examples of
faithfulness in service: Samuel (1Sa 3:20); David (1Sa 22:14); the temple
overseers (2Ki 12:15); the workers (2Ch 34:12); Hananiah (Neh 7:2); Abraham (Neh
9:8); the treasurers (Neh 13:13); Daniel (Dan 6:4); Timothy (1Co 4:17); Epaphras
(Col 1:7); Tychicus (Col 4:7); Onesimus (Col 4:9); Paul (1Ti 1:12); Moses (Heb
3:2,5); Gaius (3Jo 1:5); Jesus Christ (Rev 1:5); Antipas (Rev 2:13).
Cp Luk 16:10; 2Ch 31:12.
Gaius will receive the brethren, but Diotrephes will not
receive them (v 9), yet they are all in fellowship with one another!
OUGHT: Opheilo = to be under obligation, as of a debt.
Sw 1Jo 2:6; 3:16; 4:11.
WORK TOGETHER: The aspects of fellowship: "We ought
therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the
truth" (3Jo 1:8). Aspects of fellowship:
- fellow-heirs: "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are
HEIRS TOGETHER with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together
in the promise in Christ Jesus" (Eph 3:6);
- fellow-soldiers: " But I think it
is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and
FELLOW SOLDIER, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my
needs" (Phi 2:25);
- fellow-helpers: as above (3Jo 1:8);
"Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews
among my FELLOW WORKERS for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort
to me" (Col 4:11);
- fellow-servants: "Then each of them was given a white
robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their
FELLOW SERVANTS and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was
completed" (Rev 6:11);
- fellow-prisoners: "Greet Andronicus and Junias, my
relatives who have been IN PRISON WITH ME" (Rom 16:7);
"Yes, and I ask you, loyal YOKEFELLOW, help these women who have contended at my
side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my FELLOW
WORKERS, whose names are in the book of life" (Phi 4:3);
- fellow-citizens: "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens,
but FELLOW CITIZENS with God's people and members of God's household" (Eph
See Lesson, Diotrephes.
DIOTREPHES: "Nourished by Jove". Domineering,
WHO LOVES TO BE FIRST: A position rightly belonging
only to Christ: Col 1:18.