The American Wisdom Series


3rd John

Caution to students of God's Word - Please remember two things when using our American Wisdom Series studies:
#1. Our commentary is not God's Word. It is only our interpretation or understanding of "His Word" and even though we try our best to be accurate we may or may not be correct. #2. The King James translation, or any other translation, of the original Hebrew text has some words which were given different translations at different places probably because of the interpreters preconceived ideas of what they think God meant to say. For example: According to the notes in the "Dake's Annotated Reference Bible" the Hebrew word hayah in the KJV is Trans. (became) 67 times, (becamest or came to pass) 505 times, (become) 66 times, and (come to pass) 131 times, but for some reason in Genesis 1:2 it is translated (was)! That sure changes the way a person perceives the original creation of the earth, doesn't it?  Gen. 1:2 And the earth was (became) without form, ... Having said that, let us continue with our "studies". These studies contain knowledge, we believe, you must have to fully and accurately unlock and understand the Word of God. 
May the Holy Spirit be your only guiding light. Sincerely, John Rhine

Revelation 2:17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

John 15:26
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:13-14
[13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Now 3rd John

There is one overall theme that characterizes the three epistles of John, and that theme is Love, both the Love of the Truth and Brotherly Love. John has gone to great lengths in his letters, written to the dear little children of the true Father, i.e. God's elect, to show how and why Truth and Love are completely inseparable and how it is that you cannot have one without the other.

Unfortunately, many people believe that just attending a church or belonging to a church somehow puts them in good standing with the Father. Nothing could be further from the truth and all one needs to do to document that fact is read the words of Jesus Christ Himself as He addresses the 7 churches in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation. You see, there is a vast difference between true Christianity, which is a way of life based on seeking and following after the commandments of Christ, and Churchianity, which is following after the traditions of men and his do's and don'ts designed to produce conformity to his unique church system which we call a "denomination". 

The latter is simply a religion where one takes on the mere form of godliness, while the former is a reality, a way of life founded on truth, which is the Word of God

You see, we do not love and obey our Father because we have to. We love and obey Him because we want to, because we love Him. We are instructed over and over again to abide in Him, His Word, not in some church. And unless and until a person understands that he or she is complete in Christ (Col. 2:10), and comes to know the difference between religion and spirituality, he or she cannot be set free to show forth the true love of God to his or her fellow brothers and sisters.

As it is written in the Gospel of John, it is that truth which sets us free.

John 8:32
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
To that end, John is going to show us in this third and final letter an example of Christian brotherly love in contrast to a church goer who claims to love God. Though the example may appear to be extreme, it is not, for many churches in this land can be classified as "The Church of the Closed Door" by virtue of the fact that a true teacher of the Word would never be allowed to speak in their facilities. We do not seek to nor do we judge the churches or our brothers and sisters who attend them. We simply strive to teach the Word of God line by line and chapter by chapter whereby through growth and maturity those with eyes to see and ears to hear can learn how to try the spirits (1 Jn. 4:1) and recognize "the spirit of truth" (1 Jn. 4:6) and come out of confusion and darkness caused by "the spirit of error" and begin to walk in the glorious Light of Truth.

The elder of brotherly love now writes unto us the following letter:

3 John 1:1
The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
Gaius was a well liked, well spoken of (vs. 3) Christian who was very hospitable to both the brethren who journeyed through his town and to strangers as well (vs. 5). Gaius exemplifies in word and in deed those who have BOTH brotherly love and the truth of God, i.e. God's elect to whom this 3rd epistle is addressed.
[2] Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
John prayed that his dear friend Gaius might be as prosperous and as healthy as his soul was rich in spirit. You see, everyone who abides in His Word and has brotherly love, both of which are evidenced by one's good works, is spiritually rich indeed. It should remind students of the Word about those Christians of the church of Smyrna in Revelation chapter 2 who, while they may not have a lot of money and may have lots of problems to deal with, sure are spiritually rich. Here are Christ's own words to the church of Smyrna which are recorded for us by the same elder apostle John who wrote this epistle:
Rev. 2:9
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Only the two churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia out of the sevenend time churches in Rev. 2-3 teach the truth concerning the kenites who claim to be of Judah, of the seed of Abraham, but are liars and are of the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 3:9). Note: If you would like to learn more about the seven churches and the kenites, then log unto the following:

The Seven, End Time Churches of chapters 2 & 3 of the Revelation, that Jesus shows to the apostle John., and John writes down for our benefit.
Live Link To-Chapter 2  2015 study
Live Link To-Chapter 3  2015 study
3 John 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.
John also wrote in his last epistle that he "rejoiced greatly" when he found the little children "walking in truth" (2 John 1:4). You see, it is always a joyous thing for one of God's elect to meet someone who knows and walks in God's truth, His Word. There is an instant feeling of closeness and camaraderie, a bonding of spirit, when this occurs.
[4] I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Of course John got all excited just hearing about those who walk in the truth, for there is always great joy in seeing good fruit produced from one's labor.
3 John 1:5
Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
John has repeatedly reminded us throughout his three epistles to love one another just as we received that commandment from the Lord Himself in the beginning. In doing so he has laid the foundation for what he is about to show us beginning in verse nine concerning those good church goers who claim to be so religious and love God while they speak evil of and even shun those who know the truth. Perhaps we should refresh our memories from John's first epistle concerning those who claim to love God while looking down on their brothers:
1 John 4:20
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Gaius had a reputation for being charitable and hospitable to people whether they were of the brethren or not. What kind of reputation do you have in treating others?  How do you look upon those of other denominations or even those cults who claim to be the sole possessors of truth, meaning they consider themselves "elite" (not just elect), and if you do not follow after their ways you are simply not going to "make it"? God's elect do not consider themselves to be any better than their brothers or sisters because they know of their former blindness and what sinners they are and they know how much Father loves all His children and they know when it is time for them to "see" our Father will open their eyes. Hopefully that will be before the Millennium, for greater is the reward of the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6).

A son once asked his father why it is that he could read and understand the Bible when it seemed mysterious and difficult to most others. His father told him it was because it was his turn to "see" the truth much in the same way that it was his turn to be 50 years old and his son's turn to be eight. "Someday it will be your turn to be 50", my son.

3 John 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:
Charity and brotherly love are extremely important qualities to display. When you think about it, do not wisdom and common sense ask, "How in the world can an uncharitable and inhospitable person plant seeds and talk about the love of Christ to a non believer if he himself is not kind and loving?" Hypocrite! Neither can one have the truth in him if he elevates himself above others and seeks to have preeminence over them. True teachers of God's Word do not seek either self glorification or to gain monetarily from spreading the gospel. That joy John speaks of in seeing God's children come out of "babylon", which is confusion, and begin to walk in the truth is compensation enough for one of God's elect, for he or she knows that God will see to that blessings flow his or her way. That is why you have never heard nor read of this ministry ever asking anyone for money, nor do we even own a collection plate.
3 John 1:7
Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
They went forth teaching and planting seeds for the love of Christ which dwells in them, and they did not ask for anything in return.
[8] We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
Christians know that there are expenses involved in bringing forth the truth and they need not be coerced or browbeaten by some preacher or approached by some committee person seeking pledges for this fund and that fund. If a Christian recognizes a good work and wants to be a fellowhelper, as John calls it, then that is his or her choice. Just be careful though, for as we learned in the last epistle that we become partakers of the deeds of those we support, so make sure the church you support teaches the truth directly from His Word and not from church quarterlies and the traditions of men.

John is now going to give us a real good look at how some people and churches operate.

3 John 1:9
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
What does one call this unwelcoming attitude of Diotrephes, whose name means "nurtured by Zeus"? Well, you can call it anything you like except "brotherly love"!

The lesson to learn from this is to recognize the reality that there are many churches today where even one of the 12 apostles who speak the truth would not be welcomed there. In fact, there are MANY churches today where John, or Matthew, or Luke, or Paul would not be able to even take communion! Imagine that! And you know why that would be? Because they are NOT A MEMBER of that church according to the rules of their governing body and deacon board.

The TRUTH is, if you love Jesus Christ you ARE already part of the body of Christ, i.e. you are part of His church. The church of Christ is not a building nor is it subject to man's bylaws. Furthermore, if you believe Christ is able to forgive our sins and heal our infirmities, then no man has the right nor the authority to prohibit you from taking communion. Shame on them for doing so! Who do they think they are? If Jesus Christ accepts you then who is any man to deny you?

Let's take a closer look at Mr. Church, Diotrephes.

3 John 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.
John does not take lightly the arrogance and malicious slandering of this self righteous hypocrite and the way he berates the brethren. As you can see, according to Diotrephes it is more important that you follow him than it is to follow Christ. Who does this goody goody two shoes think he is anyway, God?

Well, we have now seen the contrast between Gaius, who displays "love one another", and Diotrephes, who displays "judge one another". Who are you going to follow and support? Sadly, many do follow people like Diotrephes because the authoritative looking robes they wear and the alphabet soup which follows their names, like PhD or ThD, causes people to honor their status, thereby giving the Diotrephes types preeminence over them. John did not tell us to "try their status" but to "try the spirits", i.e. what they teach! Their status means nothing for as it is written, there is only one mediator between God and man, and that one is Jesus Christ. That means His Word is the authority, not some bishop or elder or pope or president or minister or preacher or deacon board. 1 Tim. 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

[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.
Let's review 1 John 4:20 one more time for emphasis:
1 John 4:20
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
3 John 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.
Unlike Diotrephes whose actions were condemned by John, Demetrius was commended for his good report.
[13] I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
John surely had more to say concerning these matters but John knows he has said enough already to sufficiently get the point across to the wise. Wisdom also dictates that some things are better said in person, one on one, which is especially true if you have a problem with someone. Go directly to that person and confront him or her face to face. You can be certain that is how John would handle good old Diotrephes.
[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.
Just as John calls his fellow Christians "friends", even so does Jesus Christ call us His friends, IF we do His commandments.
John 15:14
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Do you know what the commandment was He had just given us before calling us friends? It was the same commandment we have heard from the beginning. It is fitting, therefore, that we hear at the end.
John 15:12
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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