An Encouraging WordCliff Notes Devotional: 3rd John 1-8
Let others see Jesus in you! Cliff Notes Devotional for November 29th, 2023: A simple postcard of love that is presented to the church. Tune into this week's devotional to learn more!
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Transcribed and abridged from Cliff Notes: November 29th, 2023: 3rd John 1-8: This is a passage from 3rd John, the epistle. Of course, there are no chapters in 3rd John. It’s near the back of your Bible, in the New Testament. I’m going to read verses one through eight of third John:
'Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health, and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell me about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It is for the sake of the Name that they went out receiving no help from the pagans. We ought, therefore, to show hospitality to such men, so that we may work together for the truth.'
This is just a short epistle in the New Testament. We think of other great epistles such as Romans, 1st / 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. All of them. But really, when you come to second and third John, these are referred not so much as epistles but as postcards, because they’re so brief.
This is just a message here of encouragement, assurance, and proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. A simple postcard of love that is presented to the church. We know it’s John the Elder, and he is referred to as one of the 12 disciples of the Gospel. He’s old now. He was a very young man when he walked with Jesus during his earthly ministry, but now he is an old man, John the Elder, and that’s his reference here.
We also see that he deals quite a bit with the false teachers that were facing the church. We see the false teaching, persecution, and suffering they were all dealing with. John opens this letter by recognizing a faithful and beloved elder in the church, whose name is Gaius. John uses the word beloved four times when referring to Gaius. We see it in verses one and two, verse five, and verse 11 of third John. But Gaius may not have been physically healthy. It seems to lend the impression that he had some health issues, possibly. But we do know from verse two, that he was spiritually healthy and growing continuously in his faith in the Lord and his relationship with Jesus Christ. He was walking in the truth.
And remember, truth is a person. Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.' John 14 verse 6. And of course, John remembers this statement very well, being led by the Holy Spirit to write it and proclaim it. And so Gaius is a man who is an elder in the church there, and is obviously walking in the truth, which is walking in Christ Jesus and growing in his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What we see with Gaius is a great example of a man who encourages others to grow in the faith. He also demonstrated hospitality. We see that in our passage as well; by allowing people to come into his home. Remember, there were no church buildings in the first century and in the time of John and Gaius, people met in homes. They met in other places or in places of hiding, like the catacombs, cemeteries or otherwise due to persecution. Gaius opened his home, not just for the church, but also for people who were visiting or traveling and coming through the region, such as area missionaries, evangelists (like John). Gaius opened his home to them and provided hospitality to them.
This is a good example for us today. We should all be encouragers to other Christians; even those you may not even know personally. Encourage them with your prayers. Encourage them in any way possible as they continue to grow in their walk with the Lord. Give them that encouraging word. Let them know that you're praying for them. Let them know that you love them in Christ. We need to encourage each other. This is all very necessary!
This season is a time of celebration, gifts, and family. But you know, the season of Christmas, much like the season of Thanksgiving, in the life of the Christian, is continuous and ongoing. We celebrate with great Thanksgiving God's great gift of love for us, that He sent his only begotten son to be our Savior and Lord, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. And that's the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
When we have Jesus Christ in our hearts and our lives, well, that's something we can't keep hidden. We need to share the good news of Jesus Christ and His love in our lives with others. Tell others about Jesus and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Loving others with the love of Christ, proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, and praying for others is something we should all do our daily walk. Walking as followers of Jesus so others can see the love of Christ in us.