III John 1-14




Today, I want to discuss three men mentioned in the Book of III John.

Two possessed Christian virtues that we should desire.



And one committed sins that we should avoid.

I will begin with Gaius.



John recorded four things:

1st---Gaius was a man who had the truth in him.



John said, “I rejoiced greatly when the bretheren came and testified of the     

truth that is in thee.”

The Scriptures are truth.



And Jesus is Truth.

So Gaius had a right understanding of the Scriptures.



And a right understanding of Jesus.

Concerning the Scriptures, I believe Gaius would say they are not to be        

tampered with.



God said, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither     

shall ye diminish ought from it” (Deut. 4:2).

I may want to add to what the Bible says.




But I dare not do it.

God has given us all He wants us to have.



I may want to throw out some of those genealogies, the Book of Daniel, the  

Book of Revelation, what the Bible says about hell.

And things like that.



But I dare not do it.

God may remove my name from the Book of Life.



I also believe Gaius would say the Scriptures are powerful.

God asks, “Is not my word like as a fire;”



“And like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces” (Jer. 23:29)?

The Scriptures change lives;



Turn alcoholics into tee-totalers;

Harlots into respectable women;



Criminals into preachers, etc.

They cause people to give up their sins;



To quit living for Satan;

And to start living for God.



So Gaius was a man with the truth in him.

He had a right understanding of the Scriptures.



And he also had a right understanding of Jesus.

He lived in a day when there was a lot of discussion about Jesus.

Some denied the deity of Jesus.

Others denied the humanity of Jesus.



Some said, Jesus could not be God because He was born of human parents.

Others said Jesus had to be God because He existed before His earthly        




The Scriptures constantly declare the deity of Jesus.

He is called the Son of God at least forty times in the New Testament.



The voice from heaven called Him “My only begotten Son.”

Jesus Himself said, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten

Son . . .”



The Scriptures call Him the Holy One of God.

          God with us.

          The Mighty God.

          The Everlasting Father, etc.



So Jesus is God.

But Jesus is also man.



He was born of earthly parents;

Got hungry and tired.



Bled, cried and suffered.

So Gaius had the truth in him.



Do you have the truth in you?

God wants you to understand the Scriptures.


And to know Jesus.

2nd---Gaius walked in truth.



John said, “Thou walkest in truth.”

Gaius not only understood the Scriptures.



He also lived by the Scriptures.

He let the Scriptures affect his life.



John said, “I rejoiced greatly even as thou walkest in truth.”

Wouldn't you like for that to be said about you?



This person walked in truth.

When I stand before Jesus.



I would like to hear Him say, “You walked in truth.”

A man named Potter was riding his horse.



He got bucked off.

He landed on his feet.



One foot got hurt.

It swelled up.



A few days later, it seemed better.

So Potter never went to the doctor.



Twenty-five years passed.

His foot was hurting.


He had it x-rayed.

He discovered that he had been walking on a broken foot for many years.



That seems foolish to us.

And yet, we all know that we are suppose to be walking by the Scriptures.



We know we should be in Church;

Invite others to attend;



Seek forgiveness for our sins, etc.

But we walk on broken feet.



We say we want to be like Jesus.

But we act like we are trying to get to heaven with as little inconvenience as   




We tend to bide our time.

And hope to do better in the future.



But Satan underlies all of our procrastination.

And he’s not going to go away.



The best thing for us to do is to admit that our foot is broken.

And to take care of the problem.



3rd---Gaius served faithfully.

John said, “Thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the bretheren and          

to strangers.”




I've known people who joined the Church.

They became active.



But they encountered hypocrites, criticism, deceivers, or some other kind of


They got offended.



They waxed cold.

They fell away.



Simply put, they stopped being faithful.

But Gaius didn't let that happen to him.



I'm sure he encountered problems.

He had his share of bad experiences.



But he didn't let anything keep him from being faithful to God.

Sometimes we get tired of people in the Church acting like little children;



Tired of Church leaders who don't believe the Bible;

Tired of Church leaders who tolerate any kind of sin;



We feel like throwing up our hands.

And saying goodbye.



But it should encourage to us to know that if we remain faithful, God knows it.

Last year [Oct. 2002], I spoke at East Dyersburg UMC.




After the service, a farmer told me he milked cows for thirteen years.

I’ve known a lot of dairy farmers over the years.



Most said they didn't go to Church because they had to milk on Sunday       


This dairy farmer said, “I only missed Church once in thirteen years.”



He went on to tell me about another farmer in his Sunday School class.

It was raining hard.



Forecasters were saying the river would get out.

It was Sunday morning.



Someone in his Sunday School class said, “You need to be cutting beans.”

The farmer replied, “If the Lord wants my beans, He can have my beans.”



“It's Sunday morning.”

“And I'm suppose to be in Church.”



The next day, he went to the field.

He saw the water coming up as his combine moved across the field.



But he got all his beans out.

He was faithful.



And God helped him.

4th---Gaius loved people.



John said, strangers “have borne witness of thy charity.”

Gaius helped others.

Even if he did not know them.

He still helped them.



Jesus said, “In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these MY

BRETHEREN, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40).

When we help other Christians, we help Jesus.



By encouraging your Sunday School teacher, you become a partner in the     


By paying my salary, you become a partner in my ministry.



By giving to the Gideons and Reelfoot Rural Ministry you become a partner

in what they do;

A partner with others;



And a partner with Jesus.

Leo Buscaglia says he was asked to judge a contest.



It was a contest to identify the most caring child.

The winner was a four year boy,



He lived next door to an elderly man.

The man was sitting on his front porch.



He had just lost his wife.

He was crying.



The boy went over.

He climbed up in his lap.



He just sat there.

Later, his mother asked him what he said.




“I just helped him cry.”



Jesus told us to love others.

Sometimes, we can’t do anything except help them cry.



But that's the Christian thing to do.

Next, I want to look at a man named Diotrephes.



He was a leader in the Church.

But he was probably lost.



John tells us five things:

1st---Diotrephes loved to have pre-eminence in the Church.



This man loved to be the big cheese;

To run things;



To have the final say.

Jesus said, “Whosoever would become great among you shall be your         




“Whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant.”

Diotrephes didn't serve.



Diotrephes ruled.

Jesus said, “Everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled.”

“And he that humbleth. himself shall be exalted.”

But Diotrephes had no humility.



He was the exact opposite;





He would be first or not at all;

Have pre-eminence or bust a gut.



I haven't seen a Diotrephes in this Church.

But this is the problem.



The desire to be a dictator in the Church doesn't come from Jesus.

It comes from Satan.



Dictators are trying to replace Jesus as the head of the Church.

If we will put Jesus first, we will never have this problem.



2nd---Diotrephes refused to receive the bretheren.

John said, “he receiveth us not.”



John was one of the twelve disciples;

A significant leader in the Church.



But Diotrephes wouldn't even talk to him.

He wasn't about to take anyone's advice.





He wasn't about to submit to anyone's authority.

Have you ever been under a leader, a boss, or whatever who wouldn't listen  

to anyone?



That's the way Diotrephes was.

Queen Mary had the habit of visiting Scotland in the Summer.



She liked to walk around by herself where no one knew who she was.

One day, she was walking.



It started to rain.

She went to a house.



She asked to borrow an umbrella.

She promised to return it the next day.



The lady at the door had two umbrellas;

Her new expensive umbrella.



And her old cast-off umbrella.

She didn't recognize this stranger at her door.



So she gave her the old cast-off umbrella.

The next day, there was a knock on her door.



It was a sharply dressed man.

He said, “The Queen sent me to return your umbrella.”



“And to thank you for loaning it to her.”

The woman was stunned.

She said, “I wish I had given her the best I have.”

Every one of us should be serving the King.



The day will come when we will give an account.

And we will wish that we had given the best we have.



3rd---Diotrephes was a gossip.

John said, he “prates against us with malicious words.”



The Scriptures say, “If any man bridleth not his tongue, this man's religion is


But Diotrephes used gossip to destroy the effectiveness of John and his       




He was so bent on having his way;

He became a slanderer and a gossip.



What a tragedy.

He was a leader in the Church.



But his years of service were worthless.

4th---Diotrephes was one that “forbiddeth others from receiving bretheren.”



He not only refused to talk to John and his companions.

He also refused to let anyone else talk to them.



It's a privilege to be a leader in the Church.

But it's a greater privilege to serve Jesus in the Church.




It’s important to know the Scriptures.

But it's more important to live by the Scriptures.



Sin is always bad.

But sin in the Church is dangerous.



I encourage you to read the story about Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5).

5th---Diotrephes cast people out of the Church.



He got rid of his opposition.

I know preachers like this.



Rather than change their ways they hurt the Church by asking badly needed  

members to leave.

I know people like this.



They would rather take their marriage to the brink of destruction than to        

swallow their pride;

Rather get a divorce and do lifelong harm to their children than to yield on    

some little point.



But the point is that we are headed for trouble when we think we can run       

everything to suit ourselves.

I want to quickly look at Demerits.



John tells us two things:

1st---He had a good reputation.



John said, “he hath a good report of all men.”

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches” (Psa. 22:10).


“A good name is better than precious ointment” (Ecc. 7:1).

There was a little dog named “Fido.”



“Fido” means “faithful” in Italian.

When Fido was a pup, his owner threw him into a river to drown.



Another man pulled him out.

And cared for him.


Fido loved his new owner.

His new owner rode the bus to work every day.



And Fido always followed him to the bus stop.

Fido waited at that bus stop all day while his owner was at work.



One day, his owner got killed.

But Fido wouldn't leave the bus stop.



The townspeople were touched.

After a few days, they started putting out food and water.



And Fido waited for his owner at that bus stop for thirteen years.

Then, he died.



The town awarded him a gold medal.

And they erected a statue at the bus stop to commemorate his faithfulness.



What will people say when you die.

Will they say, “This one had a good reputation?”



“This was a faithful Christian.”

“If this one didn't make it, no one will.”



Now is the time to work on it.

2nd---Demetrius was also a man of truth.



John said, “Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the TRUTH itself.”

Truth is precious.



But truth may well he the most violated concept in the world.

In order to have truth, we have to have a standard.



Truth cannot exist without something to measure it against.

God's standard is Jesus and the Scriptures.



Jesus lived and fulfilled the Scriptures.

God wants us to do the same thing;



To learn the truth;

To walk and talk the truth;



To serve faithfully.

He doesn't want us to be like Diotrephes or Potter who walked on a broken  

foot for twenty-five years.



He wants us to be like Jesus and Gaius and Demetrius who walked in truth.

If your foot is broken, come to Jesus.



He’s the Great Physician.

He can help you with your walk.