3 John 1:5
Beloved, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, and especially since they are strangers to you.
The Aged Presbyter's Letter to a Private Church-MemberR. Finlayson 3 John 1: 1-14
Allegiance to the FaithJ. Paterson, D. D.3 John 1:5-6
HospitalityW. Jones 3 John 1: 5, 6
Noble DeedsThe Weekly Pulpit3 John 1:5-6

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, etc. We have here -

I. HOSPITALITY EXERCISED. "Beloved, thou doest a faithful work in whatsoever thou doest toward them that are brethren and strangers withal."

1. The persons towards whom it had been exercised.

(1) "Strangers." We mention this first because it is involved in the Greek word for "hospitality," φιλοξενία, i.e., kindness to strangers. Entertaining our friends is not properly hospitality. This virtue, says Barnes, "springs up naturally in countries thinly settled, where the sight of a stranger would be therefore peculiarly pleasant;... and where the population was too sparse, and the travelers too infrequent, to justify inn-keeping as a business. From these causes it has happened that there are, properly speaking, no inns or taverns in the region around Palestine. It was customary, indeed, to erect places for lodging and shelter at suitable distances, or by the side of springs or watering-places, for travelers to lodge in. But they are built at the public expense, and are unfurnished. Each traveler carries his own bed and clothes and cooking utensils, and such places are merely designed as a shelter for caravans. It is still so; and hence it becomes, in their view, a virtue of high order to entertain, at their own tables and in their families, such strangers as may be traveling." But these strangers were also:

(2) "Brethren." They were fellow-Christians. Hospitality should not be limited to them, but it should be shown to them first and chiefly. The New Testament teaches that kindness should begin at home (1 Timothy 5:8; Galatians 6:10). The apostles were to "begin at Jerusalem." Christian people have sometimes supplied the wants of the drunken, the indolent, and the wasteful, and neglected their own sober, industrious, and thrifty poor in their need. It seems to us that in such ministries the rule should be - our own home first, our own Church and congregation next, other Christian brethren next, and then the irreligious.

2. The person by whom it had been exercised. Gains. But St. John in the text sets forth the exercise of hospitality as specially becoming in Christians. He speaks of it as "a faithful work," i.e., a work worthy of a faithful man or a Christian. Hospitality is frequently in the sacred Scriptures enjoined upon Christians as a duty (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9). St. Paul mentions it as one of the duties of a Christian bishop (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8). At the last judgment, one reason for the reward of the good is that they exercised hospitality, and one of the charges upon which the wicked will be condemned is the neglect of hospitality (Matthew 25:34-46). Accordingly, we find that the "primitive Christians considered one principal part of their duty to consist in showing hospitality to strangers. They were, in fact, so ready in discharging this duty, that the very heathen admired them for it. They were hospitable to all strangers, but especially to those who were of the household of faith. Believers scarcely ever traveled without letters of communion, which testified the purity of their faith, and procured for them a favourable reception wherever the name of Jesus Christ was known" (Calmer). We also find that the hospitality of Gains was hearty; for the brethren whom he had entertained testified to his love (verse 6). "There is," says Washington Irving, "an emanation from the heart in genuine hospitality which cannot be described, but is immediately felt, and puts the stranger at once at his ease." As occasion requires it, hospitality is still a Christian duty.

II. HOSPITALITY ACKNOWLEDGED. "Who bare witness to thy love before the Church." The evangelists, when they returned to the Church from which they had been sent forth on their work, gave an account of their mission, and in so doing testified to the hearty hospitality of Gains. This report of Gains differed from that of a minister of whom I have read. This minister "had traveled far to preach for a congregation at -. After the sermon, he waited, expecting some one would ask him to dinner. At length, the place becoming almost empty, he mustered courage, and walked up to an old gentleman, and said, 'Will you go home and dine with me today, brother?' 'Where do you live?' 'About twenty miles from here, sir.' 'No;' said the man, colouring, 'but you must go with me.' 'Thank you; I will, cheerfully.' After this the minister was never troubled about his dinner." Gratefully to testify to kindness like that of Gaius must be a delight to those who are worthy recipients of it.

III. HOSPITALITY ENCOURAGED "Whom thou wilt do well to set forward on their journey worthily of God." This refers to a second visit to Gains, in which they probably brought this letter with them. To set them forward was to enable them to proceed onward by furnishing them with necessaries for the journey. Here is an admirable rule for regulating the exercise of our hospitality - "worthily of God;" Alford, "In a manner worthy of him whose messengers they are and whose servant thou art." We should show kindness as becometh the followers of him "who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not." "It would," says Barnes, "be particularly expected of Christians that they should show hospitality to the ministers of religion. They were commonly poor; they received no fixed salary; they traveled from place to place; and they would be dependent for support on the kindness of those who loved the Lord Jesus Christ" (cf. Matthew 10:9-15). The exercise of this duty is often richly rewarded in the present. Certain and splendid is its reward in the future (Matthew 10:40-42; Matthew 25:34-36). - W.J.

Thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers.
In these few words the sum and substance of the Christian life are placed before us. They convey to us that he who was addressed was simply loyal to truth and loyal to duty, whilst this, the loyalty of his being, flowed forth in act from a fountain of the purest love. These, in the Christian, cannot be disjoined. The mere philosopher may present us with a state of loyalty to truth, as truth is found in the regions of science. If he descends into the bowels of the earth, and tries to read the marvellous structure of men's temporal habitation, he is supposed to be loyal to fact or to truth as he finds it. Or, if his business lies on the surface of the world, and he questions the trees of the forests, the flowers of the field, or the grass of the earth, he ever holds his intellect in allegiance, and utters the thing as it is. Or, if rising from the earth, and traversing the starry firmament, he tries to measure, and weigh, and count the number of the stars, he stands the minister of truth, the interpreter of the works and ways of the Omnipotent Creator. All this, so far as it is an attitude of human reason, is right and well. But all this, however effective in giving strength and enlargement to man's intellect, does not achieve the full loyalty to truth commended in the sacred writings. The truth therein revealed contains the knowledge of Jesus, the Saviour of the world. It displays to the human understanding the only pathway leading out of sin into piety, out of misery into happiness, out of death into life. But whilst, with childlike simplicity, the message of the Divine love is to be received into the understanding, with the same simplicity the law of the Divine love is to be received into the heart. The conscience of the genuine Christian is to be ruled by the commandments of Jesus. Our Lord is King in Zion. Alone He legislates, and alone demands the indefeasible allegiance of the conscience of man. It is not pretended that men do not know in any thing right from wrong till they have opened the Bible. Men in all ages, in all lands, have gone into the market of the world attempting to maintain a standard of truth. To this lawgiver, legislating for the conscience and the heart, the disciple of Jesus becomes immediately and uninterruptedly liege. Loyalty to Him who spake as never man spake arises out of confidence in Him who died as never man died. Fidelity to Jesus as our rightful Lord is essentially interwoven with fidelity to Jesus as the Lord our righteousness. And this was the state of Gaius: a Christian doing whatever he did to the brethren, and to strangers, in the faith that so God had taught him, and under the conviction of his conscience that so his Lord had commanded. But this is not all; there is another element still, the ever-living, ever-moving impulse that urges onward the whole. It is love — the end of the commandment — out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. Over and above the marvellous signature of the kindness and love of God our Saviour written in the blood of the Cross, the Spirit of love proceeding from the Father and the Son comes to enkindle this Divine flame in every follower of Jesus. In every Christian He is the Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. No religion found among men, and invented by men, ever pretends to the indwelling of this infinite agent — the moral renovator, of the soul. His presence in man is the presence of holy love. In this we behold the living power that moves the heart of the kingdom of God; the life that reanimates every soul loyal to the Messiah, and binds for ever, beneath the perfect bond, the subjects of the eternal King. Such, then, are the three essential elements which form the Christian life and the Christian character the spirit of allegiance to whatever the Word of God reveals; the spirit of allegiance to whatever the Word of God commands; and lastly, the spirit of love animating and urging onward the whole. What Divine simplicity.

(J. Paterson, D. D.)

Bring forward on their Journey after a godly sort
The Weekly Pulpit.
I. THE STANDARD OF NOBLE DEEDS, "worthily of God."

1. Gaius was animated by the purest motive. To be charitable is praiseworthy, but to serve God is better. He received not the glory of men.

2. He did the best he could. The question was not whether the deed was worthy of Gaius, but whether it would be acceptable of God.

3. He had the best end in view. It was the glory of God. He treated well the servants for the Master's sake.

II. THE INSPIRATION OF NOBLE DEEDS, "Who bare witness to thy love before the Church."

1. Deeds worthy to be rehearsed. Christians need not indulge in useless conversation while so much valuable history waits to be told.

2. Deeds worthy of imitation. The life of Gaius may fail us in some particulars; if so, look at the life of Jesus.

(The Weekly Pulpit.)

Demetrius, Diotrephes, Gaius, John
Accomplish, Acting, Behaviour, Beloved, Brethren, Brothers, Dear, Doest, Especially, Faithful, Faithfully, Friend, Kind, Loved, Loyal, Mayest, Places, Render, Service, Strangers, Though, Towards, Whatever, Whatsoever, Withal, Wrought
1. He commends Gaius for his piety,
5. and hospitality,
7. to true preachers;
9. complaining of the unkind dealing of ambitious Diotrephes on the contrary side;
11. whose evil example is not to be followed;
12. and gives special testimony to the good report of Demetrius.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
3 John 1:5

     8252   faithfulness, relationships

3 John 1:3-5

     5914   optimism

3 John 1:5-6

     5769   behaviour
     8296   love, nature of

3 John 1:5-8

     7924   fellowship, in service

3 John 1:5-10

     8446   hospitality, duty of

The Books of the New Testament
[Sidenote: The Author.] The author describes himself as "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ" (i. 1). Few books of the New Testament are so well attested as this Epistle. The external evidence for its authenticity is strong, and stronger than that for any other Catholic Epistle except 1 John. It seems to be quoted in Didache, i. 4. The letter of Polycarp written about A.D. 110 shows a complete familiarity with 1 Peter. He evidently regarded it as a letter of the highest authority. His contemporary
Leighton Pullan—The Books of the New Testament

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