Part 40 – Hospitable Gaius – Faithful To The Truth
This Third Letter of the Apostle John was written specifically to a dear friend, who may have also been a leader at his church, named Gaius. As we will see with next week's verses, John couldn't write to the church because it would appear that one of the leaders – Diotrephes – is refusing to receive John's Letters. In this short Letter the apostle John is going address three different men at this particular church: this past Sunday's main character - Gaius – a hospital man who is faithful to the Truth; Demetrius – a 'well spoken of' man of God, who we will look at in three weeks; and Diotrephes – a mean-spirited, proud leader, who again, will be the subject of next Sunday's message.
There are three main lessons or godly traits that we see exemplified in the life of Gaius that we as believers ought to be emulating. The first trait came up in verse three when John testifies that some Christians, who were recently were with Gaius, gave John a very positive evaluation about Gaius' Christian character. The question this raises for all of us is simply this: Are people who we encounter – people who we are close to, and especially strangers – sensing the love of Christ within us towards that other person that they are compelled to give a positive report about our Christlike behavior? Are we shining the light of Christ brightly upon those we interact with?
The second lesson we learn from the life and character of Gaius is that he was faithful to the truth. That expression means that Gaius was believing, trusting, and living a life that was centered on the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – that we are saved by grace along through faith alone in Christ alone so that God alone would receive all the glory. Being faithful to the Truth also implies – since this was one of John's main concerns in his first two Letters – that Gaius was standing up against false teachers by boldly proclaiming and trusting in the biblical and doctrinal Truth that Jesus Christ was, is and always will be 100% God and 100% man. This is essential to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Are you standing faithful to the Truth – believing, trusting and living it?
The third lesson we gather from the life of Gaius is probably the main reason for this Letter, and that is in regards to the generous and humble spirit of hospitality that Gaius was showing to these visiting Christians, and was apparently continuing to express to the next batch of traveling evangelists and preachers that were coming through his city. The scriptures – the Old and the New Testament are resplendent with affirmations for the believer to take care of their family, fellow Christians, and even strangers by opening their home to feed and offer rest for the traveler or those in need.
Hospitality was especially important at the start of the Christian Church because not only did Christians travel for business purposes and needed a safe and trusted place to stay, but there were many traveling Christian evangelists and preachers who would travel to and through towns and villages and would need a place to stay. The main concern that the apostle John had written about in his Second Letter was the unknowing practice of some of the Christians who were taking in and caring for the very false teachers that John was rebuking in his First and Second Letters. John said that if you show hospitality to the false teachers you are participating in their evil practices. Likewise, when you show hospitality to Christians, then you are participating in the advancement of the Gospel and the Lord will be well pleased with you.
Although the issue of hospitality was and is certainly one of the major themes in this short Letter, I wanted to make sure the church understood the importance of being strong witnesses through their lives, conversations, and actions of the glory, mercy, grace and love of Christ that resides within the heart of the believer. Sinners are often attracted to the love and kindness of Christ that they see in us, even before they literally hear the Gospel....so, keeping shining like stars!