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INTRODUCTION TO 3 JOHN

1,2,&3 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Authorship

Just like in 2 John the author calls himself the elder.
teaching us 2 things: the author is old
and since he is old he is probably an eyewitness of Jesus.
Now this old eyewitness of Jesus has the same writing style seen in 1 & 2 John (keywords are love and truth)
The only difference is from perspective..... 2 John says not to entertain those who don’t teach the truth…3 John says to show the tenderness of love to help those who spread the truth (CHECK)
so the Apostle John is probably the author...
Ancient writings also say John is the author

BACKGROUND

3 JOHN OUTLINE

GAIUS a Loved Believer (v.1-4)
DIOTREPHES - a Proud Believer (v.9-10)
DEMETRIUS - an Exemplary Believer (v.11-12)
CONCLUSION (v.13-14)

DATE

If John was writing from Jerusalem before the destruction of that city, a date in the 60’s is likely
More commonly, scholars see the Letter as from a later period when John lived and served in Ephesus. Thus a date of 85–90 has been widely accepted.
I personally think this is before 70 AD.
Because most scholars believe this is written before Revelation and I am on the side that Revelation was written before 70AD.
So the date of 3rd John is either in the 60’s (like most of NT writings) or in 85-90AD

FUN FACT

3 John is the shortest book in the NT
Since 2 John is written to a church, 3 John and Philemon are the only personal letters in the NT
There are three Gaius’s mentioned in other parts of the Bible: Gaius of Macedonia, ; Gaius of Derbe, ; and Gaius of Corinth, ; .

BACKGROUND

Tradition says that the Apostle John served Roman Asia (modern day Western Turkey) so it is likely that the people mentioned here are from Roman Asia
The early church struggled with how to evaluate and support traveling preachers/teachers/evangelists.
One early non-canonical Christian writing from the early second century called The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles has these guidelines:
CHAPTER XI—CONCERNING TEACHERS, APOSTLES, AND PROPHETS
“Whosoever, therefore, cometh and teacheth you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turn and teach another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not; but if he teach so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. Bur concerning the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the Gospel, thus do: Let every apostle that cometh to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goeth away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodgeth; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet” (p. 380).
CHAPTER XII—RECEPTION OF CHRISTIANS
“But whosoever saith in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, ye shall not listen to him; but if he saith to you to give for other’s sake who are in need, let no one judge him.
But let every one that cometh in the name of the Lord be received, and afterward ye shall prove and know him; for ye shall have understanding right and left. If he who cometh is a wayfarer, assist him as far as ye are able; but he shall not remain with you, except for two or three days, if need be. But if he willeth to abide with you, being an artisan, let him work and eat; but if he hath no trade, according to your understanding see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he willeth not so to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that ye keep aloof from such” (p. 381)

THEME OF 3 JOHN

Have a good example in the church.
He highly commends Gaius' care and hospitality to his messengers whose mission was to take the Gospel from place to place, whether they were known to him or were strangers.
John exhorts him to continue to to do good and not to imitate evil, as in the example of Diotrephes.
This man had taken over the leadership of a church in Asia and not only refused to recognize John's authority as an apostle but also refused to receive his letters and submit to his directions. 
He also circulated malicious slanders against John and excommunicated members who showed support and hospitality to John's messengers. Before John concludes his letter, he also commends the example of Demetrius, of whom he has heard excellent reports.

KEY VERSES

3 John
3 John 4 NKJV
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
3 John 11 NKJV
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
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