Where is the Christian hospitality that is supposed to be in our church? Have we become a “Diotrephes” or are we a “Demetrius”?
This letter gives us a significant look into the existence of the early church. Third John, addressed to Gaius, is about the requirement for hospitality to evangelists and different believers that were traveling. It likewise cautions against someone that would be a dictator in the church.
The “elder” John was one of Jesus’ disciples and the author of the Gospel of John, the three epistles, and the Book of Revelation. We have no additional data about Gaius; however, he is somebody John truly cherished.
Maybe, it was that he had imparted his hospitality and home to John during his travels. Assuming this is the case, John would have been thankful for Gaius’s actions, since traveling ministers relied upon people’s hospitality to make do (Matthew 10:11-16).
“Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:11-14).
John was worried about Gaius’ spiritual and physical prosperity. This was in differentiation to the well-known apostasy of the day that showed the division of matter and spirit and scorned the physicality of life.
Still today, many individuals fall into this perspective. This non-Christian mentality prompts one of two reactions: disregard of the physical and bodily wellbeing, or the guilty pleasure of the body’s desires. God has concern for both our spirit and body.
As mindful Christians, we should neither disregard nor gratify ourselves, however, we are to discipline our bodies and care for our physical necessities so that we are at our best for the service of God.
John calls them “my children” in light of the fact that because of his preaching, he was the spiritual father of Gaius and many others (1 Corinthians 4:15; Galatians 4:19; 1 John 2:1).
What Does Church Hospitality Look Like?
In the initial days of the church, prophets, preachers, and instructors that were traveling were helped during their travels by individuals like Gaius who housed and took care of them. Hospitality is an under-appreciated skill in many of our churches today.
We would do well to welcome more individuals for dinners; they could be members of our local church body, young people from our church, traveling teachers, friends, acquaintances, or those that we know who may be in financial need.
This is a much appreciated and active method for showing your Christian love. Indeed, it is most likely more significant today due to our individualistic and narcissistic culture.
There are many forlorn individuals who keep thinking about whether anybody cares whether or not that they live or die. In the event that we do know of such an individual, we should show that person that we really care (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
The traveling preachers neither requested nor acknowledged anything from non-Christians (Gentiles), since they did not want anybody scrutinizing their intentions in their preaching. God’s actual evangelists did not preach to make money, however out of their adoration for God.
It is the church’s obligation to provide care for Christian laborers, this ought to never be passed on to non-believers. At the point when we help somebody who is spreading the gospel, we are in an undeniable manner a partner in the ministry that they serve in.
This is the opposite side of the rule in 2 John 1:10. Not every person ought to go to the mission field; the individuals who work for Christ at home are indispensable to the service of the people who go to the mission field that require support.
We can uphold evangelists by petitioning God for them and by giving them monetary support, hospitality, and our time (Matthew 10:9-14; Mark 6:8-13; Luke 9:3-5, 10:4-11; Acts 20:33).
All that we are aware of regarding Diotrephes is that he wanted to have sole command of the church. John condemns his refusal to pay attention to other spiritual leaders, his criticism of those church leaders, his terrible model in declining to invite any gospel instructors, and his endeavor to banish the people who went against his administration.
What Is the Purpose of the Church Today?
Sins like pride, envy, and defamation should not be present in the church today, and when a church leader makes a propensity for empowering these sins, he should be halted.
In case nobody speaks out about this type of behavior, the church will face extraordinary damage. We should never condone sin for anybody, yet nor is it our place to judge.
Assuming that we attempt to keep away from it, it will keep on growing. A genuine Christian leader is a worker, not a king (Matthew 19:30, 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30; Philippians 2:3; 3 John 5).
We do not have any other information about Demetrius with the exception that he likely conveyed this letter from John to Gaius. The Book of Acts makes reference to an Ephesian silversmith named Demetrius who went against Paul (Acts 19:24), however, this is most likely another man.
Rather than Diotrephes, Demetrius had high respect for truth. John represented truth as an observer to Demetrius’ personal character and his teaching.
At the end of the day, assuming truth itself could talk, it would talk for Demetrius’ benefit. When Demetrius finally arrived with the letter, Gaius would have undoubtedly opened his home to him.
Though Second John underlined the need to decline hospitality to false teachers, Third John’s inclinations proceeded with hospitality to the people who taught the truth. Hospitality is a solid indication of help for individuals and their work.
It implies giving them of our means so their visit will be agreeable and their work and travel simpler. We ought to effectively search for imaginative ways of showing hospitality to God’s laborers.
It could be as a letter of consolation or appreciation, a simple “care” package, monetary help, an open home, and even prayer.
Why Does Hospitality Matter?
Although this has been more about traveling missionaries and preachers, we must not forget to show true Christian kindness and hospitality to any and everyone that we come in contact with.
Unfortunately, there are those that will show more kindness and hospitality to strangers than they will to their own local church family.
Some give out lip service (all talk) but never show actual Christian service to those within their own local church. We must be aware that the outside world witnesses how Christians can treat each other.
Where is our spiritual heart in regards to showing Christian hospitality to all?
For further reading:
What Does it Mean to be a Member of the Church? (1 Peter 2:4-10)
What Is the Meaning of the Body of Christ?
The Excitement of Fellowship
Can the Church Still Be Connected Without a Building?
What Is the Importance of Having a Spiritual Family?
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Aaron Burden
Chris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. Chris is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. During his service, he received numerous awards and citations. Chris holds a Doctor of Ministry, an M.B.A., and a B.S. in health administration. Chris and his wife Vicki of 24 years reside in Madison, Alabama. If you are interested in having Chris deliver God’s Word at your place of worship, you can reach him here.