The church is the pillar and ground of the truth according to 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth; therefore church life must be connected to the truth. Wal Mart doesn’t buy and sell truth; it doesn’t traffic in truth. Stripes gas stations don’t buy and sell truth. Fox News doesn’t buy and sell truth. CNN doesn’t buy and sell the truth. None of these businesses traffic in truth. But God’s business is the business of truth. And the church is ground zero for truth in this world. And if the church isn’t grounded and promoting the truth there isn’t another place where it’ll be found in this world.
This is a short letter written by the apostle John to a man named Gaius. Gaius was Paul’s companion who housed Christians. He helped Paul in his missionary travels. He was apprehended by the mob in Ephesus, but the Lord protected him (Acts 19:29). Gaius is given brief instructions on church matters.
John openly rejoices over Gaius participation in the truth and the spread of the truth. He warns Gaius about the self promoting Diotrephes whose ambition caused problems within the church. Then John reports well on another man named Demetrius and recommends him.
All of John’s epistles can be connected this way:
- 1 John deals with the personal lives of God’s children,
- 2 John deals with the family lives of God’s children,
- 3 John deals with the church life of God’s children.
All of John’s epistles deal with a threat to each of these:
- 1 John is the threat of false professions,
- 2 John is the threat of false teaching,
- 3 John is the threat of pride in the fellowship.
There are four men mentioned in 3rd John:
- John as the affectionate brother,
- Gaius as the active brother,
- Diotrephes as the arrogant brother,
- Demetrius as the approved brother.
There were probably hundreds of letters like this written between Christians at this time, but the Holy Spirit of God chose this one to be scripture. Not just because the apostle John wrote it, but because of Gaius’ relationship to the truth. The theme is the truth itself and the church is ground zero for truth. Seven times in this brief letter the truth is referenced.
- 1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the TRUTH.
- 3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the TRUTH that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the TRUTH.
- 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in TRUTH.
- 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the TRUTH.
- 12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the TRUTH itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is TRUE.
Gaius and John were brought together by shared obedience to God’s truth. It’s the shared experiences that bring people together. When it came to God’s truth both John and Gaius had paid a price for their obedience. They knew each other to be faithful men when times were hard. There is nothing like forging ahead through tribulation with someone else for the sake of a common purpose. John said to Gaius, you’ve become very dear to me because we’ve both forged ahead through some trying times for the promotion of the truth. Now, this epistle deals with the church life of God’s children.
Loving in truth (vs 1)
- To love in the truth means a love that is more than the words, “I love you.”
- 1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Walking in truth (vss 2-4)
- Other people testified of the truth that was in Gaius
- Prospering soul
- Christ is the Shepherd of the soul
Supporting the truth (vss 5-8)
Impeding the truth (vss 9-10)
- Diotrephes is a self-promoting man with frustrated ambition. He doesn’t care about the truth, he cares about Diotrephes.
- Our flesh loves any lie that makes it feel good.
Good report of the truth (vss 11-12)
True record (vss 13-14)
Ground zero for the truth