Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
In 3 John 5-7, when John tells of his excitement about his spiritual children (those he personally trained in the faith), he explains what it is that actually thrills him. It is not good enough to say he is excited about the general spirituality of his pupils. Rather, he tells what it was that absolutely excited him.
John had taught his students the theology that Jesus had taught him. He had instructed them on the deeper things of the faith, but no doubt the greatest things that he had taught them were the same things he spent an exorbitant amount of time describing in 1 John, that they be people who, like Jesus, walked in truth and actively loved and cared for others. John mentioned in verses 1-4 that he was completely elated that they were following the truth that he had taught them. Like Christ, they were living in the truth. In verses 5-7, John points out the next step of their obedience, that they love others. This love must be indiscriminate. It must be constant. It must be genuine. If it is these things, then others will notice and will be helped by it.
John wrote in verses 5 and 6 that there were brethren who had travelled through his town and told him of the truth and love that his pupils were showing to those who they came in contact with. Furthermore, they told John that his students were doing a great job of loving those who were not believers. The evidence of their growth and understanding was the relentless outpouring of love on any and all they came in contact with. It must have thrilled John’s heart to see his students obey God’s commands so well.
So how are we doing? Do we love others (Christians and non-Christians alike)? Would your life be categorized as living in the truth of God’s word? Like the believers in 3 John, do you strive to have God’s name made much of in your relationships? Would a bystander take account of your living and categorize it as loving or truth-based?
Food For Thought: What were the two things that John was excited about?