"THE THIRD EPISTLE OF JOHN"
Supporting Ministers Of The Gospel (3 Jn 1:5-8)
1. In writing to Gaius, John has referred to his joy of hearing that
Gaius is "walking in the truth" - 3 Jn 1:3-4
2. An area of Gaius' life in which this was especially true was in
showing hospitality to traveling ministers - 3 Jn 5-8
3. In Second John, we saw the "danger" of receiving and supporting
those teachers who do not proclaim the doctrine of Christ -
cf. 2 Jn 1:9-11
4. But here in Third John, we learn of the "good" that can be done when
we receive and support those involved in the spreading of the gospel
5. In this study, we shall consider...
a. The scriptural authority for supporting ministers of the gospel
b. The reasons given by John for why we should be willing to do so
[Going outside of our text to other portions of Scripture, consider
what we learn about...]
I. THE SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY FOR SUPPORTING MINISTERS
A. AS TAUGHT BY JESUS...
1. Jesus Himself was dependent upon others for support as He went
about preaching - Lk 8:1-3
2. In sending out the twelve disciples, He taught that "a worker
is worthy of his food" - cf. Mt 10:5-10
3. In sending out the seventy, He said "the laborer is worthy of
his wages" - cf. Lk 10:1-8
B. AS TAUGHT BY PAUL...
1. Though for personal reasons he generally chose not to accept
it, Paul defended the right of supporting ministers - 1 Co 9:3-14
a. Just as soldiers are not expected to support themselves
- 1 Co 9:7a
b. Just as farmers and shepherds enjoy the fruits of their
labors - 1 Co 9:7b
c. Just as the Law illustrated with the command not to muzzle
the ox that treads out the grain - 1 Co 9:8-10
d. From the principle of reasonableness: if one sows
spiritual things, is it a great matter to reap material
things? - 1 Co 9:11
e. From the example of those serving in the temple who could
partake of the offerings on the altar - 1 Co 9:13
f. Even the Lord commanded: "Those who preach the gospel
should live of the gospel" (perhaps a reference to Mt 10:10
and Lk 10:7) - 1 Co 9:14
g. NOTE: Paul chose not to receive such support under normal
circumstances for the following reasons...
1) It was one of the few areas in which he could boast
- 1 Co 9:15
2) He could not boast in preaching the gospel, for he had
been divinely commissioned - 1 Co 9:16-17
a) He must do it as a steward of Christ
b) He had no choice if he were to be saved
c) Such is not the case of those who preach today;
unless the Lord appeared to us and commanded us to
preach (as He did with Paul), it is something we do
willingly and thereby have a reason to boast
3) But, that Paul might have a reason to boast, a reward,
he freely gave up his right (authority) to receive
support in _most_ cases - 1 Co 9:18
(however cf. 2 Co 11:7-9; Ph 4:10-16)
2. Another passage by Paul suggesting the scripturalness of
supporting teachers - Ga 6:6
[With the approval of Jesus and His apostle Paul, there should be no
question about the scripturalness of supporting ministers of the
As we return to our text (3 Jn 1:5-8),we find that John gives us six
reasons that ought to motivate us to do so...]
II. SCRIPTURAL MOTIVATION FOR SUPPORTING MINISTERS
A. IT IS A TESTIMONY TO OUR FAITHFULNESS...
1. John wrote of Gaius: "Beloved, you do faithfully..." - 3 Jn 1:5
2. When we show hospitality to brethren (and ministers), it
demonstrates our faithfulness to the teachings of Christ and
B. IT IS A TESTIMONY TO OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER...
1. John said of those who had received Gaius' hospitality that
they "...had borne witness of your love..." - 3 Jn 1:6a
2. We demonstrate that we are keeping that "new" commandment
first given to us by the Lord Himself - cf. Jn 13:34-35
3. In light of the value of such love ("by this all will
know..."), we ought to be grateful for opportunities to bear
witness of our love for the brethren
C. IT HONORS GOD...
1. John makes reference to sending such ministers on their
journey "in a manner worthy of God" - 3 Jn 1:6
2. "worthy of God" means "as befits God"
3. Thus the way in which we support ministers of God can be a
reflection upon God Himself
a. If we do not consider His faithful ministers worthy of
support, what do we think of God?
b. If we honor and support those servants who faithfully
proclaim His Word, it is because we honor and respect the
One they serve!
D. IT IS A TESTIMONY TO THE LOST...
1. The ones Gaius was encouraged to support were those who were
"taking nothing from the Gentiles" - 3 Jn 1:7
a. This likely means they would not solicit support from the
b. Depending instead upon their brethren
2. When ministers of the gospel solicit help from those lost
souls they are trying to save, it sends a bad message
a. Perhaps the ministers are in it just for the money...
b. If what they taught was worth anything, why don't their own
followers support it?
3. When the gospel is offered free of cost, being supported
whole-heartedly by those who know it best, it can be a
powerful testimony of the value _we_ place on it!
E. IT OBEYS GOD...
1. John, by inspiration of the Spirit of God, tells us "We
therefore _ought_ to receive such" - 3 Jn 1:8a
2. Thus, supporting ministers of the gospel is not only an
opportunity, but an obligation!
a. Exhorted by Paul in Ga 6:6
b. Exchange of material things for spiritual things considered
reasonable by Paul in 1 Co 9:11; cf. also Ro 15:26-27
F. IT MAKES ONE A FELLOW WORKER FOR THE TRUTH...
1. As John concludes in 1 Co 9:7a: "that we may become fellow
workers for the truth"
2. When we support a teacher, we become co-workers in what they
a. If we support teachers of error, we share in their evil
deeds - 2 Jn 1:10-11
b. But when we support teachers of the gospel, we have
fellowship in their work - Philippians 1:3-5; cf. 3 Jn 4:15-16
3. As co-workers, we will one day enjoy the same rewards -
cf. Mt 10:40-42
1. So we not only have scriptural authority for supporting ministers of
the gospel, but many reasons to do so!
2. The rapid spread of the gospel and growth of the early church was
facilitated by such people as Gaius, along with...
a. Aquila and Priscilla, who allowed the churches to meet in their
homes - Ro 15:3-5a; 1 Co 16:19
b. Philemon, who let the church meet in his house, and could be
called upon without hesitation to provide lodging for the apostle
Paul - Philemon 1:1-2; Philemon 1:22
3. Today, as walls tumble down that once stood preventing the free
course of the gospel, there is still a need to support those who
preach the gospel
May the spirit and liberality of Gaius fill the hearts of those
Christians and churches who would be fellow workers for the truth!
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