By Mike Chaffin
11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true. 13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.
John’s third letter is to a friend named Gaius in another city. It is a call to support evangelists and missionaries traveling through the region, (teaching and preaching). These evangelists John writes about are his people.
Earlier in the letter he references a church leader in this man’s city who isn’t letting these evangelists preach in the church. John plans to come to confront that man and try to set him straight. He then commends Gaius for not being like that man and for supporting those working for the Lord.
John ends this letter exactly like his second letter, but before he does, he gives Gaius a piece of advice,
“Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”
The latter sentence is easier to digest and understand than the first. We recognize evil, it makes our skin crawl, or at least it should. Staying in context with the letter, I believe John is referencing how to tell the difference between good teachers and evangelists, and bad teachers and evangelists. Bad teachers try to confuse us and lead us astray, or at least try to. They obscure the message. Good teachers talk about Jesus, the gospel, and how Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. If the message is more about the teacher than about Jesus, it might be time to listen to a different messenger.
Prayer: Dear Lord thank you for the words of John encouraging us to aid evangelists and missionaries who are doing your work. Help me to recognize those who are speaking the truth and those that aren’t so I can be a good steward of support. In Jesus’s name, amen.