Together for the Gospel

May 24, 2019 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Missions, The Church Scripture: 3 John 1:1–8

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 24 May 2019

Text: 3 John 1:1-8

Opening Discussion:

Hospitality can be defined in many different ways by many different cultures. For some, it means an immaculate home, a gourmet menu or an exquisite table setting. For others it could mean sharing a pizza. What mental image comes to your mind when the word hospitality is mentioned? What is your favorite memory growing up in your parent’s home when it comes to hospitality?


While some of our images could be applied to biblical hospitality in certain situations, what most people are thinking about is entertaining. When hospitality is described in the Scriptures, there are zero instructions regarding home décor, menu, or table setting. Biblical hospitality can be defined as “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.” In the New Testament, the Greek word translated “hospitality” literally means “love of strangers.” Hospitality is a virtue that is both commanded and commended throughout Scripture. 

3 John is concerned to encourage Christians to show biblical hospitality. 3 John is a companion letter to 2 John.  2 and 3 John has the same, or similar, pastoral concerns behind them.  2 John was concerned to encourage Christians not to show hospitality to false teachers, whereas 3 John is concerned to encourage Christians to show hospitality to true, faithful Christian missionaries and evangelists.  The apostle John in 2 John warns these Christians against showing hospitality and giving support to and showing respect towards false teachers, he now doesn’t want them to overreact and stop showing hospitality to and support for and encouragement of, true and faithful Christian teachers, evangelists, and missionaries.  And that gives us the backdrop of this particular little book.  The positive instruction of 3 John—‘Christians, show hospitality to missionaries who are visiting’—balances the negative instruction of 2 John—‘Christians, do not show support or hospitality towards those who deny the teaching of the Bible, Jesus’ teaching about Himself, the apostles’ teaching about Him.’ 

This letter is addressed from “the elder” again, just like 2nd John.  This time, however, instead of being addressed to “the elect lady,” a local congregation, it is addressed to one man in a particular local congregation.  It’s addressed to one Gaius. Our study is based on Gaius, a model worth mimicking!

Investigation & Interpretation:

  • Read: 3 John 1:1-8
  1. What does it mean to “love in truth”? v.1
  2. What does John’s prayer for Gaius show us about praying for someone’s physical health? v.2
  3. What does it mean to “walk in the truth”? v.3
  4. What brought the apostle John the greatest joy? v.4
  5. Who was Gaius showing hospitality to? v.5
  6. How was Gaius “love” demonstrated? v.6
  7. Who is “the Name” referring to in verse 7 & why is this important?
  8. What kind of men should the local church be supporting? v.8


How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

Romans 12:13b says we are to practice hospitality—literally, to “pursue the love of strangers” (Heb. 13:2)—not simply to hang out with our best friends. If we want to demonstrate obedience to our heavenly Father, we must practice biblical hospitality. Why do you think many Christians are afraid to practice hospitality to strangers?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

1 Peter 4:9 says, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” This verse builds on the instruction to practice hospitality and reminds us that our attitude is of utmost importance—we are to practice hospitality without complaining. Why do you suppose that people would grumble and complain when it comes to hospitality? Looking at Gaius example, what are some ways we can overcome this bad attitude?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

The 21st-century church has cultivated highly sophisticated procedures and tools for evangelism. Training sessions, online and media resources, seminars, manuals, and methodology books are all available. However, as we study Scripture we also find that the home served as a center for evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity. What are some practical ways that we 21st-century Christians could use hospitality as a means of evangelism here in the UAE?


In our study from 3 John 1-8 we meet Gaius. Gaius, beloved by God, beloved by John, why? Because he lived his life in harmony with the truth which meant that he would love in the way that God wants us to love and that love would show up in hospitality to strangers who are also faithful to the truth. This is what it means to live in love and to walk in truth. John Piper asks this rhetorical question: “Freely you have received. Freely give. Is there any greater joy than the joy of experiencing the liberating power of God's hospitality making us a new and radically different kind of people, who love to reflect the glory of his grace as we extend it to others in all kinds of hospitality?”

I believe that Gaius’ life reflected the glory of God’s grace in a joyful powerful way, which was demonstrated by his loving hospitality. This passage gives us a beautiful picture of a spiritually healthy, church member. Gaius loved the gospel. He walked in the truth of the gospel. He devoted his resources for the sake of the gospel. He supported others to help spread the gospel. His hospitality was for the furtherance of the gospel. He is an example worth mimicking. May God help us to do the same!

Prayer Points:  

  1. Pray that NLC would keep following Christ with a total commitment to making and developing disciples of all nations through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. Pray that NLC would be imitators of Christ, pressing forward after the upward call.
  3. Pray that NLC would be equipped, willing and ready to boldly share our faith.

More in Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

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A Good Example

May 31, 2019

A Bad Example

May 17, 2019

Mimicking the Master