“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. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.” 3 John 1:5-8 (KJV)
John had sent out other ministers of the gospel to this Church. Gaius had gladly received them, welcoming them into his home and caring for their needs. This was the normal and regular practice of local churches in the early Church age. This is good practice for every Christian, and Christ loving churches to practice today; and for making plans for doing so throughout the New Year.
These messengers came back with a good report of Gaius, and John acknowledges his hospitality. Jesus said, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew 10:41). The reward for receiving the messengers of God is glorious. Receiving God’s messengers means not only hospitality but also hearing the message by taking it to heart and being obedient to God’s Word. It also means seeing that the messengers physical, and material needs are met.
It is the church’s responsibility to care for those who are faithful at preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether it is a pastor who feeds and leads the local Church, equipping them for ministry, or the evangelist, the prophet, or teacher: the local Church is responsible for their material well being (1 Corinthians 9:7-18). This writing was certainly not meant to be a defense for material support of pastors and/or preachers, but it does provide the basis for doing so. The Scriptures do clearly state that the Church is to care for its spiritual leaders (1 Timothy 5:17-18); and it probably should not be above and beyond the average income of the people he leads. This frees them to pray, study God’s Word, and to be faithful to minister effectively according to God’s plan.
Notice John’s declaration that they – the messengers he had sent – received no support from “The Gentiles”. If the Church is to preach the gospel powerfully we must not solicit funds or collect them from our lost and unchurched neighbors. Members of the Church must commit themselves to tithe their income, and above that when possible to support the work and ministries of the Church. A study of the Old Testament reveals that the tithe went to the Levites for their support while the tabernacle and temple were maintained through special offerings (Exodus 35:4-29; Numbers 18:24-26).
The personal care that Gaius gave was far and above a tithe of income. He gave his heart, his home, and his service to aid the messenger of the word of God. Gaius showed himself to be a fellow helper of the truth. There was another man who was the opposite of Gaius. Read the rest of the chapter.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest message the world could ever hear. The world needs to hear that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again the third day. Hear the love of God as Christ Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Through our fellowship with God, through Christ Jesus, we are “Fellow helpers” of the truth and Doing Faithfully.