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  • 3 JOHN

    1. Gaius was eminent for hospitality and other Christian graces. 2. John prays for the temporal prosperity of Gaius, harmoniously with the spiritual. 3. Brethren peregrinating have brought good news relative to Gaius, in which John rejoices. 4. Gaius and others to whom he writes are his spiritual children. 5. Divine love does not discriminate, but extends its benefactions to strangers. 6. Gaius has lodged and blessed strangers and sent them on their way rejoicing. 7. At this time Gentile converts were multiplying rapidly, which John appreciates, commending them to all of the churches.

    ARGUMENT ECCLESIASTICAL TYRANNY 9. The Holy Ghost is the only legitimate Ruler of God’s Church. Of course He uses such human instrumentalities as He can manage in harmony with the will of God. When unspiritual men get control they soon turn it over to Satan. Diotrephes is an example of ecclesiastical tyranny, which in the fallen Church always becomes the normal procedure. 10. The Holy Ghost ruled the Church through John and other holy people.

    The carnal administration of Diotrephes has characterized the worldly church in all ages, casting out and often killing the good and promoting the unspiritual, filling the world with ecclesiastical leprosy, developing in atrocious expulsions and decapitations of God’s most efficient preachers and truest saints. Lift up your head, turn whithersoever you will, behold Diotrephes in all denominations, refusing to receive the brethren, prohibiting them that want to receive them, and casting the brethren out of the church. 11, 12. We are to do right regardless of all the persecutions Diotrephes and Satan can inflict on us. Demetrius is commended as a true saint in contrast with Diotrephes, the tyrant. 13-15. The apostle and patriarch sends friendly greeting to all his friends, with the hope of meeting them.

    APOLOGUE Perhaps none of the epistolary writings are so little understood as the Johanic, owing to his wonderful and perpetual emphasis of the agapee divine love, which is not brought out in the English translation. John makes the whole problem of salvation to hang on it. The English is so weak, not discriminating between the human and the divine, as to not only mar the beauty and detract from the force of the letter, but to render it very monotonous. I hope and pray that my exposition may be used by the Holy Spirit to enable us to grasp the wonderful depth and height of this beautiful epistle. The venerable patriarch, having leaned on the breast of Jesus in his youth, enjoyed the Pentecostal sanctification twenty-five years, talked with the glorified Savior on the Isle of Patmos, looking into the open panorama of celestial glory, enjoys a richness of Christian experience with an inundation of heavenly love extraordinary and transcendent, enjoying an insight into Christian experience doubtless beyond that of any other mortal. Over and over he rings heavenly bells on divine love, magnifying the Christhood and warning all against Antichrists and false prophets, holding the divine agapee , indigenous only in the heart of God, and poured out in the human by the Holy Ghost in regeneration, and made perfect when depravity, its irreconcilable enemy, is expurgated in entire sanctification. This love, like God, takes in its enemies as well as its friends, casts out fear, filling and thrilling the entire being with a sweetness and fragrance akin to heaven. Since the agapee is the divine nature, is it not perfect love? Certainly. But your heart is not perfect. The wheat is as pure grain in the stock as in the bin. Yet it is mixed with chaff, straw and cheat. You need the steam engine to clean you, making no intrinsic change, but a wonderful extrinsic, removing all the impediments to its profitable use. So the divine agapee is the tree of life, caught by conserving angels from the debris of the fall, preserved in heaven from the collapse of earth, brought back and planted by the Holy Ghost in the soil of the fallen soul in regeneration. Here in California we have nearly all the valuable fruit trees of the old world flourishing and bearing their delicious and valuable fruit. But much labor must be expended to purify the soil of its indigenous filth and fertilize it. I labored nineteen years after the heavenly tree was planted in my heart to purify my soul-soil. Fortuitously I read 1 Corinthians 3:9, “Ye are God’s farm.” Oh, what a surprise! I thought I was the farmer. I toss away my grub-ax, matlock, hoe and spade, and begin to shout. I know God wants a perfectly clean farm. Why these Spanish needles, cinch-bugs, thorns and briers? Since thou art the Farmer and I am the farm, I turn all over to the omnipotent Farmer. He breathes on the farm, and every obnoxious weed and bramble withers and dies, decomposing and enriching the soil. Twenty-eight years have rolled away, and oh, how wonderfully He has kept the farm clean! Satan comes round with his big bag of cockle briers and Spanish needles and many obnoxious seeds, sowing them over my fields, but the fires of perfect love burn them into ashes before they can reach the ground, the falling ashes constantly enriching my soul-soil. Glory to God for His transcendent grace, which has actually subordinated the devil till he has become a fertilizer of my soil! Romans 8:28. You can not have “all things” and leave the devil out.

    Therefore, in a most mysterious way the devil is made a great blessing to God’s true people. It is doubtful whether anything this side of heaven is more conducive to spiritual establishment than the terrible conflicts we have with the strong intellect of Satan. Oh, the transcendent glory of this wonderful salvation!


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