Welcome to Welling for your spiritual health and growth. A man went to the doctor to get his opinion. The doctor said, “You are not very well. You are very sick.” The patient did not like the doctor’s analyses and diagnoses, so with the degree of pride said to the doctor, “Can I get a second opinion?” And the doctor said, “Of course you can, you’re not very smart either.”
You see, the patient wanted a doctor who would tell him what he wanted to hear, and that’s how we don’t like God’s insight, God’s opinion about us, His diagnoses about the human situation and how it needs to be addressed. And we want a second opinion. But with God, you don’t need a second opinion if He is omniscient. He knows everything and every opinion about everything.
We have been in 3 John, where the apostle John the elder makes a huge deep prayer more than a wish. Greeting, yes, but an inquiry and a blessing of Gaius, and He says, I pray that in every respect of life you will be well and that you will prosper. That your health will be well just as your soul already prospers.
Gaius was willing to walk according to God’s opinion, unlike the next person that the apostle John, the elder, speaks a little later. He says, about a man Diotrephes who loved to be first among everybody.
He does not accept what the elder says. He does not accept what God says, and so Diotrephes was a source of conflict in the church. He would maliciously put people down. He would not walk according to the truth or walk according to the love that was needed in welcoming other brothers.
He cost a compromise of truth and a conflict in the church. He did not accept what God said. He wanted to be his own authority. Unlike Gaius, Gaius accepted what the Lord said, what the elder said. No wonder the elder wished him the best with blessing and prayer. Here’s how Gaius was healthy already in her soul, which spilled out on the outside of his life. Both in his communication of truth and his conduct in love. We’re going to call that love applied.
3 John says that people, brothers, even strangers bore witness to Gaius’ love before the church. You know how Gaius showed love? It was through his generosity and hospitality, welcoming truth workers, itinerant workers whom he did not even know. Bless them, gave to them, all for the cause of the truth and the name that they would be able to go out and spread the good news.
The name, of course, is the Lord Jesus. And these brothers and strangers could not receive help from those who didn’t know the name, the pagans. And so Gaius was working along with the workers for the sake of the truth, blessing them with love. Applied love in generosity and hospitality.
I’m not a hotel guy. I’ve traveled the world. I too have experienced this kind of love from God’s people. All over the world, people I’d never known before, people we’ll never get to meet again on this side of the Earth. Even though they come from economically impoverished situations, they will blessed me with hospitality, and we try to do a little bit for their lives.
I am so appreciative of that kind of applied love, and I want to live a life of applied love. But Gaius went into applied love because he wanted to apply truth. Truth applied. It says that Gaius was walking faithfully in a continuous way. Acting faithfully to what he knew was truth, serving the brothers and sisters.
The congregation beyond known and unknown. Applied truth. Those are the two hallmarks of well. Of being well, of doing well, applied love, applied truth. Not only in abstraction but in the concrete realities of need, of opportunity.
How is your application of love and truth coming? Where does it need to be more consistent? Dallas Theological Seminary where I’ve had the privilege of teaching for about 40 years has a motto which is powerful which says teach truth, love well
That’s a great summary of Gaius. Applied truth, applied love together make for well.