3 John 1-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
Greeting to Gaius
1 The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Gaius Commended for Generosity
5 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers,
6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well,
7 because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.
8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.
Would you like to proper? Be much better off?
--Maybe out of debt? Things going real well?
--Let God prosper you, every way, as only God can.
--The Lord has many ways to bless - more than money!
--Remember Amaziah, "as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper" (II Chronicles 26:5). God can!
John writes, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper."
--How, John? "In all things, and be in health, just as your sould prospers" (III John 2). Every way!
--A good prayer for us. For others. Everyone.
--To prosper spiritually, physically, financially as well as relationally - that is, "in all things."
John wrote this to a friend, Gaius, a fine Christian.
--A convert of his, one of "my children" (v 4).
--Calls him "beloved" four times (v 1, 2, 5, 11).
--Gaius has opened his home to host missionaries and provide a meeting place for the whole church.
--"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (v 4). Known for his godliness.
--That is, in Jesus, "the Way, the Truth, and Life," as Jesus declares in John 14:6. Indeed, He is!
Isn't it wonderful God can prosper us in many ways.
--In Genesis 39 we read of Joseph, purchased as just a slave, employed as a servant, blessed of God for "The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man .. and the Lord made all he did to prosper."
--Like young Daniel, God spared from a "lion's den."
--Like the Apostle Paul, who had a "prosperous journey" to Rome - God brought him through a storm!
God prospers us in many gracious ways - godly parents, grandparents, loved ones, friends, education, job.
--Keeping one from temptation. And from trouble.
--Leading us to fall in love with the right one, and a happy marriage blessed of God. Be worthy of it.
--To have His gift of salvation, and little children.
--These are the "riches to set your heart on" (Psalm 62).
--Yet money is not evil, but "the love of money."
How may God prosper us? May I share some thoughts?
I. IF WE WOULD PROSPER, WE SHOULD USE ALL MEANS.
--Involve all the family, possible, in it. And God.
--How do we do this? As the Apostle John did, pray.
--"I pray that you may prosper." Begin in prayer.
--Prayer begins with our repentance of sin, and asking Jesus to come into our hearts, as Savior.
--To be Lord of our life, and family, in all things.
--That we may "prosper in all things, be in health."
--To seek God's guidance, and wise family counsel.
Not insisting on our way, or doing things a wrong way.
--Have some kind of budget. Keep good records.
--Don't be wasteful. Live best you can on income.
--Avoid gambling or playing the lottery - most lose!
--Movie star Mickey Rooney said, "As a teenager, in school, I lost a dollar gambling - but I've spent a million dollars trying to get that dollar back!"
--Gambling is unwise. Doesn't pay. Is costly.
Beware of getting deep in debt with credit cards.
--The interest, and other costly fees, can rob us.
--Try to use them to the extent you can pay monthly.
--Let God lead us to pray before extra large expense.
--If you can use coupons in the store - they'll save lots.
Try to save a little each pay - for a rainy day.
--Invest wisely and safely. Get good, wise advice.
--You get the idea - to prosper, Jesus can help us.
II. IF WE WOULD GAIN, WE MUST GIVE, FOR GOD'S WORK.
--The God Who gives to man, blesses the man or woman who give to God. That is, tithes and offerings.
--After first of all giving the Lord ourself.
--Giving Him also our faithful worship, and service.
--And part of all this is giving a tithe, a tenth of our income to the work of the Lord, His Word says.
--The Lord is "The Giver of every good and perfect gift" (James 1:17). Thank the Lord with our gifts.
God is a Giver! To show what He is like, God gave us His "only begotten Son .. that we should not perish.
Jesus gave Himself, on a cross. Blesses all givers.
--I know people whose giving brought God's blessing.
--They had ability to earn more, and to give more.
--One is R.G. LeTourneau and his wife - speakers in our churches in MI and WV, and guests in our home.
--He made God his partner in business. He prospered.
--Soon was giving not 10%, but 90% for God!
--Founded LeTourneau University, in Longview, TX.
--They were real soul-winners, for the Lord Jesus.
--Mrs. LeTourneau was the American Mother nationally one year, and went over the nation, speaking.
--There are many others of generous hearts who could be named, including saints with little who gave so much. God bless them everyone! Be among them!
The Jordan flows in and out of the Sea of Galilee.
--The Galilee Sea receives but gives. It has life.
--The Jordan flows on to the Dead Sea.
--The Dead Sea keeps it all - nothing goes out.
--There is no life at all in it - it's the Dead Sea.
--God uses this principle in the way you and I give!
We have been given so much - by God, parents, teachers, others - let's share it, in a life well-lived.
--It is indeed, not what we get, but is what we give that is the measure of the life we live.
--So, if we would gain, we must give .. to God.
III. GOD HAS WORK FOR MONEY, OR MONEY WORK FOR US.
--Unless one is on welfare, or unable to work, everyone either works for money, or money works for us.
--This requires stewardship that includes saving for a rainy day - parents and schools teach us this.
--Pay yourself a little each pay to save, if we can.
--That way, in time, this money will work for us.
Remember Jesus' words, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). Try it. It works.
--This includes tithing. It also includes saving.
--It is living within our means - facing tomorrows.
Friend, we must do our part, wisely and properly.
--Not a slacker, or living like the Joneses - beyond our means - and get deeper and deeper in debt.
--A good steward learns how to manage money and life.
--You want to have plenty? Obey the Lord Jesus!
--"Know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."
--Circle this verse in II Corinthians 8:9.
IV. GOD PROSPERS HIS OWN, WHO FULLY TRUST IN HIM.
--He has many ways to prosper His redeemed people.
--Even in tough times - they will come! - He doesn't leave us; but is ever so near, to help.
--Our part is to follow the Lord. Trust in Him.
--Farmers have great faith. They plant the seeds.
--Not knowing if they will get rain, or a crop.
--But they trust in the Lord. They cultivate, wait.
--In time, God rewards their faith with a harvest!
God took care of Israel in the desert all those forty long years of wanderings, with food, and water.
--He had heavenly manna every morning - just enough.
--He kept their shoes and clothes from wearing out.
--Took them over the Red Sea, the Jordan, on dry land!
--Teaching them - and us - to trust and obey Him.
God prospered Gaius in many wonderful ways, but says, "If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them" (Psalm 62:10).
--Jesus said, "It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:23). Why so?
--Because often their gold becomes their god.
--So "Better is a little with the fear of the Lord - than great treasure with trouble" (Proverbs 15:16).
Of course prosperous people can be saved - as anyone else - who receive the Lord Jesus as Savior.
--Many prosperous people, like Gaius, are converted.
--And, "Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith .. He promised to those who love Him?" (James 2:5).
--Rich, poor, and all in between need come to Christ.
--"That you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (III John 2).
Dr. Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 885