by Steven Chan
As we enter into a New Year, 2013, we wish all our readers what the apostle John wished for his beloved brother Gaius in 3 John 2-4:
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
1. The apostle John prayed for the prosperity of bro Gaius.
It is acceptable to pray that brethren may prosper in all things; not only in some things and not only in spiritual things.
However, we should take heed to the warning of God in Deut 8:16-18 that there will be occasions when “He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end—“and that we should be careful that in our prosperity, our hearts are not lifted up, “then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
2. The apostle John also prayed for the health of Gaius.
It is acceptable to pray that one be in good health – and trusting and revering God are keys to good health as counselled by the wise King Solomon in Prov 3:5-8; 4:20-22:-
”Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones…My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”
3. Prosperity and Health should follow the Prosperity of the Soul.
The prosperity of the soul is paramount. Jesus asked in Mark 8:36-37: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” In Luke 12:21, Jesus warned of the futility of one “who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 1 Tim 6:7: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” Consider the fate of the rich in Psa 49:16-17: “when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased… when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him.”
To the complacent and lukewarm brethren at the church at Laodecia, our Lord said in Rev 3:17: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—“ What is the state of your spiritual health?
4.There is no greater joy than “hearing that my children walk in truth”.
What makes you incredibly happy or joyful?
To the apostle John, there is no greater joy – nothing beats it – than to hear that those whom he had taught the gospel (children in the gospel) are still faithfully walking in the truth. Needless to say, the same feeling would also be felt by parents to hear that their children in the flesh are also faithfully walking in the truth.
May we do all we can to help our children (both in the flesh and in the gospel) walk faithfully in the truth – meaning not just that they have been baptized but also living in accordance with the truth of the Word of God.
The apostle John rejoiced to hear of the love demonstrated when Gaius extended his hospitality to visiting brethren and also his provision of financial support for the travelling preachers:
3 John 5-8: “Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 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, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.”
How have we treated our visiting brethren and preachers? Have we received them and sent them forward in a manner worthy of God? Please note that there is a manner of receiving and sending that is worthy of God – and by implication, one that is not worthy of God. Do we care how we treat our visiting brethren and preachers?
5. Who do we have as our role model in the New Year?
There was a time when Elvis Presley was such a role model that many had hairstyle similar to his. Many have role models who lead ungodly lives such as being homosexuals or having been married and divorced multiple times without regard whatsoever to whether God approves of such relationships.
Do we model our lives after men and women that are not godly?
The apostle John counselled thus in 3 John 11-12: “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.”
Do we imitate the lifestyle of those who do evil and who do not do good?
As we begin the New Year, may we all imitate what is good – and avoid imitating or promoting that which is evil. Let’s not imitate what is evil (on the excuse that everyone is doing the same thing) or the lifestyle of those who do evil.
Brethren, as we begin the New Year, let us remember what the Psalmist penned in Psalms 90:10-12:
“The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Yes, indeed, our lease of life will “soon be cut off and we fly away” and so we need to number our days that we may learn to act wisely in the remaining days of our lives.
May we have a New Year to imitate what is good and do that which glorifies our Lord.
We wish all our readers every spiritual blessing in Christ and may we continue to receive His grace and mercy all the days our lives.