3 John 9–14 (NKJV)
John moves from his previous discussion of prosperity and the need for benevolence to this discussion of troublemakers in the church.
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.
11 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.
12 Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.
John names one who has given the elders a hard time, Diotrephes. He loves to be important among the believers, seeking preeminence among them. Diotrephes does not receive John and the elder plans to address his resistance when he comes to the church in Gaius community. Diotrephes’ malicious treatment of the elder John will be called into question in a meeting for church discipline. This miscreant also refuses to receive the brethren, and forbids those who do, putting them out of the church. His terrible treatment of leaders is an example not to be followed. John instructs the believers to not imitate this evil, but instead imitate what is good. Those who do good are of God, and those have a true testimony. Those who do not do good, and do evil, have not seen God, nor have a relationship with Him. John and the other leaders (elders) identified Demetrius as having a good testimony from the believers, and according to the standard of the word of truth. Their assessment and endorsement establish his good reputation.
13 I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face.
Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.
John ends this letter with a farewell similar to the second letter to the elect lady, stating that he prefers not to write any more with pen and ink, but rather desires to come to Gaius shortly and speak face to face. He leaves Gaius with a blessing of grace and peace, and and the greeting of others brothers in the faith. He calls on the readers to greet his friends by name. This type of letter is a notice to the offending members in the church that John will come and offer discipline in the church. If leaders do not lead, then the church operates in chaos. When leaders lead, however, there is order and right living. Pastors should lead their congregations with love and truth, calling out sin and loving individuals back into right faith. Members should submit to good pastors who offer good guidance, and not resist when a leader leads. So, pastors, lead well, and members, follow well. This is how the church moves forward.