We Ought to Support

Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth” (3 John 8).

- 3 John 5–8

Shortly before He ascended into heaven, the Lord Jesus revealed that though He had accomplished redemption, the work of His people was not yet finished. Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18–20) remains in force until He returns in glory.

When we think of the Great Commission, the work of missionaries and evangelists usually comes to mind. This is because we often believe that those of us who are not engaged in full-time evangelistic work cannot play an important role in fulfilling Jesus’ command. Today’s passage shows us this is manifestly not the case.

Having commended Gaius for walking in the truth in all areas of his life, John takes the opportunity to commend Gaius for a specific instance of practicing true Christianity. Gaius has been making efforts on behalf of those who “have gone out for the sake of the name,” and John encourages him to continue doing so (3 John 5–7). His efforts to support the missionary enterprise of the church are a sign of his faithfulness and love, and John encourages him to continue providing for teachers and missionaries.

We learn several things from these verses. First, it is praiseworthy when we provide hospitality to those on the front lines of ministry, even if they are strangers to us (v. 5). Those who share the orthodox faith deserve our support even if they are not well-known to us.

In Gaius’ case, support for missionaries would have included giving them a place to stay, providing money for food and other necessities, and generally helping to ease their travel. Moreover, John tells him to continue caring for them in a “manner worthy of God” (v. 6). Though we are to be wary of those who would take advantage of us, it is not necessary for full-time ministers to live like paupers. The church should be generous with its support.

Finally, 3 John 8 states that “we” ought to do likewise. Even those of us who cannot go overseas or work in the church full-time can obey the Great Commission by providing financial and prayer support for those in full-time ministry. In doing so we become “fellow workers for the truth” and so fulfill Jesus’ mission for the church.

Coram Deo

Those who pray and offer financial support to missionaries and other full-time Christian workers are vital to carrying out the Great Commission. When we pray for and give money to Christian service, we play a role as important as that of the missionary, teacher, or evangelist. Take some time to evaluate the different ministry needs of which you are aware. Consider praying for and giving money to an individual, church, or organization that is serving the Lord.

Passages for Further Study

Num. 18
2 Chron. 31
Luke 10:1–12
1 Tim. 5:17–18

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred (where applicable). If no such link exists, simply link to www.ligonier.org.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343