This way of beginning letters seems so much more sensible than the way we use, which is to only tell the recipient the letter's origin at the end of the message! When I was at Primary school in London, there were four other boys called David just in my class! Gaius was a very common name in the world of the New Testament. We can read of at least three men called by that name, one in particular was known for his hospitality and was one of the first baptized by Paul- 1 Corinthians 1 v 14. I think it is good to emphasise at this point that the tone of all three of John's letters is loving. Here he terms Gaius as 'my beloved' and he uses this phrase at least ten times in these very short letters. However, when we have studied them we have recognised they contain warnings and rebukes and this tells us that we can do this with love and out of a spirit of love, of wanting the very best for those we write to and meet with. And John, like Jesus, was interested not only in their spiritual welfare, but also their physical health too. I didn't know what it was like to be leading a church until I started doing it. It has been far different than I've expected, both more glorious and more heart-rending. I have had to transform myself into a positive, encouraging person, rather than the slightly distrusting, cynical Londoner that I was. I have got to know so many people and walked with them through the joys and deep sorrows of life and I have met with some of you when you have been at your lowest ebb and I have been so thankful that you have trusted me to be open and honest with me. As John writes here, nothing gives me greater joy than to hear news of those who attend Bearfield, the Mustard Seed, Wrington Chapel, even Gunnersbury, who are walking in the Truth and growing closer to God, the centre of all our beings. This Truth is not simply something to be intellectually assimilated, but which fills our minds and clothes our lives with love. The Truth is what makes people think and act like God.
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