Imitate what is from God
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true. 3 John 11-12 NLT
From the text, John continues to appeal to Gaius encouraging him to “imitate [not] what is evil but imitate good.” John is not saying that Gaius is following the example of Diotrephes. Rather, he is stressing the last part of his exhortation: “imitate … what is good” and not evil. After mentioning the evil deeds of Diotrephes, John now introduces Demetrius, who “has received a good testimony from everyone.” This person, then, is well known and needs no further introduction. Although the original readers of John’s epistle knew him well, we have no further information beyond that which John gives in verse 12. John mentions Demetrius because of the good report that circulates about him among the people in the congregation. Note that three times John states the same thing: everyone speaks well of Demetrius, the truth speaks well of him, and John himself speaks well of him. Demetrius was a person who had gained the trust of the Christian community at large. What was said about him and what particular work he performed is not known yet, we can infer that Demetrius lived according to the mandates of God’s Word so that his life showed clear evidence of the truth. “Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth” (1 John 2:8). Like Gaius, Demetrius walked in the truth and in obedience to the Word of God. This does not mean that either of these men was perfect, but their lives show that they were consistent in seeking to honor the Lord. John was not ashamed to mention about Demetrius for this is the kind of person that can set a good example. Demetrius and Gaius are the kind of men who would support the truth and submit themselves to authentic spiritual authority. Because they had shown that they are imitators of God and lived by God’s Word, they could safely be imitated by other believers. Our character and behavior provide evidences of our relationship with God or the lack of it. Let us therefore be imitators of what is from God and not from the things of this world. Let us also consider the importance of knowing that somebody can learn from our good example.