"Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth." NIV translation
Gaius was faithful to show hospitality to the travelling evangelists even with his health problems. The reports of his love had gotten back to the church and, as we shall see, that caused some problems. John reassures Gaius that he is doing what Jesus would do and that, in fact, all believers should be working together for the sharing of the gospel. The same is true for us, today, in that we should all be working together to share the light of Jesus with this dark world.
"I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us." NIV translation
The source of the problems in this local body was the ego of this church leader named Diotrephes. He would not let others share the Word and put out of the "church" those that helped the travelling evangelists. In short, this man wanted to be a "rock star" preacher. It became about him instead of saving the lost and, sadly, many leaders fall into that trap even today.
"So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church." NIV translation
John assures Gaius that, when he comes, he is going to deal with Diotrephes. In the previous verse we saw the root of the problems which was the pride of Diotrephes. Now, we see the effects of that sin in the way he treated brothers in Christ who were trying to share the gospel. Gossiping is talking about someone when they are not present and it does not matter whether what is said is the truth or not. I have seen it disguised as prayer and even saw leaders who said it was ok as long as you were saying something that you believed was true. His pride would not allow him to work with others for the common purpose of sharing the gospel and he would not tolerate anyone in his flock doing so. There is much of that going on today as well in that many "pastors" set up their own little "church" where they can be a star and will gossip and do whatever is necessary to ensure the spotlight is on them and what their little "church" is doing.