Diotrephes—Of him, even a little is too much!

Diotrephes—Of him, even a little is too much!

(3 John)

Until you meet your own personal Diotrephes you may never know the level of loyalty their personalities engender.I met mine in my earliest days of preaching. A man that I doubt is still alive. He was your typical church bully. He divided the church and eventually ran what was left into the ground. To talk to his supporters, you would think that everything was all someone else’s fault, but none of his. But like all those caught in a spiritual abuse cycle, they couldn’t see it for not wanting to. May God have mercy on his soul.In the small epistle of Third John, the apostle John wrote to Gaius directly. It seems that his first letter to the congregation was intercepted by Diotrephes. According to John’s description of Diotrephes, he had all the traits that any self-appointed church dictator eventually displays: 1. ‘He loves to be first’ (v.9). 2. He ‘will have nothing to do with us’—that is, the apostle John and anyone John sends according to his apostolic authority (v.9). 3. He was ‘gossiping maliciously’ about John and his workers (v.10). This was a simple tactic to discredit John’s authority by attacking his character. 4. ‘He refuses to welcome the brothers’ (v.10). These evangelists spread the gospel from place to place. The churches relied on them for teaching, growth, and encouragement. The evangelists relied on the churches to welcome them (offer hospitality) and send them on their way with help according to their need, and the churches ability. 5. Diotrephes not only refused to give hospitality to these evangelists, he forbade the members from doing so, and even disfellowshipped those members who did so (v.10). 6. John called all that was of Diotrephes ‘evil’ and not to be ‘imitated’ as ‘good.’ He was ‘not from God,’ because he didn’t do anything ‘good.’ In fact, he had ‘not seen God’ (v.11).Because Diotrephes was preventing anyone from challenging or contradicting him, John was sending notice to everyone in the congregation, through Gaius, that he would be coming in person ‘to call attention to what he is doing’ (v.9). Everybody has a little bit of Diotrephes within them. May God help us to see it, lest it destroy His church, and God destroy us (1Cor.3:17). johnstaiger1@gmail.com


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