October 17 2021
Today, Sunday October 17
Extra Grace Required
3 John 1:9-11 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
The Apostle John mentions three men by name in this letter. Two of them were wonderfully good men who were a blessing and encouragement to the church but the third one was a trouble maker and was causing strife and contention in the church. Thank God, that for every negative and discouraging person in the church there are more that are positive and helpful! But for sure, the devil makes sure that there will be opposition to anything that is of God and good and we need to understand and realize this.
One of the most discouraging things, especially for a young pastor or believer, is to encounter a “Diotrephes”. They will show up in every church or fellowship sooner or later. When you read all the epistles that the disciples and Apostles of Christ wrote to both the churches and individuals, you will notice that in almost every one of them, they deal with these implants of Satan.
Paul wrote about them in 2 Corinthians 11:12-15. “But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
Read what Paul said carefully as he describes the characteristics of these “Diotrephes”. He called them “false apostles, and deceitful workers”. They had a position of authority and leadership and also were very involved as “workers” in the church. In other words, on the surface and on the outside they were very impressive and looked good. Paul said that they “transform themselves into ministers of righteousness”. This means that they appear to be doing the right things as they so willingly served in the church.
But it doesn’t take long for their true character and motives to be revealed. You will notice that they start being negative about the ministry or leadership or of anyone else who might threaten their position of authority. They especially get jealous of anyone who gets more attention than they are getting. I can tell you from experience, when they are in a meeting or even in the room, you will feel a tension that you can’t even explain.
I’m sorry if your church or ministry is having to deal with such a person at this time. For sure it will require extra grace! But always remember, the Lord is the head of every church and He will eventually, in His sovereign and providential way, expose these “Diotrephes”.
So keep your eyes upon Jesus and let the disruptions that “Diotrephes” brings into your life or ministry draw you and the rest of your fellowship closer to the Lord!