I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. ~3 John 1:9
Yesterday’s devotion was about a Christian who was well-beloved. This morning’s devotion is about a Christian who is the complete opposite of what Gaius was. His name characterizes a believer in the church who is dangerous to the health of the church. This morning, we want to be well-cautioned about what happens to a Christian who is not walking in the Spirit and who winds up breaking the heart of his pastor and fellow church members.
We see a Christian who is controlling.
The first thing that John says of this man is that he “loveth to have the preeminence among them.” He was a man who had a very controlling and intimidating personality. He had the first and last word in everything. His words and actions made it very clear that he was the boss. He could have been a “head deacon” or a “tribal leader.” In short, this man was a church bully who walked over others, including the pastor and other servants of God.
We see a Christian who is conceited.
Controlling individuals are proud, arrogant, and puffed up. Like Satan, he exalted himself. He saw the ministries that he was involved in as his ministries and gave them attention over other ministries. He made the numbers make him look good. He took credit for everything good that was done. He manipulated others to accomplish his goals in the church. Pride is always the underlying sin problem in any Christian who is in conflict with the pastor and direction of the church.
We see a Christian who is critical.
John said that this man was “prating against [them] with malicious words.” He possessed a hypercritical spirit against spiritual leadership, preachers, and men of God who did not see things his way. He was a very contentious and divisive individual. A critical spirit is like cancer. It spreads and causes damage to the body. It spares no one who gets in its path. This kind of spirit is undermining and disrespectful of the good of the church. A critical spirit is highly infectious and destroys those who are infected by it.
We see a Christian who is carnal.
This man was carnal and fleshly. Paul described carnal believers as having “envying, and strife, and divisions” (1 Corinthians 3:3). John describes the evil carnality of this man as “not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” He did not receive John. He ran good people off. He made those who were extended hospitality know that he did not welcome them. He usurped pastoral authority and forbade church members from exercising hospitality. He intimidated good church members or visiting preachers to leave the church. When a Christian is fleshly, all the works of the flesh are visibly evident and no one is spared from the carnage of its wrath.
We see a Christian who must be confronted.
John said, “Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds….” The only cure for a church with a Diotrephes is for the church to confront him. He must be told to stop and repent of his sin. If he does not, the church must follow Matthew 18 and exercise church discipline.
Bible Reading Schedule: Ezekiel 46-48