Monday, June 23, 2008

Diotrephes - Church Troublemaker

"I wrote unto the church, but Diotrephes, WHO LOVETH TO HAVE THE PREEMINENCE AMONG THEM, receiveth them not."
III John v.9

One of the harsh realities of being in the ministry is that troublemakers show up in churches and mess up good people. Church leaders have the task of dealing with these folk to protect the flock from false doctrine, gossip-mongers and power-hungry controllers. The faint in heart need not apply for church leadership.

This of course is not some new phenomena. It has always existed. It was in the ministry of Jesus Christ, in the early church in the book of Acts, it followed the apostle Paul, the apostle John, and a young pastor named Timothy.

For the apostle John, a man named Diotrephes was his nemesis; a trouble maker in the church. He wanted to have the preeminence among the flock, and attempted to elevate himself by discrediting John. Verse 10 seems to imply that Diotrephes attacked John by spreading false accusations against him, and did this when John was away (what a coward - but then that's how they operate). Diotrephes would not even receive other brethren into the church who were favorable to John.

I like John’s response. He says, (v.10), “Wherefore, if I come, I WILL REMEMBER HIS DEEDS which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words…” John was not interested in sweeping it under the rug. He wasn’t going to avoid it. He was going to call this man into account and administer some Biblical correction. And this was coming from John, the one known as the “apostle of love.”

John indicated that he planned to visit this congregation soon and was going to CALL ATTENTION to the misdeeds of Diotrephes. If any in the congregation were not fully aware of what this man was doing, they would SOON FIND OUT, for JOHN PLANNED TO TELL THEM!

People like Diotrephes tend to be secretive in their dealings. They have secret meetings, and backroom conversations to gather support. They hide in the shadows. They don’t want the light shined upon them; it would expose them for who and what they really are.

John intended to do just that.