Tag: Diotrephes loves to be first
Scripture reading for December 22nd: 3rd John
The shortest book of the New Testament was also written by John and addressed to his friend Gaius. This pastor and apostle loved to encourage and correct his people, preparing them for the coming of the Lord. He desired their prosperity and health in spirit, soul, and body. He knew that the key to this health was a prospering soul that walked in love and truth, and he prayed accordingly. (3 John 2)
John had great joy to hear of the faithfulness of Gaius to walk in the truth. In fact, no greater joy could be found by him than to hear of his children in the faith walking in truth. John encouraged Gaius to show hospitality to those who went out to preach the Gospel. Hospitality is love in action toward those who love the truth. It meets the needs that are there, providing what one has to be used to bless others.
Not everyone in the church was such a good example. “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 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 brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.” (3rd John 9-10) Pride and love of position blinds people to truth. The devil can easily manipulate a prideful person because that was his own downfall! John promised to call attention to his evil deeds when he came in person. This person was also a leader in the church and was hindering the true work of God. We must be discerning about the character of those who lead. Those wanting to be first are not the ones to put in charge!
John closes with a commendation of Demetrius as a good example. He encourages Gaius to imitate what was good, not the evil example of Diotrephes. John would have much more to say in person when he came. We are all examples of one sort or another. Our lives and attitudes either reflect a relationship with Christ or we are living for the enemy of our soul. These examples were found inside the early church and remind us today to examine our own witness.