x537....Have You Ever Heard of Diotrephes?

1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.
(3 John 1:1-14, KJV).

Have you ever wondered why God put some things in the Bible? Have you ever read the Bible and gotten to some part and said to yourself--"I wonder what You were thinking when you included this information in the Bible--God?" The entire book of 3John is probably one of those areas of scripture. But God did not waste a word in the Bible!! In other Bible studies we have seen how important the salutations and endings of Bible books really are. Areas of scripture which say "greetings to Priscilla and Aquila"--etc.--thing that seem just personal--yet they are really telling of the operational structure of the church. For example--those greetings tell us how that the church was meeting in their homes...

19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
(1 Corinthians 16:19, KJV).

These seemingly useless salutations are showing us the specific structure and apostolic plan of the new testament church--home meetings--on a daily basis--in many areas--no rules about "all must attend"--rather the leading of God the Holy Spirit--in many many small groups of people--people who fed the poor--witnessed the Gospel--prayed for the sick and those in need of deliverance--and the free release, which was the operational plan of the apostolic church in the Bible.--The apostleship which all were given as part of their salvation--the "setting at liberty" (see Luke 4:18) for all to minister unto others and thus serve God directly--the "grace and apostleship" given to all at their conversion---(this again found in another "obscure" salutation)--

5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
(Romans 1:5, KJV).


So now let's look carefully at a part of the bible you may have skipped over before--3 John.

Have you ever heard of Diotrephes? Probably not. This book is the only reference to him. Who was he? Someone who....

" ...loveth to have the preeminence among them....."

The words translated as "loveth to have the preeminence" Are the Greek:

philoproteuo {fil-op-rote-yoo'-o} v

----- love to have the preeminence 1; 1

1) to aspire to pre-eminence, to desire to be first


Our buddy Diotrephes was someone who wanted to be first--who wanted to do specific things...

"........his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church."

He thought he had the right to speak against John and His fellow apostles (note John says "us" he was an apostle--just like everyone else he worked with others--not by himself!!).

Diotrephes also did not receive the brethren--and in fact thought he had the right to cast people out of the church.

It's pretty obvious that he thought he had all these rights --that he had the authority over others to do these things. Question: Does anyone in your church have these rights--to cast people out and speak against others?

But John is saying this exercising of authority over others within the church was evil......

11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

We probably don't read or study these parts of the Bible because they don't "fit" our church experience. The fact is that the church of the Bible operated on a common level....

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
(Acts 2:44, KJV).

And as Jesus had told them, they did not exercise authority one over another.....

25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
(Luke 22:25-26, KJV).

If our pal Diotrephes was not following after this command from Jesus--he was doing the opposite--he was exercising authority over others. The Bible says he wanted to be first--he desired to have preeminence--but he wasn't doing it the right way! Jesus said the greatest would be the servant of all--like His example--

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
(Matthew 20:25-28, KJV).

Diotrephes--a bad example--someone who exercised authority over others within the church!