I know a man who sits on the back row of a church who continually makes life difficult for the Pastor. He is influential as he used to be a leader himself. He looks very spiritual and holy, charismatic and he knows the Bible more than most. But he seems to reject everything that is presented, he opposes all the initiatives that the Pastor beings, he talks through the sermons correcting things he does t agree with. I know a few like him. And here in this the start of our reading of the 3rd letter of John I call them Diotrephes people. Let’s read 10 verses which we will explore over the next few days.
“The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth. I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.”
3 John 1:1-10
Diostrophes rejected John’s letter (v9); rejected the messengers from John (v10); and rejected the supporters of John also (v10). Diotrophes people are brilliant at rejecting!
But then there are Gaius type people. They are courageous in the circumstance of disloyalty.
I have been helping a church in Africa this year because their Elim Pastor (a Diotrophes) wanted to take his church out of the denomination, go independent and keep the building. He spent several months denouncing his roots and his own leaders and told his people they must also do the same. In confusion members began to walk away but then he publicly denounced them too telling the rest of the church not to have anything to do with those who walk away. He told them to reject them completely. In the end more walked away. In January I met this group as they came together for the first time. They had simply crossed the road and set up a make shift covering on poles and with their elders met for a worship service for the first time. They were battered and bruised spiritually. It felt like they were sheep without a shepherd, the service was filled with tears and wailing. But then came the move of God. He came with healing for their soul. It was a privilege to see God move on them. These courageous people are now under the care of a good shepherd and I am helping them the best I can. These people are Gaius people. It takes courage to stand in the face of disloyalty. Sometimes it is courageous to walk away from such people. They were once part of your life but you no longer let them ruin you anymore.