A pastor whose leadership and authority was being rejected wrote a letter to the church. He wrote to a friend in the church with some specific instructions. The letter talks about three men.
There was a man in this church who was being praised for his godly lifestyle. A second man was to be confronted because he was causing a division in the church. Yet there was a third man who was respected and highly regarded because of his testimony.
These three men reflect some of those people of all ages and gender who are found in what I call The Saddest Book in the Churches/Pastor’s library.
You may have read the above letter to which I refer. However, it is unlikely you have read the saddest book I’ve referenced.
The three men mentioned in the pastor’s letter represent some of the people in my book. Let’s take a look at these three men.
The first is Gaius. Then there is Diotrephes and lastly Demetrius.
I. Gaius was a spiritual and beloved church leader.
1. The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
2. Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
3. For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.
4. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
5. Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren,
6. and especially when they are strangers; and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.
7. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.
8. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.
The Apostle John appealed to Gaius to hear and receive his instructions.
The Apostle John aspired for Gaius to prosper and experience physical health equal to his soul’s prosperous health.
The Apostle John applauded Gaius for his stand on truth.
Gaius had a strong testimony among the believers in the church as a man who walked in truth.
Gaius invoked the joy of John the Apostle b/c of the Christian life he lived.
The Apostle John acknowledged Gaius for his benevolence.
Benevolent to traveling ministers
Benevolent in spite of church opposition.
II. Diotrephes was a divisive church leader.
9. I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.
10. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.
11. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
A divisive church leader is one of the most serious problems that ever confronts a church. When the church has within it’s ranks a divisive leader, the very life & ministry of the church are threatened.
Diotrephes loved recognition & the preeminence
Diotrephes rejected ministerial leadership
Diotrephes talked about, criticized, & censored the minister.
Diotrephes opposed those who supported the minister.
Diotrephes had to be disciplined.
diotrephes was not to be followed because he was evil.
A.T. Robertson shares a personal experience that is most interesting and one that should speak to all our hearts about how insidious the desire to be first can be.
‘He [Diotrephes] may have been an elder (bishop) deacon, but clearly desired to rule the whole church. Some forty years ago I wrote an article on Diotrephes for a denomination paper. The editor of the paper told me that twenty0five deacons stopped by the paper to show their resentment against being personally attacked in the paper.’ (Word pictures In The New Testament, Vol. 6, p. 263)
III. Demetrius was a godly church leader.
12. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.
Demetrius was a man of testimony.
Demetrius was a man of the truth.
Demetrius was a man highly esteemed by other church leaders.
13. I had many things to write to you,
14. but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.
15. Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name. (3 John 1:1-15 NASB)
The problem in the church was severe, so severe that John planned to visit the church.
He wishes them peace since this is the very thing Gaius and the church needed.
He sends them greetings from mutual friends. This let Gaius and the believers know they were not being rejected by other churches and believers.
He asks Gaius to greet his friends by name.