3 John 9 – 11

The Center of Attention

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Ever been around someone who can’t stand to be second or who always wants to be the center of attention? The Apostle John, the one Jesus loved wrote about such a person, named Diotrophes. Here’s what John writes:

“I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 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. 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.” (3 John 9-11)

Take a minute to reflect on this brief passage.

  1. How have you seen the Diotrophes effect played out in churches or ministries?
  2. Imagine the Apostle John coming to your church or ministry. Would he be allowed to speak? Why or why not?
  3. How does this passage impact you?

Maranatha (Come, Lord Jesus)
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What Motivates False Leaders?

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False leaders have a variety of sinful motives. They may:

  • Want to do the deeds of the devil. (Jn. 8:41-44)
  • Want to gain power by controlling people. (3 Jn. 9-11)
  • Seek to undermine the authority of Scriptures and the Lord’s true servants. (Phil. 1:15-17; 2 Pt. 3:16)
  • Seek praise and honor from people. (Matt. 23:5-7; Jn. 12:42-43; Gal. 1:10)
  • Seek personal financial gain. (Jn. 12:4-8; 2 Pt. 2:3; 2 Pt. 2:12-16)
  • Promote their fleshly lifestyles. (2 Pt. 2:17-22)
  • Promote their own teaching. (1 Tim. 1:3-7)

A false leader’s motives, with time and discernment, will become obvious. Observe the fruit of their words, life or ministry to discern their motives. (Matt. 7:15-20; Matt. 12:33-37; Gal. 5:19-25; 1 Tim. 5:24)

Take a moment for reflection or discussion:

1. How have I discerned motives of others in the past?
2. How can the principle of “observing fruit” assist me in discerning motives of false leaders?
3. If fruit reveals motives, what motives does the fruit of my life reveal?​

Maranatha,
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A Tale of Two Leaders: Diotrephes and Timothy

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I am saddened every time I think about Diotrephes. He was a man we would all recognize – ambitious, driven, in charge, domineering, and commanding attention. He thought he had it all together. He thought he had God’s favor because his ministry was large and growing. He was a prominent leader.

Read 3 John 9-11. Diotrephes was driven to be first – so much so that he didn’t want anything to do with the apostle John. Can you imagine that? Diotrephes wanted to be the star. He wanted the spotlight – the focus of attention. John was a challenge, a threat.

Take a moment to compare and contrast Diotrephes with the ministry leaders and pastors in your part of the world.

What Diotrephes did feels right to our flesh. It seems so natural. A leader can look wildly successful yet have Diotrephes’s heart.

Now contrast that with what Paul says about Timothy in Philippians 2:19-21.

What is the difference between Diotrephes and Timothy? One operates in the flesh building his own empire. The other operates in the Spirit, counting others as more important than himself.

Take a minute to consider. In our day, which one of these would be more esteemed? Many would say Diotrephes because of his strong leadership. In Jesus’s eyes which one will be rewarded?

More on this next week.

Maranatha,

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