PETTINESS IN THE CHURCH

Scripture Reading: III John 9-15

“I have written something to the church , but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.” (III John 9,10)

The Apostle John wrote this letter to a member of one of his churches whose name was Gaius. John commended Gaius after receiving a report about him — “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (vs. 3,4).

In stark contrast to Gaius was another member of the church whose name was Diotrephes. Gaius was walking in the truth, while Diotrephes was being a problem in the church. It is easy to identify the real issue with Diotrephes by the words John wrote about him — “who likes to put himself first.” Diotrephes was a self-centered and self-ambitious person. He rejected the authority of the apostles and wanted to control the church. He was suspect of the leadership of the church and refused to submit himself to authority. He talked nonsense among the other members of the church and even refused to be hospitable to the traveling missionaries who had visited the church.

Unfortunately, there are people in our churches today who are like Diotrephes — self-centered, self-ambitious, petty, suspect of the leaders of the church and resistant to authority. Such people hinder the effectiveness of the ministry of the church. They create division and unrest. It is hard to understand such people. They profess their faith but they are not walking in the truth.

John summed up the matter with these words to Gaius and the other members of the church — “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God” (v. 11).

Lord Jesus, protect Your church from people who create division and strife. Bless the leaders of the church who are charged to give spiritual oversight to those under their care. Give them wisdom when they have to deal with some of the pettiness in the church. Raise up more people like Gaius who are walking in the truth.

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