Google+ 01/07/13 Demetrius is Here!

3 John 1:9-12

 

I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader,

Refuses to have anything to do with us.

When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us.

Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them.

And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good.

Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children,

And those who do evil prove that they do not know God.

Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself.

We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth. 

 

3 John is a very short epistle written by John, the fisherman disciple.  In my King James Bible, the entire writing is less than one page.  One might determine that because of its length, it is of no importance.  Don't make this mistake!  In our Scripture today, John is writing to Gaius.  Because Gaius is a very common name in the later part of the first century, we are not sure exactly which "Gaius" is being addressed here.  That probably is another one of those points that simply is unimportant to the Scripture message from John.  It is enough to say that Gaius is John's friend, and Gaius' steadfast and faithful service is extremely important to John.  John is particularly appreciative of Gaius' service to both strangers and missionaries of the day.  John is also very concerned about the apparent lack of devotion to God of the "leader" of the church, named Diotrephes.  Diotrephes seems to have his own "agenda" which is out of fellowship with God.  John tells us that Diotrephes' actions prove this fact.  Diotrephes seems to always be claiming he is following God, but proving to everyone, by his actions, that he doesn't even know God.   The final "nail in the coffin" from John about Diotrephes is that "traveling teachers" are not welcomed, but turned away.  It seems that not only does Diotrephes turn them away, he also "poisons" others against helping or listening to them, with his words and actions.  If anyone dares to be a Christian  and help any of these "teachers" who are preaching God's word, Diotrephes removes them from the church.  John closes our Scripture today by reminding Gaius not to be influenced by this evil example.  John speaks of Demetrius, who is one that has been turned away by Diotrephes.  John tells Gaius that when he arrives to see him, he will prove the worth of Demetrius and that everyone will know the truth.  Wow, there is so much to learn from John in this short passage of Scripture.  Please be reminded that if you are following God, you "prove" or "disprove" this fact every day.  Your actions, your priorities, and your activities speak God's truth or lack of it.  When you encounter ministers, church officers, congregation members, or others that "profess" Christ, but their repeated actions, priorities, and activities do not reflect that, John explains exactly what is going on.  John says that all who do evil, don't know God.  I didn't make that up!  That is why when we look at people who exhibit this fluctuating behavior, we get mixed messages.  Let me make this next point crystal clear.  We are not judging anyone here.  We are expecting that those who claim Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, will act like it.  We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God.  That is not what John or I are speaking about.  What we are talking about is people who consistently say one thing and do another.  While this is a major problem with any Christian, it is devastating when these characteristics are found in church leadership as John identifies today.  The result of these "leadership actions or inactions" is worse because of the positions and titles that these confused people hold.  John says in order for people like Diotrephes to protect "the church status quo or their private agendas,"  people who are trying to teach and follow Jesus are simply removed from the church.  There are many ways to remove people from the fellowship.  The easiest way in today's church is just to exclude them and talk behind their backs.  Today, I want you to examine yourself and your local New Testament Church.  Do you have any "Diotrepheses" in your midst?  If so, are you ignoring their evil example and listening to "Demetrius?"   Don't be confounded.  Don't be "led astray."  Use the Scripture to discern what is a good and Christ-like example.  Let your life "prove" your faith in God.  Don't listen to idle gossip, particularly in the temple where most of it originates!  It is the single biggest reason that new Christians don't come back to church.  They don't like the gossip.  They hear enough of that in the world, and expect more from a gathering of people who profess to be Christians.   Make sure to welcome Demetrius.  God has sent him to speak to you!  Demetrius will clear up the confounding.  Open the door and let him in!