Monday, March 23, 2009

The Age of Diotrephes

The apostle Paul told Timothy: "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivatae weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:1-7).

Does this not describe the age in which we live? We live in an age when people have deep love for themselves, yet are told they don't have enough of it (eg. self-esteem). We live in an age when people pursue wealth and material possessions at the cost of serving Christ. We live in an age when people call evil good (eg. homosexuality) and good evil (eg. saving the lives of the unborn). We live in an age when the church is filled with a lack of holy living, malicious gosspis, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. All this is undeniable. But we don't hear much about the Diotrepheses of the world.

The church today is full of such men. John describes him in his 3rd epistle:

"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" (3 John 9-10).

I have personally experienced such attacks at various points in our ministry. The stories some of these people have fabricated are false and they know it as I have never had the encounters with them that they have told people. I thought the shenanigans I experienced earlier in our ministry were but isolated incidents. But what is so amazing is the number of pastors I have spoken to in recent years who either have a Diotrephes in their church or have had one in their church. We live in an age when men desire the preeminence. This is nothing new of course. This is what Satan sought after when he was thrown from heaven with 1/3 of the angels.

These type of men will do whatever they can to hold their power and keep you from having any. If they have to fabricate stories and lie to discredit you or bring you down they will. If they have to twist Scripture to make it say what they want, they will. These are men who are ungodly, lovers of self, men as described in 2 Tim. 3:1-7, and men who are partners with the Devil in their deeds.

John in vs. 11 shows that this Diotrephes wasn't saved. I cannot say what the spiritual status of such men are, but John here wasn't afraid to say what the Lord makes of such people.

Men in the church, we are to be Demetriuses! He is mentioned in vs. 12 as having a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth iteslf. We are to be men of truth, men of God, men without a personal agenda, and men who walk in holiness and humility which are vitally and inextricably linked. Such men are lovers of God and haters of self, they are the opposite of everything Paul wrote of in 2 Tim. 3:1-7. May God expose the Diotrepheses of our day for who they are--ungodly, wicked, and agents of the Devil, and may He raise up more Demetriuses in the church to be a light to the world. A light that declares His glory among the nations (Ps. 96:3).