Diotrophes or DemetriusWritten by 9th Avenue Church of Christ on Dec 11, 2016 in - No Comments
A. Sometimes, tragically, the least attractive part of Christianity are those who wear the name of Christ.
B. We must hold to “sound doctrine,” but we must also carry ourselves in a proper way.
C. In the little book of 3 John, we are given two short descriptions of men. One could have destroyed the church, while the other is the kind of person we all need to strive to be.
A. Diotrophes: How Arrogance Can Destroy a Church
1. Diotrophes, seemingly, saw the church as his own personal place of power.
2. That arrogance (seeking preeminence) manifested itself in four ways:
a. “Does not acknowledge our [apostles’] authority.” Many, even today, are dividing the church by saying that the words of the apostles do not matter, especially in controversial areas (homosexuality, leadership roles in the church for women, etc.).
b. “Talking wicked nonsense against [the apostles].” (NIV= “gossiping maliciously”) Gossip will destroy the fabric of a congregation, because it is talk that does no good. We must be willing to talk to our fellow Christians, instead of about them.
c. He refused to welcome brothers in Christ. A lack of hospitality can destroy a church because we are not willing to share our lives with others.
d. He was putting people out of the church. If we are not careful, we can “make it clear” to someone that we do not want them “in our church!”
3. Do you see how these attitudes can lead to a congregation that is destroyed, especially in the eyes of God?
B. Demetrius: How Humility Can Refresh a Church
1. 3 John 1:11 begins the contrast in these two men, because “good” is an apt description of Demetrius. We are saying that he was humble because he does not seek the recognition he is given by John here.
2. Three things “testify” to this man’s good life.
a. Everyone (literally “all”). “There is no mark against him” (Wayne Jackson).
b. The truth. The truth that will judge us at the last day (John 12:48) could “testify” to the righteous life of this man.
c. The apostles. Even today, we have leaders (elders). Do our lives reflect a pattern that they can say is good and refreshing?
3. Simply living a righteous life is noticeable, though we do not seek notoriety for our faith. Such humility refreshes a congregation!
A. This contrast illustrates Matthew 19:30, Luke 1:52, and 1 Corinthians 1:27. Those the world would think are high and important are the ones God will bring down, while the ones who are humble are the ones He can use.
B. So, are you a Diotrophes or a Demetrius? Are you ready to humble yourself?