The letter of John
The epistle of John the Beloved is special because of the authority and life of the author. John the Beloved was the closest to Jesus among all the disciples and outlived all of them. Due to the long life God gave John the beloved, he witnessed the evolution of the church and various challenges the church of Jesus Christ experienced. Therefore, any portion of his epistle concerning any issue must be given the right attention at any time in the church’s history because he saw it all.
In his third epistle, he mentioned Diotrephes and his name for the wrong reason. The wrong reason was that Diotrephes refused to accept John the Beloved’s letter. To learn what the Lord intends for us in this edition. We will raise questions that will guide us.
Who is Diotrephes?
Diotrephes was head of the church that John Beloved wrote that particular letter. The content of the letter seems to be a letter of recommendation of some traveling evangelists and teachers. The recipient of the letter, which is the local assembly gathering at a given location, is expected to receive the evangelists and teachers based on the authority of the author of the letter. During the stay of the evangelists and teachers, they share the word of God with that local assembly. In return, the local assembly takes care of their needs.
Remember, at that time, there was no denomination, and the apostles at Jerusalem were the head of the church. With that letter, the evangelists were received as brethren.
From the writing of John, Diotrephes was a man who preferred his preeminence (sense of being in charge or control), and he would not allow anything to destabilize his preeminence. Mr. Diotrephes, by nature, will remain comfortable if an issue does not affect his preeminence. Only what massages his leadership ego, he judges right. Whatsoever seems to do otherwise, Diotrephes would not accommodate.
Modern Day Diotrephes
In the church today, the spirit of Diotrephes is operating in many believers. The major characteristic of this spirit is that any that the spirit possesses will have no regard to authorities in the body of Christ.
Such a spirit does not welcome brethren from other places. Remember, Jesus said unto his disciples that they should not forbid the men who do not belong to their company but were casting out demons in the name of Jesus (Luke 9:49). Any dealing of God that is not is similar to the experience of Diotrephes is not a genuine one. In the body of Christ, salvation, sanctification, and baptism of the holy are the only similar experiences with a fixed scriptural standard. Other experiences may not be fixed. Someone once remarked that a pastor eating breakfast is wrong because of the devil that will be fought. All the mindset that certain types of deliverance and miracles cannot happen in any other denomination than yours is a thought of Diotrephes.
I remember God’s servant, Bishop David Oyedepo, saying that he rebuked a testifier during one of his church services, claiming that she has gone to many churches and her problem was not solved until she came to the living faith church for prayers. The bishop clarified that her faithlessness made her get no solution and that nothing was wrong with the churches. She claimed she had no solution. Unfortunately, in some other denominations, such testifiers will be taught to deliberately mention the name of the denominations they went to without getting a solution.
To be continued