3 John 9-14 / Malicious Diotrephes (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on November 7, 2014


This is the third and final in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of 3 John. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of November 2, 2014. This message looks at Diotrephes as a bad example and a false teacher, and how many like him still exist today. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

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3 John 9-14


3 John 9-14

If Gaius was a good example for us, Diotrephes is just as much a bad example.

He exhibits these attributes:

  • He likes to have superiority.
  • He is inhospitable.
  • He is malicious rather than truthful.
  • He works against the believers.

John had already addressed a letter to the church through its leader Diotrephes.

Apparently, Diotrephes discarded the letter, and never read it to the church.

The letter most likely included a request to extend hospitality and support to the traveling missionaries he had sent out.

As we’ll see, Diotrephes was very opposed to any such action.

In turn, John took the opportunity in this letter to stress the importance of such hospitality, and to call out and rebuke Diotrephes.

He likes to have preeminence, meaning he was a power hungry control freak.

This is not the type of leadership God wants in His church

1 Peter 5:2-3

Jesus wants servant leadership.

Matthew 20:25-28

Diotrephes wanted to be in charge at all costs. He was not going to recognize anyone else’s authority.

By censoring John’s letter, and attempting to ignore the missionaries, Diotrephes was attempting to shield the congregation from the truth.

However, the truth of God’s Word can never be silenced.

The truth got through in this case, and the light of the truth has always pierced the darkness.

Today, more than ever, people try to censor the Gospel and replace it with lies.

They want only the lie to be heard, and will stop at nothing to silence the truth.

The teaching of evolution is a great example. It’s a lie that teaches that mankind and this creation is nothing but an accident, a cosmic burp.

Therefore, there is no purpose in life, and no set standard of morality.

It teaches that we are our own masters and our own gods. There is no hope and no promise, it’s really a sad existence.

They won’t allow anything to the contrary to be taught.

The evolutionists own the textbooks, and nothing that questions their belief will be printed.

There are many Christian scientists who deny evolution, yet they are scoffed at by the rest of the scientific community.

Their credentials are questioned, and they are not considered to be credible scientists.

Their work and research is never allowed publication in peer reviewed journals, yet for all this, they can’t stop the truth.

In fact, only about 40% of the population believes in evolution, despite the fact that it’s been exclusively taught as truth for about 40 years now.

Still, 40% is a huge number, and a lot of damage has been done by these people.

This isn’t the only area in which the truth is being censored.

Even within the church, the truth has been traded for fables, and any intolerance of that is met with derision.

There are many Diotrephes in the church today, who try to silence the truth and spread lies.

Perhaps the issue is evolution, abortion or homosexuality. Maybe it is a prosperity gospel or a social gospel.

Maybe it is a name it and claim it word of faith, or a feel good universalism which denies Christ.

Whatever the issue, it is usually a malicious misinterpretation of the Bible which is the method of choice, and the proponents will attempt to censor and silence the truth.

Like Diotrephes, those who do that will neither receive the truth nor the truth bearer.

We can be sure the Diotrephes didn’t acknowledge the authority of John or the other apostles.

He had a lack of love and hospitality, and sought to expel anybody who acted differently.

Further, John certainly had a mind to publicly rebuke him for his actions.

He was going to expose Diotrephes for who he really was.

Diotrephes held himself in very high esteem. Pride was at the root of his problem.

Romans 12:3

Proverbs 16:18

Philippians 2:3-4

Indeed, Diotrephes was a bad example, and not to be imitated.

Instead we should imitate God.

Ephesians 5:1

John’s second statement in this verse indicates that Diotrephes was not a Christian.

This was normal everyday behavior for him, which is not consistent with a life transformed by Christ.

Nothing is known of Demetrius but what is said here.

It’s obvious that he was one of the faithful, and it’s very possible that he was the courier who delivered this letter.

Like Paul, John understood the importance of fellowship and face to face communication.

He had more to say, but felt it would be better to say it in person.

There is simply no substitute for personal communication.

In the meantime, John prayed peace for them in what was certainly a troubled church.

So much as possible, peace should be the goal of all believers.

Romans 12:18

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