23. August 2017 · Comments Off on Diotrephes Loves the Preeminence · Categories: Bible Teaching

In 3 John 1:9, John mentioned that he wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who “loveth to have the preeminence” would not receive him. Notice, Diotrephes is in the Church. He might say he loves the Lord. He might say he’s serving the Lord. But let’s look closely at Diotrephes. Let’s examine Diotrephes.

Some reading this may have a little bit of Diotrephes in them now. I can remember seeing some of the very traits in me, especially many years ago in my early days of ministry. Some can locate themselves and say, “Oh no! I see that in me and I want to do something about that!” That’s what I’ve done and I greatly recommend it. As I travel, and as people come to my church services today, on occasion I meet Diotrephes. Some have a lot of his traits, some only a few. Some can be corrected and helped by the teaching of the Word of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. For others, who seem to resist any help – for those, we can pray.

It’s sad to see people, especially those who are not even spiritual at all, trying to take charge in the church without submission to others, especially when they should submit to those others who have spiritual maturity. You can locate them easily enough. Spiritual people want to listen to others who also know the Word and the move of the Spirit. Spiritual people want to follow the flow of the anointing, even as the Lord moves through others. Spiritual people desire to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit within, but also the Holy Spirit in others – and obey accordingly – and yield accordingly.

It’s a carnal person who wants the preeminence – to be seen. Jesus spoke in John 12:43 about those who love the praise of men. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus said that those who desire the praise of men – to be seen of men – have their reward. Praise from people is the only reward they’ll have. And oh yes! They’ll have some praise from people, and they’ll be delighted, because that’s what they want. God sees in secret and rewards openly. He judges the motive. Even when things seem to be good, if the motive is wrong – if the motive is to be seen of men and to have the praise of men, Jesus said they have their reward. The earthly rewards from God are lessened or nonexistent. More importantly, there will be fewer, or even no eternal rewards. Psalm 127:1 says that unless the Lord builds the house, it’s in vain. They get it built, but it’s only on the earth. Spiritually, it is in vain. In Heaven, it is judged as wood, hay, and stubble, and will be consumed by the fire of God in that day. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 that we are to be wise (spiritual) masterbuilders. Only silver, gold, and precious stones (our spiritual fruitfulness while on earth) will produce rewards in Heaven.

It’s a spiritual person who wants to follow and obey the Holy Spirit within, but also willing to follow and flow with the same Holy Spirit in other spiritual Christians. One of the biggest mistakes I see today among those who desire to be (or think they are) spiritual, is their failure to examine their so-called revelations, beliefs, and experiences. In 1 John 4:1, it says to try the spirits to see if they’re from God. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to prove all things and hold fast to the good. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:29 that the prophets would speak, but the others would judge. As these things are tried, proven, and judged, it’s always to be in line with the Word of God.

People want to be fruitful, but it might be the flesh or a wrong spirit to say, “You’re not the only one anointed; I’m anointed, too!” Certainly, others are anointed, but there should be evidence with spiritual fruit. A spiritual person will have no problem in having his vision, dream, revelation, prophecy, song, or whatever, examined by other spiritual people. I often speak prophetically into people’s lives. However, I also often ask them if it fits, if it bears witness, if it’s correct and in line with what they have experienced or already know. In the church where I pastor, different ones will have songs, tongues and/or interpretations, or prophecies. Most people don’t know though, many times, these same people will come to me afterwards and ask if it fit or was in line with the move of the Spirit at the time. In 1 Corinthians 14:30, Paul said that if something is revealed to one who sits by, let the one currently conducting the service yield and give him leeway. That doesn’t mean he is to take over, but instead, it means to wait and to be given permission. The one conducting the service is to be sensitive to that, and then when appropriate by the same Spirit, give him place. Paul continued by saying, the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. God doesn’t force you to obey, but rather encourages you to make sure you are indeed, hearing His Spirit – and subjection is the key here. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.

It would often be carnal to say, “I don’t need your help.” A spiritual person would by contrast, invite help, even correction. It would be a carnal person who says, “All I need is my Bible and God.” It would be a carnal person who says, “I only listen to God.” Oh my! That person is also blind and deaf, spiritually speaking.

Diotrephes, the one who loves the preeminence, does not feel he needs to listen to others. He doesn’t go to church to be fed. He may go for the opportunity to preach, teach, sing, or do something, but not so much otherwise. He’s also not the one asking questions afterwards to further understand more of what was taught from the Word of God in that service. Some church services are filled with wrong things, and I’m uneasy when I’m there. I don’t want to go back and waste my time where I’m not fed. But even a cow eats the hay and leaves the sticks. Many church services have both, some things that are wrong, but also a lot of good that will feed you. There’s usually a combination. If there’s only a little that’s good, but most of it is bad, I may not want to go to that church. But many churches, though they have some things that are wrong, most of it is good and it will feed you spiritually and bless you. However, after a service in that church, though he might mention something that was good, Diotrephes will likely focus on correcting what the pastor said wrong. He’s usually not the one buying the books and CDs in the church bookstore, but he’s wanting to write a book or make CDs for everyone else. He is personally gratified if he’s the one doing the teaching, helping, correcting, and talking. And he may be doing some good, and he’ll probably say he’s doing it for God, but he also usually wants the recognition as the one who did it.

This carnal person often has difficulty listening to others. He will talk on top of others, and even if he is quiet, he’s often still not really listening. I get around these people and it frustrates me. I find myself at times interrupting their interruptions, and then I’m accused of doing what they’re doing. I think I know how Jesus felt when He ran the moneychangers out of the temple. I just want to shake them. Anyone watching me might think I’m upset, but it’s not based on emotion. Oh, it can stir the emotions, but it doesn’t start there. I just want to shake them. Wake up! A spiritual person can yield to the flesh and act in a carnal manner. However, the spiritual person will always have regret and the desire to apologize, forgive, and restore.

Some people have trouble admitting they’ve missed it. However, James 3:2 says that all of us do things that offend others. A spiritual person wants to catch that and make things right. A carnal person may rarely, if at all, apologize, for he doesn’t see that he’s done anything wrong. And so, he doesn’t need nor receive correction. These traits are certainly glaring red flags, and are non-existent in a spiritual person.

A spiritual person wants to be clothed with humility (1 Peter 5:5). Even when wanting others restored, a spiritual person has a spirit of meekness, considering himself, realizing he himself can be tempted (Galatians 6:1). James 1:26 speaks of a person who seems to be religious, but their own heart is deceived, and it’s all in vain. The spiritual person knows that the one who thinks he is standing should take heed, lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). He’s ready to humble himself and be contrite. According to Romans 12:3, he doesn’t think of himself more highly than he ought to. Romans 12:16 says to condescend to men of low estate and to not be wise in your own conceits – never overestimate yourself.

Not always, but sometimes, it’s a carnal person who speaks out in a service and says, “Can I obey God?” I sometimes want to say, “No, you can’t. Sit down and shut up.” It might be of God, but it might not be – and often, it’s the one conducting the service who should make that determination. The one in charge might be wrong and miss it, but other spiritual people in the service will know God’s order of submission and humility. You don’t take charge, you’re given the charge. Then, be bold and confident in the Holy Ghost and the anointing. However, always be aware of other spiritual people in your midst. Be sensitive to how God might move through others as well as yourself. Don’t lose control to those who are trying to take control, but be willing to yield to others who genuinely have the move of the Holy Ghost within them, as they are willing to wait until it is appropriate and in order.

How often have I seen someone who is invited to sing one song, and they sing two or three? Someone is asked to speak for a few minutes, and they just take over. In 1 Corinthians 14:28, Paul said if there is no interpreter, for that one not to persist, but to keep silence in the church. Notice here, Paul is saying that some who think they have something from God need to be told – he told them – to keep silence in the church. Do you think any of them got mad? Sure, they did! Because they’re carnal. But God wants us to grow – and this is one way we do! Let’s grow in spiritual things. Let’s learn to listen to the Holy Spirit within ourselves, but also listen and yield to the Holy Spirit in others. Let’s not be like Diotrephes. – Tony McCanless