Without a shadow of doubt, God has given all who are in Christ a gift with which to serve the church 1 Corinthians 12:7. I believe Brother Diotrephes had a gift of an apostle but in failing to recognize his gifting, maybe for reasons similar to the one of our day, he opted to act as the pastor (senior or junior I am not sure) of the assembly of God’s people. Diotrephes in creating and occupying a false position of authority became short sighted.
As it is with all shortsightedness, recognition of God’s authority (grace or treasure) in others cannot be perceived 2 Corinthians 4:7. So, Diotrephes LOVED TO HAVE “The Preeminence”,—to be “The First” or “The Leader”.
Therefore, he couldn’t imagine how God could bypass him to speak to John about a church plant he was “leading”. Assuming himself as both servant and leader (servant-leader), he unwisely rejected God’s word through John the apostle 3 John 1:9 NLT.
Diotrephes was competing with Christ about who should have the preeminence or lead the sheep Colossians 1:18.
What happened to Diotrephes was unfortunate. He loved to lead, oversee or be an elder in the church which is a good thing but failed to understand “lead, oversee or be an elder” to mean to “serve” the church 1 Timothy 3:1NLT. Coupled with the lack of discerning of his gifting, he placed himself in a position of challenging God by resisting and stopping others from receiving Christ’s words to the church.
For clarity, the authority of the servants of the Church is the grace of God in them. To understand this more, the scriptures prescribe that after a brother or sister refuses to listen to two or three believers’ advice in a conflict, the matter is to be brought to the church to execise the authority of excommunication. Excommunication is one of the church’s greatest powers against a believer. So the highest authority (grace) lies with the church—not a handful of elders who more often than not are under the “influence” of their “Senior Pastor or Elder” Matthew 18:15-17.
Rightly, man’s word must not be taken as God’s. God’s words are objective and imperative while man’s, are subjective though they can be useful.
While Diotrephes was suppose to be on the move according to his gifting with its accompanying grace (authority, right or power) to the measure of his faith, he was busy knowingly or unknowingly blocking those with the gift of shepherding in the assembly. He was fighting against the Apostolic Spirit of Christ coming through John to serve (bless) the church though John did not necessarily gather with them regularly.
By the way, every Christian must—not should, have a gathering or Assembly of God’s people they regularly meet with and are held accountable to as per the profession of the faith.
Those who led and reigned in the Roman religion were empowered by the spirit of Jupiter—a merciless spirit of preeminence. This spirit constantly hung around the churches of God—with intent to seek out those who abandon their gift or calling in God and tries to establish its stronghold on them. Given the Jewish long association with the Romans, Diotrephes became a victim.He quickly learnt their leadership style. In not giving his mind to that of Christ, he started practicing what he had seen from the Roman religious leaders. His name Diotrephes (empowered by Jupiter) became his practice.
Hopefully, that beloved brother came to his spiritual senses at some point.
In our day, many gifted as apostles opt for the “pastor thing” and are battling with the spirit of preeminence like Diotrephes.
In acting as protectors of God’s people, they stifle the words of God to the churches. Even if John the apostle were to come today with God’s word, they will advise him to go plant his own church. As a result of this evil attitude, the body of Christ is suffering in many ways she ought not to.
We need to keep praying that all the Diotrephes’ of our day will hopefully one day recover from the spirit of preeminence by repenting and accepting God’s actual gift to them. In so doing, the gospel will not only spread but they will be serving not just joyfully but also, travailing that Christ may be formed in many of God’s people everywhere God will take them Galatians 4:19.
The trumpet from heaven is blowing a clear sound to all the assemblies of God’s people, “build up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” Ephesians 4:12-13.
The least of us should be a matured man in Christ. What took new believers in time past many years to comprehend and walk in, should now take much less for new believers because the word of God is filling the earth presently like water covers the sea. A quick work of the Holy Spirit is on and it will be cut short in righteousness.
The gospel is reaching the ends of the earth and Christ’s coming (our salvation) is nearer now than when it was first believed. Even creation is also eagerly waiting. Come, Lord Jesus!