John’s third letter tells among its few lines the even shorter story of Diotrephes. And a disturbing story it was.
It seems the apostle John couldn’t even get a hearing in Diotrephes’ church. And indeed it was on the verge of becoming the church of Diotrephes instead of the church of the Lord. Paul had warned the elders of Ephesus that some from among them would draw away the disciples after themselves. John, in another letter, had warned that antichrists would arise in the last hour. Diotrephes is a specific example of that which the apostles – and the Lord Himself – had warned: the falling away of church leaders just before the Lord’s return.
If you seek followers for your church or ministry, you have inherited the sin of Diotrephes. You probably are not drawing disciples of the Lord to yourself knowingly. You think you are doing it for Him. But recognize now that the Lord has chosen His people for Himself, not for us.
Let us be done with the sin of Diotrephes. That is, let us be done with the sin of wanting to be “first among them.” Jesus Himself had warned us not to be called “Rabbi, Teacher, Leader, or Father” – all titles He reserved for Himself. Again, let us flee from being over any disciple of the Lord. They are His.