Do you have the "The Disease of Diotrephes?"
Warning, it is very, very contagious…you may need to be quarantined…
(This Lesson may take two or more class times)
3 John tells us:
"vs. 9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.
vs. 10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
vs. 11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
vs. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone‑‑and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true."
Diotrephes had a reign of tyranny through gossip and slander in the name of Christ. John makes a strong and decisive stand against gossip. John is representing not only his apostleship, but mainly the authoritative presence of Christ. The presence of Christ is a stern warning, and in a loving encouragement for us, that we must replace the temptation of spreading gossip and replace it with the love of Christ.
We get 6 negative and destructive themes from this passage that should act like a brick wall to our slanderous marks:
(Bold are your discussion questions; Each group is to take 2 themes, keep track of the questions you did not cover, so you can come back too at a later date.)
1. "Who loves to be first": Christ first loves us, He goes first. Why do people want to be first? Because we want to be a god to ourselves, and God of the universe keeps getting in the way. Yet He loves us first.
1. Check out Philippians 2:3-5 How can we develop this attitude in Philippians?
3. How does this desire show itself in you and others?
4. Why do you think people want to be first?
5. Should Christians have this me first attitude?
So instead of trying to be first we should place Christ first, and then gossip will fall aside.
2. "He would have nothing to do with us": The "us" is the people of faith in Christ. Have you ever experienced someone having nothing to do with you? Did this experience happen when you did something right and your friends were upset, perhaps because they feel betrayed? Maybe they wanted to go out drinking and you were the only one with a car and you turned them down. Perhaps a friend wanted to do something stupid and you tried to talk them out of it, and they got mad at you. Maybe it was you who tried to pressure a friend to do something wrong and they got mad at you!
Diotrephes rejected the truth of an Apostle!
6. How do we reject the truth of our Lord and Savior?
7. What is your attitude to those in leadership?
8. Check out Hebrews 13:7, 17; Why would a leader be unable to help you if you do not respect them?
9. So how can you be more supportive to the leaders God brings you?
10. As a young person do you find it hard to respect those who are older, why or why not?
3. "to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously": Have you known people either young or old who just love to gossip? People who have the nose for the news of others, but with a perverted intent. That is they do not want the news to help and encourage them, but desire the news to put them down. How does this make you feel; perhaps you are hurt by it, or you get excited about it. But how does your Lord feel about it, and how does He feel about your response toward gossip?
What would our youth group be like if everyone was encouraging to everyone else, regardless of what may have gone on before. Regardless if we like them or not, because we are responding to Christ's love. Remember God loves us first. So if God first loves us and we do not deserve it, should we not do the same to each other?
11. What happens to a group when gossip becomes a habit?
12. Have you ever started gossip or spread it?
13. What would happen to your group?
14. What does God have to say about gossip? Check out James 3:1-12 & Ephesians 4:25-29. What do you think of these passages?
15. So how can you stop gossip?
16. How can you practice helpful and encouraging speech?
4. "He refuses to welcome the brothers": Do you know people who just are not hospitable, that is they are mean and/or ignore new people. These people have bad attitudes and they do not like certain people, so they decided to be mean. How does this make you feel? Have you ever experienced such treatment? Have you witnessed it happening in school or in youth group. Maybe you are the one who is mean to others, maybe you do not even know you are doing it, if so what can you do about it?
17. Does this happen in your group?
18. Can you think of a specific instance with out using peoples names?
19. Do you know people who refuse to go to your youth group because someone has gossiped?
20. Check out Romans 16:17-18 & Titus 3:9-11. Can you think of times when it may be necessary to dis-fellowship someone?
21. Why is our relationship to each other so important? What can we do to improve our relations to each other and make others feel welcomed?
5. "He also stops those who want to do so": Can you imagine that someone in the name of Christ is stopping other Christians from following Christ's character! Do you or do you know others who stop people from doing the right thing? How do they keep others from doing what is right?
22. What keeps you from doing the right thing? Check out James 4:17
23. So how can you develop the maturity to do what is right and be an example to others?
24. How can you be an encourager instead of a gossiper?
6. "And puts them out of the church": Diotrephes was on the war path, he actually got rid of people who were faithful to Christ, because they got in his way. In my experience there is nothing a child of the Devil hates more than a child of God. If you are a faithful Christian you can expect people coming against you, even other Christians. But God is on the side of the faithful and true and not on the side of those who cause division and destruction. So take comfort in His grace, for He will be with you and they will get what is coming in the end.
25. Can you think of times when the leadership of the church should invoke discipline, that is asking not to take part in communion or asking someone to leave?
26. How does discipline help people to grow?
27. How can our youth group practice discipline? Check out I Corinthians 5:1-5 & Matthew 18:15-17.
28. So are you ever a Diotrephes? Are there Diotrephes in our group?
29. So what can we do, how can we be encouragers and attractive to visitors?
© Copyright 1992, 2000, Rev. Richard Joseph Krejcir, Into Thy Word