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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

III John 11

Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

For further study - III John 5-12

As we read our extended reading for today, you may recognize someone like one of the leaders in your church. The man's name is Diotrephes. He is a leader of a church John wanted to visit but was kept from doing so by this one who took the preeminence in that church.

Remember, that John wrote III John just before he wrote Revelation while serving as a prisoner on an island in the Aegean Sea, on Patmos. John was most likely a "circuit rider" preacher. He may have started the churches of Revelation 2 and 3 or at least would visit these seven churches on a regular basis.

John would be a shepherd to these churches and present teaching that would build up not only the church, but the individual members as well.

John's pastoral ministry, at the church in question, was being hindered by one of the church leaders. John sees a need to name this man for all to know about his "evil" deeds, III John verse 11. In fact, John tells the church to not follow these evil deeds or the one that commits them. John condemns Diotrephes and his evil deeds publicly to teach those in that church and all who will read this letter.

Also in John's letter, the apostle points the readers to a good example of local church leadership, Demetrius, in III John verse 12. Demetrius is a leader who is reported to be a good leader among all men. Remember, Paul wrote of the qualifications for local church leadership in I Timothy 3.

Verse 7 of that passage says that the church leaders must have a good report of them that are without the church as well as within. The reason for this good report is so that this church leader will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil, which is exactly what Diotrephes had done.

Referring back once more to Paul's writings, the failure in leadership of Diotrephes is how it will be in the last days, II Timothy 3:1-5. Paul wrote of men, lovers of their own selves, high-minded, and having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.

In John's day, the attitudes and actions of Diotrephes were evidence of the last days. That was almost 2,000 years ago. How much more those attitudes and actions depict our day. This is setting the stage for the day of the Lord's return. We must all follow John's exhortation and follow not that which is evil, verse 11, but instead that which is good.

PRAYER THOT: Help me, dear Lord, to shun evil and follow good, Godly activities.