The spirit of Diotrephes

Have This Mind in You

Excerpt from Coming Book
“Have This Mind in You”

The spirit of Diotrephes

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not…”
3 John 1:9

Self-promotion is the curse and the damnation of the Church of Jesus Christ. The wickedness of a self-seeking, self-promoting serpent nature is alive and very prominent in the Body of Christ today. Men pretend to be walking in the Spirit of God yet by their works reveal the factious ways of the world (the Greek word relates such works to the political factions of the world). The result is division and strife. We see these secular and isolated groups throughout the history of the Church inflicting great pain and sorrow on the people of God while bringing damnation and eternal judgments upon themselves.

“Because of this, if I come, I will recall his works which he does, ranting against us with evil words. And not being satisfied with these, neither does he receive the brothers; and those intending it he prevents, and thrusts them out from the assembly”
3 John 1:10

John goes on to say:

“Beloved, do not imitate the bad, but the good. The one doing good is of God; but the one doing bad has not seen God”
3 John 1:11

It is what people DO that reveals the spirit in which they walk, not their profession!

“They profess that they know God, but by their deeds they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work”
Titus 1:16

In order for this infection to stop God’s people need to grow in discernment. It is not what men say but what they do that reveals the spirit in which they walk. We see much of the spirit of Diotrephes across our land. The cry for people to join an organization or sect, follow a teacher or a movement, is heard far more prominently than the true Call of God to “Come unto Christ”. The waning influence of the Church is partially a result of the horror of calling people to something other than Jesus.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
will draw all men unto me”
John 12:32

The Gospel today is one of setting forth the ambitions of men to “grow” our churches, our fellowships, our teachers (or teachings) in competition with the other “churches” who also promote themselves in the same spirit of rivalry. Somehow, we convince ourselves (in spite of our carnality) that we are representing the Spirit of Christ and the work of His Salvation in the earth.

“Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all say the same thing, and there be no divisions among you, but you be united in the same mind and in the same judgment”
1 Corinthians 1:10

This Word from Paul is aimed forcefully at those in the Church at Corinth because of their carnality:

“For concerning you, my brothers, it was shown to me by those of Chloe that there are strifes among you. But I say this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ”. (Or in our day – Pentecostal, Baptist, Alliance plus thousands of other names or no names – the little sects that meet in closed cliques which mingle not with others nor reach out with the love of God to the world around them are all an affront to heart and mind of Christ.)
1 Corinthians 1:11-12

“Have this mind among yourselves,
which is yours in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:5 (ESV)

The very nature of this mind being formed in us through the ministration of His Word and our abiding in Him is the very essence of our unity. Any heart which “feels” not the call of God in Christ to this is one which is out of touch with Him. The holy bonds of His Spirit are the actual bonds of those who are His. There is a spiritual joining, a joint-communication of the life and power of the Christ which flows between those who live in Him. The Day of the  wheat and tares are being revealed in our day, they who cling to a joining which is carnal and based on something other than Christ Himself will become more evident as we see the bones of Ezekiel’s Vision comes to pass (Ezekiel 37)… The phrase “bone to His bone” is the verity of the New Wine Skin. Only those whose lives are becoming His can partake of this glorious thing. It is the power of His Life which joins us to one another and it is here where the depth of God’s wisdom will reveal the unfathomable truth of His Word… “members one of another”. This is a truth which the natural mind cannot comprehend, its power, its wonder is so Divine in its origin that only those who feel the draw and the call of God to this Holy place can be affected within the core of their being. Few there be in our Day who feel the pulse and the power of all God is preparing in this Day.

“That they all may be one; AS thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”
John 17:21

May God re-establish the truth within us, that we are here for His Glory, we are here to fulfill HIS purposes for us and they who are growing in their relationship with Him know that we are here to please and honor Him who is worthy of all that we are. Having the “mind of Christ” formed within us necessitates a fervency to live out His nature with our brothers and sisters. A nature which speaks truth, lives truth and walks in the desire to please Him.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created
Revelation 4:11

As Christ came to Glorify the Father may we so allow our hearts to be transformed to “order our steps aright” to glorify His Glorious Name by how we live.

“…to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
Psalm 50:23

To the heart of those who direct their steps in the Way of Christ there is a unveiling of Himself concerning the wonders and glories of His Salvation.

These truths are hid from the wise, the proud, the seekers of pre-eminence and those who are satisfied with something less than the fulness of Christ Himself.

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight”
Matthew 10:21

It requires the “mind of Christ” to see Him unveiled in His Word and it takes the heart of Christ feel the bonds of His Spirit.

The spirit of Diotrephes is alive and present in the community where I live, and the place where you live. Its dark and sinister work is deeply felt within the Body of Christ world-wide by the schisms and discord sown by its proud and haughty ways. It covers itself with garments of falsehood and hypocrisy. It pretends to follow Christ and usually appeals to its adherents on the basis of being deeper, more spiritual and may even express itself concerned for others while yet by its works reveals the true nature of its spirit by its isolation and spiritual stagnation. The spirit of such refuse others from the Body of Christ liberty to minister to "its own", it receives only from those who hold to its ideology and secretly must acknowledge its leaders to gain access.  It is an malignant evil which will be judged severely in the Day of the Lord.  It is by their works the spirit of such are revealed. It is important that God's people read and meditate carefully upon this writing of Third John for in it is the dark spirit of such revealed. Honesty of heart and pureness of motive will be the safeguard of all those who desire to see the One Body of Christ.

Brian Troxel

Love the Brotherhood

Love the Brotherhood

Part One

“Love the brotherhood”
1 Peter 2:17

The brevity of this statement may cause us to overlook the power of its message. Simple as it might be, it holds within it the very purpose of God. It requires a living faith to even begin to plumb its depths. The “brotherhood” spoken of here is not the segregated few with whom we happen to have fellowship. Nor is it speaking of the alignment with others of the same doctrinal persuasion. The Greek word used here for “brotherhood” literally means of the same womb, not the same mind. It is a brotherhood based upon new birth, new life, and the unifying faith of the Son of God.

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith…”
Ephesians 4:13
(read the context)

The true purpose of the five-fold ministry is to bring God’s people to this wondrous state. This unity cannot be attained by agreement of doctrinal persuasions, ecumenical endeavors, or the diluting of purity and holiness. The true ministry of God has but ONE purpose: to bring every believer to Christ Himself. It is our mutual relationship in Him wherein the unity of the faith is known. The sad truth of our day is that we have a church system that prospers on division. It highlights our differences so that we can propagate our programs, our doctrines and our growth using the same worldly stratagems as the corporate businesses of the world: branding and advertising. Often those with positions in this church are in competition and sadly God’s people are drawn to winning personalities and comfortable teachings. We fail to understand that God is the author of the diversity in the ministries He has placed in the Church.

“For who maketh thee to differ from another?”
1 Corinthians 4:7

GOD does!

The differences are for our growth. We do not have the right to prefer one over another.

Paul prefaced this truth with

“…that in us you might learn not to think beyond the things which are written, that none of you be puffed up against one another”
1 Corinthians 4:6

The carnality of God’s ministers clamoring for more followers at the expense of devaluing others is the carnality which pervaded the Church of God in Corinth. In choosing one ministration over another we are robbing God of His purposes in the diversity of ministry given for the building up and the safety of His Church. The five-fold ministry is comprised of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, teachers and shepherds; this is not debatable. While many love the shepherds who gently tend the flock of God, few care to be around the prophetic or the apostolic; their ministry (divinely appointed) is for correction, maintaining the purity of the life of the church, and dealing with false and heretical practices (things which cause factions to HIS Body). The Church of God at Corinth; (not the Corinthian church — 1 Cor. 1:2), had at least 4 or 5 apostolic expressions who paid regular visits to them, each bearing their own unique ministrations of the Spirit of God. Where would the New Testament be without Peter, Paul, James, Jude and John? Each one had a clear and distinct expression of Christ without which we would be lacking many great truths.

“I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, for you are still carnal. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren’t you fleshly, and don’t you walk in the ways of men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you carnal? Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers…”
1 Corinthians 3:2-9

In the early church the ministry went from house to house so that the people of God would receive the richness of the variety of God’s wisdom and provision. In the Epistle of John, the evil of the spirit of Diotrephes rose up to cut off others from ministering and sharing in his church. That same spirit is at work in much of the landscape of the church today. Those who refuse the ministrations of others (from outside their circle) often walk in the spirit and works of Diotrephes. It is the nature of carnal fallen men that usurp God’s ways for their own; they will face the judgment of God in the day of His reckoning!

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes,
who loveth to have the preeminence among them,
receiveth us not”
3 John 1:9

There are things that need to be fervently refuted in the truth and power of the fire of God. Love “rejoices in the truth” and contends against all things that would contaminate the purity and wisdom of the living God.

Let us read afresh the beauty of this singular statement:

“Love the brotherhood”
1 Peter 2:17

May the ministry of this day love God enough to confront the adulation of those who would ascribe to them the honor that belongs only to Him. May they minister out of the motivation to facilitate and foster the truth and wisdom of God into the tapestry of His One Church.

“That there should be no schism in the body;
but that the members should have the same care one for another”
1 Corinthians 12:26
(read the whole chapter)

Brian Troxel