“I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us.” 3 John 10
How many people does it take to split a church?
Pastor Ray Ortlund is right when he states, “Not half the congregation. Just two. One to start spreading the fiery negativity, and another not to confront that behavior as the sin that it is.” This is what keeping the Ninth Commandment calls us to avoid.
John must deal with the divisive and slanderous words of Diotrophes, who has been “talking wicked nonsense against us” (v. 10). The warning that John gives Gaius about Diotrophes isn’t gossip or slander, it is equipping Gaius to confront a man who is opposing the Gospel. John even promises that he will come and confront him directly.
This is a hard task. Few among us really enjoy confrontation and conflict. Yet, upholding the Gospel, and the good name of our neighbors requires that we confront and stamp out gossip and slander when we hear it.
It’s no wonder that Satan is called the accuser of the brethren (Rev. [12:10]). He constantly troubles our hearts by accusing us of our sin and failure. Yet Christ has given us a new name! And up against Satan’s accusations, Jesus “always lives to make intercession” for us (Heb. [7:25]). He stamps out Satan’s lies and slander by the power of His cross.
If we see what Jesus has done for us in the Gospel, then we too can stamp out the fiery slander and gossip that is leveled against our brothers and sisters. This is the way of love among the church.
Heavenly Father, may my words be used to build up your church—not to tear down my brothers and sister in the faith. Give me courage to boldly defend truth. Amen
For Further Reading
3 John 9-10