Romans 16:17-18 (KJV)
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Consider the pathos of this passage. Through the Apostle Paul, in this case, the Word of God beseeches, begs, and pleads with his audience to mark and avoid those who cause divisions and lead people contrary to what he had taught them.
Mark that these deceivers use good words and fair speeches. They are persuasive, well reasoned, and maybe likable, but they teach contrary doctrines.
I can hear a person claiming that a pastor cannot apply this to his ministry. After all, this is Paul, and this is the Bible. Someone teaching the Bible contrary to how the pastor is teaching may be, in their opinion, doing God service because they are correcting the wrong teaching of the pastor. I would just point out that those of Paul’s day argued the same of him. The reason he’s beseeching is that they were not naturally inclined to do it.
One of the most heartbreaking things I’ve faced in the ministry is not that some do and teach contrary to what I preach. The hardest thing is that those who hear the preaching will often not mark and avoid them. Those “good words and fair speeches” have won their hearts sufficiently so that, even if they do not leave the church, they continue to be influenced by the deceivers.
The Bible begs us to mark and avoid them.
To my readers:
Thank you! It is a great joy to me to know you read the thoughts and lessons God has given me in His word. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave comments.
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