This week we conclude our study of the book of Romans. Chapter 16 lists the names of many Christians from Rome who have ministered with or influenced Paul’s life. Paul warns his readers of the people who try to cause divisions in the Church. He ends by praising God.
It is sad that we must continue to deal with this issue 2000 years after Paul admonished the Church in Rome. We must be vigilant. Deceivers, those who cause division, and those who pervert the Word of God lurk unawares in our churches. They challenge the leadership, God’s word, and the character of other believers. As Paul states, “Mark them…” Then apply the principles of Matthew 18:15-17. Church discipline is the only way to remove them from corrupting God’s people.
Warnings about those who cause divisions (16:17-20)
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.18 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.19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Paul makes it clear that the Roman Christians obedience to God’s word was “…come abroad unto all men.”
Is the obedience of you individually, your church, and your church leaders, known among this community?
It should be!
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001