They Serve Their Own Appetites

Romans 16:17-20 ESV

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Who are those who cause divisions?

If you are a Christian, and if you live in America, and if you are connected with an institutional church which is following modern-day marketing schemes and techniques for how to grow your “church” (not the body of Christ), and you are at all in tune to what is going on you may realize that, in these market-driven churches, those who they claim are causing divisions are those who are following Jesus Christ with their lives and/or who are not in agreement with the marketing schemes and with the cheap grace gospel.

For, these modern market-driven churches are following a gospel of men and of master manipulators, schemers, tricksters, and charlatans (wolves in sheep’s clothing). And they are marketing the “church” to the world, and so they are conforming the gatherings of what is being called “church” to the tastes and likes of the people of the world and of the flesh of man. My husband and I were once church planters and so we went through training in some of these market-driven training seminars, so I have inside knowledge.

In one of our seminars we were taught that we were to use needy people because they would help us to get our “churches” up and going but once we were going strong we were to get rid of the “needy” people for they would drag us down. Wow! Our ministry and Jesus’ ministry was to the needy people. You don’t just use people and then throw them away. And then a pastor told me he was warned in his training sessions about people like me – people with strong convictions, and he invited me to go someplace else.

But when the Bible talks about people who cause divisions they are not those with strong biblical convictions who are following the Lord in obedience to his commands. They are not those who are opposed to the church being turned into a marketplace and who are opposed to the gospel being diluted and who are opposed to becoming a man follower instead of a Christ follower. Those who cause divisions are those who are followers of man and not of Christ, and they are those who try to turn people away from Christ.

Contrary to the Doctrine

So, the people we need to watch out for are not the sincere followers of Jesus Christ who believe Jesus and his word, who take the word of God to heart, and who are following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways. The people we need to watch out for are those who are teaching a gospel of man which makes no requirements of the “believer in Jesus” to repent of his sins, to follow Jesus in obedience, and to submit to Christ as Lord (Master).

We need to watch out for those who are teaching doctrine contrary to the word of God. But we are not going to know what is contrary to the doctrine of the Scriptures if we are not students of the Scriptures ourselves, and if we are not studying them in context praying for the Lord to lead us to all understanding. So we have to be those who are testing what we read and hear against the Scriptures, in context, to see if they agree with each other.

For example, many are teaching Ephesians 2:8-9 in a way that says God requires no works of us and so we don’t have to repent of sin and obey the Lord. But they leave out verse 10 which says that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” And they ignore all the teachings in the Scriptures on the subjects of repentance and obedience and submission to Christ.

Some people are also teaching Romans 10:9-10 separate from the book of Romans, as a whole, and they are teaching a doctrine of salvation which states that if we just confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and if we just believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead that we are saved. I know it says that, but Romans also teaches that if we walk in sin and not in righteousness that we will not inherit eternal life with God.

And it isn’t just in Romans that we realize that how we live on this earth impacts whether or not we spend eternity in hell or in heaven. All throughout the New Testament we are taught that we must die with Christ to sin, not just once, but daily, and that we must walk in obedience to our Lord, and that we must continue in that walk of faith until the very end or we do not have eternal life with God and we are not saved from our sins.

And then we have those who misquote John 10:28-30 for they remove those verses from the context of verse 27 which tells us who these promises are for. Verse 27 tells us that our Lord’s sheep listen to him, he knows us, and we follow (obey) him. And we are those who can’t be snatched out of our Lord’s hands. This is not a promise for everyone who confesses faith in Jesus Christ but only for those who are listening to and obeying the Lord.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

Their Own Appetites

So, we need to be students of the Scriptures who study the Scriptures in their context who seek God’s face for understanding of what the Scriptures are teaching and who are not followers of man. We should not rely on the teachings of humans as our soul source for biblical truth, for anyone can be in error. And so this is why we must be in the practice of testing what we hear to make certain that what we are hearing is truth and not lies.

For liars and deceivers abound in our day and time and so many people are following them. And they are not all that obvious. And many of them are highly respected in the Christian community and so most people would not even think of testing some of them, for they regard them as above board. But some of those are the ones we need to test the most for they are respected and thus trusted implicitly and people are being deceived by them.

So, we need to be aware that not everyone is who he says he is. Not everyone tells the truth. It seems most don’t. And many blend truth and lies together so cleverly that it is hard to distinguish the truth from the lies unless you are discerning enough to see the deceptions which can often be in the form of subliminal messages, too. So many people are “gifted” at smooth talk and flattery and deception, so please be discerning!

So, we are to be those who are wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil, not meaning being naïve to what is evil to the point to where we are not discerning of evil, but that we are not to be involved in evil. We are not to participate in what is evil but only in what is good and righteous and holy and in what is pleasing to God. And one day Jesus will return for us and we will go with him, provided that we have remained in him until the end.

[Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 2:24-25; Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28]

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

Songwriters: Cordelia J. Whiteside Bridgewater, 1920 / Andy Pickens Bland

We read of a place that’s called heaven,
It’s made for the pure and the free;
These truths in God’s word He has given,
How beautiful heaven must be.

In heaven no drooping nor pining,
No wishing for elsewhere to be;
God’s light is forever, there shining,
How beautiful heaven must be.

The angels so sweetly are singing,
Up there by the beautiful sea;
Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing,
How beautiful heaven must be.

How beautiful heaven must be
Sweet home of the happy and free;
Fair haven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be

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