In the book of Romans, Chapter 16 there is Paul’s version of a Church Banquet, although there may or may not have been food involved; but he has a roll call of saints who have been used by God to bless Paul and the church of God. He mentions several men and women who were key players in his ministry, some seasoned saints and other new converts; and then in the middle of dinner he lays out a warning of the unnamed un-servers. I know, it’s not a word, but it’s certainly an idea.
Romans 16:16-20 ~ Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. 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. 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. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
And then he goes back to the roll call in verse 21. So why put a damper on the commendation service? Because it’s reality. In most every church there is a great work going on. There are saints of God who are dedicated to the service of Christ and seeing souls saved, they love serving God and have no desire to be caught up in the middle of church drama, but it can happen. And it’s detrimental to Kingdom. That is why Paul’s lays the charge to his people. He wants to protect them from what he’s experienced again and again as he traveled.
Mark them, avoid them, know them. Because they’ve done as much to you. Paul said that their obedience is come abroad unto all men. Meaning their reputation had proceeded them, and he was glad for it. But evil doesn’t change, it’s pretty simple actually. Thousands of years and Satan’s plan hasn’t changed, divide and conquer. It worked with Adam and Eve and it still works in the church today. If he can but twist the word of God “just a little,” not enough to hardly be noticed he can set an entire congregation at odds with one another. And there’s always weaker (simple) vessels ready and willing to fall for Satan’s lies. They’ve not studied the word of God and they’re apt to take it out of context. Although scripture makes a great Twitter post, it’s not been to be a sound bite. 2 Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Satan knows the key players in any church and it’s there he launches the attack. Christians aren’t the only church planters. Satan sows his seeds as well. In Proverbs 6 among the seven things that are an abomination to the Lord is he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:19. Old Testament or New, it hasn’t changed.
Stand guard Christian soldier, because if you’re serving God you’re in the cross hairs of Satan. Put on your armor this morning.
Ephesians 6:13-16 ~ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;