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Summary: Paul gives us some helpful hints in how to identify those that cause divisions and offences contrary to the Word of God

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Title: Heads Up! (Using both the NIV and KJV)

(Romans 16:17-19, KJV) 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.

When you’re on the golf course and you see a ball that you just hit is lining up to smack someone a couple of hundred yards downrange, you yell out “FORE.”

When you’re working on a construction site, and you see something falling, you may yell, “watch out,” or “duck,” or, you may even yell, “HEADS UP!”

Whatever it is we say or yell, it’s intended to get the attention of those that are in danger of being hurt by something. It’s intended to grab someone’s attention and put them on guard.

Paul, in these verses, is telling us, “HEADS UP!” Because we need to keep our wits about us in this world. He’s warning us to keep our eyes open and our minds focused, because

not everyone that comes through the church door is seeking God!

not everyone that comes through the church door is looking to serve God!

not everyone that comes through the church door is humble and meek!

Paul gives us some helpful hints in what we can do. ((No, this is not judging! That’s for God to do.))

Here’s what we see Paul telling us in those verses:

Identify them by their (bad) fruit

Divisions

Offences

Selfishness

Puff Talkers

Mark them

Resist them

Identify them by their (bad) fruit

I think one of the things that most annoyed Jesus when He walked this earth was the hypocrisy or insincerity of many of the people with whom He came into contact. Because it is sometimes hard to recognize a selfish or insincere person until it’s too late, Jesus gave us a way to recognize them. In Matthew 7:16-20, Jesus tells us very sternly:

(Matthew 7:16-20) By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Now, in chapter 16 of Romans, Paul tells us to identify those same people about whom Jesus talked. He says in verse 17,

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those…

In the KJV it says mark those, or identify those who do not adhere to scriptural practices, then, he identifies their fruit or actions that will help mark them or identify them.

Divisions

The first revealing fruit or sign of those that are contrary, or going against the Word of God, is their propensity, or tendency to always cause division. They are always going in the opposite direction that God is leading His Church. They are always going in the opposite direction of sound Church counsel or the pastor.


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