That is what ended up grabbing my attention as I studied our text this week.
(Romans 16:17 NIV84)I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
(Romans 16:17 The Message)One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth.
Even though Paul warns us of savage wolf attacks (Acts 20:28–32), we so often think, “But not us. Not in our fellowship. No one here would be a false teacher. We are nice folks.”
And, yet, here in his final comments in Romans, Paul warns us of these very things. So maybe we should take notice?
God in his wisdom is telling us to sit up and take notice. To watch out for false teachers. And to avoid false teachers.
Yes, we could go to the extreme and carry out witch hunts, finding a false teacher under every spiritual rock. Some do that. But that is not the norm. Usually we do the opposite. Sometimes we more interested in being nice … and courteous … than being faithful to God and his word.
And our churches suffer for it.
Why is Paul so urgent? Because it really does come down to heaven or hell.
Paul tells us that these people use smooth talk and flattery to deceive the unsuspecting. False teachers know what we like to hear. They say things close enough, and because we do not listen carefully to what is actually being said, then way too often close enough is good enough.
And that may be good enough for church on earth, but it will be to our shame before the throne of God if we do not honor him now.
Once in heaven, we will never again have the opportunity to stand in light and love against the darkness of sin. So what will it be?
Calling a spade a spade … OR … a false prophet a false prophet!
In Joseph Devlin’s book How to Speak and Write Correctly (1910) where he satirized speakers who chose their words to show superiority … For instance, you may not want to call a spade a spade. You may prefer to call it a spatulous device for abrading the surface of the soil. Better, however, to stick to the old familiar, simple name that your grandfather called it.
Let’s call a spade a spade, and I am speaking of false prophets.
I am wearied by people who claim to speak for the LORD but who refuse to address the true needs of God’s Church and our world.
I am wearied by people who play loose with the text, with their word choice, with their biblical exposition and their logic.
I am wearied by people who in general are not careful to tremble before God and his word as we approach him for divine truth.
And I am sometimes wearied by how hesitant we are as the people of God to call a spade a spade, or in this case a false prophet a false prophet.
This evening we are going to look at what is possibly the most dominant characteristic of a false prophet.
What if I asked you … Do you want to live in the fullness of the blessing of Christ? Your initial reaction will very likely be, “Well, of course I do. Why wouldn’t I?”
Why wouldn’t you? Because to live in the fullness of Christ, you must accept the life that God offers, and you must give up the life that you have chosen. And therein lies the rub.
What we typically want from God is an add-on, a supplement, a boost, a little something extra to make this life better.
Let me read a well-known quote by Wilbur Rees:Three Dollars Worth of God. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk, or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man, or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
But living in the fullness of the blessing of Christ mean that we follow Jesus Christ fully and completely.
Message Title: Walking in the Fullness of the Blessing of Christ!
Butterfly Room & Board: Providing necessary habitat for Monarchs and other insects
Jacqueline Covey/The VoiceGerald White stands next to his newly certified Monarch Way station during his Butterfly/Pollinator Day on Saturday; his became a certified garden this spring.
By Jacqueline Covey
Posted Aug. 4, 2015 at 9:29 AM
COLCHESTER – The Flowerman can, because he got himself certified and does the Monarchs some good.
Gerald White has always enjoyed flowers and gardening; it has been his hobby for many, many years. Today he’s devotes his home garden to milkweed, and other plants, to aid the Monarch butterfly population.
When White retired from Western Illinois University in 2004, he took to rehabilitating eight-acres of his land – re-creating prairie.
We usually call them “other” plans. We say something like, “I went to college to train as a musician, but God had other plans.” But more often than not, these “other” plans are the real plans. We just didn’t know it yet.
Today we are going to examine the concept of walking in the fullness of the blessing of Christ. Here’s the punchline: If you want to walk in the fullness of Christ, then follow Jesus.
We have heard … “Lead, follow or get out of the way.”
But an old Baptist preacher I heard last week put it this way: “Lead, follow or get out of the way? No. Just follow. Jesus. Just follow Jesus!”
The Apostle Paul was good at just that. Following Jesus. Paul was always intent on taking care of the business at hand. Whatever God put before him he had learned to be content.
(Philippians 4:11–13 ESV) Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Paul longed to see the believers at Rome and wanted to stop by on the way to Spain, but it seems that God had other plans. A couple years later, however, Paul finally made it to Rome, but it was God’s “other” plan, not how Paul had mapped it out. Because of false accusationsand murderous threats by the Jews, Paul ended up going to Rome as a prisoner of the Roman government.
Message Title: Taking Care of Business: Walking in the Fullness of the Blessing of Christ Message Text: Romans 15:22-16:16