“17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore, I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
“21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you, 22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.“
I am blessed to be surrounded by people who help me do the ministry. I have people who make sure that my work is edited. There are two wonderful ladies, one at our church and one for Rapture Ready that faithfully work to get these lessons out each week. Last week, one of the young men stepped up and did the music set-up for our service. He coordinated the message as well, put all the scriptures on the screens, and did an awesome job. As we explored last week, none of us in the ministry are loners. We need the work of the people God put in our lives to help us do the work that He has called us to.
Last week we explored that with Paul; he was quick to highlight and thank the people that helped him in the ministry. I encourage you to do the same if you are a minister. Thank the people that help you, the people that pray for you, the ones that stand by you, and the ones that love you. These are the ones that make what you do possible. Even here in this passage, we see teamwork. In verse 22, we meet Tertius; he is the one writing this letter to the Romans. Paul, as he got older, began to lose his eyesight, and we see in Galatians 4:15 that people at Galatia would have given him their eyes if they could. Paul was dictating, and Tertius was writing. Teamwork. As well, Paul was surrounded by other faithful men who had heard the Gospel and accepted it. As he is finishing the letter, Paul leaves us with some things to ponder and consider.
- Be careful of people who cause division, verses 17-20
Paul, Peter and Jude warn us that as we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus, there will be people who turn away from or pervert the Gospel. We can see that in many ‘churches’ today. They preach a gospel that is not even close to what Jesus taught. They teach a gospel of works whereby you can earn your way to heaven. Or, they pair the law with grace and teach that you need both to be saved. Many have turned the Gospel into a pretense to telling God what to do. They claim to speak commands, claim to bind things and loose things, claim and decree as if they are gods; they are not. Many don’t teach the Old Testament anymore; many teach just shallow encouragement pieces that center around how to pump you up rather than teaching about Jesus.
I keep hearing people say that they have some new revelation from Jesus, some word that He just dropped. NO, this is not the case. The Bible is the completed Word of God; if the ‘new’ revelation is not found in the Bible, it is NOT from God. Don’t follow these fables. These people use that phrase ‘I got a new word’ to trick you into believing their lies.
There is little teaching of suffering for the Gospel, being broken by the Holy Spirit in order that Christ may be formed in us or that God will change us and call us to sacrifice. The modern gospel does not seem to call for sacrifice and loss. It promotes abundance and the accumulation of wealth. These heresies are divisive, and we should not tolerate them. These teachers are the tares, and we the wheat in the Lord’s field. If we teach the truth, if we are immersed in the truth, if we love the truth of the Bible and make ourselves familiar with it, we will be able to point out these heresies and nip them in the bud, so to speak, so that they do not grow into doctrines in our churches. Do not tolerate this kind of heresy in your local church; confront it and root it out. I watch a lot of videos of good preachers who exegete the scriptures correctly, exposing the heresies in a lot of mega-churches.
There are a lot of small churches in the same heresies as well; size does not mean they are wrong. But think of the millions of people in many churches who have never really heard the Gospel. They have never heard that they are sinners, that Jesus is the ONLY Saviour, and they need Him to save them. Think of how many people in churches who don’t understand that bloodshed is the only way for sins to be forgiven and washed away. Think of how many people, some preachers, who don’t believe in the literal creation in six days as taught in Genesis.
Many deny the deity of Jesus, many the perfection of Jesus, many don’t understand the eternal salvation that we have in Jesus, and many don’t understand that there is a real judgment of the saved and a Hell for the lost. These doctrines are not popular. Jesus does not want to make a better you; He wants to destroy the old you and build a new you. The old self is dead in sins, and the new you is alive in Jesus.
The Gospel calls for us to separate from the ideas and the goals of the world system. The goal of a local church is to win the lost, baptize them and teach the scriptures faithfully, Matthew 28:18-20. It is simply and clearly stated here. Teach the Gospel, tell others about Jesus, the cross, the grave, the resurrection and the imminent return. Warn them to be ready to meet Jesus and to give an account of their lives. This is the Gospel, not just a get out of Hell free card. Yes, Jesus will save you instantly, but you are not saved to serve yourself; rather, you are called to deny self and serve the Lord and others. This is the Gospel; Jesus said that we are to take up our crosses and follow Him.
This gives the idea of suffering, pain, shame, loss, cost and sometimes mental stress. We are told that in this life, the children of God will have trouble, John 16:33. But Jesus told us this to give us peace inside so that when trouble comes, we will be steady in Him. The Gospel, our salvation, cost Jesus His life, and He suffered for us. As we live out the salvation that we have in Jesus, we should expect to have great costs and suffering. I had a dear pastor friend of mine point out that God never explains to us why Job was allowed to suffer; He just allowed it. But Job’s suffering has been a source of strength for millennia to the saved person. We must know the truth, be immersed in the truth, have our thoughts saturated with the truth so that we can weed out division caused by false gospels and false doctrines.
- Be established according to the Gospel, verses 25-27
Be wary of the false doctrine. BUT, be established in the truth. There is a necessary action here. If we are not established in the truth, then false doctrine will set in. Notice that it is Jesus who is able to establish you in the truth. Jesus, we are told in John 14:6, is THE TRUTH. He is the standard of truth; there is no truth without Jesus. Far too many of us saved people are looking for truth elsewhere, but Jesus is it! Spend more time in the truth, spend more time in the Bible, find songs that teach the truth, and they can run through your head during the day. Keep the truth readily available so that you can get the truth when you need it.
Have verses written in your home, listen to songs about the truth in your car, and let your kids hear them as well. I love taking my little Saturn to school; we turn on good Gospel music, and she knows the words and sings along. She has her favorites and can’t wait to hear them. She is in a Christian school that is doctrinally sound and also provides a good education. I want her immersed, surrounded and grounded in the Truth; then, when she is off on her own, she will be armed to stand up and be established in the Gospel. She is eager to pray and has a list of persons to pray for up on the whiteboard in our kitchen. By the way, she is eight (8). She can and does read the Bible as she is about to go to sleep, as a devotional. We speak the truth, do our best to live the truth, surround her with the truth, and we should all be that way.
Our churches should be filled with the truth, even the hard truths. We will stick out like sore thumbs in a world filled with lies, but we are called to stick out. We need to be light-bearers in this dark world. Some will hate us for the truth, and some will love us for the truth. God will bless us for the truth, in the truth and by the truth. The Holy Bible is TRUTH; love it, cling to it and ingest it often.
I pray that you have enjoyed our journey in Romans. I would love to get your feedback. It seems that I have been having some troubles with the church email. I don’t think I have been getting any emails or questions you may have sent. We will endeavor to fix that. May the Lord bless you and keep you.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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