On Divisions and Obstacles
“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. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16: 17-20
Pretty straightforward warning from Paul there. Divisions and obstacles need to be avoided or they can shipwreck our faith in a hurry. Sure there are other divisions, but the biggest division that I see in the Body of Christ is that between Clergy and laity or Leaders and followers. It is an obstacle and division because it creates the myth that some Christians are leaders and others can’t lead. This division stifles the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ by denying every member ministry and instead it elevates one person or a select few over the rest of the congregation. Then instead of the Body being living and active, it becomes dead-like and passive. The Church should never be about a few participants and many spectators. No EVERYONE is supposed to be a vibrant participant with much to share with the rest of the Body. When the Church is allowing and empowering every member to be Spiritual givers and not mere takers….She shines!
Who is misleading the Church these days? Most denominations (The very word denomination means division) and independent “churches” uphold the Clergy/Laity division and the notion that some Christians are special and to be revered over and above other followers of Christ. Sure most denominations and independents give lip service to the Priesthood of all Believers, but the problem is that they do not make it their practice in everyday church-life. Other than that it is impossible to turn on the television and find a TV preacher that doesn’t line their own pockets with cash smooth-talked and manipulated away from the innocent. Just a few years ago The Trinity Broadcasting Network, the largest “christian” network, had come under fire because the founders very own grand daughter had come forward to say that they had misappropriated MILLIONS of dollars from the ministry to feed the founders appetite for more luxury cars, jet airplanes, mansions and mammon in general. Aside from the money problem much of the theology of most TV preachers is just whacked. The whole prosperity doctrine and Seed Faith movement is just so very, very wrong. I totally believe in prayer and healing, but not the kind that apparently says that God can be manipulated with money.
The whole being wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil is just excellent. The best way to be innocent about anything is to not even be exposed to it in the first place. When they train U.S. Treasury agents, the agents only work with real money. They get to know real currency so well, that when they come across counterfeit bills later they almost automatically know them to be fake. It seems that God wants the very same from us where it comes to good and evil. It is all about knowing the good so well and intimately that when we come across the evil we will know it right away. BIG EVIL is easy to spot. It is the little evil things that tend to trip us up in this life.
I really like the last verses in this passage. It is great to know that God will soon crush satan and somehow it will be with peace and right under our very own feet. To me this means to hold on because it won’t be very long until God helps you through any difficult situation that you can face or even imagine. Because the awesome Grace of Jesus is with us.
Kirk Out !