Text: Romans 16:17-27
Theme: Paul’s final appeal underscores the danger of divisive people with false teachings.
Key verses: “And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes my very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…” (v. 17-20a). “Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says” (v. 25).
What God said to me: Dwayne, it’s tough for me to get a word in edge-wise to you right now. You’re distracted by so much stuff–promoting your new book or sending out emails to donors or checking your Facebook likes. There is nothing inherently wrong with those things. But compared to being with me and in my presence they pale miserably. In fact, there is no comparison. I appreciate your hard work and dedication. But remember and heed what I said about the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2: “I know your deeds, your labor, and your perseverance…But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love. Therefore, keep in mind how far you have fallen. Repent and perform the deeds you did at first. But if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Be careful, lest I say the same thing about you, Dwayne. Focus on me and me alone for your provisions and help. Lay your request before daily and walk in righteousness. No sneaking around. No hypocrisy is permitted among my children. You must seek first my kingdom above your own. And consider how Paul wrapped up this magnificent theological treatise. He ended his letter with a warning to watch out for those who try to lead you astray. They want to cause divisions and teach things that are false and deceptive. Thing is, not all of them are intentional devious. Many of them are quite sincere and in their minds are helping you and showing love to you by what they teach. This makes them even more believable and dangerous. Beware and guard your heart and mind. I will come again soon, and only my words will stand the test of time. Trust me and my written Word. Trust what you were taught by your mentors early on. I placed them in your life to prepare you for the ministry you are doing now. I will make you strong and continue to provide your every need. Trust me with all your heart, and keep your eyes focused on me. I love you with an everlasting love.
What I said to God: Holy Lord, I am broken before You. You know my goings out and comings in. You know my every thought and action, and yet You still love me and bless me. You forgive me and walk with me. Please help me warn everyone I can of false teachers and false doctrine. Help me keep my eyes on You and please give me the physical and emotional strength I need to keep growing NLW and being a good father and husband in my home.