Read: Romans 16:17-18
When I was a little kid, my brother told me there were hyenas in the woods behind our house. I was terrified of hyenas, and therefore terrified of going outside. Even when my mother assured me that there were no hyenas, and in the fact that they only lived in Africa. I still insisted on staying inside. I had never seen one, and I had been in my backyard countless of times with nothing bad happening to me. I knew that my parents were there to protect me. I knew all these things, but I still decided to believe my brother (who was only five years older than me). I listened to my brother over what my parents assured me was really true.
In Romans 16:17-18, Paul warns them to stay away from false teachers. People who try to twist and change what we know about God. He writes, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
Paul warns his readers to be on guard for these people. There are people who want to divide the church. They purposely create issues and cause problems. They claim something that opposes the Bible and its teachings. He tells them to flee from these people, to avoid them. They are not there to serve God, but only their own desires. He warns them that they use charm and appeal to mislead others. He is warning them not to be naive.
We must not be naive either. These deceivers still exist today and are strongly working against God and dividing His people. We should not believe everything someone tells us. The truth of God is found in the Bible. We must rely on the truth God has given us rather than what someone else says.
Just like I shouldn’t have listened to what my brother told me and should have listened to the facts I knew to be true, we need to be careful to judge what is truth. We know the Bible to be true, and therefore we cannot take someone’s word of what’s in there. Instead, we need to do our own research. We need to read the Bible for ourselves. We need to be aware that there are people out there aspiring to deceive us and be on guard.
Have you ever been told the Bible said something and you were unsure of? This is a great reminder that we need to read and research what the Bible actually says. Do you know of someone who is telling you to believe things contrary to what the Bible says? Remember to be on guard for deceptive people.