Romans 16:17: 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.
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. (ESV)
The Apostle Paul loved the people in Rome very much. We have just read in previous verses his intimate greetings to his many friends. He viewed these people as part of the family of God. They were his brothers and sisters. Paul now demonstrates his love and care for his family members by warning them to avoid those who would bring false doctrines into the church.
We are often reminded by Scripture that we need to love one another. One of the ways that we love one another is by protecting each other from false doctrine. There is only one book in the New Testament in which there are no warnings against false teaching. The Lord knew that the enemy of our souls would be at work trying to destroy the church. One of his primary weapons is false teaching.
Our love for each other is a result of the love that we have received from God himself. All that we know of his love, and the rest of his character and nature, comes from the Word of God he has given to us. Any distortion of that truth affects our understanding of how we relate to him, and by extension, how we relate to one another. This is why false teaching hinders us loving one another properly.
Paul says that the response to these false teachers who would cause divisions and create obstacles to the faith is to avoid them. Far too many churches are not equipped to deal with false doctrine. They do not bring discipline. They do not want to be perceived as mean spirited. One of the most loving things you can do for the body of Christ is to avoid false teaching and the false teachers who bring it.
How much do you love the body of Christ? Do you love the church enough to put a stop to false teaching? If you are in a church that permits false teaching you may need to ask your pastor to lovingly put a stop to it.