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Romans 16:18: 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.

Romans 16:18

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. (ESV)

In the previous verse the Apostle Paul made an appeal to the believers in Rome to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine they had been taught. It seems that there is always a temptation to seek after some "new" and "exciting" teaching. Today there is always someone who will give you some special word that has not been known before for all centuries of Christendom.

People who bring false teaching always bring division. When the church is not unified she is not effective. The unbelieving world sees a divided church and sees it as weak and irrelevant. It becomes clear, then, that Satan himself is behind false teaching. He is known as the deceiver. Jesus called him the father of lies. Paul says that these who cause division with false teaching deceive the hearts of the naive.

So, it would beg the question, "How do we avoid being naive and led astray by false teaching?" The simple answer is that in order to avoid the false teaching we must be completely absorbed with pursuing true teaching. It is not found in chasing after so-called new prophetic words from God. It is not found by listening to everyone who claims to speak for God. True teaching is found in the word of God alone.

In the Book of Acts we have an interesting description of the early followers of Christ. In Acts 2:42 it says, "And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." They were not chasing every smooth-talking preacher's "new word." They were devoted to the apostles' teaching. The New Testament that we have today is the apostles' teaching. It is what we need.

Are you careful of who you listen to? Are you aware of slick false teachers who desire to bring confusion and division in the church? Devote yourself to a pursuit of truth found in the Word of God alone.