Today's Word of the day focuses on Romans 16:17-18, Paul tells the Roman Christians:
"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 decieve the minds of naive people."
Sadly, our churches have these people who want their own interests served rather than the Gospel of Christ. They want the church "ran" a certain way, their way, because they know best. They stand in oppostiton to the pastor, deacons, or others in the church who just want nothing more than to serve Christ. And according to Scripture they try to convince others to "be on their side" and in some circumstances are succesful. I've seen in the churches I've served as an associate pastor what this looks like and the outcome is ungodly.
Being a pastor or a deacon does not make you immune either. I've also served with pastors who have their own "agenda" other than that of Christ. In my opinion, and it's just from my experience, we as a church put in ungodly people into positions of influence i.e. pastor/elder/deacon without following the guidelines laid out in the Bible.
When confronted by the truth of Scripture these people "scoff" at it, yell, scream, act like children to get their way. Subvert the pastor's authority in the church by going behind his back to gossip or slander him, etc. Or if this person is the pastor he will manipulate, divide, etc. to get his way.
The Apostle John wrote about this in his 3rd letter to the church. There was a man named Diotrephes who was causing division in the local church. Read what John wrote about this man:
"I wrote to the church but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church."
Does that sound familiar to you? This problem still exists today as it did in John's day. Let's not forget that this man was a church member who was not obedient to the teaching of Scripture.
I'll close with this: Jesus tells us in Luke 9:23 that if we want to follow Him we must first "deny ourselves" notice that Diotrephes loved "to be first". The first step to a Godly congregation is our own humility. Until we walk in that light with Christ we will continue to have division and obstacles put in our paths.