6/4/16 Mark Certain Men

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Morning Meditation 6/4/16

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

The words “Now I beseech you” translate a present active indicative verb meaning to beg, to entreat someone.” This is a word that Paul uses more than any other New Testament writer. It is not the approach that you would think of in the exercise of apostolic authority. Paul used apostolic authority sparingly. His presentation of truth is one of respect for the right of others to examine what is being said and make a right decision about it. No matter how certain a pastor is of the truth he preaches, he must respect the right to choose on the part of the other. It does not make wrong choices right. Sometimes you do want to make choices for people. Especially when they make what we call “dumb choices” where anyone should have known better. But this is the way God made us and we must respect that. We have to live with presenting truth and knowing when we do that there are many if not most who will do absolutely nothing with the truth we present. They do this to their own harm. We have to watch and grieve over their bad choices. What can be do about it? Paul did what is allowed: “Now I beseech you.” Pleading with people is allowed. But remember this, the response to truth is their responsibility. No one can do it for them. If we try to force a right response, we have only hindered the work of God in their lives.

Many parents with wayward children misuse their authority. We wish as parents that we could make our children do right. We need to sit down with our children and teach them truth and offer guidance in right choices. There will come a time when the only authority that you have in their lives with be the truth you instilled in them at the proper stage of their lives. We do not help people by “Lording it over God’s heritage”(1 Pet. 5:3).

The word “brethren” means Paul is recognizing those to whom he is writing as being in the same family (family of God) with him. Things like this is important when one Christian approaches another professing Christian. There is entirely too much going on like “If he doesn’t agree with me on this subject, he is probably just not saved. And if he is not saved, I don’t have to treat him as a brother.” Paul addresses people as brethren who are a long way from agreeing with him.

Paul says, “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned. . .” Now Paul is asking these brethren to adopt an attitude toward some. Lets identify that attitude. The word “mark” (skopeo) “to fix one's eyes upon, direct one's attention to any one.”It is a present active infinitive. This means to continually (present tense) fix your eyes upon and direct your attention to” “them which cause division . . .” The word “cause” is a present active participle and means that some were causing divisions by what they were doing. The word “divisions” (dichostasia) is a plural word and means dissension and sedition..” There are some people who manifest the work of the flesh called “variance.” It is identified in the list of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:20. The word translated “variance” (eris) and means “contention, strife, wrangling.” There are two kinds of people who manifest this characteristic. Unsaved people in the church who are not capable to living under the control of the Holy Spirit. Then, the carnal Christian who is saved but walking after the flesh instead of the Spirit (Rom. 8). This is a characteristic of some people and they never get victory over it. This person is a pastor’s night mare. He doesn’t only have to be concerned over this person but he is constantly trying to straighten out the messes caused by him. There are always some in any church who can be influenced by people like this.

The word “offenses” (skandalon) means “the movable stick or trigger of a trap.” It is a plural word and means there are several triggers that he uses to cause divisions. When I was a boy, I made traps in which to trap rabbits. The trigger was a very important feature of this trap. If it was not easily tripped you probably would not catch the rabbit. So you worked on the trigger and perfected it. We need to be able to identify those whom Paul is telling us to “mark.” They are very good at causing divisions and they have perfected “triggers” to catch unsuspecting brethren.

Here we have one of these who causes division. He goes out on visitation with a brother who is a good supporter of the church. On the very first trip out this “division causer” in conversation finds something over which this good brother has a slight disagreement with the pastor. He has a perfected trigger for that brother. The first thing the pastor knows, he has a problem with this brother. He doesn’t have a clue what it is. He just recognizes that things are not like they used to be. Well, he goes to the brother and discovers when he gets to the bottom of it, this brother was caught by the trigger mechanism in the trap of “divisions” and it has fallen to the pastor to try to save this brother whom the “division causer” cares nothing about whatsoever. Some missionaries and pastors have situations in the history of their ministry that fit this scenario completely. Many times those who do these things do not stay too long at the church. Thank God. But this problem follows them. I know men who have given problems in every single church without exception that they have been a member. It is always divisions that draw a few unsuspecting souls around them.

The words contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned” identify the way to prevent involvement with those who will cause hurt to you and the church. The best way to avoid error is to know the truth. Paul says “you have been taught the doctrine.” He says, “When someone questions the doctrine, let the caution light begin to flash concerning that person. The words “have learned” means they have been informed. It is an aorist tense verb which refers to a point of time in the past. We might say, “remember the new converts class in which you learned this particular truth? Well, it is still true. And when you hear someone who is teaching contrary to this or questioning the truth of it, mark that man.”

The words “and avoid them” (ekklino) mean “to turn (one's self) away, to turn away from, keep aloof from one's society.” It is an aorist active imperative verb. This means to turn away from that person at the point of time what you see that he is setting the trigger and it is contrary to what you have been taught. It is imperative mood which means it is a command. You may like the guy. But no matter how much you like him you must turn aside and “watch him like a hawk.” He will hurt the church and you. He will involve you if he possibly can and when he does you have his mark on you, i.e., a division causer. Is this what you want to be known as?

May the Lord bless you.

In Christ

Bro. White

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