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. 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.
Paul is closing out the letter of Romans and sends his greetings to them generally and personally. Then he ends it with this phrase. Of all the things he could write to end the letter, he writes this.
He is adamant and appealing to them to watch out for those who cause divisions by preaching doctrine that is opposite to true biblical doctrine. These “teachers” preach false doctrine through flattery and smooth talk and they deceive the hearts of the naive.
This is as true, if not more true, today.
In the age of mega pastor & famous, smooth talking & fancy preachers, this is just as true. Our application: be careful. Be vigilant. Not everyone out there is preaching true doctrine. If that were true, Paul wouldn’t have written this. He wouldn’t have appealed to them. Pleaded with them.
Paul tells them to AVOID them. We must do the same.
Who are these people? These slippery, smooth talking teachers, who are they? They are among us. They are all over. We will know them by their teaching and more importantly we will know them by truly knowing the word.
Learn what true doctrine is so that you can know what false doctrine is.
Lord, give our body eyes to see. That we would be vigilant against slippery, smooth talking lies. That they would not appeal to us, but only true doctrine, your Word, would.