The Sin of
A Solemn Warning To
By Dr. Bob Morey
Now I beg of you, my brothers, mark those who are actively causing
schisms and occasions of stumbling contrary to the teaching you
learned. Have nothing to do with them because they are not serving our
Lord Jesus Christ, but their own agenda. By slick words and plausible
speeches they are able to deceive the hearts of innocent people.
One of the vilest devices of Satan warned against in Scripture is
raise up people who will cause divisions and strife in the Church.
This in turn will tear the Church to pieces, harm as many as possible,
and utterly ruin the peace and unity of the Body of Christ. Paul
warned us of this wicked device in 2 Cor. 2:11; 1 Cor. 1:10; 3:1-3;
11:17-19; 2 Cor. 11:20).
This message is intended to be a solemn warning in the hope that
this Church will not fall prey to this satanic device for Satan is now
making a major move against the very existence of this Church.
The Satanists and the witches have placed satanic spells and curses
against this Church in a poster, which mistakenly was displayed on the
very walls of the Church. This is a significant signal that Satan is
now attempting with all his power to destroy this Church. God's
Word commands us to deal with the devil and his deeds with courage and
strength and in love toward all and malice toward none.
In this message, our focus is destroy the works of the devil and
not to attack any individuals because the struggle upon us is not with
flesh and blood but with the forces of darkness (Eph. 6:12).
1. The peace and unity of the Church is a divine mandate of the
highest priority: Psa. 133:1-3; Mat. 5:9; Rom. 12:18-21; 1 Cor.
7:15; 14:33; 2 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 4:1-6; 1 Thess. 5:12-15; Heb. 13:1;
James 3:13-18; 1 Pet. 3:8-12
Note: Where is the divine mandate to destroy the peace and
unity of the Church? To turn the happiness of the saints into sadness;
their joy to weeping; their blessings to cursings; their love to hate;
their contentment to anger? There is not a single verse in the Bible
where God tells you to tear the church to pieces.
2. The sin of "schism" is such a heinous sin because it is
committed against the Church, the Bride of Christ, and is thus
considered more wicked than those personal offenses that occur between
individuals or families. Christians may sin against each other in
many different ways. But if someone splits a church by persuading
members to join him in leaving that church, he is now guilty of the
heinous sin of schism.
a. Jesus warned us how wicked it is to cause others to sin (Matt
18:3-7). Were did he say that causing believers to stumble into evil
tempers is a good thing?
b. The Ephesian church was warned that savage wolves would tear
people away from the church (Acts. 20:28-29). Were did Paul tell us
that we should be savage wolves and tear the Church to pieces?
c. We are commanded to mark those who do it and to avoid any
letters, papers or phone calls from them and conversations with them
(Rom. 16:17-18). Did he ever say that we should mark those who seek
the peace and unity of the church? Never!
d. God condemns those who cause divisions in the church because
they do so without his approval. (I Cor. 11:18-19).
3. The sin of schism has always been condemned throughout
biblical history and punished severely by God. In Num. 16 those
involved in schism died when the ground opened up and swallowed them
alive! Throughout biblical history and Church history God sent fire
and plagues upon those who sought to disrupt the peace and unity of
the people of God.
4. The Book of Proverbs warns us that those who spread strife
and cause evil tempers to abound are not doing the work of God but the
work of the devil.
a. 6:12-14 A worthless person, a wicked person…spreads strife.
b. 6:16-19 There are six things that the LORD hates.
Yes, seven things are an abomination to Him:
He who spreads strife among the brothers.
Note: Where is the divine mandate to start quarrels and strife in
the church? Where in the Bible does God ever tell you to rape the
Bride of Christ? Nowhere! The spirit behind schism is always Satan and
never God. The motivating passion behind slashing and burning, and
tearing and ripping a church to pieces is always demonic. It is never
the work of the peaceful dove of the Holy Spirit.
It is mandatory for those who fear the Lord to seek the peace and
unity of the Church at all times and not to fall into the sin of
schism. Do not listen to those who wish to tear you out of the Body.
Do not allow them to cause you to stumble into the sins of anger,
vengeance, and hate. Instead, be a man or woman of peace who avoids
those whose mouths are full of bitterness and violence.
Classic Commentaries On Romans 16:17-18
1. Charles Hodge: "While he urges them to the kind reception
of all faithful ministers and Christians, he enjoins upon them to have
nothing to do with those who cause divisions and offenses…Those who
cause these dissensions, Paul commands Christians, first, to mark,
i.e. to notice carefully, and not allow them to pursue their
corrupting course unheeded; and, secondly, to avoid, i.e. to
break off connection with them...because they are wicked and
injurious…they are not activated by zeal for the Lord Jesus, they are
selfish…plausible and deceitful."
2. Robert Haldane: "The churches of Christ have here the
most solemn injunction given, in the most earnest manner, with respect
to a thing to which at one time or other they will all be found
obnoxious. They are warned against the artful attempts of dangerous
hypocrites, who, for sinister and interested purposes, endeavor to
make divisions in the churches with which they are united…such persons
are to be avoided. Men, who from the view of exalting themselves,
endeavor to sow divisions in the Church, are more to be shunned than
if they were infected with pestilence; and the brethren who are
connected with them ought not, from their confidence in their own
steadfastness, to expose themselves to their conversation on such
subjects. Such persons are in the service of Satan, who will prevail
to deceive the strongest of the people of God, if he obtains
3. Matthew Henry: "How earnest, how endearing, are
Paul's exhortations! He teaches them, 1. To see their danger: Mark
those who cause divisions and offenses. Our Master had himself
foretold that divisions and offenses would come, but had entailed a
woe on those by whom they come (Matt. xviii.7), and against such we
are cautioned. Those who burden the church with dividing and offending
impositions, who uphold and enforce those impositions, who introduce
and propagate dividing and offending impositions, which are erroneous
or justly suspected, who out of pride, ambition, affection of novelty,
or the like, ceaselessly separate from their brethren, and by perverse
disputes, censures and evil surmising, alienate the affections of
Christians one from another; these cause divisions and
offenses…Observe them, the method they take, the end they drive at.
There is need of a piercing watchful eye to discern the danger we are
in from such people; for commonly the pretenses are plausible, when
the projects are very pernicious. Do not look only at the
divisions and offenses, but run up those streams to the fountain and
mark those that cause them, and especially those cause these divisions
and offenses, those lusts on each side whence come these wars and
fightings. A danger discovered is half prevented.
a. Shun all unnecessary communion and communication with
them, lest you be leavened and infected by them. Do not strike in with
any dividing interests, nor embrace any of those principles or
practices which are destructive of Christian and charity."
4. Kenneth Wuest: The passage refers to those who "caused
dissension and generated bad tempers in the church" and "give
outsiders cause to blaspheme, and to stumble at the gospel…Denny says,
"Divisions in the Church are Satan's work, and the suppression of
them by the God of peace is a victory over Satan."
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