A Word of Caution from John 16

John 16:1-4: ‘I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.  They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.  And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.  But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.’

How terrible it would be to think I was serving God only to find out that I was standing opposed to Him.

Passages such as the one above should cause all who seek to attack, condemn, criticize, or cast aside others, as it relates to the church, to pause.  Yet at the same time, we have verses that tell us to stand opposed to some people and positions at particular times (Matt. 18:15-20; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 1 Tim. 1:18-20; 2 Thess. 3:6; 2 Jn. 10; etc.).

But this opposition should be done carefully and under the more severe circumstances.  We must know that God sometimes acts contrary to our desires, traditions, norms, and expectations.  This was the case for many of the Jews the apostles would face after Christ’s resurrection.  They would cast those who had the Truth out of the synagogues, a place where truth was to be proclaimed and discussed.  How ironic! 

The word of God is to be our guide not our traditions or preferences.  If what someone advocates doesn’t violate the clear teaching of God’s word, we should look, listen, evaluate, and pray.  We may find that we don’t agree or can’t get behind it. 

Okay. But we should pause long and hard before we dare attack people with whom we disagree and label them as ungodly as so many from the past have done.  Let us listen to wisdom and grow in grace and knowledge as we seek to be the community that God intended for us to be.