Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Salutations and Summary, part 4 – Romans, part 254

Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep your eye on those who are causing divisions and stumbling blocks, contrary to the teaching that you learned. Turn away from them. 18 For such people do not serve our Lord the Messiah, but only their own belly. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

It seems like a fine line between calling for righteousness and causing divisions.  We need to hear from the Holy Spirit regarding matters of piety.  John 16:13a But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.  My experience is that there is always someone willing to tell me I’m doing something wrong.

Actually, those causing divisions and creating stumbling blocks that are “contrary to the teaching that you have learned,” are pretty easy to spot.  Paul’s admonition regarding our response is clear, “turn away from them.”  One of the reasons contentious people are easy to spot is that we have worked very hard at Shomair to have a leadership that is united behind the mission, vision and values we share.  When someone with another agenda presents a different path, we spot it right away.

As leaders, we’re always asking, “Is this a person who is here to build with us, or are they building something different?  Building something different isn’t something bad, per se, but expecting us, as leaders, to make the congregation follow it is.  So, how do people respond?  They become (what we refer to as) “parking lot prophets.”  They grab unsuspecting people on their way out of the service (usually in the parking lot) and present their version of the truth.

Let me make a suggestion.  The body of Messiah is based on submission (beginning with Messiah, Himself).  Find a place to submit your life.  Prove you can love God (through obedience) and people (through service) well and add to what God is doing in a real community.

John 13:34 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

One of the foundations for love is consistency.  Do you trust (love) a cat if he cuddles with you sometimes and bites you at other times?  People can behave the same way.  Paul is saying to avoid such people and don’t be fooled by their “smooth talk and flattery.”

Mat 10:16  “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Tuesday 9-Jan-24
Exodus 6:29-7:7 2 Samuel 15 Psalm 82 Luke 9:27-62 Ephesians 4