17My friends, I beg you to watch out for anyone who causes trouble and divides the church by refusing to do what all of you were taught. Stay away from them! 18They want to serve themselves and not Christ the Lord. Their flattery and fancy talk fool people who don't know any better. 19I am glad that everyone knows how well you obey the Lord. But still, I want you to understand what is good and not have anything to do with evil. 20Then God, who gives peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet. I pray that our Lord Jesus will be kind to you.
21 Timothy, who works with me, sends his greetings, and so do my relatives, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater.
22I, Tertius, also send my greetings. I am a follower of the Lord, and I wrote this letter.
23-24 Gaius welcomes me and the whole church into his home, and he sends his greetings.
Erastus, the city treasurer, and our dear friend Quartus send their greetings too.
Paul's Closing Prayer
25Praise God! He can make you strong by means of my good news, which is the message about Jesus Christ. For ages and ages this message was kept secret, 26but now at last it has been told. The eternal God commanded his prophets to write about the good news, so that all nations would obey and have faith. 27 And now, because of Jesus Christ, we can praise the only wise God forever! Amen.
Be careful, Paul says, and avoid those who would pervert the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, even if they call themselves God’s servants.
The apostle had seen churches that were troubled and divided by the work of such people. They claimed, of course, to be his servants and appeared to be sincere but they led unsuspecting people into error with their devious but pleasant and flattering speech.
This warning is as applicable and valid for us today as it was then. We, too, can risk falling prey to being led away by people with dangerous ideas. This is a reality not to be taken lightly!
Our post modern society would have us believe that all truth is relative, meaning essentially that what is true for you may not be necessarily so for another. We must remain vigilant, attentive and discerning before these snares.
We need to be founded on and grounded in the truth of God’s Word. We need to know the Bible, to devote time to reading it on a regular basis, while carefully reflecting on and obeying its content.
The Bible is not an easy book to read, as would read a novel or a newspaper for instance. Its treasures are revealed to those who make the effort to search diligently and meditate on its meaning. If we do this, we will be in a position to discern the truth and keep our distance from the falsehoods and errors all around us.
Let’s praise the Lord, like the apostle, for the truth revealed by his Word. Truth that brings clarity and the revelation of God’s person and his plan of salvation for mankind by Christ’s death on the cross. This plan of salvation, foretold by the Old Testament prophets, is offered freely to all by faith in Christ alone.
Lord, I want to thank you for having watched over me and over your Word over time. Thanks for bringing me to the truth and making me firm in the faith by reading your Word. Thank you for salvation and for the privilege of being able to announce it to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.