Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 16

How we can protect ourselves from evil leaders in the churches

Romans 16:17-18

A sincere Christian serves God because of his love and respect for God. That Christian helps other people because of the love that God has given him for those people. He does not care whether other people consider him a leader, or not. He is not trying to increase his importance; he is not trying to gain an advantage for himself from his work for God. Perhaps he earns wages as a church leader (1 Corinthians 9:7-11) but he would still serve God loyally, even without those wages.

On the other hand, there are many people who try to make themselves rich by their work in the churches. Their method is to increase their own power and importance. They want people to trust them, rather than to trust God. So, they start to replace the Bibleís simple message with their own clever ideas. They try to separate people from the sincere leaders who would teach them the truth about God. They try to attract people to themselves with their fine words and impressive speech.

Such behaviour is evil; it can cause severe problems. It can ruin a personís relationship with God. A few weeks before Paul wrote the Book of Romans, he warned Corinthís Christians strongly about such leaders (2 Corinthians 11:1-6 and 11:12-15). A few weeks later, he warned Ephesusís church leaders about this matter (Acts 20:29-31).

Many Christians try to protect themselves from those evil leaders. However, those Christians often choose foolish methods, which God has not provided. So, some Christians refuse to go to church; but God wants Christians to meet in order to encourage each other in their relationship with him (Hebrews 10:25). Other Christians refuse to learn anything new. They only ever want to hear again the first lessons that they learned about God. In that way, they can become too afraid to develop in their relationship with God.

However, God provides leaders to teach his people (Ephesians 4:11-13), from his word (the Bible) and by his Spirit. The correct way for us to protect ourselves is with a close relationship with God. We should constantly pray and study the Bible. We should allow God to direct our lives by his Holy Spirit.

Next part: The garden called Eden (Romans 16:19-20)


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