Now I beg you, brothers, look out for those who are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. For those who are such don’t serve our Lord, Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and flattering speech, they deceive the hearts of the innocent.
As Christians, we shouldn’t sweep scandal under the rug, but we are told to “look out for those who are causing divisions and occasions of stumbling.” It is
very important to also recognize that this is referring to things that are “contrary to the doctrine which you learned.” These words don’t fit in with the world’s way of doing things. The world would have us just try to get along while they tear down Christianity. Instead, we should be looking for and turning away from those who preach stuff that is against what Paul teaches in this letter. This is our responsibility.
This passage isn’t saying that it is bad to ever have a division in the church. In fact, it’s saying the opposite. If someone preaches a contrary doctrine, you must split from them and it is their fault, not yours. Remember how important it is to maintain a clear conscience before the Lord. If something goes against your conscience, you should depart from it. That includes the things that I say. If they are not in line with what God says you must be responsible to turn away. I hope that you pray with me that I would speak only the truth as I teach about God so that people don’t have to turn away.
Notice that these people are really only serving their own physical needs and not Jesus. Notice that they use “smooth and flattering speech.” We must look out for them because “they deceive the hearts of the innocent.” We may find ourselves in a bad situation unless we guard what God has given to us.