1 Cor. 11:18-19 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be heresies among you, that those who are approved may be made manifest among you.
Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
You can’t help but notice that in not only both of these verses but also in the context of these chapters including chapters 6 of Hebrews that the topic is about growing into spiritual maturity. How can we do that if there is no discerning of the things that it talks about in these verses? Paul certainly isn’t surprised at hearing that there were divisions, instead he points out that it’s necessary in order to find the truth and identify those who are not teaching it. How many times did Christ himself warn and instruct us on this very issue?
Mark 13:22-23 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
Matt. 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed/Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Take heed is the same translation and means
Strongs: 991 βλέπω [ blepo / blep ·o /] “beware” four times, “look on” four times, “look” three times, “beware of 1 to see, discern, of the bodily eye. 1a with the bodily eye: to be possessed of sight, have the power of seeing. 1b perceive by the use of the eyes: to see, look descry. 1c to turn the eyes to anything: to look at, look upon, gaze at. 1d to perceive by the senses, to feel. 1e to discover by use, to know by experience. 2 metaph. to see with the mind’s eye. 2a to have (the power of) understanding. 2b to discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover, understand. 2c to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine. 3 in a geographical sense of places, mountains, buildings, etc. turning towards any quarter, as it were, facing it.
Watch out (Matt. 16:6
Strongs: 3708 εἶδον , ὁράω [ horao / hor· ah ·o /] Properly, to stare at “take heed” “behold” “perceive” 1 to see with the eyes. 2 to see with the mind, to perceive, know. 3 to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience. 4 to see, to look to. 4a to take heed, beware. 4b to care for, pay heed to. 5 I was seen, showed myself, appeared.
I love the meanings of these words as it gives us not only a clearer picture but calls us to action if we are to have any hopes of truly being able to know/discern good from evil. To “stare at” and become acquainted with, to discover by use and to know by experience.
Many of us can certainly say that we have “experienced” these false teachings first hand but I, like most, didn’t follow through to “perceive or “understand” what I was looking at or hearing. So I would literally stop looking at it and push on further into the deception. Dismissing it as “just ignorant me, not knowing or understanding the “spiritual” things that these false teachers were teaching.
Not only are we to weigh carefully, examine, one translation says “as in the forensic sense. “ We’ve all seen the shows today that have forensic teams that investigate and examine everything no matter how small or insignificant in order to get to the truth. It’s a lot of very hard work at times, most times actually, but the rewards we get out of it are beyond any labor or effort that we put into it. THE TRUTH, and anytime we discover truth, we grow and develop spiritually a little more and a little more. Will I ever be a grown up???? I pray so, I’ve been stunted long enough.
The fact is that the separation of the wheat and tares – the goats from the sheep will not happen until the end of the age. Just as Christ said we will always have the poor with us. So too will the church ALWAYS have heretics’/tares/goats. Is it any wonder then that scripture tells us over and over to take heed, watch, beware, mark those and warn other believers. This is the picture of the church today and yesterday and will be until Christ’s return. We have and will continue to have heresy in the church and scripture is clear on what we are to be doing so as not to fall into deception again. Learn, exercise, and grow in all discernment.
Scripture also tells us that ultimately the heresies/heretic’s will become the norm of the church in the end, how else will the antichrist be able to gain control.
Mark 13:23 “if possible to deceive the very elect” so you have to assume that those who are doing the deceiving are very, very, good, even speaking truth at times.
Look at Acts 16:16-18 ” And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”
The one striking fact is that the woman that was “possessed” with a spirit spoke the undeniable truth!!! And it wasn’t just a truth it was SALVATION! Now if that happened today!! This woman would have never been addressed and probably would have her own Christian tv show. These types of scriptures are to give us insight into just how deceptive and manipulative Satan is. 1 John 4:1-3 sounds easy enough about testing and trying the spirits; but how good would any of us be had we been put in the same position as Paul was in Acts?
“Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist….”
Without diligent study of the Word and discernment by the Holy Spirit we don’t stand a chance at NOT being deceived. It is only by the power of God that we can stand.
Yes we will be head butted by the goats and choked by the tares in the church. But God in His mercy left the tares among the wheat so that not one who belonged to Him would be destroyed, He knows who are His. Let’s strive to pursue discernment in these thing’s. As for the title “who is really causing the divisions in the body?” well the next time someone flags you out as causing division in the body because you pointed out a false teacher, you may just want to share this with them, ask them to prayerfully consider the scripture that is given and then see if they will at some point be willing to sit down and discuss this with you, so that “ they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” and those that aren’t.