17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18 Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. - Romans 16:17–18
Paul talks in the Bible about smooth talkers. We all know the type don’t we? Charming, funny, smart, quick witted. And yes we have all been swindled and bought into something we weren’t sure of. I remember once I bought into something I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. I was being sold not on a product but on an idea. This idea was a noble one and one that would “make me money.” What is this idea you ask? The idea was teamwork. And the idea was being presented by a big company and through the concept of selling knives (the company shall remain nameless). But they wined (not literally) and dined me, with catered food in a nice office room, with nicely dressed businessmen and a lovely powerpoint presentation. They presented this idea of selflessness and teamwork. They presented other business models from different companies that looked weak and selfish. They made great arguments as to why we needed to help one another in selling these knives and why they needed help themselves. The presentation was smooth, the men in this room dressed smooth, even the cologne they were wearing was smooth. Everything about this place, this idea, and the knives themselves just reeked of smoothness. I left the meeting empowered and excited to be apart of something bigger than me and ready to embark on a new journey selling these amazing knives, and being apart of a “selfless team” (mind you I am 18 at this time). I went to the home I was staying at, and told the family I was living with all about it. After I was done telling them about this new philosophy and knowledge I gained they replied to me with such gentleness and care and said, “you are joining a pyramid scheme.” “What?!”, I replied. “Yup.” They said this with such assurance I knew they were serious. So after sometime talking with this family I knew what I signed up for. I called to back out of it, and thank God I did because come to find out those men who were selling us on this idea of “selflessness” ended up getting sued for fraud. God works in mysterious ways.
Nevertheless, I was enamored by the smooth talk and nature of the ideas and products I was being presented. It’s so easy to buy into something as long as it sounds good. Look at Eve in the garden. The fruit looked nice after she was smooth-talked into thinking it was good for her. “You shall not surely die.” The serpent said. And what came after was Eve committing the first sin in all of creation. You see, smooth talkers are dangerous. They come with ideas of grandeur and of happiness, but really looking for your destruction. We think of smooth talkers as people. Although that is the most obvious form of “smooth talkers” they are the tip of the iceberg. A smooth talker can be anything. It Can be music, movies, games, shows, products, and/or advertising. You see, there are smooth talkers all over the place looking to sell you not just on things, but worse, on ideas. We have bought into some of these ideas. Ideas of what we think people should or should not be. Or things people should wear. The list goes on and on of how society has modeled our perception on not just each other, but on God as well. There are ideologies in our church that are being dictated by these “smooth talkers”. From the pastors down to our youth. The question isn’t, what ideas am I being sold? The question is, how many of these ideas have I bought into? My brothers and sisters, prayer is needed at an all-time high because as Paul says,”Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests.” If anyone or anything is telling you or even suggesting to you to do, say, or think something contrary to the character and love of God, be weary. This sabbath I will breaking down the idea of how we can stay the course in the last days and be ready to destroy these ideas in the name of Jesus.
Connected to the Vine.
Pastor Victor Reina