Romans 16:17: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
Paul is finishing this letter to the Roman church, and he makes mention of his friends in the ministry. He goes through a lengthy list of all of those who have been laid on his heart. Paul recognizes the importance of friendship in his ministry. There were many people in the life of Paul who made a difference to his work.
For the Christian doing the work of God it is extremely important to have a collection of true friends in the ministry that you can use as a resource in you walk. For Paul, these friends helped him during times of trouble, and times of distress. It is also important for the young Christian to have some faithful friends in the faith in order to help you to weather the storms of life. It is important to have a group of people that you can call on when you need encouragement.
Paul, in this scripture tells the Romans to avoid troublemakers and those who cause divisions. Paul tells them to find and confide in the “true Friends” of the faith. Jesus tells us that we can know people by the fruit they produce. Good people will produce good fruit. That good fruit is to equip and build others up. We can truly see what kind of a person they are by the way they treat others. Paul was telling the Romans to avoid those who are always causing trouble and who are who speak things contrary to the doctrine that they have heard. Paul's list of friends consisted of people who have helped him be a better person and a better minister.
We are to find people that are like-minded and desire to help us grow. They encourage other believers and do not cause divisions among the church. True followers of Christ are concerned with building you up as a person. They will not use you to achieve their own agenda. They will do all in their power to help you grow in the Love of Jesus Christ and will want to see the best for the Church.
Application - Stay away from people who cause trouble.
Challenge - Find true Christ-followers and befriend them. Also, be a friend that a friend would like to have.
Old Testament: psalm 112-115 New Testament I Cor. 1