It is critical that we understand the battle we are engaged in when it comes to doing the right thing and attempting to stand faithfully upon God's Word. We are constantly bombarded by people and situations that seek to separate us from God and His people. The Word of God gives specific instructions as to what we are to do in these cases.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
The instructions here are pretty clear. We are to mark and avoid those who cause divisions and generate factions within the body of believers. The word mark is the Greek word skopeo (4648) from which we get the English word scope . We are to scope out and pay attention to these trouble makers and then avoid which means to bend or turn away from, or simply put to shun. To some, this may seem like an unloving thing to do, but the reason for such drastic action is revealed in verse 18:
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Those who disrupt and destroy the unity of the One Body are those who do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ but rather themselves. By good looking works and good sounding speeches they seek to deceive the hearts of the simple. We must mark these people and avoid them lest they deceive us also. We must teach others to do the same thing and in so doing, they person will soon find no one interested in him and move on.
The ultimate aim of those who do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ but rather themselves is to deceive God's people so as to control them, hinder them from walking in God's abundant blessings and to rip them away from the body of believers. Another place where specific instructions are given is Ephesians 5:6 where it says:
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
We are to let no one, no matter who they are, deceive (seduce us into error) by way of vain and empty and false words. We cannot stop people from saying these words, but we can and MUST stop those words from seducing us into error. In other words, in some cases we must close our ears and refuse to listen to what is being said.
God tells us in His Word that there are four things that we must FLEE. The word flee is the Greek word pheugo (5343) which means to escape and flee away from. Whereas there are many things we are exhorted to turn away from, avoid, take a stand regarding etc; there are four things God tells us to simply run away from so as to escape the danger found in them.
Flee also YOUTHFUL LUSTS... (the passions and lusts associated with youth)
2 Timothy 2:22a
But thou, O man of God, flee THESE THINGS... (the love of money in verse 10 and other things mentioned in verses 3-5)
1 Timothy 6:11a
1 Corinthians 6:18a
Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from IDOLATRY.
1 Corinthians 10:14
We must never mess around with these four things lest they eat us alive and capture us in the snare of the evil one. We must simply flee these things. In other words, we must get out---NOW . Those who dabble in these matters will always get burned. Those who think that they are mature enough to handle the passions of youth, the love of money, fornication and idolatry without them bringing them down spiritually are deceived and will indeed be caught in the snare of the devil and find themselves disgraced and rendered spiritually irrelevant.
These four things need to be plastered upon the walls of our hearts as the vicious yet sly beasts that they are. These four things represent to us that which is equivalent to what the serpent lured Eve into believing to be the truth. Whenever and wherever these four things arise, God says to NOT confront them but rather RUN away from them because they are vicious yet sly beasts intent on our deception and destruction.
Youthful lusts, the love of money, fornication and idolatry must never be entertained or coddled. These four things must be fled from the same way Lot was told to flee from Sodom and Gomorrah. Lest we end up like Lot's wife who died because she looked back, we need to just flee from these four things. Period.