But if anyone [i.e., a preacher or soul winner] builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive building stones, wood, grass, or straw,
this person does not honor his father [or mother]. You have made God's message useless by [thus enforcing] your traditions.
[Indeed, even] from among your own selves [i.e., the body of elders there in Ephesus] some men will arise and, by speaking false things, they will lead away the disciples, [influencing them] to follow them.
Now I urge you, brothers, watch out for those who are causing divisions and occasions for falling [away from God over matters] contrary to the teaching you have learned, and withdraw from them [i.e., stop listening to their false teaching].
For we [apostles] are not like so many people, who "peddle" God's message merely for profit [or, "who corrupt God's message"], but in Christ's [service] we proclaim the message from God with sincerity, [realizing we are] in the presence of God.
Instead, we have renounced [the practice of] secret, disgraceful behavior. We do not practice deception, nor resort to distorting God's message. But, by making known the truth [i.e., the true message], we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the presence of God.
Pay attention so that no one takes you [spiritually] captive through his philosophy and empty deception based on human tradition, according to the principles of the world and not according to Christ.
Do not allow anyone, who delights in acting humble [i.e., living an ascetic life] and who worships angels, to rob you of your reward [in heaven]. [Note: This "angel worship" could mean holding angels in high regard because of their role as God's messengers, or the claim that God can be approached only through angelic intermediaries]. He places great importance on what he [claims to] see [i.e., visions], being inflated with pride by his fleshly mind for no [good] reason.
Now the Holy Spirit specifically says that in later times [Note: "Later times" in the New Testament usually refers to the period following the first coming of Christ and the establishment of the church], some people will fall away from the faith [i.e., the true teaching of Christianity]. They will pay attention to deceitful spirits [i.e., lying people] and the teaching of evil spirits.
If you point out these things to the brothers you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, and will be nurtured by the message of the faith and of the good teaching which you have been following.
If anyone teaches a different doctrine [i.e., from what has been urged above], and does not agree to [proclaim the] sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to teaching that is godly [i.e., in harmony with godliness],
But avoid worldly, empty chatter, for those who practice it will become more and more ungodly,
Now in a large house there are utensils made, not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. And some are for honorable uses [i.e., for special occasions] and some are for common, ordinary use.
They are constantly learning and [yet] never able to arrive at a [full] knowledge of the truth.
But evil people and impostors will go from bad to worse [in their behavior], deceiving people and being deceived by them.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound teaching, but will assemble to themselves teachers who will satisfy what their "itching ears" want to hear.
[He must] hold on firmly to the trustworthy message, which is according to [our] teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort people with sound teaching and to convince those who contradict it.
But you should avoid foolish arguments, and [pointless] discussions about ancestors, and quarrels and disputes about [observance of] the law of Moses, for they are unprofitable and useless.
Do not continue to be swept off your course by all kinds of strange teachings. For it is good for your hearts to be strengthened by God's unearned favor [upon you] and not by [keeping regulations about] foods, which do not benefit those who observe them.
But these will only test your faith, which is more valuable than gold which, though refined by fire, eventually perishes. Your faith, [however], will [endure and eventually] prove to be praiseworthy and honorable when Jesus returns.
"But I have a few things against you because you have people there [in the church] who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumblingblock in front of the Israelites, [causing them] to eat food sacrificed to idols and to be sexually immoral [See Num. 23-24].
[Because of that], I advise you to buy from me gold, refined by fire, so that you will become rich; and white clothing to wear, so that you can cover yourself and not be seen as shamefully naked; and eye drops for your eyes, so that you can see. [Note: The foregoing all refer to taking measures for becoming more spiritual].