"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Emerson

Thursday, December 17, 2009

False teachers

I recently heard a Francis Chan sermon on false teachers. That and just my quiet time has got me thinking. I guess I always thought evil would be easily recognized, but now I am starting to think that perhaps it is not.

Check out 2 Peter chapter 2 to see what I mean:

False Teachers and Their Destruction
1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them into gloomy dungeons[b] to be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.[c] 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature[d] and despise authority.

Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.[e] 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit,"[f]and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

This verse is the kicker for me:

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Alright, I know it was a lot of scripture but bear with me on this one. Here is what we know about false teachers. This kind of evil, the perpetuating of lies through the use of scripture, God or His son's name comes from within. This is the kind of evil that says, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer..." This kind scares me more than anything. But, before I jump to that ocean of fear, we have to digest this, pick it apart. Let's figure out some characteristics of false teachers:

1.) They are sneaky. Look back at 2 Peter 2:1. It says, "they secrectly introduce..." their lies. Best way to guard against this sneak attack: know God's word.
2.) Many will follow after them. Check out verse 2 in 2 Peter. These guys will have a following, they won't be as recognizable as you might think. In fact, there is a certain very popular, book writing, tv evanglist that I think may in fact be a false teacher just based on some of the things that have come out of his mouth and into interviews and preaching that contradict scripture. In fact, he has one of the biggest churches in America. Best way to guard against being a lemming in this lie: know God's word.
3.) They are exploitative to their own gain. We've all heard the stories of famous church leaders who pled to unsuspecting poor to make financial donations and then in turn used the money for their own personal gain. Best way to guard against being exploited: know God's word.
4.) They are bold and arrogant blasphemers who have left God's path to follow the path of destruction. Sometimes the louder a person is or the more intimidating they are, the less people will question them if the words they speak are untrue. Best way to steer clear from this intimidation: know God's word.
5.) They are headed for destruction. In our media obcessed society, false prophets get exposed and get exposed in a big way. I can recall story after story of these teachers who spoke twisted versions of God's truth and used it for their own personal gain or hid an underbelly of sin that makes even the most hedonistic cringe. Best way to keep away from being a part of the wreakage: know God's word.

The verse in 2 Corinthians really prepares me. What we know about Satan is that he likes to sing that song, "Anything you can do, I can do better..." except we all know he can't. But, he sure does get an E for Effort. He will take anything God creates, any good and make a seemingly exact replica that is completely the opposite of God's intention. So, he can create what seems to be a mirror image of a Christ follower, yet when we look a little harder, we can find that it nothing more than a servant of evil. This has to keep us vigilent more than anything. We can't only be prepared for the ones who outwardly we can identify as Satan's pawns. It is the ones he hides in a cloak of words and actions that make us believe that the person is a Christian. Those are the ones we need to be on neighborhood watch for.

And, in case you didn't quite get it, the only way to be a part of this watching and exposing of those who are false teachers is to: KNOW GOD'S WORD! You can't expose a lie, if you don't know the truth. We have to be on the lookout in our own churches, in our own communities for people who just want to lead us astray. Fearful, we are not because we know that God is bigger than any man, and we know that this false teaching will ultimately lead to ruin. But, aware, we must be...

Here's to the ultimate truth detector...
Until next time,

1 comment:

Jenilee said...

thank you for this post! It is so true and has been on my heart! In these days, we MUST know God's Word in our hearts! Our Bibles can't just sit on a desk somewhere, they must be a living and active part of our everyday life. And, this is a message that Satan does not want to get out. But God clearly warns us in His word to be on guard. Thankfully, He also promises us the victory because He has already WON! :)