False Teachers Pt. 2
Brothers and sisters, do we believe that God has gone away? Do we believe that God has lifted his will and his expectations from us? Do we believe that God has decided he no longer cares? Or do we believe that Christ died so we no longer need to worry about how we live? This is a topic that must be sternly confronted. If you read Part 1, then you know that the false teachers are among those in the congregations. They will not seek out the strong in faith, nor will they do anything abruptly, because this would expose them. They seek the "simple-minded", the young and the malleable. They pry on the ones who have true love for people and take advantage of their hearts. They seek the one who is hungry for the words of Truth, so they might manipulate their understanding by teaching perverted truths. We know they are among us. We know they want to bring some with them. We must know what to do.
How Did God View Those Who Manipulated The Truth?
"Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have uttered falsehood and envisioned lies, I am against you, says the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations; they shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord God. Because, in truth, because they have misled my people, saying, 'Peace,' when there is no peace; and because, when the people build a wall these prophets smear whitewash on it." (Ezekiel 13:8-10)
"Therefore thus says the Lord concerning prophets who prophesy in my name though I did not send them, and who say, 'Sword and famine shall not come on this land': by sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword...For I will pour out their wickedness upon them" (Jeremiah 14:15-16).
You see? What is interesting about these verses is that the false prophets are using the name of the Lord to manipulate the people. They want to steer them in a direction that they have dreamed up contrary to the Lord. They want attention and to feel wise or wanted, maybe even respected. They wanted to be seen as something special. Does God seem pleased about this? Does God seem happy about his people being led astray by false prophets? Even more, do we think that listening to them will spare us? What does it say? "Their wickedness [false prophets]" will be "poured out...upon them [the ones who listened to them]"
What is it that would make us think that God has changed his mind now? Now, it is suddenly okay for people to teach whatever they want and claim it is from God. Now, he turns his face away to the crime of ignoring his instructions. Now, everything is different. Why do we think like that? It is because that is how we are being taught. That everything is easy. Everything cheap. There is no wrong, for God loves all... Wake up!
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
Truthful Preaching Teaches Repentance and Obedience
"Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they are deluding you. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise the word of the Lord, 'It shall be well with you'; and to all who stubbornly follow their own stubborn hearts, they say, 'No calamity shall come upon you" (Jeremiah 23:16-17).
"I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings" (Jeremiah 23: 21-22).
"I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, 'Turn now every one of you from your evil way, and amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall live in the land that I gave to you and your ancestors.' But you did not incline your ear or obey me" (Jeremiah 35:15).
I understand. All this talk of prophets seems so distant. The prophet is not the point. The point is the concept. (Though our faith is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20). There are people who teach things as if they were the words of God. They advocate for sinful pleasures in the world. They accept and encourage others to accept the world's definition of "love" and "fair." They ignore the fact that God has not changed. He has not "turned over a new leaf." He does not approve of everything society tries to enforce on us. Homosexuality, transgenderism, divorce, fornication, prostitution, abuse, foul language, greed, and lies are still abominable to God. They always have been. The world may change, but he is the same. There is only one place we can find what is pleasing to God--according to God--and that is the Bible. It is certainly not our delusional thoughts of what we think is acceptable. Wake up!
So How Do We React To False Teachers
"Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person" (2 John 1:9-11).
"Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them" (Ephesians 5:11).
"I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissentions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded" (Romans 16:17-18).
"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
This is not a hard thing to react to. Christians have been doing it since before being a Christian was the "in" thing to do. Before people decided they would put the Christian title as an automatic affiliation, these folks encountered and exposed those who taught falsely. They did not accept it. They did not condone it. If they did, they were to fix the situation. They brought out those who caused the division in the churches. They offered them up to Satan, not in anger, but in hope that godly sorrow would provoke them to repentance. Paul instructed them to avoid them and to expose them. They were enemies to the cross of Christ, and he did not want Christ's disciples to be led astray by them. They stood firm to the truth of the Scriptures. They did not question them. They did not "work around them." They believed them, trusted them, and better yet obeyed them.
If your teaching is coming from assumption, reason, or rationalism, you are likely falling away. Let's keep things simple. Stick to what the Bible teaches. Don't try to justify sin by questioning the Scripture. Don't pull others down with you. We must trust the Bible, not our "buddies." We must trust the apostles and the prophets (who spoke for God), not our own rationale. Stand firm. Fight the good fight. You have what you need from God.
If there is anything I can do to help you, please do not hesitate to ask.
Until next time...