We are continuing our series of What Does It Mean… with today’s topic “To Avoid False Teachers.”
Who are the false teachers? How do we know what to look for? What should we do once we determine they are spreading false doctrine? Should we tell others who the false teachers are so they would know? The answers to these questions and many more are found in the pages of the Bible.
This is a big topic and rightfully deserves to be in a series of its own but for today, we will answer the question of avoiding false teachers. To do this, we must first look at the false teacher himself. Who is he and what does he look like?
The following verses will help with the answer:
- false prophets will look and act like believers, Matthew 7:15
- false prophets can be recognized by their fruit of partial truth, twisted truth and lies, Matthew 7:16a
- false teachers and prophets are deceivers who make themselves look like believers, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
- believers will leave the church because they have fallen into the trap of seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, 1 Timothy 4:1-5
- ungodly men who are not sincere in their faith will join the church and pollute it with their evil and shameless conduct, Jude 12
- ungodly men will attend church feasts and not even be recognized for who they are, Jude 15
- ungodly men will not endure sound doctrine, 2 Timothy 4:1-5
- mark and avoid false teachers as they are intent on causing division in the church, Romans 16:17-18
- turn away from ungodly men who have the form of godliness but deny the power of God, 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Scan over the summarized list above. What stands out to you? Take a few minutes with this and give it some thought.
Here is what I see.
- believers are unable to recognize the deceiver because the deceiver looks and sounds like us
- the doctrine the false teacher teaches is twisted slightly to be accepted by the hearer
- the false teacher is adept at acting the part of a true believer
- as the false teacher gains momentum with their followers, they will increasingly add partial truth and lies to their false doctrine building a false foundation
- believers will leave the faith as they are drawn away by seducing spirits
Do you see anything else?
When you think about it, the false teacher list is scary. Jesus spoke to the crowd of people teaching them to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing who will infiltrate the church. They look like us and talk the same Bible language as we do but with exceptions. Through their sweetness, they will sprinkle in partial truth mixed with twisted truth before it progresses to lies. By the time we are hearing lies, we have become desensitized to the truth.
To be on guard against deception, believers need to
- know the Word of God so they can recognize partial and twisted truth
- confirm what they heard with the Word of God
- apply discernment and wisdom
- listen to the Holy Spirit when He gives a check in their spirits
- recognize that false doctrine is not only through people but also in Christian books, Christian music and movies that are based on the Bible
- know the difference between the spirit of error and the spirit of truth
How do we accomplish this?
- Study the Word, not just weekly but daily. Let your roots go in deep so you can stand strong against the trickery of the devil.
- Spend time daily in prayer. Whether it is in snippets of time or 15, 20, 30 minutes or more, you need to pray. Prayer is vital to your spiritual well-being.
- Pray for
- Wisdom to know the difference between twisted/partial truth from full truth based on the Word of God.
- The anointing. You can anoint yourself with oil and ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your understanding.
- The Holy Spirit to quicken your spirit and give you boldness to speak up when you hear or read something that isn’t true.
- An awareness of deception because people aren’t always who they say they are. Not to be paranoid but to be aware so you are not deceived.
We cannot let the icing, as pretty as it is, deceive us into thinking that there is cake underneath.
Having said that, not every Christian leader who errs, is a false teacher. It is vital that we know the Bible so we can correct, in love, any errors that are taught.
The question we started off with, what does it mean to avoid false teachers is answered with this statement:
We turn away and avoid false teachers, false preachers, false prophets, false doctrine or anything that does not proclaim the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Be obedient to the Word. As instructed by Paul, avoid and turn away from false teachers and doctrine, whether it is through a Bible teacher, preacher, conference speaker, TV evangelist, music, books and movies.
There are no Scripture verses that permit us to pick the truth out from the lies. We cannot continue to read that book that the Holy Spirit has given us a check in our spirits about. We cannot watch movies that proclaim to be Biblical but have New Age or mysticism overtones. We cannot watch that movie that is speaking of another gospel or displaying God as two women and a man, for example. We cannot listen to Christian music that does not specifically name God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit but only alludes to them or speaks of people being God. If the lyrics allude to God, how do we know they are really singing about Him?
Either we are obedient to God or we are disobedient. There is no compromise.
This is my third attempt to write this study. I have been studying this topic off and on for three years and see so many false teachers around us. I have destroyed many of my books and music CDs and stopped following or listening to well known TV evangelists/speakers. God said in His word that there would be deceivers and they would sound nice and look pretty, just like us, and they would deceive us if they could. Oh, sisters! My heart is crying out right now for you not to be deceived! To look around you and pay attention to those books you are reading, those movies you watch or want to watch, those sermons or messages from well know conference speakers or Bible book authors. Oh sisters, be aware! What more can I say?
Sweet sisters, remember this: The believer whose heart yearns for God will walk away from those who practice deceit.
Related Post: Many Will Follow
Has God been directing you to avoid anyone or anything? In addition to your Bible studies or the Holy Spirit speaking to you, have you done any research on this? What have you discovered?
Do you have any thoughts about this? Please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!