Posts Tagged ‘False Teachers


Don’t Be Deceived

The apostle Paul told the Colossians that all knowledge and wisdom were hidden in Christ. If they were in Christ by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, they would have knowledge and wisdom about matters of faith. Why did this matter? He told them in Colossians 2:4 (NLT) when he wrote:

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments.

As long as there have been churches, there have been false teachers. Where there are false teachers, there are Christians who will listen to them. Whether it is salvation by obeying the Law of Moses instead of faith or the prosperity gospel or a whole host of other false teachings, Christians can be deceived by well-crafted arguments. The enemy is smart and crafty. He has twisted the words of God from the very beginning. The best way to combat false teachings is to study God’s Word for yourself. Read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to illumine the Word. Don’t rely on a preacher or minister or pastor to just tell you what it means. Study it for yourself. Read it for 10 minutes a day and you’ll grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. God gave you His Word for a reason. Don’t neglect it or ignore it. Read it and you will be less likely to be deceived.


Lying About Sin

It appears that the false teachers of Peter’s day were convincing people that their former ways of living weren’t all that bad. New converts to Christianity are most susceptible to falling back into a lifestyle of sin. False teachers who lead new converts back into sin are “doomed” and “useless,” Peter says. He wrote in 2 Peter 2:17-18 (NLT):

These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. 18 They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception.

It is so vitally important that Christ’s church focuses on discipleship, especially of new converts. We have to make sure that we are providing opportunities for people to grow in their faith. Otherwise they will be left to their own devices to battle against false teachers and the spiritual forces of darkness. Conversions are great, but we have to do our best to train and correct those converts so that they do not fall away.


But It’s A Talking Donkey

The apostle Peter, when writing about the greed of false teachers, compares them to an Old Testament prophet named Balaam. Balaam was given oracles by God and spoke on behalf of the Lord. He pronounced blessing after blessing on the Israelites. Balak, king of Moab, wanted Balaam to pronounce a curse on them instead. Secretly, Balaam wanted the king to pay him in order to pronounce a curse. This is what Peter wrote when he compared false teachers to Balaam in 2 Peter 2:15-16 (NLT):

They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. 16 But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.

God spoke through Balaam’s donkey and an angel to get Balaam back on track. Just as Balaam was greedy and desired to speak for God for financial gain, so too are many false teachers and preachers. One wonders if it would take a talking donkey today to bring them back around to preaching and teaching the truth of God’s Word out of their love for Him and His people and instead of profits.


They Never Stop Sinning

The false teachers of Peter’s day didn’t just lead people astray with their heretical teachings. They were full of sin themselves. Peter describes their sin in 2 Peter 2:14 (NLT):

They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse.

The two sins Peter describes are lust and greed. Sexual sin has been the downfall of many preachers and teachers. Financial sin has ruined many ministries. Peter may have been writing to the first century church, but his words ring true in the 21st century, too. Preachers and teachers are not only responsible for the things they teach, but also for how they live. An insatiable appetite for sin leads to God’s curse, Peter says. Woe to those who lead others into sin by the things that they teach. As the culture continues a downward slide into moral degradation and filth, the church must always stand against sin while loving sinners. It starts with those who teach and preach the Word of God.


False Teachers Among Us

False teachers, according to Peter, aren’t just outside the congregation. They can be found inside the church, too. They deceive Christians and lead them astray. Peter wrote in 2 Peter 2:12-13 (NLT):

These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. 13 Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals.

Those who lead and shepherd the church have a responsibility to protect the sheep from the savage false teachers who come in among the flock to destroy it. God will judge the false teachers, but the shepherds He has appointed need to protect His sheep. This is why it is vital for church leaders to be spiritually mature and well-versed in Scripture. Otherwise, they won’t know how to protect the flock from false teachers and their lies.


What The Angels Know

In the first century, the false teachers were apparently speaking blasphemous words against fallen angels. We do not know exactly what they were saying, but we know that they were conceited and arrogantly teaching these things. Peter said that the angels who did not rebel against God wouldn’t even dare to do such a thing or to say such things against the fallen angels. He wrote in 2 Peter 2:11 (NLT):

But the angels, who are far greater in power and strength, do not dare to bring from the Lord a charge of blasphemy against those supernatural beings.

Today’s teachers and preachers have to be humble when they teach. There is no room for arrogance and pride in a teacher, preacher or leader in God’s church. We do not know everything and we do not have all of the answers. It is perfectly okay to say, “I don’t know.” It is probably better to say, “I don’t know” rather than coming up with a potentially heretical response to someone’s question. May those of us who write, lead, teach or preach empty ourselves of pride as we seek to guide God’s people in His church.


The Arrogance Of False Teachers

As the apostle Peter continues to write about false teachers in the first century church, he gives us a little clue as to what they were doing. He wrote in 2 Peter 2:10 (NLT):

He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority. These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings without so much as trembling.

God will judge false teachers who lead others astray into sexual sin and blasphemy more harshly. People who have a teaching role in the church must be very cognizant of God’s judgment. Handling the Word of God is a task that should be done with neither a flippant nor a careless attitude. Teaching others to follow Jesus is a serious matter. Where a person spends eternity is at stake. Leading people astray is something God takes extremely seriously. If you are a teacher or preacher, know that God’s judgment of you is certain. Make sure that you are faithful in your calling as a preacher or teacher. Do your very best to handle God’s Word correctly. Then, when you stand before God on judgment day, you will hear Him say, “Well done…”

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