FALSE TEACHERS. We must be aware that within the churches there are ministers of God’s Word who are of the same spirit and life as the corrupt teachers of law in Jesus’ day. Jesus warns that not everyone who professes Christ is a true believer, nor are all Christian writers, missionaries, pastors, evangelists, teachers, deacons and workers what they claim to be.
These ministers “appear righteous unto men”. They come in “sheep’s clothing”. They may base their message solidly on God’s Word and proclaim high righteous standards. They may appear sincerely concerned for God’s work and kingdom and show great interest in the salvation of the lost while professing love for all people. They may appear to be great ministers of God, commendable spiritual leaders anointed by the Holy Spirit. They may perform miracles and have great success, and multitudes may follow them.
Nevertheless, these have wrong spiritual foundations and are of a kindred spirit with the false prophets of the OT and of the Pharisees of the NT. Away from the crowds and in their hidden lives, the Pharisees were given over to “extortion and excess”, “full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness”, “full of hypocrisy and iniquity”. Their lives behind closed doors involved lust, immorality, adultery, greed, pride and self-centered indulgence. Jesus warned His disciples 14 times in the gospels to watch out for teachers who would mislead, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Mark 13:22
Elsewhere believers are exhorted to test teachers, preachers and leaders in the church (1 Thes 5:21, 1 John 4:1). Because it is crystal clear that people do not want sound doctrine, but run toward teachers that tell them what they want to hear, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (II Timothy 4:3-4);I have a short list of things to look for:(1) Discern character. If you do not know them, or if they have not been recommended by someone you know and trust, be cautious.
There are too many FB prophets and teachers who are not submitted to any local church body. If they are not submitted to a local church body; they are in rebellion. Do they have a diligent prayer life and do they display a pure devotion to God?
Do they manifest the fruit of the Spirit, love the lost, hate iniquity and love righteousness, and cry out against sin?(2) Discern motives. True Christian leaders will seek to do four things: honor Christ first; lead the church into sanctification; save the lost; and proclaim and defend the true gospel (Jude 3). (3) Test fruit in life and message. What does the life of their followers look like? The fruit of false teachers consists of converts who are not totally committed to all of God’s Word. Example: the fruit of the prosperity preacher’s gospel is greed. (4) Discern level of reliance on Scripture. This is key.
Do they teach that the original writings of both the OT and the NT are fully inspired by God, and that we are to submit to all its teachings? (5) Test integrity with respect to money. Do they handle all finances with integrity and responsibility? Are they faithful in tithing and generous with money? In spite of all we do to evaluate a person’s life and message, there will still be false teachers who remain undetected until God determines to expose them. #runyourrace
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