False Teachers, Teaching, Prophets, Religions
For there to be fakes there must be a true; whatever is false is a counterfeit of the true and genuine. Imitations are only made of what is valuable and desirable. In the spiritual realm Satan is behind all that is counterfeit, he doesn’t want people to come into a saving knowledge of the truth of Jesus (Jn 12:40; 2 Cor 4:4).
False teachers bring teaching contrary to sound doctrine, false prophets bring bogus human predictions, and false religions are humanity’s approach to spirituality, inspired by their soulish ideas and evil spirits. Each of these fake areas leads into increasing deception and further from knowing the truth found in Jesus. Although they pretend to be devoted to Christ, it does not affect the way they live (2 Tim 3:5). Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me” (Jn 14:6). “Salvation is found in no-one else…” (Act 4:12). Do not settle for any other approach or else you will regret it for all eternity if you die believing in that deception.
Satan is not alarmed about people following the wrong ‘Christ’ of man-made philosophy and false religions, provided they remain in deception and thus doomed, as he is, to a lost eternity. A sincere belief in what is misleading or even totally lies does not alter the truth and the final outcomes of accepting the misinformation (Prov 14:12). However, he is disturbed when people embrace the true salvation of Jesus Christ the Son of God and live for that Kingdom, making inroads into his evil domain.
"Test everything" – 1 Thessalonians 5:21
it is inconsistent with the Bible reject it (Mt 7:15,16; 2 Cor 11:3,4). The truth will withstand scrutiny. This is not ‘a lack of faith or trust’; rather it is a wise choice to examine and discover the facts for we are told to ‘test every spirit’ so we are not led astray (1 Jn 4:1-3). The secular media also propogates much misinformation which if repeated enough times can be perceived to be true.
False teachers are deceived themselves and will introduce destructive heresies or false doctrine, contradicting the Word of God (2 Pet 2:1-3, 3:3). Their popularity is because they cater to their hearer’s requests speaking what they like to hear – such as an easy option salvation, where God doesn’t demand purity or obedience; He is a God of love and will overlook our sin; the flesh doesn’t need to die or be controlled, and other erroneous ideas. It is a case of, “Tell us pleasant things and prophesy illusions” (Isa 30:10). These are “wolves in sheep clothing” who compromise on the non-negotiable (foundation) truths of the Christian faith – they don’t take sin seriously, minimise Christ, the cross, and the need for personal sacrifice while exalting self, and destroy the flock of believers who look to them for spiritual guidance (Mt 7:15).
False prophets and teachers speak from their own minds, giving false hope and assurances which do not line up with God's (Jer 23:16). They
selfishly focus on their own gain and do not have the welfare of the 'sheep' in their care as their priority and actually led those
dependent on them astray (Isa 56:11; Jer 10:21, 23:1, 50:6; Ezek 34:1-10). Jesus spoke of the religious leaders of His day, "You shut
the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in" (Mt 23:13).
Any belief system that does not have God at the centre is false
righteousness by personal effort and so ultimately becoming gods, and certain secret knowledge available only to a privileged few. Paul wrote, "Guard what has been entrusted to your care...Turn away from opposing the opposing ideas" (1 Tim 6:20,21). Today a new brand of ‘Christianity’ has emerged with a ‘gospel’, embracing a form of mysticism and an ecumenical philosophy of uniting people from all faiths to work together and bring about a new world of peace and harmony. More credence is placed in the subjective emotions and feelings of an experience than an objective walk in the Christian faith, based on truth found in the Word of God. The Bibles warns in the last days many will be seduced into great heresy and apostasy, even in the church (Lk 18:8; 1 Tim 4:1). The central focus of Christianity is God and the work of Christ on our behalf; nothing or no-one should exalt themselves (or allow themselves) to be honoured above God.
Jesus said, “A tree is identified by the fruit it produces” (Mt 12:33). Ask God for wisdom and discernment to recognise what is false. So especially observe your spiritual teachers – do they demonstrate godly life values (character shows when no one is looking), what do their spoken and unspoken words reveal, what is their attitude to humility and pride, do they submit to authority, are they accountable to others, do they relate with others, what do they believe about Christ, is their teaching backed up by Scripture, what is their track record?
Know and live according to the truth
Jesus said, those who don’t obey His Word and teach others to disregard it too, will be considered least in the Kingdom of God (Mt 5:19). This is a serious warning for all who share the Scriptures to correctly explain it and live out its message; not to add to or take away from its message (Deut 4:2; 2 Tim 2:15; Rev 22:18,19). Those who are sincere yet through a lack of knowledge are sharing a distorted or incomplete truth need to be instructed privately to a fuller understanding in a loving manner (Lk 24:27; Act 18:26). Such people normally are appreciative of the input and humbly embrace the insights shared. Then there are leaders who should know better, yet unashamedly continue to teach false doctrine because they are either locked into tradition or under peer pressure; these must be confronted publicly (Mt 15:3-9; Gal 2:11; 1 Tim 1:3). The aim, through love and humility, is to bring those who have strayed back to conformity and purity to the Scriptures. The fundamental, foundational truths of the Christian faith must not be compromised.
At the end of the age a ‘super powerful’ false prophet will appear and together with the anti-Christ deceive much of humanity, resulting in their eternal destruction (2 Thes 2:3,4; Rev 13:16,17, 19:20, 20:10,15).