Purpose of Guarding the Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to invest their time into the Word of God and "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Paul wrote these words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:14) in his presumed last letter before his execution. May we be those who see the word of God as a treasure, guarding it with our lives, investing in it with our hearts and minds, and reaping the fruit of an abundant life while getting to know the God who loves us and created us for His marvelous pleasure and glory.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beware of False Teachers

The Scriptures are full of warnings against false teaching. False teachers are exposed most often through listening to their message. Christians are clearly instructed to beware of false teachers who disguise themselves as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Peter wrote concerning false teachers in 2 Peter 2:1-3 saying, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” Peter warns of the certainty of false teachers infiltrating the church and distorting the truth of Christ for their own gain while exploiting and denying Jesus Christ. Believers must test teachings against the Word of God, the standard of truth concerning God. What does the teacher communicate concerning Jesus Christ, salvation and the Bible? Does his ministry appear to give glory to God alone or does he seek for his own glory and fame? Does he personally take the credit for winning lost souls to Christ? Salvation is the work of God through the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Humanity is at best a messenger of God sent out to clearly present the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ -- that He died on the cross for the sins of all humanity, rose again on the third day, and offers eternal life to all who simply believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, John 3:16). No credit or glory belongs to man because as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:7, “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” Jesus saves souls, not a preacher.

To determine the truth, believers must know the truth. Knowing the truth is knowing the Scriptures and rightly dividing them to know truth from falsehood (2 Timothy 2:15). The Apostle John also wrote of false teachers in 1 John 4:1-3, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” John exhorts believers to test the spirits and listen closely to their message concerning Jesus Christ.

Finally, Jesus provided clear teaching on false teachers in Matthew 7:15-20, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” The fruit is the message and a message that does not align with Scripture and glorify Jesus Christ will reveal to the hearer that the messenger is false and suggest that the messenger is a false teacher either intentionally or out of ignorance of the truth.

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