August 6, 2008
Exposing False Teachers
New Testament writers warned about false teachings that sounded good but defied truth (2 Tim. 4:3; 1 John 4:1). Believers today must still heed these warnings! Ungodly leaders subtly twist truth with such conviction that unprepared Christians can be charmed by their lies. That’s why the Bible instructs us to evaluate the message of whoever desires to lead us (Matt. 7:20).
The false teacher is deceptive. Verse 15 of today’s passage describes him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He appears to want people to know the “real” truth about God, but his interpretation of Scripture may contain outright lies or a distorted mix of fact and error. Since wise believers study God’s Word, they can detect a “sheepskin” starting to slip. The wolf is further exposed by his personal life, which won’t be consistent with righteousness (Matt. 7:16). A close study of his decisions, actions, and words will reveal that he does not follow the Lord’s will or biblical principles.
The false teacher’s life and message are self-indulgent. His enticing ideas appeal to his listeners’ fleshly nature. In fact, he’ll often permit activities prohibited in Scripture. Some deceivers describe God’s grace as a license to live without restraint (Jude 4). Paul clearly denounces this lie, teaching that believers have died to sin and shouldn’t live in it (Rom. 6:2).
The body of Christ is expected to use Scripture as the standard against which to measure a leader’s lifestyle and words. When we seek divine truth, we are given the discernment to know a holy message from a misleading one.
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