Beware of False Teachers

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In the final moments of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, He warned His hearers (and us) to be on the alert for those who would twist His Words: “Beware of false prophets…You will know them by their fruits…So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20).

Peter warned of the same imposters in 2 Peter 2:1: “But false prophets also arose among the people …who will secretly introduce destructive heresies….”  Yes, even the apostle Paul pleaded with the Ephesians about such imposters in Acts 20:29: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock….”  Dear reader, do you realize that many people in professing Bible-believing churches today are completely unaware that most cultists are former professing Protestants? How can this be? A survey taken a number of years ago at a well-known evangelical Bible college might help us to understand this phenomenon. This study revealed that, out of the three hundred students polled, less than ten had heard a sermon in the last four years on the doctrines of the Trinity, the Deity, and humanity of Jesus Christ or on the relationship of grace and faith to works. As a result, that polling organization was then moved to conduct similar surveys in evangelical colleges, theological seminaries, and Bible institutes in major cities across our country. The results were almost identical. These sad statistics convey that today’s man-centered, seeker-sensitive services do not equip saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16), but rather leave them ill-equipped to handle the many false teachers all around them (from both within and without the visible church)! It appears that the real problem is once again the sad spiritual condition of the present-day pulpit. Why so? It exists because the typical preacher of our day is more concerned with tickling ears in the pews than he is with preaching faithfully sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Many preachers run away from the more difficult portions of Scripture, resulting in the spiritual hurt of God’s professing people (2 Peter 3:15-16). They shrink from what will profit God’s people most and fail to expound upon the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20, 27). Therefore, many in churches today are confused and unprepared to handle the smiling cultist when he arrives at their door. But do not invite them in (“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting” [2 John 1:10])! O dear Saints of the living God, love doctrine, know doctrine, and live doctrine! Settle for nothing less than “sound” doctrine (Titus 2:1)! Healthy churches are marked by both sound doctrine and sincere devotion to Jesus Christ (Romans 11:33-36).

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