Unmasking False Teachers – Part 2

Danger

In my previous post in this series I looked at the methods of false teachers. In this post, my focus will be on the marks of false teachers. What does a false teacher look like? It is important to note that they are not going to be up front and say “I’m a false teacher and I’m here to deceive you!” All of God’s people need to be on guard and employ godly discernment. The Bible is filled with warnings concerning false prophets, teachers and shepherds. These troublemakers are influential and are in churches and many are writing “Christian” books. The prophet Ezekiel warned, Continue reading Unmasking False Teachers – Part 2

Unmasking False Teachers – Part 1

Mask

One of the common conversations taking place in back seat of my car is a discussion between my children asking, “What does that road sign mean?” One of the very interesting signs you see on the road is warning signs. Warning signs on the road are important because they help regulate our driving activity, but they also inform us of a potential danger so that we can be protected.

 

As you take time to read the Scriptures you will come across many warnings signs. One of a regular warning signs that appear and you cannot miss is a warning concerning false teaching. Have you ever noticed how much of the Scripture is devoted to warning again false prophets, false teachers and false shepherds? These warnings assume the fact that there will be individuals in the church who are going to claim to be Christians and authorized teachers.

 

Just as we ought to be thankful for clear warning signs on the road, we ought to be especially grateful and familiar with the warning signs in Scripture. They are there to help regulate our thinking and warn us against impending danger. In my next two posts I will discuss the methods of a false teacher and the marks of a false teacher. Continue reading Unmasking False Teachers – Part 1

The Exclusivity of Jesus Christ

Two ways

There are only two ways to live – one leads to eternal life and the other to eternal punishment. In this final passage from the Sermon on the Mount (7:13-29), Jesus concludes His message by drawing a line in the sand. Once one side are His citizens, on the other are those under His judgment. He provides four contrasting examples of a way that leads to life and a way that leads to judgment. We will see two roads (7:13-14), two trees (7:15-20), two claims (7:21-23), and two foundations (7:24-27). This passage provides that clear contrast of the Kingdom’s citizens with those that are not.

Two Roads: Wide and Narrow 7:13-14
Foolishly, many teach or believe that all religious roads lead to Heaven. Jesus makes it plain and simple, there are only two roads and only one leads to Heaven. Jesus describes two entry points to two different roads. The wide gate is easy because it includes many different kinds of external religion. The narrow gate is hard because it can only be entered through Jesus Christ (cf. ). Many enter the broad gate and walk the pathway to destruction, and only few enter the narrow gate and walk the pathway to life.

Two Trees: Barren and Fruitful 7:15-20
Jesus begins by issuing the following warning, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (). How does one discern whether one is a false prophet? The answer is by their fruits. Jesus talks about two different trees, which serve as a picture of two different kinds of teachers. One is barren while the other is fruitful. 

Two Claims: False and True 7:21-23
The third contrasting pair is that of two claims. The first claim is a self-deceived person. They think they are saved, they profess to be saved but in the final analysis they are not saved. Their works are not driving by a desire to do the will of the Father; instead they are mere external acts parading their pride. In the last judgment, they will hear the chilling words, “I never knew you; depart form me, you workers of lawlessness” (7:23).

Two Foundations: Foolish and Wise 7:24-27
What is your life built on? Jesus made it very clear that there are only two foundations: the solid ground and the sandy ground. To build your life of the solid ground is to hear the Word of God and to do it (7:24). This is in contrast to the life build on mere externalism, which doesn’t submit to the will of God. When God’s judgment comes (“the rain”), the house built on the foundation of God’s Word will stand.

After Jesus preached this sermon we are told, “the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (). Unlike the scribes who drew their authority from tradition, Jesus spoke with inherent authority (cf. ).

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Guarding Against Departure of Doctrine

Myths and genealogies

We need to remember that a church’s doctrine is not to be limited to their current situation. We are to recognize that we stand in line with centuries of historical truth. Every church potentially is less than a generation away from compromise, so it is essential that we know how to guard against departure of doctrine.

After his opening greeting in his first letter to Timothy (), Paul provides Timothy with a serious charge, which reveals the occasion for the writing of this letter (). He begins by saying; Continue reading Guarding Against Departure of Doctrine

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.