The devil has his wolves, dressed in sheep’s clothing, among the soldiers of Christ. Whole churches are devoted to a form of godliness but are denying the power of God to change their lives and live perfect and sinless by His power. We must be wise and understanding in order to know who is who. Who really are the true ministers of Christ today? “Test everything.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21. “Test the spirits.” 1 John 4:1. “Examine yourselves.” 2 Corinthians 13:5. Over and over again Christ warned the disciples to beware of false prophets. They are in your church! They look like and act like ministers, priests, pastors, deacons and elders. Since there is only one truth, why are there so many different teachings? Again, let’s go back to our guide, our teacher for truth, the Old Testament. Were there false prophets and teachers back then? Yes. In Numbers 16 we read of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. They rebelled against Moses. “They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?’” Verse 3. (That is just what wicked people say about this book.)
2. “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies… Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute… With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed – an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.” 2 Peter 2:1, 2, 14-15.
3. “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity – for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” 2 Peter 2:19.
4. “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision (what we would call “Christians” today) group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach…” Titus 1:10,11.
5. “So that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer.” “Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith (teaching “saved by grace”) and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 1:3, 6, 7; 4:1, 2.
6. “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter (book), take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14.
7. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8.
8. “Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” 2 John 8, 9; Jude 18, 19.
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.
Let me give an illustration of this in our own lives. You decide to take a trip. You go to the airport and buy a ticket. You get on board the airplane and as the plane is taxing into position to take off, you hear the following announcement. “Please bear with us today. The pilot will ‘try his best’ to be perfect. He will do his best not to ‘miss the mark’, but to leave the runway before hitting dirt at the end of the runway. He will ‘try his best’ to fly the plane on the designated flight plan so as not to hit any other planes. Then, he will again attempt to not ‘miss the mark’ and land on the runway. We know that you will be forgiving of the pilot if he should not be ‘perfect’ today and ‘miss the mark’. He is ‘only human’ and is ‘trying his best’. Have a nice flight.” Would you want to fly with that pilot? Why are you still in your church?