Friday, December 14, 2018

PF Bulletin: The Character of False Teachers

May 14, 2015 by  
Filed under PF Bulletin

False prophets preyed on the Jews for generations, peddling perversions of the Jewish system for personal gain. When Christ came, he arrived into a world filled with these false doctrines, and sternly warned the Jews against their works:

  • Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.(Matt. 7:15-17)

Naturally, it did not take long after the church was established for false teachers to appear among the brethren. Many epistles address these ‘wolves’—here are some common threads:

False teachers often come from within the Church (1 John 2:18-19; Rev. 2:20-21).

  • But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Pet. 2:1)

Though many appear to be very knowledgeable, false teachers always lack understanding.

  • But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively(Jude 10)
  • Another relevant observation from this passage: many false teachers are guided by their passions (2 Pet. 2:12), and often will choose to obey their feelings on a matter rather than carefully searching out the Scriptures for the truth.

False teachers prey on others to gain advantage. They flatter those that will listen (Jude 16); they attack those with weaker faith (2 Tim. 3:6-7); they do all these things simply because they, like Diotrephes, love to be first among men (3 Jn. 9-10). Men who would appoint themselves leaders over a local church, even after their unrighteousness has lead to the destruction of their own families.

False teachers reject authority (2 Pet. 2:10-11). This can come in the form of refusing the correction of the Scriptures, refusing to submit to local church leadership, or refusing to accept a brother or sister’s rebuke. All of these things are, at their root, a rejection of the authority of Christ himself.

False teachers cannot bear good fruit for the Kingdom (Matt. 7:16-20)

  • For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks(Lk. 6:43-45)

It can be so difficult to discern a false teacher’s true motive. These men and women often sound very reasonable, they are charismatic and caring, and most tragic of all, these men and women are too often our friends and beloved brethren. We know from Scripture that false teachers cannot bear good fruit. Though they may be shrouded behind a veil of false love and kind words, in the end their only fruits are division and strife. By this we can discern false teachers!

Obey God. Reject these men and women outright; do not even invite them into your home (2 Jn. 10-11). Pray that they would be brought to shame and restored to the Kingdom.

 

-Seth Buchanan

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