“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”1 John 4:1 NLT
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT)
The father of lies
Blinded eyes from the real truth
Are opened by Christ
You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. (Galatians 5:7-10 NLT)
This past Sunday the kids in my class got a bit of a reward for their exemplary behavior: they each received a huge Hershey bar. One of the girls only ate a very small piece off of her’s and then decided to put it back into the package. She struggled at getting the chocolate bar back in and just wasn’t having any luck. So, our Sunday school superintendent offered to help, by “trimming” the candy bar down (i.e. eating some) for her.
Today society would have us to think we can do the same thing with God’s Word: just “trim” it down to fit our ideas and wants. The world rejects the very thought of things like moral absolutes, saying that disciples of Jesus Christ are “intolerant” because of our adherence to the teachings of Scripture. Well, you know what? They are right: all of God’s children are intolerant of sin, just as our Father is intolerant of it.
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
After hearing Paul and Silas preach the Bereans then searched through Scripture for themselves to determine if what they heard was truth. They took it upon themselves to make certain they weren’t being taught bad doctrine.
This evening I turned a Christian tv program that I wasn’t familiar with. I watched for a few minutes, interested in who the man was and what he was preaching about. After about five minutes I turned the channel; he was teaching incorrect about a passage from the Old Testament. (I should say that this was not a prophetic teaching, just so you don’t think I was biased. Clearly there are differing views on eschatology and I don’t think that is an issue with our salvation.) He was just plainly teaching it wrong: bad doctrine. I knew this only because I had studied on this passage a few months, maybe longer, ago so I was familiar with the meaning.
The Bible exhorts us to study for many reasons. Not the least of these is so that we will know if someone is teaching or preaching bad doctrine. If you have not studied a subject or passage and you hear it taught or preached on it is your duty to study it and see if it has been presented right. If you think about it, quite a large portion of the New Testament addressed heresy and bad doctrine at the time of it’s writing. And God’s Word clearly tells us there will be false teachers and heresy to deal with until the end. Being mislead by a teacher or preacher is very serious; both his and your eternal destiny could be at stake.