Beware of False Prophets

This week I was in a large corporate “Christian” book store and I was shocked at the number of books of “false teachers and heretics” that are stocked on the shelves and sold. As I stood in the isle, I must have been muttering to myself. as one of the store’s employees approached me with a smile and asked, “May I help you?” I knew that they were not the store’s manager, and a deep discussion concerning their agreements and contracts with the publishing houses would come to no avail. So, I simply said, “I was surprised that you were carrying this author.” They replied, with a smile on their face, “Oh, we sell a lot of these books from this author.” I was going no-where, so I thanked them and simply said I was just “killing some time until I meet my wife for lunch.” They smiled and as they walked away, he said, “Let me know if there is anything else I could help you with.”

I wanted to shout, “Well, you could remove all the books of this heretic and burn them on a bonfire in the back” so unsuspecting readers would not be harmed by these false teachers. However, I understand where the problem really lays. It is not the reseller or the publisher, and to some degree not even the author. The fault lays clearly on the demand by the readers. If no one purchased their books, they would not be ordered, stocked and sold. They would make their way to the “deep discount” area and the publishers would stop going into contracts with those authors. The problem could be solved in just a couple of years. However, there is so much demand for these authors that until Christians “wake up and heed Jesus’ warning”, the authors will write, the publishers will publish, the stores will order, stock and sell, and the public will continue to be under the spell of “ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Jesus Taught

Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, warned His disciples concerning false prophets and teachers.

Matthew 7:1520 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (ESV)

I believe the reason so many people follow these false teachers is because they are lazy. “Lazy” you may ask? Yes, an emphatic “Lazy.” Instead of reading and studying their bible for themselves, they take the easy way of simply reading and following teachers that scratch their itch, instead of spending the time in prayer and study of the Bible.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Understand this. You will be held accountable for allowing these false teachers into your mind. Jesus says that you can identify them because they bring forth thorns and thistles instead of good fruit. Translation: these false teachers bring disease that can only bring evil fruit and destruction.

The Apostle Paul Taught

Don’t take the easy way out. the Apostle Paul understood this and in writing to his protégé Timothy;

“2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The Apostle John quoted Jesus;

“John 5:37 -43 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
41 I do not receive glory from people.
42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.
43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.

What Are We To Do?

  1. Get a good “word for word” translation of the Bible, without commentary and without references and study the Bible after prayer asking for the Holy Spirit to lead and teach you.
  2. Journal – write your questions, thoughts and impressions so that you can return to them later.
  3. Be methodical in your approach to study. Learn how to study the bible by “Observing what the Scripture says; search out God’s interpretation of the verse, paragraph, text or book and then apply what you have learned to your own life.
  4. Observation, Interpretation, Application – in that order. Don’t jump to interpretation until you fully understand what the “text within the context” is saying. Don’t leap to applying the Scripture until you have completed the hard work of Observing and then finding out what God is saying and what He means.
  5. It takes time and is an investment in your spiritual health.

As Christians, we are to study the Word of God. We are to receive sound doctrine and oppose false teachers, even if they are the #1 best seller in your local “Christin” book store.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Together with 1 John 3:6, Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him, are difficult to understand.

These verses must be examined with the entirety of John’s first epistle. For example, 1 John 1:8 and 10, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” and “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” John is clearly teaching that the Christian sins. Understanding that John clearly is not teaching sinlessness on the part of the Christian, then we must surmise that John’s intent is easily definable within the text.

John’s intended audience are Christians, “Whosoever is born of God”, and not to a select few “super Christians.” Therefore, his writing affects the entire body of believers in Christ. John’s point is “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” It is important to know that John is declaring the total absence of all sin, and not just the continuing, practice or keeping on of sin. Some Bible translations translate this verse as: “no one who is born of God will continue to sin,” (NIV). While others will use, “makes a practice of sinning” (ESV, NASB). However, this is not the original Greek. Since God is the source of the Christian birth and he is completely holy and perfect, he cannot “beget” a partially perfect child. “Like-begets-like.”

For the apostle John, the idea that a Christian will continually or habitually practice sin goes against everything that John intends. John clearly defines that man is sinful, and that no sin is allowed in the Christian in order to have fellowship with God.

For John, the believer is in a constant state of struggle with the old man, which is an enemy of God, and the new man which is a born-again believer. The war is between the “inner man which is a believer’s new nature, and the old man whose nature is a sinful nature of Adam. The “inward man” tries to serve the law of God, but the outward man serves his flesh.

We can never be free of this nature, however, the inner man, being the image of a perfect God, is regenerated and does not commit sin. (Romans 7:20-25; Galatians 2:20). The “old man” sins, however the “new man” does not and cannot sin, according to John.

Caution; John does not intend to present the Christian as being able to become sinless perfection in the outward man. Sin does exist in the believer’s life, but it is foreign and extraneous to the inward regenerated man where Christ dwells in perfect holiness.  

“…even now there are many antichrists”

Continuing my studies in 1st John 2:18,

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

antichrist” is the Greek word “antichristoswhich means “against the Messiah.”

John’s reference to “antichrists”, meant that they were evident in the church in his lifetime. It is not a 20th or 21st century arrival.

John further defines antichrists as anyone who denies that 1) Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of the Old Testament, and 2) deny that Jesus is the only means of salvation.

Look at this following list:

  • During the time of Jesus, he preached that there were “tares among the wheat.”
  • In the churches in Galatia, there were false teachers.
  • In the church at Philippi, there were enemies of God
  • In the church at Colossi, there were teachers of heresies.

No antichrists are nothing new, but they are very active today. We should all be on our guard. Study your Bible folks. It will keep you out of heresies and false teaching.

Good, Is Just Not Good Enough

Good, Is Just Not Good Enough

That was the headline for the announcement that the Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and Executive Vice President John Elway had come to an agreement that they would part ways. This separation of a winning head coach sent shock waves throughout the sports world.

John Fox was brought in when the team went a horrific 4-12. That is not the Denver tradition. He got his hands deep into the organization and went 8-8 the following year and into the playoffs. The next two years, the team went 13-3 after brining in Peyton Manning. In the 2014 season of 12-4, it was the fourth AFC West title since becoming the head coach. In four years the Broncos were 46-18, with four division titles. In 2013 the Broncos went to the Super Bowl.

With all the good work, vision and leadership, his good, just wasn’t good enough.

The problem was a 3-4 record in the postseason, a 43-8 thrashing in the Super Bowl and a one-and-out 24-13 loss this year spelled disaster for coach Fox.

The official statement from Elway said; “While we have made significant progress under Coach Fox, there is still work to be done. I believe this change at the head coaching position will be in the best interest of our long-term goal, which from day one has been to win World Championships.”

Your good, is just not good enough.

Like John Fox heard from his boss, one day, every one of us will face the creator of the universe. And when that day comes, the Bible tells us that no matter how hard we tried, or how good of person we are to others, our good, is just not good enough.

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans lays it out pretty clear. “There is none righteous (no matter how good we try to be), no, not one.” (Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

But there is hope. Paul says “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:10). So even though we could not be good enough on our own, God made a plan.

At one point or another, we have been exposed to John 3:16 in the Bible. In churches or at sporting events you will see signs that say, “John 3:16.” That verse says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish.”

Paul describes what John wrote in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Our attempts to be good fall way short of what God wants, but through faith in Jesus Christ, we can receive a gift from God, eternal life.

Wages or Gift…our very best efforts (Wages) will be NOT GOOD ENOUGH, but if we receive God’s free Gift, the work of Christ is GOOD ENOUGH.

Hmmm, what shall we do?