Friday, March 31, 2006

2 Peter 2:1-3

2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. [2] Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; [3] and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

Satan has two weapons he uses to attack the church. One of those weapons is persecution. Most of us know nothing about persecution. Of course, this is because we live in a nation where we are free to worship as we choose.

The second weapon that Satan uses to attack the church is deception or false teaching. Every person reading this has been exposed to some form of deception or false teaching at one time or another. At times you immediately recognized it and other times you didn’t.

My first experience with false teaching came early in my walk with Christ. A few weeks after I became a Christian, I received a copy of a magazine called The Plain Truth. This magazine, as some of you may remember, was published by the Worldwide Church of God which was founded by Herbert W. Armstrong. After reading one of those magazines, I began to struggle with worshiping on Sunday. The magazine I read presented a convincing argument for worshiping on Saturday. It was especially convincing to a new Christian who knew almost nothing about the Scriptures. Before long that magazine had me questioning many things. Finally, I went to my pastor and he set me straight on those issues. He showed me how the teaching in The Plain Truth was in error. He also explained to me that the Worldwide Church of God was a cult. Looking back at my experience, it is clear to me that enemy will do all he can to deceive us with false teaching.

The problem for us is that Satan is sneaky and deceptive. He doesn’t come to us and say, “Hi I am the liar and the deceiver and I am here to give you some false teaching.” Instead he comes as Paul writes in 2 Cor. 11:14. In that verse Paul says, “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” False teachers always disguise themselves. Usually, they appear to be good and moral people and their teaching will be appealing and persuasive. It will always contain some truth mixed with error. They use the just enough truth to get people to listen.

Peter warned us about such teachers in 2 Peter 2:1-3. “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them‑‑bringing swift destruction on themselves. [2] Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. [3] In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” Peter makes at least four important points here. First there will be false teachers in the church. Second they will introduce destructive heresies. Third they will bring Christianity into disrepute. Finally they will be motivated by greed. Does this describe any of the so called Christian teachers you are familiar with? I can think of several, and most of them are on a particular Christian TV network.

My purpose in writing this devotion is not to denounce TV preachers. But I do want to adequately prepare you to stand against the onslaught of false teaching in the church today. That is my responsibility as an under-shepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How can you avoid being deceived? First, study the Word of God for yourself and measure everything you hear by it. Second, pray for discernment. Third, pay attention to the Holy Spirit inside you and His promptings. The Spirit will raise a caution or check in our spirits if we are exposed to error. Whatever you do don’t quench the Spirit, instead thoroughly search the Scriptures and pray for answers. Fourth, join a Bible believing church if you don't belong to one. Finally, invest the time necessary to gain a basic understanding of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. If you’ll do these things you won’t be easily deceived!

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