False Teachers and True Christianity

This is a very timely message, especially for those who sincerely love God and want to know the truth. We are living in a time when being a REAL Christian is unpopular, but bearing the name Christian is. The problem is aggravated by the fact that people are fooled into believing that it is enough to simply believe there is a God. Unfortunately, this is a pitfall that far too many people fall into. This is what God says:

(James 2:19-24 KJV) "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. {20} But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? {21} Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? {22} Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? {23} And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. {24} Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."

God is showing us that it not enough to say "I believe". He says, "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." So we know that a true Christian is not one that just bears the name Christian and believes there is a God. Part of being a real Christian is believing and loving God enough to where it carries on into our lives. Not a stagnant Christian but an active Christian. Not a "Sunday Morning" Christian that gives God only a couple of hours a week by showing up to church. We should live twenty four hours a day, and seven days a week as Jesus has commanded us to. That is not to say if we mess up and sin, we are not a Christian. If that were the case, there would be no hope for any of us. The reason Jesus died on the cross for us was to be a sacrifice for our sins, so that we would have forgiveness. God is very gracious and realizes that we are not perfect, but he loves us anyway. However, if we attempt to take advantage of his mercy and forgiveness by purposely sinning, we have no more forgiveness (Hebrews 10:26-27).

Throughout scripture, we see that a true Christian is more than of the "Sunday Morning" variety. In the following scripture, pay special attention to the fact that God says that those who are simply hearers of the word and not doers, are deceiving themselves. We should both hear and do God's word! Here is what he says...

(James 1:21-27 KJV) "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. {22} But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. {23} For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: {24} For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. {25} But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. {26} If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. {27} Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

Well, how do we become "doers of the word"? We do this by studying God's Word and then making our lives conform to what it says. When his Word says we should live and act a certain way, or do a certain thing, we better! When his Word says we shouldn't live and act a certain way, or do a certain thing, we better not! When God tells us to do things such as bring his Word to someone, or help someone in need, or pray for someone, we better do it! We should be in complete obedience to the doctrine of the Bible. The bottom line is to love God above all else, and do what he says. If there was ever an umbrella command it is this:

(Matthew 22:35-40 KJV) "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, {36} Master, which is the great commandment in the law? {37} Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. {38} This is the first and great commandment. {39} And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. {40} On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

These two commandments are comprehensive of all others. This is because if we love God with all our heart and love our neighbor as our self, we will not lie, cheat, steal, deceive, hate, murder, etc. By the same token we will live our lives for God by doing all that he commands us to do, because we love him above all else!

This next scripture may surprise some. In fact, I hope that it will wake them out of the complacency and self-deception spoken of in James 1:21-27 which we saw concerning those that are hearers and not doers of the Word of God.

(Matthew 7:13-27 KJV) "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: {14} Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. {15} Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. {16} Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? {17} Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. {18} A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. {19} Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. {20} Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. {21} Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. {24} Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

The first shocker is that Jesus says there will only be few that find life, i.e., eternal life and heaven. In general, the church world is under the impression that most will make it to heaven. After all, look at any one religion's following; the numbers are huge. It is far more popular for religious leaders to look at their congregation and tell them if they come to their church they will make it to heaven. Why will there only be few? Because the majority are hearers and not doers of the word. Because the majority have been deceived by false teachers, not preaching the undiluted and complete Word of God. It is hard to meet requirements when you are not given them. Many are out preaching only what people want to hear, and twist the scriptures to make it palatable to the masses. In fact, in verse 15 he tells us to beware of false prophets which outwardly appear to be holy but inwardly are as a ravenous wolf! As sincere Christians how can we know who are God's anointed ministers and who are not? God tells us in verses 16-20, that we will know them by their fruits. In other words, we will be able to tell by their words, actions, and deeds. If a minister doesn't teach the complete, undiluted Word of God, but chooses to teach only what is popular, rejecting the rest -- that minister is a false prophet! Unfortunately, these types are more common than not. For the sake of money, popularity, or building a sizable congregation, they relax the commands and requirements of God to attract those that would not otherwise come, because of the devotion required. These types are the most dangerous because they often offer heaven with little commitment or requirement, which is very attractive to most people. However, heaven is not theirs to give.

One might ask, "Why would someone simply relaxing the Word of God be called a false prophet?". Because they are deceiving the people into believing they are meeting all the requirements for heaven, but in truth, they are cheating them out of it by not giving them the full story. I might add, though, these are not the only types of false prophets. There are of course many others that do require great devotion, but they preach doctrine contradictory to the Bible, whether it be blatant or subtle. In any case, if it's not precisely God's Word (the Bible), it's false doctrine and the one teaching it is not his minister! Would you consider someone that alters your words to be your representative?

What else might surprise some is what Jesus says in verses 21-23. Jesus plainly says that not everyone that calls him Lord will enter into heaven, but only those that do the will of his father (God). This is the difference between a real Christian and one that is not. Recognize that it won't do us any good to deceive ourselves here on earth into thinking that we are doing God's will. It may make us feel better about ourselves, but it will also cause us to miss out on going to heaven! In fact, Jesus says "{22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." They sounded like good Christians doing God's will, didn't they? Beware, because it is easy for us to fool ourselves into believing we are doing God's will, when we are not. We so badly want to believe it, and in fact, the Devil would like us to as well! If he successfully fools us into believing that we are doing God's will, we have no reason to change and are likely to continue on our path to destruction. Even a sincere Christian can backslide and fall into this trap. Why do you think there are so many false teachers today? Satan would like nothing more than for Christians to be fooled into following those who teach diluted, imitations of God's Word. Once he has fooled us into believing their doctrine and requirements (usually relaxed ones) are true, Satan will have won and stolen heaven away from us! Let the Bible be your final authority on what is truth and what is not.

In verses 24-27, Jesus compares those that both hear and do what he says, to those who hear only. Those that are both hearers and doers of his Word are like a wise man which built his house upon a rock. When the storms arose, his house could not be destroyed, because it was built on a solid foundation. Those that hear his Word and don't do it, are like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the storms arose, his house was greatly destroyed because it had virtually no foundation. Unfortunately, this represents a vast majority of those who consider themselves Christians. They hear some of God's Word, but don't live it and do it. Notice that we keep coming back to the same idea that we looked at in James 1:21-27. We must be both hearers and doers of the Word of God. If we are not, we are only deceiving ourselves. Remember, that the devils also believe that there is one God, and they even tremble (James 2:19-24)! What separates us from them, is believing and doing, because "faith without works is dead". That is the definition of a REAL Christian.

Now that we've defined what a real Christian IS and IS NOT, let's take a closer look at false teachers. There are many scriptures in the Bible that warn us about false teachers. If they didn't pose a real threat to Christians, God would not have bothered warning us about them. We must be alert and wise because the Bible tells us that Satan walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. His goal is to tear us away from God and take heaven away from us.

(1 Peter 5:8 KJV) "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

Just because someone is highly respected as a preacher, doesn't mean they are God's. Satan has cunningly planted many false teachers and has well disguised them as respected ministers of God's Word. Recall the words of Jesus we saw in Matthew:

(Matthew 7:15-20 KJV) "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. {16} Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? {17} Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. {18} A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. {19} Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. {20} Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

He says that false prophets will come to us in sheep's clothing. That is to say, they will be disguised as true Christians but he says inwardly they are ravening wolves. We know that wolves are a serious life threat to sheep. If left to do as they please, the wolf will attack, kill, and feed on a sheep. Just of itself, a wolf is a serious threat to a sheep. Yet, if the wolf is given the disguise of another sheep, the threat is even worse. Just think about it -- if it was obvious that the false teachers were not God's ministers, then Christians wouldn't follow them, and they wouldn't be a threat. However, Satan has given them clever disguises, because it is his desire for them to destroy us. Jesus tells us, though, that we will know them by their fruits. Their disguise may be clever, but their fruits -- their words, actions, lifestyle, etc. -- will give them away. But we must open our eyes and be aware that there are wolves among us disguised as one of us! Don't blindly follow anyone. God has given us the Bible so that it can be our guide and so that we can distinguish truth from error.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV) "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: {17} That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

Concerning false teachers, the apostle Paul spoke likewise to the Ephesian elders when he addressed them for the last time:

(Acts 20:28-31 KJV) "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. {29} For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. {30} Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. {31} Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

One of the most important things on Paul's mind the last time he spoke to the Ephesian elders was to warn them about the coming dangers of false teachers, both from within and without. Again, they are spoken of as wolves destroying the flock. Paul warns the elders so that they can protect they flock (the Christians) and continue to feed them God's Word. Nevertheless, Paul says that there will be false teachers arising even from among themselves (verse 30)! He says these men will speak "perverse" things , (the original Greek word means distorted or misinterpreted) in order to build a following for themselves. This is happening today, and it is more common than not. Ministers compromising and diluting the Bible for the sake of money, popularity, or building a congregation. There are not a great deal of people today who desire or will even believe the complete, undiluted Word of God. So, for the sake of attracting a congregation, many ministers have chosen to teach what people want to hear and choose to neglect teaching what is really necessary ... God's complete, undiluted Word -- the Bible as it was written. Whenever, you hear a minister "gloss" over something in the Bible, or say it is not for today, or say "we don't interpret it this way", or say that you don't have to worry about certain commands, or even avoids parts of the Bible ... you'd better run!

Paul, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, has been quiet vocal on the subject of false teachers. We find many more instances in the Bible where he has spoken of the dangers of false teachers. Here is another example:

(2 Corinthians 11:3-4 KJV) "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. {4} For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."

Paul says that he fears what the Christians in Corinth might do if a false teacher comes preaching things other than what he has preached to them ... he fears they "might well bear with him". He was afraid they might be led astray and continue in the erroneous doctrine. Some number of verses later, Paul, has more to say about false teachers:

(2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV) "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. {14} And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. {15} Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

Paul calls these guys "false apostles", or according to the original Greek words, he calls them spurious apostles or pretended preachers. He says these false apostles are disguising themselves as apostles of Christ! They are disguising themselves as ministers of God! In fact, Paul says not to be surprised because Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light so it is no great thing if "his (Satan's) ministers" also be disguised as "ministers of righteousness". Remember, we have already seen that Satan has placed wolves among us in sheep's clothing. Satan has placed his own in clever disguises, as ministers of God, in order to destroy God's people. This is why Paul throughout scripture keeps showing so great concern for warning God's people of false teachers. They are by no means harmless!

Many find it hard to understand how someone who appears to be teaching God's Word can be labeled as a false teacher. First of all, we've already learned that Satan has placed them there in clever disguises as minister's of God. Satan realizes that most Christians wouldn't blindly follow someone preaching things clearly in contradiction to God. However, by placing these same deceivers in a clever disguise and by teaching subtle doctrinal impurities, he can fool many. Even so, why would subtle compromises to the integrity of God's Word be harmful?

(Galatians 5:7-9 KJV) "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? {8} This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. {9} A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."

It only takes a very small amount of leaven to make a whole loaf of bread rise. In the same manner, it only takes a small amount of doctrinal error or compromise to destroy us spiritually -- to destroy our Christian walk with God. This is what Paul is referring to in Galatians when he says "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump". He isn't teaching the Galatians how to make bread! He is calling attention to their error, brought about by those teaching falsehood. Jesus also used the same analogy in comparing leaven to doctrinal error:

(Matthew 16:6 & 11-12 KJV) "{6} Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees ... {11} How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? {12} Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."

Jesus, of course, also recognized the danger of false doctrine and was quick to point it out to his people because he loved them. He knew it only took a small amount to destroy a Christian, just as it only takes a small amount of leaven to raise an entire loaf of bread. You have probably had similar experiences in your everyday life. Have you noticed that once you do something for the first time, the following times get easier? For example, what about lying, or procrastinating, or cheating on a test, or missing a church service, or skipping studying your Bible?

In the same manner that it is not popular today to call someone a false teacher, Jesus was most certainly not popular for pointing out the error of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Most notably, the Pharisees were a leading religious group among the Jews, with mass popularity, known for their strict devotion to the Law of Moses. However, Jesus condemned the actions and lifestyles of esteemed religious figures numerous times throughout scripture. In one case Jesus said "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9 KJV)." Jesus did what was right; not what was popular.

One of the gravest dangers of false teachers, is that they usually play on peoples wishes and desires. They know how to push the right buttons, so to speak, and therefore, are quite popular. For the most part, people are attracted to what is convenient, easy, and requires minimal devotion. Most are not willing to live the sacrificed life God has required of us (part of being a REAL Christian).

(Romans 12:1-2 KJV) "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

So, when a false teacher who indeed outwardly appears holy, teaches doctrine that relaxes Biblical requirements, or makes attaining heaven seem easier, most people will happily accept it. People so badly want to believe that as long as they live their life as a "pretty good" person and attend church they will go to heaven. It's hard not to believe such a wonderful thing when you have what appears to be a man of God standing before you telling you what you long to hear. Unfortunately then, when true, anointed ministers of God attempt to teach the truth, they are labeled as religious fanatics or some sort of cult. Weren't Jesus and his disciples labeled as such? Remember, it was the religious leaders and chief priests that crucified Jesus! Don't fall into the trap of equating the size of a congregation to truth and holiness. Jesus, the Son of God himself, had only twelve disciples and one of them betrayed him! Recall what we read in Matthew:

(Matthew 7:13-14 KJV) "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: {14} Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

Aren't most religions fairly large? Will all of these people make it to heaven? Regrettably, they won't if they don't meet the requirements.

For the sake of money, popularity, or building a sizable congregation many false teachers preach only what people want to hear. They play on peoples emotions and desire for something easy... a "short cut". To no surprise, these false teachers are very successful. In fact, they are actually a majority. God has warned us of these types in the second book of Timothy:

(2 Timothy 4:1-4 KJV) "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; {2} Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. {3} For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; {4} And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

This scripture is being fulfilled today. People are following preachers who teach what they want to hear and have shut their ears to the truth. That is precisely what the scripture says in the second book of Timothy. The phrase, "After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears", denotes that they will follow those teaching what they desire to hear. It goes on to say that they will reject the truth and turn to "fables".

False teachers promise you heaven, but in reality they cheat you out of it by not giving you all of the requirements as set forth in the Bible. That is not to say that they do not teach from the Bible. If that were the case, their disguise wouldn't be effective. However, they typically teach what is popular out of the Bible, and neglect what is necessary. They oftentimes say "these commands or scriptures are not for today" or "we don't interpret it this way". In short, they teach what is popular and convenient, while cutting and twisting what is not. In today's world, believing in the daily, miraculous and awesome power of God is too much for most to digest. And yes, I am talking about Christians. Naturally then, preachers today preach a somewhat removed God that performed mighty miracles in "Biblical times", but today supernaturally intervenes on rare occasion. They teach reliance upon man and not on God. It is considered a rare benefit if God intervenes in your life and is not to be relied upon.

Here are some other examples of Jesus denouncing prominent religious figures of the time:

(Matthew 23:13-15 KJV) "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. {14} Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. {15} Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte (original Greek word means a convert), and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."

(Luke 11:52 KJV) "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered."

The "lawyers" referred to in Luke are not the same type of lawyers we know of today. The original Greek word "nomikos" refers to an expert in the Law of Moses. These were highly respected scholars of God's Word. In both these scriptures Jesus was denouncing these leaders for appearing to work righteousness, but in truth, cheating people out of heaven. This is still happening today. Even people who truly love God are being robbed of heaven because false teachers are preaching clever imitations of God's Word. People are not receiving the complete, pure Word of God which contains the requirements and "road map" to heaven. Sincere people are being led to believe other doctrines are God's Word. So, yes, they are being robbed of heaven. Consider how many so called Christian religions exist today. It is probably safe to say that there are at least hundreds. Each group has different doctrines and beliefs, yet they all are supposedly founded on the Bible. By definition, it is impossible for two people to believe something different and both be right, especially when it comes from the same source! It cannot happen. There is only one truth -- the truth IS the truth. If you love God above anything else, DO NOT follow opinions of men or religious doctrines. You can find a religion to teach you whatever you want to believe, but that will not get you to heaven, whereas the truth will. Let your "religion" be precisely what the Bible says; nothing more, nothing less. Not what man says, but what God says. Churches that teach the truth are hard to find because they are a minority (recall there are only few that will go to heaven, Matthew 7:14). Pray and allow God to lead you to the right one and he will. Without exaggeration, it IS a matter of life or death. In fact, it is a matter of eternal life or death.

False teachers come in many different flavors. Although I have mainly focused on the type of false teachers that preach only what is popular out of the Bible to build a congregation, these are by no means the only types. We have those who take away from God's Word; those that add to God's Word; those who teach commandments of men as commandments of God; those that reinterpret God's Word to make it fit what they want it to say; those that deny the awesome, miraculous power of God is still here for us today; those who deny the gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit such as; descerment, wisdom, the healing power of God; those that are of an obvious cultic nature ... and the list goes on. In short, a false teacher is anyone who does not preach the complete, unabridged, undistorted, undiluted, original Word of God without man's modification or reinterpretation. God's intelligence is far above ours, and he meant what he said in the Bible. He doesn't need a man to tell him what he did and did not mean! As my Dad used to say, "the Bible is more up to date than tomorrow's newspaper". It does not need alteration to make it applicable for today. From the book of Genesis to the book of Revelations, the Bible covers the creation of earth to the end of earth, when we will live with God forever. God knows the past and the future. He has not written so called "dated" material. God knows all.

Let me now leave you with a handful of other scriptures that deal with false teachers.

(Galatians 1:6-12 KJV) "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: {7} Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. {8} But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. {9} As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. {10} For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. {11} But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. {12} For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

These are strong words. Paul says that if even he or an angel from heaven preach some other doctrine, "let him be accursed". Paul says that the doctrine he preached wasn't from man, but from Jesus Christ. Furthermore he says he didn't seek to please men, for had he, he couldn't be the servant of Christ. It is impossible to do both. God is greatly displeased with anyone who alters his Word, even in the least. Here are some other examples:

(Revelation 22:18-19 KJV) "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: {19} And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

(Deuteronomy 4:1-4 KJV) "Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. {2} Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. {3} Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. {4} But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day."

(Proverbs 30:5-6 KJV) "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. {6} Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."

(2 Peter 1:20-2:3 KJV) "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. {21} For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. {1} But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily (original Greek word means "introduce surreptitiously", i.e., introduce by stealth) shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. {2} And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. {3} And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."

Aren't false teachers today "denying the Lord that bought them"? Jesus paid for our redemption with his own blood and yet they are denying his power. God's daily intervention in our lives has been minimized, down played, and replaced with reliance upon man for protection, healing, and finances.

(Matthew 24:11 KJV) "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many."
(Matthew 24:24 KJV) "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

(Titus 1:9-14 KJV) "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. {10} For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: {11} Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's (original Greek word means "gain [pecuniary or general]") sake. {12} One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. {13} This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound (original Greek word means "uncorrupt [true in doctrine]") in the faith; {14} Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."

In Titus 1:10, notice when Paul says "there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers", he says, "specially they of the circumcision". Back at that time, the circumcised were considered the true and chosen people of God. Yet, Paul calling them deceivers, says they need to be silenced because they were teaching things they shouldn't for the sake of money. He commands for them to be rebuked so that they might become true in doctrine.

(Ephesians 4:11-16 KJV) "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; {12} For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: {13} Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: {14} That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; {15} But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: {16} From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

(2 Timothy 3:1-9, 13-17 KJV) "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. {2} For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, {3} Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, {4} Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; {5} Having a form (original Greek word means "appearance") of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. {6} For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, {7} Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. {8} Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. {9} But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was... {13} But evil men and seducers (original Greek word means "impostors") shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. {14} But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; {15} And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. {16} All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: {17} That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

Notice in verse 5 that we are commanded to turn away from those that appear Godly but deny the power of God. This is what we have already talked about. Unfortunately, today most of the church world is of this sort. The majority are Christian in name but are without true faith in God. Many claim to have faith in God, but their actions speak otherwise. Continuing on through verse 13, we are warned that false teachers will be getting worse and worse in the last days. Nevertheless, we are encouraged to continue in the truth (the "holy scriptures"), which is able to make us "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus". On the other hand, false doctrine will prevent us from being wise unto salvation if we follow it. We are told that all of scripture is from God "and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." It is the scriptures that are profitable for doctrine, instruction, and whatever else is necessary to make the believer complete. The doctrines, opinions, and distortions of man will not make us complete and will not get us to heaven. The Bible, which is God's true word (verse 16), is what is essential in our lives and is what will make us "wise unto salvation". The Bible, as it was written, is one of the tools necessary for us to get to heaven.

It is not my goal, or my personality, to bash ministers and different religions, nor am I a "conspiracy theory" freak. However, false teachers and false doctrine are common and very real, and it is a reality that we must be aware of. Throughout the Bible, God has forewarned us of false teachers and doctrinal error. It is a subtlety used by Satan to destroy God's people and to prevent people from being REAL Christians. Do not be fooled by the clever disguises and righteous outward appearance of false teachers. Those who you look up to with the greatest respect could be wolves in sheep's clothing. If what they teach doesn't completely line up with the Bible or if they omit, ignore or change scriptures, they are a false teacher! Test everything you hear against the standard that will never fail -- the Bible. It is Satan's goal to steal heaven away from us. DO NOT place something as important as your salvation in the hands of someone else, but be cautious. Again, DO NOT be deceived by false teachers, but study the Bible for yourself, making sure what you hear is the truth.

(Acts 17:11 KJV) "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."

For the sake of your own salvation, please do the same.

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