WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 24, 2022
TOPIC: BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves and will tear you apart” (Matthew 7:15 The Living Bible).
Matthew 16:6-7 says, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.’ And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have taken no bread’” (New King James Version). Jesus’ reference to the leaven or yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees was not about bread. In verse 12, Jesus explained what he meant by the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees – their teaching or doctrine.
Jesus was talking to His disciples about the influence of the false teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees just as the natural leaven influences the dough but they didn’t understand Him initially. Some false teachings are going on in the body of Christ today. Every teaching must be crosschecked with the Bible to be sure it is a sound doctrine and not the opinion of any servant of God. Psalm 119:104 says, “And since only your rules can give me wisdom and understanding, no wonder I hate every false teaching” (The Living Bible). The New King James Version says it like this: “Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.”
False teachers secretly introduce destructive heresies into the church. The Apostle Peter warned, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1 New King James Version). They walk in craftiness and handle the word of God deceitfully.
False teachers resist or oppose the truth. 2 Timothy 3:8 says, “And just as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so also these false teachers withstand the truth–being, as they are, men of debased intellects, and of no real worth so far as faith is concerned” (Weymouth’s New Testament). Tradition says that Jannes and Jambres were two of the magicians that opposed Moses and Aaron by counterfeiting their miracles before Pharaoh. In Exodus 7:11-12, Aaron’s rod turned into a serpent and when Pharaoh’s magicians threw down their rods, they also became serpents but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
False teachers are greedy. They don’t serve our Lord Jesus Christ but their belly (Romans 16:18). 2 Peter 2:3 says, “In their greed these false teachers will make a profit out of telling you made-up stories. For a long time now their Judge has been ready, and their Destroyer has been wide awake!” (Today’s English Version).
Don’t expose yourself to false teachers; they’ll influence you negatively. It is not the popularity of a minister that determines the correctness or soundness of his teachings; the celebrity status of a man of God does not authenticate his teachings. The Apostle John says, “Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around” (1 John 4:1 The Living Bible).
No Christian should condone false teachers. Paul told Timothy, his protégé in the ministry, to stay in Ephesus and stop those who were teaching false doctrines. “I asked you to stay longer in Ephesus when I went into Macedonia so you could command some people there to stop teaching false things” (1 Timothy 1:3 New Century Version). To stop teaching false things is the same as to “teach no other doctrine” as the New King James Bible puts it. Beware of false teachers. Those who teach doctrines that are different from what the Bible teaches.
Paul, writing to Titus, said, “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach — and that for the sake of dishonest gain” (Titus 1:10-11 New International Version). The New King James Version says their “mouths must be stopped.”
Also, in the book of Galatians, Paul corrected the false teaching that they needed to be circumcised to be made right with God (Galatians 5:11-12). He told the Galatians, “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” (verses 7-10 New Living Translation).
Take note of the phrase “This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough.” Remember what Jesus said about the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Beware of false teachers; don’t believe false teachings.
In his farewell speech to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, Paul warned them about false teachers, vicious or savage wolves, who would come in among the church after his departure, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29). These vicious wolves are in the church today – wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jesus said, “Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves and will tear you apart” (Matthew 7:15 The Living Bible). False teachers are dangerous to the church. You must beware of them just as Jesus said, and the apostles said. Don’t let them influence you negatively; don’t let them destroy you with their unbiblical teachings.
Eventually, the false teachers whom Paul warned the Ephesians about came into that church. Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for testing those who claimed to be apostles but were found to be liars (Revelation 2:2). He also praised the same church for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, a heretical sect in the early church (verse 6). Some scholars believe that the Nicolaitans were followers of Nicolas, who probably was the Nicolas listed among the seven deacons, a proselyte from Antioch – a Gentile who first converted to Judaism before converting to Christianity (Acts 6:5).
The influence of the Nicolaitans also spread to the church in Pergamos and some followed the teaching of the sect unlike the church in Ephesus. Revelation 2:15 says that the church in Pergamos had among them those who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which God hated, as Revelation 2:6 says. This was in addition to those who held the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality (verse 14). Some people in this church had embraced false teachings. Jesus asked this church to repent or else He would come to the church quickly and fight against these people with the sword of His mouth (verse 16).
Heed the warnings in the Bible and don’t become a victim of false teachers. Peter said, “You, therefore, dear friends, having been warned beforehand, must continually be on your guard so as not to be led astray by the false teaching of immoral men nor fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:17 Weymouth’s New Testament).
Be a student of the Bible. Seek to know the truth by studying the Bible personally like the Berean Christians. Paul said, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 New International Version). If you’re established in the truth of the Scriptures, you won’t fall victim to false teachers. Beware of false teachers.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not be a victim of false teaching in Jesus’ name. I shall know the truth and the truth shall make me free. Father, preserve and protect Your church against false teachers. Let Your people know the truth and be established in it. Expose all false teachers, who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and set free their followers.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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