WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 19, 2023
TOPIC: CHRISTIANS MUST NOT TOLERATE FALSE PROPHETS AND TEACHERS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 New King James Version).
False prophets and teachers will do the church much havoc and must not be tolerated. Both Jesus and the apostles warned against their activities. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus warned about the false prophets and spoke about how to recognize them: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (New King James Version).
While answering His disciples’ question on the sign of His second coming, and of the end of the age, Jesus said, among other things, that many false prophets will rise up and deceive many (Matthew 24:11). He further said that false christs and false prophets would rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22). Christians must not tolerate false prophets. They must not speak well of them or praise them (Luke 6:26).
What is true of the false prophets is also true of the false teachers. The church must not tolerate them. Christians must not patronize them. The Apostle Peter warned that false teachers would be in the church just as there were false prophets in the Old Testament: “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).
In his farewell address to the elders of the Ephesian church at Miletus, Paul warned them about the activities of the false teachers in that church later. “I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you” (Acts 20:29-31 New Living Translation).
False doctrine reared its ugly head in the Ephesian church, and Paul, writing to Timothy said, “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work — which is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:3-4 New International Version).
The church must not listen to false teachers. Christians must not follow their teachings. Writing to Timothy again in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Paul said, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (New International Version). Believers must listen to sound doctrine, not false teaching, no matter how popular the false teachers are.
Paul’s ministry in Ephesus and Timothy’s ministry there might have helped the church to deal with the problem of the false apostles and the Nicolaitans, “who were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who sought to introduce into the church a false freedom or licentiousness, thus abusing Paul’s doctrine of grace” (Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary). The church was commended for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which Jesus said He also hated (Revelation 2:6). Jesus had some things against the Ephesian church but also commended the church for, among other things, testing those who said they were apostles and were not, and found them liars (verse 2).
Christians must hate false prophecy and teaching. Unlike the Ephesian church, the church in Pergamum tolerated false teachers – the Balaamites and the Nicolaitans – and Jesus asked her to repent. “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (Revelation 2:14-16 New King James Version).
The church in Thyatira was also found guilty of tolerating a false prophetess, Jezebel, despite being commended for certain things. “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:20-23 New King James Version).
Jezebel called herself a prophetess but she wasn’t. She taught and seduced the servants of God to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. She behaved like the Old Testament Jezebel who promoted idolatry in Judah and the Bible summarized her life thus: “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up” (1 Kings 21:25 New King James Version).
But thank God that just as in the day of the Old Testament Jezebel, not everyone followed the doctrine of Jezebel. “Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations” (Revelation 2:24-26 New International Version). Beware of false teaching, so-called deep secrets, or deeper truths.
The church and individual believers must not tolerate or patronize false prophets and teachers, no matter how popular they are. Don’t cultivate a close relationship with them. Don’t welcome a false prophet or teacher into your home so that you don’t share in his wicked work (2 John 1:10-11). The exception is if you will use the opportunity to expose him to the truth.
Be careful with the church you join. Don’t join just because it is a big church; be led by the Holy Spirit and guided by the teachings and practices. Don’t follow teachings and practices that are contrary to the Word of God. As the Apostle Paul said, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 New King James Version).
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 tolerate false prophets and teachers in Jesus’ name. I will not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God.
(For over 900 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.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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