I’ve been thinking lately about false teachers/preachers/prophets and how they are able to so easily deceive people. They come in many forms and they use many different tactics but the goal of every single one of them is to lead people astray.
We are told in Matthew 24:11 that “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” in the Last Days.
Matthew 7:15 has a dire warning for us “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
1 John 4:1-6 has a lot to say about false spirits:
4 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. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that[a] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
We read in Matthew 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” We have to be so careful! Even the pious and faithful can get deceived!
I love this quote from Paul Washer. He said “One of the greatest distinguishing marks of a false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear, he will never rain on your parade; he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like a six flags over Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 tells us that false prophets come in the form of ‘angels of light’. They are of the darkness yet they come disguised in light so they can deceive easily. We must be watchful!
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
Especially when a top preacher condones the sins of others and waters the core Gospel message down all in the name of love and being relevant you know they have a serious problem.
There are some preachers who start out good but sadly they let their guard down and then they fall or they get deceived and compromise in their stance on moral issues. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” I have seen too many preachers fall in to error…. it is a very sad thing.
God doesn’t say follow so and so. He says ‘follow Me! It is very dangerous to follow the teachings of a man… a flawed human being because there is a huge risk of being brought into serious error. It is very dangerous to put someone on a pedestal and assume they are a sound Biblical teacher. We have to be so careful! I personally admire the teachings and faith of many men, but let us not forget that they are flawed, finite, fallible human beings… sinners just like you and me. God is the only one who is Holy, spotless and infallible and we should be following Him first and foremost. The Bible says prove all things. Test everything in the light of Scripture. “You shall know them by their fruits!” Do men gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? (Matt 7:16)
You can’t go wrong by following sound doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “3 For the time will come when they (people who call themselves Christians) will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
There’s so much hogwash out there today we need to pray for discernment from the Lord. Be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11. We must prove all things. We must test all things using the infallible Word of God that lives and abides forever. We must remember that Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). We must keep our eyes open and our guard up! We must be vigilant.