Matthew 7:15 , “”Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
1 John 4:1-6
Objective: Looking at 1 John 4:1-6 we will see what false teaching is, how to identify it, and how to avoid the deceptive trap of it only through Jesus Christ.
The Christians that do not have their awareness set on God and testing the spirits will be the first to be deceived.
1)Do not believe every Spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have come out into the world.
Here we see a problem and a solution.
- Problem: Truth is not being taught. Many false prophets have come into the world.
- Solution: Do not believe every Spirit, but test the spirits To see if they are from God.
John tells us to test the spirits. We cannot test the spirits unless we are focused on God and his Word. If our guard is down, then we make it easy for Satan to deceive us.
Biblical Awareness needs to be instinctual. Like muscle memory, it needs to be a reflex. If we hear someone speak, we need to constantly examine what they say to the Word of God. It will help out you and it will help out them.
No one is intentionally deceived. I would even say that a lot of false teachers have good intentions. But good intentions without a Godly delivery or application results in sin.
It takes someone deceived to deceive someone else. The first form of deception was found in Genesis 3. Eve was deceived, and then Adam was deceived. Both of their Guards were down, and through them sin entered the world.
Deception was the first tactic we have documented in scripture that Satan uses. I would imagine it is something he is good at. So please be aware.
Another reason people are deceived is because man has a need to be accepted.
2)By this you know the Sprit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.
3)And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God: this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
John reveals how we are to test the spirits.
Beware of the subtle knocks. Giving a message that can be obeyed without relying on Christ is a false teaching. Deception is a slow and subtle mindset. We can not think that we are above deception. People will not come out and say, “Jesus is not from God.” People will not say, “Jesus is nothing in this life.” These are the obvious ones.
We have to be on guard. Test the motives, intentions, and end result of every message you hear. Then it will be clear.
Good motives are at the root of many false teaching, but man’s need to be accepted clouds the path and deception creeps in. Stand Guard!
Many false teachers avoid the teaching of God’s wrath and hell, because they don’t want to condemn people. That shows you the nature and depth of their deception. Condemning people to hell is never telling them the consequences of unrepentant sin. The irony is if you never teach anyone about hell, you are leading them their with your teaching. You can not teach the true nature of God with out revealing his feelings towards sin. How cruel is that! Now I ask, Who is the one condemning their neighbors? The one who never tells them of their eternal destination apart from God, or the one that strongly warns their neighbor of the realities of Hell, and God’s punishment for sin.
Our hope in identifying and avoiding being deceived by false teaching is found in Jesus Christ. Verse 4.
4)You are from God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
Our acceptance should be found in Christ. If we teach, preach, and live in such a way as to only need the acceptance of Jesus Christ We will not be deceived, nor shall we deceive anyone else. This is awesome!
If we live a life that is not abiding in Christ, being deceived is very easy.
If we are truly from God, we will know His voice. This was what John was saying in verse 5 and 6.
If our attention is not set on Christ and the things of Christ, we will become deceived.
5) They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.
6) We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us.
What has your attention? Boys, girls, intelligence, finance, sports, media…..
Who are you listening to?
What do you feel your mind with?
If you are a Christian you need to be very picky on what you expose yourself to. Music, Movies, friends, etc.. The things we expose ourselves to shape our worldview. Everything makes an impact. The question is who is getting your attention?
Things of the world attract those of the world, things of God attract those of God.
I’ve compiled 3 of the main false teachings I feel you will encounter. I listed the likely motive and the problem that occurred due to deception.
- Compromising Scripture
Motive: To teach people the bible.
Problem: When you compromise the bible you aren’t teaching them the Bible.
This is the most important thing to notice. You can’t notice it unless you actually know scripture and its meaning in its full context.
Compromising scripture can be avoided if you…
A.Know the context of Scripture
If Context is not put into consideration, a verse can totally be used very deceptively.
Some one could easily lead some one astray by using this passage found in Luke 14:26.
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
A pastor could easily use that passage and try to biblically justify hatred they have for their parents, or worst. Lead someone else astray by telling them it’s ok to hate your mother or father.
B. Know the meaning of Scripture.
When you know the meaning of scripture it makes it eliminates the possibility of being lead astray through misinterpretation.
Matthew 5:28, “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Someone could use this verse to tell you that if you look at a woman lustfully, you’ve already committed adultery. It is ok to go ahead with that temptation. It’s the same thing.
C. Know the placement of Scripture
Knowing where to find particular verses is key to effectively countering false teaching.
A friend comes to you and tells you of a new church he’s going to, and says that his gay lifestyle actually lines up with the bible. If you didn’t know exactly where 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 was or Romans 1, etc, you could be deceived as well.
2. Consumerism– the belief that the free choice should dictate the economic structure of reality.
Pastors will water down scripture and disregard many biblical principles to attract more people.
Motive- To attract more people to Jesus.
Problem- The means at which a church targeted a particular group of people dilutes Jesus that the Bible teaches and people are drawn to an Idea rather than the Christ himself.
3. Potential Preaching (Potentialism-not a real word) God is there to actualize your potential. He is there for your happiness. Also known as name it and claim it, prosperity gospel. Most of Christian TV is like this.
I have a lot of exposure to this. I come from a charismatic Pentecostal church. This is a teaching that is soaked in that culture.
A popular praise and worship song in the charismatic church goes like this, “I’m going to another level. Don’t stop reaching; keep believing we’re going to another level!”
Motive: You want to see people to mature in their walk with Christ and become more and more like Jesus Christ.
Problem: Sometimes when we talk potential, potential, potential…we take the emphasis of Jesus and shift it on ourselves. In most cases Christ is removed all together and it’s all on you! Once you are Abiding in Christ there is no other level to get to. You can mature in your walk with Christ, but to think that outside of maturing there is another level in Christianity is sin.
Theology of Glory – How can I experience all the benefits of heaven right now, and avoid suffering. THIS IS UNBIBLICAL!
Ways you can tell you are probably hearing a false teaching:
1. Oprah could’ve given the same message
2. When you can obey the message without depending on God
3. The message can be obeyed regardless of the payment Christ paid on the cross.
All views have a faulty view of God,and a faulty view of God leads to a faulty view of sin.
Have a biblical worldview. View God as God, not as a training coach.
This weeks Challenge:
-Read John 4:7-21
-Identify why the following statements are false teaching:
- Baptism is a necessity for Salvation.
- Hell is not an eternal place.
- Homosexuality is not a sin if it is in a married and monogamous relationship.