2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.”
This passage in 2 Peter is not the only warning about false teachers. Jesus taught in Matthew 24:11, that there will be false prophets that will deceive many. The apostle John warned in 1 John 4:1, “…do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The apostle Paul cautioned that there would be teachers that wouldn’t teach the Truth of God but would teach what our itching ears want to hear turning us from truth to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4). These warnings are still incredibly relevant for Christians today. There are many who want to teach something other than what God said in the Bible. They say there is no absolute truth, and leave things out or add things in to God’s Word making their own counterfeit truth. The fact is that without truth, nothing is false. There is no way to know what is false if there is no truth to which it can be compared? Are you prepared to recognize false teaching when you hear it?
In the 19th century, banks designed their own money, resulting in 7000 different bank notes. This made it hard to distinguish the 4000 counterfeit notes from the genuine ones. So in 1863, the United States adopted a national currency thinking that would solve the problem. It wasn’t long before the national currency was also being counterfeited extensively, but at least now it was easier to detect the counterfeits. The United States Secret Service was created in 1865 to suppress the counterfeiting of money. Part of their responsibility is training people to detect counterfeit bills by studying the details of genuine money. When one knows the genuine item well, they are better able to detect the fakes. As Christians we have the genuine item in Scripture. God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17). How well do you know God’s Word? Are you able to detect what is false? Acts 17:11 says, “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.” These Jewish people examined the teaching even of an apostle of Jesus Christ, and they examined it against the Scriptures with the result that many believed (Acts 17:12). Are you examining all of the teaching you hear or read against the Bible to see if the teaching is true? Are you encouraging others to do the same?
This false teaching is not something that is far removed in some cult, in an out of the way place. 2 Peter 2:1 says they will be “among” us. And 2 Peter 2:1 goes on to say that these false teachers “will secretly introduce destructive heresies…” The Greek word for “secretly” translates to “bring in alongside.” So these false teachers bring in teaching that is not from God right alongside His Truth. If we don’t know our Bibles well, we won’t notice when lies are mixed in with truth. The apostle Luke wrote in Acts 20:30, “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” In Matthew 13 in the Parable of the Weeds, Jesus taught that He sowed good seed (believers), but “while everyone was asleep” the enemy came and sowed weeds (son’s of the evil one) among the wheat which will grow together until Jesus’ return. So if evil will always be among us, false teaching will be as well. It is important that we are not found sleeping but awake to all of God’s Truth so we will not be deceived by counterfeit truth. For those who listen to this false teaching will become “mixed up followers who can’t tell right from wrong” (The Message, 2Peter 2:2).
What are you doing to keep yourself from becoming a mixed up follower who can’t tell right from wrong?
Whom has God placed in your life that needs you to train them to detect false teaching?