Summary: In the last days there will be false teachers who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical destructive heresies even denying the Master who bought them bringing on themselves destruction.
Eight Marks of a False Prophet or Teacher (2 Peter 2:1-12)
"In the last days there will be false teachers who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical destructive heresies even denying the Master who bought them bringing on themselves destruction." (2 Pet 2:1)
We live in a day when there are many insidious influences that are leading people astray. Peter writes about the characteristics of false prophets and teachers that we are to avoid and expose for their pernicious ways.
Peter writes, " And many will follow their immoral ways and lascivious doings; because of them the true Way will be maligned and defamed. And in their covetousness, they will exploit you with false and cunning arguments. From of old the sentence of condemnation for them has not been idle; their destruction has not been asleep.
For God did not even spare angels that sinned but cast them into hell. And He spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness.
Now the Lord knows how to rescue the righeous out of temptation and trials and how to keep the ungodly under chastisement until the day of judgment and doom.
And particularly those who walk after the flesh and indulge in the lust of polluting passion and scorn and despise authority. Presumptuous and self-willed and self-loving creatures. They scoff and revile dignitaries (glorious ones) without trembling."
Here are eight marks of how you can discern if someone is exhibiting the traits of a false prophets and teachers:
1. SOURCE - Do they practice sound Biblical hermeneutics in sourcing their truth accurately according to the scriptures. Paul wrote, "Study to show yourself approved of God. A workman who does not need to be ashamed. Handling accurately the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15) Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction." (2 Tim. 4:1,2)
2. SAVIOR - "Beloved, do not put faith in every spirit but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed fro mGod for many false prophets have gone forth into the world. By this you may know (perceive and recognize) The Spirit of God every spirit which acknowledges and confesses that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) actually has become man and has come in the flesh is of God (Has God for its source). But every spirit that does not acknowledge and confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh but would annuel destroy, sever disunite Him is not from God. This is the spirit of the anti-christ."
3. SANCTIFICATION - Jesus said, "Sanctify them in your word, your word is truth." (John 17:17) Only the word of God is able to bring sanctification, holiness and separation from that which brings pollution from the world, the flesh and the devil. Holiness is what we need.
4. SUBJECT - You can tell a lot about a person by the main subject of their conversations. Paul said it best. "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ who lives within me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20) Let our teaching be about Christ, His love, His purpose, His priorities and His will for the lives of people.
5. SALVATION - False prophets distort the true gospel of salvation. Paul made it clear in Eph. 2:8,9 when he wrote, "It is by grace we are saved through faith and not of ourselves. It is a gift from God not as a result of works that anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works." Let everyone be disavowed of any notion that they can earn their salvation through works of righteousness which we have done instead of by His own mercy and grace whereby we receive our regeneration. (Titus 3:5)
6. SERVICE - False prophets and teachers have a sinister way of being self-serving. Paul wrote, "We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake." (2 Cor 4:5) Let us make our theme song, "Make me a servant, humble and meek. Lord let me lift up those who are weak. And may the prayer of my heart always be. Make me a servant today."
7. SENDERS - If someone is not involved in the sending out of workers into Christ’s harvest fields in evangelism, service ministries and mission ministries for the sake of the great commission they are living in disobedience to God. Jesus gave the great commission six times in the New Testament to give emphasis and dimension to HIs key commandment. Jesus taught, "Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth workers into HIs harvest fields." (Matt. 9:36-38)