Summary: We are going to look to God’s Word today concerning false teachers and see what our responsibilities are:
We are going to look to God’s Word today concerning false teachers and see what our responsibilities are:
I. RECOGNIZE DECEPTION
Deuteronomy 13:1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,”
a. Keyword: “dreamer of dreams”
b. In the Bible it was not uncommon that God spoke to people through dreams.
i. Joseph had a prophetic dream that he would one day be lord over his brothers which eventually came true.
ii. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon had a dream about the destruction of his kingdom which Daniel the prophet interpreted for him.
iii. Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father had an angel appear in a dream who told him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife.
c. In this verse however, the Bible isn’t referring to a person who simply dreams something –
i. This verse is referring to a person who ‘dreams up’ prophecy that is not from God.
ii. A good example would be these psychic television shows like ‘crossing over’ where a person acts as a medium to speak to the dead.
iii. Even though these shows claim authenticity, they are often far from it.
d. Illustration: Harry Houdini, the great magician, had two great loves in his life; his lovely wife and his dear mother. After his mother’s passing he became relentless about wanting to speak to her from beyond the grave. He tried desperately to find a real medium to make contact with her. After visiting many charlatans he decided that instead of looking for a real one he would begin exposing the frauds. Over and over he would go to places where psychics were setup and would show how they were performing their feats of amazement. Some caused bells to ring and wind to blow, all of which they attributed to the spirit world. Houdini would perform these same feats and then show everyone how they were done. What many people didn’t know is that Houdini really wanted to find a real medium – he wanted to find someone he couldn’t expose to contact his mother. Finally before he died he made an agreement with his wife. They had a special word that only they knew. After his death she was to go in search of a medium who would be able to contact him and reveal the secret word. After Houdini’s passing it is said that his wife spent the rest of her life seeking a person who could call the secret word of her late husband. No one ever did.
e. This verse says that they may very well be able to perform signs of wonder and amazement.
i. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “But this guy really can speak to these dead people, I know it…” or “It can’t all be fake”
ii. People are right, it can’t all be fake
f. Using mental tricks and emotional pulls is not what I would call ‘fake’, I would call it deceptive.
i. Jesus warned of teachers like this when he said “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” (Matt 7:15)
ii. Illustration: “What is fake?” Fake is a magic trick, like I did while working for ‘DeLand Entertainment’ while I was in high school. I was a professional magician. I was the king of ‘fake’, I could ‘fake’ people into believing I was reading their minds and even making things appear and disappear from thin air.
iii. This, however, was all fake – it was all illusion and people knew it.
iv. Quote: Deception is when people take these apparent ‘signs and wonders’ and create a following of people who hail their powers.
v. I don’t think what the host of ‘crossing over’ is doing is ‘fake’, it is deceptive.
II. UNDERSTAND DISCERNMENT
13:2 “and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ’Let us go after other gods’-which you have not known-’and let us serve them,’”
a. God’s Word is perfect and it always gives us the answers to our obvious questions.
i. The question would be, “how do I know if a person is a false teacher?”
ii. The answer is right here in this verse: “he spoke to you, saying, ’Let us go after other gods’”.
iii. If a person says they are receiving their power from:
1. ‘angels’ (like many religions say including Mormonism and even Islam)
2. or that they are seeking ‘cosmic energy’ (like in many eastern religions)
3. or they are tapping into their ‘hidden strength’ (modern humanism)
4. And they are not naming the name of Jesus it is obvious that they are being deceptive.
b. What’s more deceptive, though, are those who actually name the name of Jesus.