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Summary: Today we live in a media saturated world where we find dozens of "medicine men and women" dishing all kinds of partial truths. We all need the Holy Spirit’s discernment to identify counterfeit teachers, leaders and purveyors of ideas that are not 100% tr

How to Identify a Counterfeit (2 Cor. 11:12-18)

Today we live in a media saturated world where we find dozens of "medicine men and women" dishing all kinds of partial truths. We all need the Holy Spirit’s discernment to identify counterfeit teachers, leaders and purveyors of ideas that are not 100% true. They are often conniving, contemptuous of authority, and critical of anyone who might seek to hold them accountable to the truth. Let us learn to test the spirits to see if they are really from God (I John 4:1-10)

Paul faced the counterfeiters of his day with the word, the witness of the Spirit and the clarity of His own apostolic credentials in 2 Cor 11:12-18:

"But what I do, I will continue to do in order to cut off the claim of those who would like to find an occasion and incentive to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms that we do. For such men are false apostles (counterfeits, spurious) deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ the Messiah." (Cor. 11:12,13)

1. Find out if their teaching confirms scripture. "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)

2. Does the teacher affirm and proclaim that Jesus Christ is God, who came into the world as a man to save people from their sin and be the sole substitutionary payment for their sin and by repenting and believing in Him alone, they may have Christ and the free gift of eternal life. (Eph. 2:8,9)

3. Is the teacher’s life-style consistent with Biblical moral, teaching and examples. (Matt 12:33-37)

4. Does the person follow Paul’s self-corrective advice since Paul presented His own credentials and credibility of service to counteract charges that the false teachers were making against him. Sometimes, we need to present the facts in the light of day and let the truth be told and defended in the light of righteous evaluators.

5. Is one facing critics by confronting misrepresentation of facts, misconstruing of information and misguiding of ideas. Paul was angry that the false teachers had impressed and deceived the Corinthians (2 Cor 11:13-15) Sometimes, we need to exhibit a righteous indignation against counterfeiters and take our cause to the Lord and to the proper authorities for exposure reasons.

6. Is one being assured that the trials we face and the difficulties that God allows in dealing with counterfeiters will be used for our benefit. He still works all things together for good as we exhibit our love for Him as those who called according to His purposes. (Rom 8:28,29) We may not like to eat raw eggs, flour or salt, but if it is mixed together and baked, it can come out as a delicious cake. Let the Lord work all things together for your benefit by cooperating with all that He allows to come in to your life.

7. Is one trusting that the trials, hurts and attacks from devious people will be shielded and filter by our heavenly Father who fights the battles for us. "Not by power or by might, but by my Spirit says, the Lord of hosts. This mountain will be removed, by my Spirit says the Lord." (Zech 4:6-10)

8. Is one allowing the Lord to build character, conviction and clarity in your own life, mind and ministries. Understand that only by staying in the word can we remain pure, true, noble and right. Otherwise, we all tend to drift off the mark. Learn to leave the ultimate judging to God and His truth. He is the only one who knows all the facts, is completely impartial and owns the right to make the final judgment. (Rom 14)

Illustration:Beware of …

Beware of false gods (Exodus 20:3), false prophets (Matthew 7:15), false Christs (Matthew 24:24), another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4), another gospel (Galatians 1:6), false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26), false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-2), false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13), and Satan who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9).

Illustration: Discerning the Genuine

A Chinese boy who wanted to learn about jade went to study with a talented old teacher. This gentle man put a piece of the precious stone into his hand and told him to hold it tight. Then he began to talk of philosophy, men, women, the sun and almost everything under it. After an hour he took back the stone and sent the boy home. The procedure was repeated for several weeks. The boy became frustrated. When would he be told about the jade? He was too polite, however, to question the wisdom of his venerable teacher. Then one day, when the old man put a stone into his hands, the boy cried out instinctively, ‘That’s not jade!’“

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