False Teachers – (Revised with More Content)
OPENING JOKE: “Transformed by an Elevator” A family from a remote area was making their first visit to a big city. They checked in to a grand hotel and stood in amazement at the impressive sight. Leaving the reception desk they came to the elevator entrance. They’d never seen an elevator before, and just stared at it, unable to figure out what it was for. An old lady hobbled towards the elevator and went inside. The door closed. About a minute later, the door opened and out came a stunningly good-looking young woman. Dad couldn’t stop staring. Without turning his head he patted his son’s arm and said, "Go get your mother, son."
INTRODUCTION: It is easy to be deceived - Tonight we are going to study the subject of ‘False Teachers’
Never before in history have there been so many false teachers and teachings in the world
It seems everywhere you go there is someone touting a new theological point of view
Illustration: “Australian Jedi Council” More than 70,000 people in Australia have declared that they are followers of the “Jedi” faith, the religion created by George Lucas for the Star Wars films.
A recent census found that one in 270 respondents say they believe in "the force", an energy field that gives Jedi Knights like Luke Skywalker their power in the films. (BBC News)
This is not surprising given the fact that the ‘Jedi religion’ in the Star Wars movies is much like many actual Eastern religions that believe God is an impersonal ‘force’ or ‘energy’ or ‘chi’ and that good and evil are determined by ‘points of view’.
NOTE: I am not preaching against watching ‘Star Wars’ for entertainment – my point is that everywhere we turn people are denying the God of the Bible and turning to their own created gods
Several research studies estimate that five to ten million Americans have been at least transiently involved with cultic groups. A study which randomly surveyed 1,000 San Francisco Bay Area high school students found that 3% of students reported that they were members of a cult group, while 54% reported at least one contact with a cult recruiter.
Between 1976 and 1997, the number of Americans who believed in astrology grew from seventeen percent to thirty-seven percent. During the same period, the percentage of Americans who professed a belief in reincarnation nearly tripled -- from nine percent to twenty-five percent. And crystal ball makers doubtless are glad to hear that those who put stock in fortune-telling nearly quadrupled -- from four to fourteen percent.
And through all of this, the “Church”, the “Body of Christ”, the “bringer of light into this dark world”, has sat mostly silent while people go head long into Hell
Tonight we are going to look to God’s Word and see what our responsibilities are concerning false teachers:
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’ or ‘receives a message’ that is not from God.
ii. Illustration: “Crossing Over with John Edwards” 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 shows like these claim authenticity, they are often far from it.
d. Illustration: “Houdini’s Search for a Medium” 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.
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. 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.
iv. 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.
v. 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. NOTICE: This verse says that these false teachers may very well be able to perform signs of wonder and amazement.
i. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said
1. “But this guy really can speak to these dead people, I know it…”
2. “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 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’, I believe it is deceptive.
We are called to Recognize Deception and…
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. NOTE: What’s more deceptive, though, are those who actually name the name of Jesus.
i. How do we know if these are teachers or deceivers?
ii. The only way to know is to know your Bible.
iii. Just because someone says Jesus’ name does not mean they are worshipping or honoring the Jesus of the Bible.
iv. Many people have created a Jesus in their own minds (which is a form of idolatry).
1. This Jesus does not even begin to compare to the Jesus of the Bible.
2. Listen to what they say.
3. If it does not line up with what the Bible says you know they are deceivers.
v. Illustration #1: “Jesus is not Divine” There is well known TV evangelist who claims Jesus told Him that He could have died for man’s sins, because Jesus, Himself was no more than a ‘born again’ man!
1. This totally contradicts the Scriptures which teach that Jesus is Divine
2. That He is God in the flesh!
vi. Illustration #2: “Tithing takes away crippling disease” I once heard a pastor on television say to one of his deacons that if everyone in the church would pay their tithes that his daughter (who was wheelchair bound) would be able to walk. It was the churches lack of faithfulness to give money that kept that little girl cripple.
vii. Illustration #3: “Sanctified Soap” Another sent out a letter claiming that he had ‘blessed’ bars of soap. If anyone sent him a donation, he would send them a bar of this soap they could wash with and be cleansed from ‘misfortune;, ‘sickness’ or ‘bad luck’
c. Remember, just because someone names the name of Jesus does not mean that he of she is really following Him.
i. Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me in that day, ’Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ’I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
ii. QUOTE: Discernment is our ability to use God’s Word to determine right from wrong
III. PRACTICE DISCIPLINE
13:3 “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
a. It is easy to fall prey to a preacher or teacher who promises health, wealth, happiness and joy.
i. But if what they say does not agree with the Bible, they are what Jesus called ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing”.
ii. This verse of the Bible says that God is allowing these men to do what they do as a test for true believers.
iii. For us to be able to show whether we love the Lord with all our heart, or not.
1. But the only way we will be able to discern the real teachers from those who are false is by disciplining ourselves to the study of His Word.
2. We need to know what this book says and spend time in prayer about what it means.
3. QUOTE: “If all you get of the Bible is what the preacher gives you on Sunday, and you don’t ever study it yourself, your living your spiritual life on ‘already digested food’”
b. Think About This: Why do you think so many false teachers have been allowed to sneak into the church?
i. Why is it we see so many people leaving the Church to go to these cults and false religions?
ii. It is because most people are not reading the Word for themselves
1. And deceitful men begin to spoon feed them ‘lies’
2. NOTE: This church (Thomas Creek Baptist) ought to be thankful that you have a Pastor who believes the Bible and is not afraid to preach it
iii. Because Satan has His men out there fighting to warp your minds with things like:
1. ‘Moral relativism’
2. ‘Darwinian evolution’
3. ‘Secular humanism’
4. All of which teaches us that the answers all lie within us and not with God.
iv. Let’s discipline ourselves to study and learn God’s Word, keeping our swords sharp and ready for battle.
CONCLUSION: I want to tell you a story…
Illustration “Deceived by the Devil” In an old episode of ‘twilight zone’ an American walking through Europe was stranded during a storm in a castle that held a brotherhood of monks. Late that night as he was touring the castle alone he discovered a cell that held a prisoner. The prisoner had a kind face and a gentle voice and he told the American that he had been imprisoned by the insane head monk. The American then confronted the head monk about the man. The head monk said that the man was actually Satan who was being held captive. The American now really believed that the head monk was crazy and went to release the prisoner. Upon releasing him, the prisoner immediately changed from a man to a hideous horned beast and vanished into a puff of smoke. The stunned American, knowing he had been deceived, told the head monk what he had done. “I just didn’t recognize him” said the American to which the head monk replied, “That is man’s weakness…and Satan’s strength”
**Our greatest weakness is not recognizing the work of Satan in the world – the Bible says he masquerades as a being of light – but that in reality he is a lion seeking whom he may devour