September 22, 2021
Beware Of False Prophets – 2 Peter 2
On September 19, 2021, Pastor Eric warned Christians to beware of false prophets, false teachers and false gospels.
Today, thanks to past teachers, writers and technology, we are incredibly blessed to have a large variety of Bible study resources at our fingertips: free Bible versions in different languages; maps; Bible commentaries; Bible reading plans; Word studies; devotionals; cross references; sermons and audio Bibles. There is no longer any reason for Christians to be ignorant about the things of God. We should be mature in Christ. We are to develop knowledge of sound doctrine so that we do not fall prey to false gospels and false teachers. We must never forget, there are deceivers all around; people who will cheat us out of the truth. They can be deceivers who seem adept and have novel ideas that sound correct, but they are only deceptions of the truth.
Read Ephesians 4:14
Jesus warned us that false prophets and teachers will come and will attempt to deceive even the elect. Some believers and churches today are altering the Scriptures to fit their own needs and desires. They are changing the application and interpretation of God’s Word to make their doctrines more appealing and more suitable to the world today. Jesus warned us against being gullible believers. The most effective way to guard ourselves against deceptive teachers and false doctrine is to know the truth. Any believer who studies the Bible carefully will spot a counterfeit and will be able to identify false doctrine. As Christians, we are to study God’s Word and judge all teaching by what the Scriptures say. God wants us to become mature Christians so that we lose our gullibility, and become able to discern truth from falsehood. A mature believer is not tricked by false teaching. A mature Christian can stand against lies and deceit.
Read Hosea 4:6
The warning that was given to Israel needs to be obeyed by believers today, for many are being led astray by a false gospel which is taught by deceptive preachers and teachers. Many people today are being deceived for lack of knowledge, because they have rejected the truth of God’s Word, and adhere to a doctrine, that is not founded on the Bible.
Read Matthew 7:15
In this verse, Jesus issues a serious warning to beware of false prophets. This warning is more needed today than ever before. Christ warns that false prophets will appear innocent and harmless, they will come to you in sheep’s clothing but they are ravenous wolves. Their appearance is deceptive and their effect is deadly. These false prophets are looking to take advantage of you. They will destroy your soul to get what they want. Over the years there has been an explosion of erroneous doctrines, false prophets and unbiblical teachings which have flooded Christianity as a whole. This trend is accelerating. Christ gives us a very concrete and practical guideline for our discernment: We will know them by their fruits.
Read 1 John 4:1
John warns us here not to blindly accept all spiritual claims. We are to compare what we see and hear to the truths of the gospel. There are many deceptive preachers and teachers in our midst today; therefore, it’s more important than ever before to carefully consider both the source and the content of a teaching before we accept it as truth.
Read Matthew 24:24
This verse also contains warnings against false prophets. Jesus warns that those who perform miracles are not necessarily from God. In the last days, false messiahs will deceive people by performing great signs and wonders. These false Christs are evil spirits sent out into the world to deceive and destroy us.
What is a prophet of God?
In short, a prophet of God is a messenger sent by God to deliver a message of God. A prophet is not necessarily someone who predicts the future or has visions or revelations from the Lord. Most Old testament prophets were not an Isaiah who prophesied things about Jesus to a T 700 years earlier. Some Old Testament prophets didn’t announce anything futuristic. They would often repeat what Moses had said. They didn’t announce anything new. The prophets often referred to the Scriptures to remind the people what would happen if they refused to obey God.
What is a false prophet?
False prophets are messengers sent by someone other than God who preach a message that is not from God. They are often self-proclaimed, self-sent prophets who are not part of a church community. They are usually independent and therefore, not accountable to anyone.
Read Galatians 1:8
The apostle Paul does not mince his words when denouncing false teachers and doctrines: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” Such false teachers were accursed in Paul’s day and we should take heed of this serious warning as well. Many people today are looking for signs and wonders. Many have been duped into believing a false gospel. However, anything and everything that misrepresents the gospel of Christ, recorded in the Bible, must be denounced and rejected.
Read 2 Corinthians 11:13
Paul calls these people exactly what they were: false apostles and deceitful workers. They were evil imposters. Just as Satan disguises himself as an angel of light in order to deceive and corrupt, these false teachers also pretended to be servants of God. We are not to assume that the devil’s tactics are always obvious. He doesn’t go around with horns and a pitchfork. Satan is a liar and a deceiver, who has been perfecting his evil schemes for millions of years. As Chuck Swindoll once said,
They will look good. They will feel good. And they will smell good.
We are to become aware of Satan’s schemes and protect ourselves with God’s Word.
How do we recognize false prophets and false teachers?
Read 2 Peter 2
They will try to isolate you. (2 Peter 2:1)
They will try to isolate you to secretly introduce destructive heresies. They work secretly because the deceptive nature of their teaching is hidden. No false teacher ever announces himself as a false teacher.
They lie. (Jeremiah 14:14)
False prophets or teachers rely on their own creativity. They offer false visions, false revelations and a false messiah. They make up their own message, creating false hope, false security and false peace.
They follow their impulses rather than the Word of God. (2 Peter 2:2)
They do whatever they feel like doing, whether it be good or bad. They departed from the essential doctrines or beliefs of the church concerning Jesus Christ and spread lies. They are deceivers who use deception in an attempt to convince believers to adhere to their teachings.
They go with the flow. (Jude 1:4)
They distort the Word of God to attract people who are searching for the truth. Their goal is to share a distorted gospel message that will entice as many people as possible to follow them.
They want your money. (2 Peter 2:3)
False prophets are obsessed with money. They will often say something like, “If you want to experience God’s blessing, send us some money and we will pray for you. If you send a small amount of money, you will get a small blessing from God, but the more money you send to us, the larger the reward that God will give you in return.” These are nothing but lies.
They indulge in lust. (2 Peter 2:18)
Another trait of false teachers is that they appeal to the lustful desires of sinful human nature. People then believe that sexual immorality is normal for those who follow Jesus, harming the reputation of Christ Himself in the world. False teachers preach what people want to hear and what appeals to their sinful nature.
How well do you know God’s Word? Can you discern a false prophet or whether someone truly speaks for God?