Hi fellow Bible students! We are on a journey together through a study called America, Israel and the Church, and we’re sailing the angry seas of current events, but riding the wave of God’s Word to determine His plan for us in these days. Yesterday, we left our vessel and took to the skies to survey America, Israel and the church. We found them all in precarious spots and today we will focus on the importance of being in God’s Word. After all, our safety and refuge is there!
Do you always answer your front door when the doorbell rings? There are appropriate times not to answer, and in today’s world the enemy could be banging on your door! We must discern when to answer and when to slam the door shut!
Not every person has good intent, or your best interests in mind. Frankly, some want to rip you to shreds. In our world today, there are those ready, willing and able to rip Christians to shreds, and at times, they are disguised as people who seem trustworthy. Some are even pastors or teachers! Beware!
Scripture speaks to that. Let’s start in Matthew 24:4-5, where we find a few of Jesus’s disciples sitting with Him on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Temple Mount. They asked Him specifically about end times (verse 3). Let’s consider what Jesus taught them.
- What was Jesus’s clear warning in verse 4?
- How might people be led astray today?
- Verse 5 describes false Christs. What do you think that means?
Yes, some will come along trying to convince others they are the Christ or the Messiah or God. They are counterfeit, and we must not allow them entry into our eyes, ears, mind or heart. Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to a modern day false Christ, but for now, hold that thought and go to Matthew 7:15-23.
- Verse 15 alludes to false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing. What (or who) comes to mind when you think of false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing?
- Verses 16-20 teach us clearly that we will know a tree by its fruit. Good fruit doesn’t come from bad trees. Neither does good teaching come from bad theology. What do you think the warning is?
- We begin to see the justice of God in verses 21-23. Summarize those verses in your mind. What do you make of that message, particularly considering lawlessness running rampant in our world today?
Indeed, the passage is talking about those who masquerade as Bible teachers, but are teaching false theology, false doctrine and false prophecy. There are myriads of them on the internet and in some pulpits across America. Perhaps during tomorrow’s “big reveal,” we’ll recognize a few, to bring awareness and help us to steer clear. Come back for that!
But today, the point is this: How are you going to discern what’s true and what’s false if you are not in God’s Word? Some who are spewing false prophecies are “big names” with big followings…yet they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Without the ability to discern, we are easily drawn in.
If someone handed you a counterfeit $20 bill, would you know it? Do you know how bank tellers are taught to recognize fake bills? Do you suppose the supervisor shows up one day with a stack of counterfeits and says, “Here…study every one of these because someone may try to slip one by you!” No! They stick real currency in their hands and tell them to learn and study those real bills until they know the look, the texture and the coloration as well as possible. Then, anything that doesn’t look and feel like the real thing must be false. Apply that same principle to recognizing false teachers. Do you know the Word of God well enough that a counterfeit is obvious? If not, study up…because as the world fills with false prophets and moves closer to the rise of THE false prophet, our need to discern truth will become more and more important!
The point is: Be very aware of who you listen to. Do not take anyone’ word as Biblical truth without going to God’s Word to check it out. (That includes this blog and your pastor! Humans are fallible…God’s Word is not!) Personally, I follow very few Bible teachers, and only after I have spent a good deal of time vetting their teaching against God’s Word. No one is perfect, and there may be slight differences in minor details of things that do not change doctrinal positions. (For example, the location of the feeding of the 5,000. The point is that it happened, and different opinions regarding exact location do not change the doctrine of that miracle.) However, if a person is teaching false doctrine, or if they make predictions that don’t come true, they are false teachers and/or false prophets. Run far and fast!
God’s Word is always the plumb line, and you will be taken captive by deception and empty philosophy if you are not in God’s Word, studying God’s Word and relying upon God’s Word. (Colossians 2:8) The time is very crucial, as I will illustrate tomorrow. Get into God’s Word!