Beware means to be warned, be careful, be cautious, and to be on guard unless we become a victim. Falsehood means those things that are not true; false submission, deceitful, impersonation, untrue, not correct. False teachers are those persons who teach error, false religion, and fake scriptures. Their teachings are unscriptural, heretic, and untrue. Here are a few things you should know about false teachers and how you might be able to identify them.
CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE TEACHERS
Jesus said that we can identify false teachers for “by their fruits you will know them” (Matt. 7:16). Below are characteristics of false teachers:
They deny Christ (2 Pet. 2: 1). They are lovers of money (Lk 16: 14). They resist the truth (2 Tim. 3: 8). They lack the truth (1 Tim. 6: 3-5). They are deceitful (Eph. 4: 14). They are unstable (1 Tim. 1: 6, 7). They are lustful (2 Pet. 2: 12-19). They are bound by the traditions of men (Matt. 15: 9).
EXAMPLES OF FALSE TEACHERS
- Balaam (Rev. 2: 14). Those who were of the teaching of Balaam were those who saw nothing wrong with idolatrous religions and immoral practices.
- Bar-Jesus (Acts 13: 6). Also called Elymas, Bar-Jesus was a false teacher and a worker of deception.
- Hymenaeus (2 Tim. 2: 17). He was promoting a senseless theology that had no biblical bases.
- Nicolaitanes (Rev. 2: 15). Their teaching paves the way for the practice of immorality in the name of religion.
- Pharisees (Matt. 23: 26). They were emphasizing an outward form of religion without concentrating on the holiness of life.
- Sadducees (Matt. 16: 12). They promoted the religious traditions of men.
- Scribes (Matt. 12: 38, 39). They were looking for new signs, ignoring already established signs from God.
PRESENT-DAY FALSE TEACHINGS
- Ability to work signs and wonders (Col. 2:16-19 f; Heb. 1:4-9).
- Payment of tithes and instrumental music in worship today (Jam 2:10 ff; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Gal.3:10);
- They teach and celebrate Christmas and other Pagan holidays;
- The righteous to inherit the physical earth on the last day, not heaven;
- Promote compulsory levies against the will of God (2 Cor. 9:6-7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2).
- Infant baptism and sprinkling of water (Rom. 10:9-11).
- Quarterly, half-yearly and yearly communion taking against the will of God (1 Cor. 11:23; Acts 20:7).
- They do not mind the Biblical injunction on women’s position in the church (1 Cor. 14:33 f; 1 Tim. 2:11);
- The worship of images of Jesus and Mary the mother of Jesus;
- Speaking in tongues (1 Cor. 13:8-10).
WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT
“If anyone teaches otherwise, and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing. He has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves…Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven” (Matt 7:15, 21)
“For they are many insubordinate men, empty talkers, and deceivers, especially the circumcision party; they must be silenced since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for base gain what they have no right to teach…This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Tit 1:10-13)
“This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Matt 15:8-9).
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1: 8)
WHAT WILL BE THE END OF FALSE TEACHERS?
The false teachers and their doctrines will be rooted out when the truth of the gospel is preached (Matt. 15:13). False teachers are reserved for judgment and swift destruction (2 Peter 2:1).
CONCLUSION: It is unfortunate that some people have given in to the false teachers and are being held captive by their wrong doctrines. Make sure you identify these false teachers by their words, actions, performances and their deeds, and be firm to use the whole truth (the word of God) to rebuke them. Stand firm; give them no chance so that you will not become a victim. Make sure you study the Bible always and come to the knowledge of the truth so that the false teachers will not lead you astray (Col. 2:1-8 ff; Tit 1:13; 1 Tim. 4: 1-3).