The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 125

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you”. [2 Peter 2: 1]

In his First Letter Peter instructs his flock on how to deal with persecution and false teachings from those outside the church (those not of the faith). In this his Second Letter he instructs them on how to deal with false teachers who have infiltrated the church (that is, those who profess to be of the faith).Today, just as in those days, we need to be on guard against both types.

Now let me make a point here. It is easy to recognize those on the outside who are blatantly against Christianity and indulge in activities to annihilate its followers. For this reason the church both accepts persecution and honours its martyrs. But it is far more difficult to discern the insidious (treacherous, crafty, subtle) work of the one who tears down its foundations from the inside. This is why it is all the more important that we do not follow ‘every wind of doctrine’, but that we behave as the Bereans did, who ‘examined the Scriptures daily to see whether what Paul said was true’ (Acts 17:11). Their attitude was that everything that Paul taught had to be in line with the whole counsel of God’s word. In other words, his preaching and teaching were to give evidence of revelation knowledge that was tied to God’s word and not from mere human wisdom. In doing this they ensured that what they received from Paul as being from God was consistently true and never at any stage a pet theory, whim or philosophy that Paul held.

Today there are many who masquerade as shepherds of the flock (or teachers, prophets and the like), but are in fact ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’. In true keeping with their master’s character, ‘a liar from the beginning and the father of lies’, they pretend to hold to the truth, but lead the sheep astray by their cunning and smooth talking. Just like he did, they do not deny the truth outright (that would be a stupid strategy), but present alternative ways of interpreting that truth. If God said “Thou shalt not”, they ask “is that really what God meant?” And then they present an interpretation that is in keeping with what the listener’s itching ears want to hear!

The church is full of deceivers who masquerade as ‘angels of light’. They exploit the vulnerability of those in need of healing with their new age remedies; the fragility of the downtrodden with their self-help philosophies; the ignorance of the spiritually poor by their substitution of personal words like ‘God’ with impersonal words like ‘universal presence’, thus craftily eroding essential doctrines about God. Do you recognize such people? If you want true discernment remember that it comes only by knowing the Word of God, and walking in obedience to him!

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues