Marks of a False Teacher

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2 Peter 2:18–19

[18] For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. [19] They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Have you ever heard someone say something that made you slightly turn your head and say, “that doesn’t sound right.” In our days of social media and fake news there are a ton of people who are spouting off false facts and stories as if they are gospel. This kind of false teaching and story telling also happens in the church and has always happened within the church.

Peter in this very chapter is warning these churches against these same kind of fact twisters and false story tellers. These “teachers” have become apart of the local churches in the area, and are twisting the facts about God, Jesus, and his people. They are leading people (spiritually weak Christians) astray into lifestyles that are contrary to Christ and the message of the gospel.

According to Peter they are:

Bringing in destructive teachingss (v. 1a)

They are denying Christ (V. 1b)

They are following their own desire for lust (v. 2)

They despise authority (v. 10)

They don’t take seriously spiritual and demonic forces (v. 10-11)

They love their deceptions and false teachings while acting like a Christian (v. 13)

They desire lustful and adulterous behavior (v. 14a)

They are full of greed (v. 14b)

They are full of boasting (v. 18)

They lead others to indulge in the passions of the flesh (v. 18)

They promise a false freedom (v. 19)

There are so many types of teaching that fit into this description of false teachers and teachings.

The prosperity gospel is one. That God will bless us with material riches if we have enough faith. The teaching that says good works are what save us. Any teaching that would say that we are free to do whatever we want. Any teaching that would tell us that we have to refrain from all sorts of things (drinking, dancing, card playing, movies, etc..) or we cannot be a Christian.

All of these types of teaching lead us to either not care about the commands of Christ and his call on our life, or they make us add something to what Christ has done for us. In this way each false teaching and teacher is promising a version of freedom in Christ that isn’t real and cannot save us.

Now, you may not think that these kinds of teachings exist within your church, but they probably do in one version or another. So I encourage all of us to always take what we hear and test it against what the word of God says. Know your Bible so you can tell what is true and false. And pray continually that God would help you to believe and live out what is true. Because false teachings are all around us, inside and outside the church.

This means that we as God’s people need to be alert, we need to know God and his Word, and we need to remember, as Peter tells us in chapter 3, that Jesus is coming back one day. And on that day, he will draw all of his people to himself; however, all the false teachings and teachers, both inside and outside the church, will be judged forever.

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