This piece was originally posted on Apprising Ministries:
Just as in times past there were false prophets in Israel, there are now false teachers among us. They’ve cunningly introduced destructive heresies. They even deny the Lord who, through His atonement bought them. By doing these things these false teachers will bring swift destruction on themselves!
Many are following their shameful ways and they are causing the way of truth to be mocked and ridiculed. In their greed these false teachers are exploiting the church with stories they have made up. But, their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction is certain.
What are these false teachers thinking? Don’t they know that in the past, God did not spare angels when they sinned! God sent them to hell, and put them in chains to be held for judgment. God also did not spare the ancient world when He brought the flood on its wicked and ungodly people. God only saved Noah, a man who was a preacher of righteousness, along with seven other people. God also condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to the ground. God did this to make an example of them and clearly show us what is going to happen to wicked and ungodly people.
If all of this is true, then we can be certain that the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous in punishment until the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow after the corrupt desires of their sinful natures and despise and rebel against authority.
These false teachers are brazen and do anything they want. They are not even afraid to speak against angels. But these heretics are speaking against things they do not understand. They are like unthinking animals that exist only to be caught and killed. And, like dumb animals, these false teachers WILL be destroyed.
These false teachers have caused untold millions to suffer, therefore THEY WILL suffer. That will be their pay for what they have done.
These false teachers are so warped by sin they take pleasure in openly doing evil. They are warts and blemishes in the church. They delight in deceiving us while claiming to be in fellowship with us. Every time they look at a woman they do so with lusting eyes. Their desire for sin is never satisfied. Over and again, they lead weak people into the trap of sin. Their hearts are self-centered and greedy. But, God will punish them!
These false teachers have left the right road and lost their way. They have followed the way of Balaam who loved being paid for doing wrong.
These false teachers are like springs without water and clouds without rain. A place in the blackest darkness is awaiting them!
They brag with words that mean nothing. By their evil desires they lead people into the trap of sin. They promise people freedom, but they themselves are slaves to wickedness. They are slaves of the very things that God promises to destroy.
At one time, they were actually freed from evil by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But they returned to evil and evil now controls them. It is worse for them than it was before. Quite frankly, it would have been better for them to have never known the right way than to know it and to turn away from the holy teaching that was given to them. These sayings are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “After a pig is washed, it goes back and rolls in the mud.”
Note: If you think this missive sounds unloving, judgmental, unkind, out of control and doesn’t reflect Jesus’ message of love, we invite you to read 2 Peter Chapter 2. Please compare that chapter of the Bible with this missive.
Please keep in mind that 2 Peter 2 was written by the Apostle Peter under the inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit. Peter knew all about the Love of Jesus. He witnessed it with his own eyes and experienced it through the forgiveness of his sins, including the sin of denying the Lord.
How to recognize a false teacher / false prophet
Jesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets” will come and will attempt to deceive even God’s elect (Matthew 24:23-27; see also 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 17-18). The best way to guard yourself against falsehood and false teachers is to know the truth. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. Any believer who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and who makes a careful study of the Bible can identify false doctrine. For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16-17 will immediately question any doctrine that denies the Trinity. Therefore, step one is to study the Bible and judge all teaching by what the Scripture says.
Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When looking for “fruit,” here are three specific tests to apply to any teacher to determine the accuracy of his or her teaching:
1) What does this teacher say about Jesus? In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.” In 2 John 9, we read, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In other words, Jesus Christ and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is equal with God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity. First John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.”
2) Does this teacher preach the gospel? The gospel is defined as the good news concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). As nice as they sound, the statements “God loves you,” “God wants us to feed the hungry,” and “God wants you to be wealthy” are not the complete message of the gospel. As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” No one, not even a great preacher, has the right to change the message that God gave us. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:9).
3) Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that glorify the Lord? Speaking of false teachers, Jude 11 says, “They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” In other words, a false teacher can be known by his pride (Cain’s rejection of God’s plan), greed (Balaam’s prophesying for money), and rebellion (Korah’s promotion of himself over Moses). Jesus said to beware of such people and that we would know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).
For further study, review those books of the Bible that were written specifically to combat false teaching within the church: Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. It is often difficult to spot a false teacher/false prophet. Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15). Only by being thoroughly familiar with the truth will we be able to recognize a counterfeit.