Word of the day
One of the many problems and pitfalls that we as believers encounter as we try to serve the Lord is false teachers. The Bible has much to say about doctrine and especially sound doctrine. While it is true that doctrine has fallen on hard times in recent years, doctrine is of the utmost importance in your life and my life as we serve the Lord.
When Paul was on his way back to Jerusalem in Acts chapter 20, we find him telling the elders of the Ephesian church, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”(V.29). This of course is not the only instance we find in the Bible dealing with false teachers. The apostle John writing in chapter 4 of first John tells us, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (V.1).
In this modern world where communication is so rampant and so immediate we are bombarded with all kinds of all ideas, teachings and doctrine. My problem, your problem, and indeed the entire New Testament church’s problem is how do we identify these false teachers? For in fact they sound so good and so idealistic. In fact how do you know that I’m not a false teacher?
This opens a real problem for me. You don’t know me. You don’t know whether I am of God or not. You have never met me, you don’t know my doctrine, in fact you do not even know whether I am saved or not. So as you read this you have to take me at face value, again not knowing me or my doctrine.
When you sit in your Sunday school class or you listen to your pastor or evangelist preach, again how do you know that you are hearing truth and not error? While it may be true that the teacher you’re listening to is known to you and you know this person and the preacher is one you have listened to many times, you do tend to accept what they’re saying and in most cases you can be safe in doing so.
But according to Paul in the passage from above, he is suggesting that these “ravening wolves” will come from among us, from within our very midst. If this be so, how can we tell that this teacher or preacher, or myself, is not one of these “ravening wolves” that Paul makes reference to?
This leaves a real dilemma for all of us believers. So the answer to this has to be somewhere available to us and accessible so that we can protect ourselves. What Source do we have that is available to us that will help us and aid us in seeing to it that we hear truth? That only source, the only infallible truth is that Book that we hold in our hands every Sunday when we go to church. That Source, that Book is none other than the infallible, inerrant Word of God.
So that means that my responsibility as a born-again believer is to study the Word of God in great depth. I cannot depend on a Sunday school teacher nor a preacher to make me knowledgeable about Scripture. I most daily open this most blessed of books and spend time reading and praying over this Book so that the Holy Spirit might illumine me to the truth that this Book bears.
But what I find today especially here in America is so much biblical illiteracy which proves how little we really do study the word of God.
I spent time with believers in the country of Ukraine and I found that those people read the Bible through at least seven times a year. I had the privilege of going to the country of Zambia and sharing Scripture with people who had never heard the Word of God. All these Zambians had were witch doctors which they knew were demonic and they feared these doctors tremendously. As we would stand and share Scripture with these Zambians, they would sit with tears streaming down their faces pleading for us to tell them the truth.
Both of these countries were backward and many of them had never even heard of the Bible, yet their hearts yearned so much for for God’s truth. So this makes me ask myself just how anxious we really are to hear truth and how complacent we are to accept untruth.
Beloved, it is yours and my responsibility to search the Scripture faithfully each day and familiarize ourselves with what God does say. It is only when you and I engage Scripture daily, studying with all our hearts and learning what God says can we really “try the spirits”as John admonished us to do. Then, and only then, can we protect ourselves from demonic teachings and being mislead.