MM00063 Beware of those who court you
Mentoring Manna: Beware of those who court you!
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
“They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.” (Galatians 4:17) In this passage Paul addresses the Galatian believers who began their new life in Christ through faith and by the work of the Holy Spirit but then later began listening to false teachers who emphasized the need to keep the Law of Moses in order to be perfected. They left God’s grace for salvation and began trusting in their own works! The teachers who promoted this error are commonly referred today as the “Judaizers.”
No one intentionally falls into deception and deceivers are not always easy to discern. Deceivers can be very sincere and very devoted in their beliefs. False teachers do not come announcing, “We want to lead you astray!” No, like Satan in the Garden of Eden, deceivers are subtle in their approach to the unsuspecting. Paul describes the tactics of these false teachers in terms of “courting.” Webster defines the word “court” as “respectful or flattering attention paid to someone in order to get something; wooing.” Paul warned the Galatian believers that these false teachers had come to woo them to another gospel. Through the influence of these false teachers, unsuspecting believers would be effectively drawn away and isolated from the truth and from the influence of their godly leaders. In doing so, these false teachers would succeed in making them captives of deception.
It is wrong to allow ourselves to be seduced by unusual attention and flattery. We are to hold firm to the truth of God’s word. Be assured that false teachers and false brethren will show interest in people in order to draw them away from the truth and unto themselves. Many cults are effective at reaching desperate people who are always looking for something “more.” Those who leave sound doctrine to follow after the message of false teachers will end up in confusion and deception and will be tossed about with every wind of doctrine.
Those who are most susceptible to the courting influence of false teachers are those who are not grounded in the Scriptures and those who are not properly submitted under doctrinally sound pastors and elders. Paul warned the elders of the churches in Ephesus, “For I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves. Therefore watch…” (Acts 20:28-31) It is imperative that pastors and elders watch out for the courting attempts of false teachers and false brethren upon the flock. Leaders are to be jealous in a righteous way to guard the faith of those who have been betrothed to Christ.
It is important that those who belong to Christ not be seduced away from the simplicity of true devotion to Christ. We are not to depart from Christ for another gospel, to receiving another spirit, or to accept another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Galatians 1:6-9). Like a marriage partner who strays from his or her covenant at the wooing of a new lover, so will be Satan’s strategy in the last days through false teachers. With this threat in mind Paul exhorts Timothy to, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4) The point is clear and must be heeded: beware of false teaching and of those who court you for evil. Stay true to Christ!
Application: If we believe that we will never fall for a lie, we probably will. We cannot remain in truth without remaining in the Word of God. While Christ gave the church the gift of teachers to aid us in our understanding of God’s Word (see Ephesians 4:11-12), we are to study the Bible for ourselves and to keep our hearts submitted to godly pastors and elders. We must avoid the temptation to stray from a simple love for Christ in order to seek after more “exciting” spiritual knowledge that departs from the knowledge of Christ. Don’t be fooled by the slick tactics of religious salesmen. Establish your salvation on the sure foundation of God’s word.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your truth that sets me free. I determine not to be swept away by the slick tactics of religious salesmen. I determine to make Your word the final authority in my life. I determine to submit my life under the oversight of ordained pastors and elders whose lives and ministries have been proven to uphold sound Bible doctrine. I ask You to guide me in this daily quest in Jesus’ name. Amen.”