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2 Tim 2 :16-18 The Dangers of False Teachers and False Teaching

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“The Dangers of False Teachers and False Teaching”

I have a very serious message this morning…a message, a subject that I feel very strongly and passionate about—

If you have your Bible please turn to 2 Tim. 2 for my message entitled “…”

[Read 2 Tim. 2:16-19 “…”]

       This November 18, 2008 will mark the 30-year anniversary of the mass tragedy at Jonestown, Guyana. A tragedy in which 912 members of the People’s Temple died after suicide orders were issued by cult-leader Jim Jones... Those who refused to drink the cyanide-laced punch were forced to drink at gunpoint or shot. Mothers administered the poison to their babies using eye-droppers.    Of the 912 who died, 276 were children

In 1993 the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [and later the FBI] laid siege to a compound just outside of Waco, TX. David Koresh, the leader of a cult known as the Branch Davidians—who also claimed to be Christ, refused to surrender to the authorities. And in the end, Koresh (along with 54 adults and 21 children) died in a fiery inferno.

And as I think about those two tragedies, I just wish that all those people who perished had taken Jesus’ words seriously:

 

1.  Jesus’ Warning Concerning False Christs and False Prophets

  • Matthew 24:23-25 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show GREAT SIGNS AND WONDERS TO DECEIVE, IF POSSIBLE, EVEN THE ELECT. See, I have told you beforehand. [NKJV]

A contemporary example happening right now at what is called the Lakeland Florida Outpouring and Revival led by a so-called ‘revivalists’ by the name of Todd Bentley. What I am about to share is from an audio-clip that I heard on Hank Hanegraaff’s radio program on June 2, 2008. I was able to find online at least a partial transcript. To quote Todd Bentley:

“The woman was standing in the back of the room when the faith of God hit the meeting, and her tumor exploded out of her right leg, slid down her leg onto the floor! [audience applause]. I said, “God! I prayed for like a hundred crippled people. Not one?” He said, “That’s because I want you to grab that lady’s crippled legs and bang them up-and-down on the platform like a baseball bat.” [audience laughter]. I walked up and I grabbed her legs, and I started going, BAM! BAM! I started banging them up-and-down on the plat[form]! She got healed! And I’m thinking, God, why is not the power of God moving? He said, “Because you haven’t kicked that woman in the face.” [audience laughter]. And there is this older lady worshipping right in front of the platform. [audience laughter] And the Holy Spirit spoke to me—the gift of faith came on me—He said, “Kick her in the face with your biker-boot.” [audience laughter]. I inched closer and I went like this [Todd Bentley performs a kick with his right leg and yells] BAM! [audience laughter] And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God.”

The video ends with Todd Bentley claiming that “God” instructed him to perform a “leg-drop” on a pastor. [The response of the crowd to all this? Applause and laughter].

[The saddest thing of all—some quite prominent Christian leaders, educators and pastors have endorsed Todd Bentley].

 

2.  Other Scriptural Warnings about False-Prophets/Teachers

  • 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. [NKJV] 

  • 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, [NKJV]

  • 2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. MANY will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. [NLT]

  • 2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word of God…For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. [NLT]

  • Acts 20:28-31 [Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders] Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, 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 the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. [NKJV]

3. How We Can Fall Victim to False Prophets/Teachers and False Teaching:

1.  By focusing on the speaker’s style’ [personality/charisma] rather than on substance’ [what is actually being said and taught]

     Ex. Most False Prophets have very strong, dynamic, captivating—even mesmerizing personalities. They look good—dress well.

    They are skilled speakers and speak very authoritatively. People today focus on ‘style’ rather than on ‘substance.’

2.  By not knowing the Word of God to a degree that is sufficient to enable one to discern truth from error

  • Acts 17:11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. [NLT]

3.  By being naïve as to how false teachers are able to manipulate the masses

4. Methods Employed by False-Prophets/Teachers which Enable them to Manipulate and Persuade the Masses:

 

  • The use of technology [theater lights, stage props, etc.] to produce a certain “atmosphere” and “mood”

  • The use of music to affect people’s emotions and produce an altered state of consciousness—a ‘means’ of mass hypnosis.

Ex. Todd Bentley’s meetings begin with 2 hour of music used to whip the crowd into a frenzy before Bentley comes out.

  • Using mind-control and mass peer-pressure techniques to influence people for the false-prophet’s desired response

Ex. People being brought onstage, before a large crowd, while the false prophet all but tells them how to respond.

  • Telling people what they want to hear [i.e., tickling people’s ears] rather than on what they need to hear

Ex. False prophets promise wealth, health, promotions, etc. appealing to the ‘wants and desires’ of people

  • By appealing to people’s fleshly desires—“the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” [1John 2:16]

Ex. False Prophets divide the Body to the haves and the have-nots—those who have the Holy Spirit and those who do not.

  • The craft-full mixing of truth and error—Ex. “Abundant life” of which Jesus speaks is redefined in material terms

        ***Illy: Kids want to go to a movie with some sex scenes and bad language. Dad mixes brownies with dog-poop

  • Use the Bible as a “prop”God’s word taken out of context to reinforce the speaker’s beliefs and agenda

Ex. False prophets take passages on giving—distort and taken out of context—in order to manipulate people to give…

5. How We Can Protect Ourselves from False-Prophets/Teachers and False Teaching

1.  Realize that there ARE ‘MANY’ false-prophets and teachers in the worldhave a healthy skepticism [1 John 4:1]

  • 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because MANY false prophets have gone out into the world. [NKJV] 

2.  Become Serious Students of the Word of God—Strive to learn the ‘whole counsel’ of God’s Word

  • Acts 17:11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. [NLT]

3.  Be a Fruit-Inspector—inspect the teacher, the teaching, the character, the life-style, the effects on others.  

  • Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. [NKJV]

Conclusion:

  • 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, [NKJV]

 

Folks, the ‘latter times’ are here! Some, indeed, are departing from the faith and giving heed “to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” Indeed in the remaining passages of 2 Timothy, much of Paul’s focus is a word of ‘warning’—

Warning Timothy (and Us) on the dangers of False Prophets and False Teaching.

[Go with the Spirit…]

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