Tag Archives: False teachers

Come to the Knoweldge of the Truth

2 Timothy 3:6-9  King James Version

 

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.

In case you are new to this blog and have not read my last post, the “Of this sort” mentioned here refers to those who are lovers of themselves more than God, , covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers and the list goes on.  They have a form of godliness but deny it’s power.  This is not only an ignorant breed but a dangerous one as well.  The form of godliness they often have can be very charismatic and alluring.  People are drawn by a good spirit in people, and these may be ones who can attract people with their words or actions.  They can lead anyone, not just silly women, astray.  The silly women filled with sin mentioned here are quite obviously harlots of the day.  In today’s society many are led into the den of those who fill these categories.  That’s because there are many false teachers, preachers and prophets who are encouraging the things God tells us to turn away from.

Some would accuse me of ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.  I know my good Catholic friend believes this about me as I do not adhere to his interpretation of the scripture.  But then I may say the same thing about Him.   There are a lot of schools of thought as to the meaning and interpretation of scripture.  Some have been around for ages and some are popping up recently.  How do we know, if we are coming upon a different set of beliefs, whether they truly have the knowledge of the truth?  As my friend says, there can only be one truth.  The 2,000 year old question of Pilate is still asked today – What is truth?   Personally I believe we have to trust the Holy Spirit to speak to us and tell us the truth.  After all, Jesus did tell us that would happen (John 16:13). 

The way I personally look at it is that the word speaks for itself.  In other words, what it says is what it means.  But you have to take the whole body of scripture and not just one part isolated from the rest.  That is where cults can easily get started, or where people can easily be led astray.  A perfect example is the grace preaching of today.  I have heard it over and over again.  God’s grace covers all sin.  This is true!  God gives grace to all!  This is true.   Once we are saved by grace we can live our own lives.  This is not true.  Once we have been covered by grace we can do anything we want.  This is not true.   Once we are saved we can never again lose our salvation.  This is not true.  Grace must be mixed with truth. 

Grace, or mercy, and truth are often coupled together in the Bible. If you have too much grace and not enough truth, you are in a dangerous place because you think you have the liberty to do whatever you want and you cannot lose your place with Christ.  But Jesus said, in Matthew 7:21, that many will call Him Lord, Lord but will not see the kingdom of God.  Why?  Because they do not do the will of the Father.  His will is for us to give our whole salves, all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, to Him.  The grace preaching says that you don’t have to give everything up.  You can live for yourself and still be saved.  This is not truth.

On the other hand, if you have too much truth and no grace, you can fall into a place of legalism, which is just as wrong.  Legalism says I must live by a certain set of laws that man has laid down, not that God has laid down.  This is the way of the Pharisees in Jesus time.  They were very pious when it came to following the law.  But they lacked grace and mercy.  Jesus condemned such a practice, saying He came to fulfill the law, not do away with it.  He called them white washed sepulchers full of dead man’s bones.  Why?  Because they followed the letter of the law but could not even see the heart of the law, which was mercy.  Mercy and truth must have equal portion in any doctrine to be truly biblical.

Another example is the prosperity gospel that is preached so often.  This is a name-it claim it philosophy that relies on passages like ask anything in my name and it shall be done (John 14:13-14 ) or If any two of you agree it shall be done (Matthew 18:19).  But Jesus also told the rich man to give up all he had to follow him (Matthew 19:21).  He said we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).  What is the balance?  What is the truth?  I believe that Jesus can, and will, answer any prayer we ask if He will receive the glory and not us.  He knows the end from the beginning and he knows why we are asking and how we will treat the results of our prayer.  Jesus did not call us to live a life of prosperity, although many can live this kind of life and still serve God effectively.  He is not our servant, at our beck and call, to do whatever we ask Him to do.  He is sovereign and has the right to answer any question he wants to answer and do any deed He desires.  My place is to accept what He decides to do without bitterness or complaint.  My place is to understand His will for my life, not for me to demand my will.

Jannes and Jambres are historical figures who are only mentioned this one time in the Bible.  It is believed they were the sorcerers of Egypt who stood before Moses when the plagues were announced.  The made their rods turn to serpents, turned water into blood, and made frogs come out of the water (why they would want more frogs is beside me!).  They stood against the truth of Moses, trying to convince others that Moses did not have the power of God.  Paul uses them as an example of those who do not have the knowledge of the truth.  He says they were found out in the end, and those who do not adhere to the truth of the Gospel will be found out when that heavenly role is called.  We must make sure we are not among men of this sort.  They lead silly women captive to their own lusts, as our previous post mentioned.  They can lead us all astray.  Let us not be so gullible as to follow them down the wrong path. May we all come to the knowledge of the Truth!

Be Content

1 TIMOTHY 6:4-8

4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

If you thought I was harsh with that last quote, just look what Paul says here. He shows no mercy on these false teachers, calling them men of corrupt minds, and destitute of truth. He tells us to withdraw ourselves from them because they think that gain is godliness. One has to wonder how people who serve our loving God could get this way. How could they one day be preaching the glorious truth of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection and then the next be teaching false doctrines designed to please the flesh? How could they turn from the truth of servanthood and start teaching mastery and dominion? How could they come to the place where they believe demanding from God is what the Bible intends?

Paul gives us the answer to these questions and many more in the first three words of verse 4. “He is proud.” Pride is at the root of all false teaching and deception. Pride instills in the individual the idea that they can do no wrong, teach no wrong, believe no wrong, and think no wrong. They believe their way is the only way and they stand by it no matter what the evidence dictates. I have had my bouts with pride through the years and have come to a point where I can usually identify it and bring it into subjection. You will never get rid of it, but you can control it to a certain extent. You also need someone to help you see it when you don’t. For me, that would be my wife. That accountability is priceless to me because I never want to get to that overly prideful state again. Do you have someone in your life who will point out when pride begins to rise up within you? If you don’t, please make that happen.

My pride manifested itself often with the words “I know.” I used these two words constantly to indicate you don’t need to tell me anything because I know everything. This was especially true when it came to Bible truths. It would be hard to teach me anything because I was the teacher and my ideas were much better than yours when it came to interpretation. So, when you start to show me something you had noticed, I would say “I know” in an inquisitive, excited fashion. This remained true after having my gross sin exposed back in 2003. At that time a Pastor took me under his wings and prayed me back to righteousness only to have me fall into the same trap again. When I got caught again in 2008 and lost my job and almost my marriage. That same pastor found me a place where I could be helped. I remember distinctly walking toward the front of the church as he said to me “Pete, you’ve got to take care of this or it will ruin you.” I said back to him in a low voice “I know.” He quickly said “No, you don’t know. If you did you never would have started up again in the first place.” He was exactly right and I realized I did not know! If you find yourself saying “I know”: a lot, perhaps you know nothing as I did. Ask God to search your heart!

Paul says these false teachers have corrupt minds and are destitute of the truth. The word corrupt is a very strong Greek word which means to be thoroughly degenerate, or wasted away by the decaying influence of moral impurity. How evident that is in the church today. Divorce and adultery are almost the norm even in our churches as they are in society. We see Pastors addicted to pornography at a high level, and others taking advantage of their congregation. We see churches rising up that profess to be preaching salvation message only top say that practicing gay people are Ok with God and will go to heaven. We see sin ignored for the most part because grace covers all sin. The decaying morals fill the church and the false teachers just preach on without addressing the truth. That word destitute in the Greek means to keep away from and this is exactly what they do. They keep away from the truth in order to please those who are listening. This can build very big churches! They even suppose that gain is godliness. That because God is blessing them financially and materially, they are godly people. They feel saved because they have all this stuff God ahs allowed them to have. Paul says we should stay away from these false teachers and followers. You can easily be lured into their version of the truth if you are not careful.

Are you content with what God has allowed you to have at this very moment? Are you walking in righteousness every day? If you are accomplishing both of these two things Paul says you are having great gains in your walk with the Lord. Not because you have a lot of stuff and money, not because you have fame, or power, or lots of friends. You see, it’s all about Him. Walking with Him. Finding our peace, joy and hope in Him. Being content in Him is the greatest place we can find ourselves. Saying “God, you have me here and I am walking with you, and that is all that matters. I am content.” If you can say that, God bless you! This is the closing thought of Paul in this portion.

Contentment had reached into Pauls’ heart. In Philippians 4:11, Paul says that he has learned to be content in all situations in life. Paul knew suffering and pain more than any of us most likely. He knew what is was like to be rejected, put down, mocked, betrayed, and disliked yet he was content. Her had found peace with God and that was wall that mattered to him. The trappings of this world were not his concern. Only Jesus crucified. Only the cross. Only Jesus! Let us all get this same mindset.

Don’t Serve

1 Timothy 1:6-7

6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

That word “swerved” really catches my eye in these two verses. This is the only use of that particular word in the Bible. The Greek word is astacheo, and it is only used in one other place in the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:18, this word is translated “err.” The Greek word means to miss the mark or go astray. The first thing that comes to my mind is a car swerving to miss a deer, or a pothole or even another car. The driver sees danger ahead and turns the wheel to avert the danger. I have done this many times and I’m sure you have as well. It’s a word that we commonly use today describing someone who has to go out of their way to accomplish a task. Another use also comes from driving, and that is the drunkard or drug-filled person who swerves all over the road because they have lost control of their perceptions. They become a danger to themselves and to others but are unaware of it because they are under the influence. Both of these examples show us the meaning of the word swerved.

The second interesting word in the KJV is jangling. This is the Greek word mataiologia, and it means vain speaking or noise. This is the only place in the Bible that this word is used. I immediately think of a large ring with keys on it, attached to the belt of a janitor or landlord. They keys clank together, or jangle, when the person walks or when they go to use one of the keys. It is a metallic sound that is non-sensical. The other reference that Webster’s dictionary gives us for jangling is that it “set on edge” which our nerves might be if certain things happen to make us skeptical or afraid.

The fact that Paul uses these two words exclusively in writing to Timothy is no small thing. Paul is obviously trying to make a strong point to Timothy and uses vivid words to get that point across. He could easily have just said “turned aside to foolish teaching” but he chose not to. We can learn a lot about what Paul is warning Timothy of because he used these two specific words only in writing to Timothy. It is a warning that still resonates today in our world.

The first point is that these teachers who Paul is talking about did not just slip into some teaching that was in error. They went their purposely. They swerved, like we do to miss something. The swerved so that they could bring forth a teaching that no one else would duplicate because they fabricated it. It was not a Holy Spirit inspired teaching. It was not based solidly on scripture. It did not line up with the hole volume of scripture, but may have chosen one verse out of all of them and then was taken out of context. I think of those who worship today by taking up snakes because Paul took up snakes. I think of those who worship by smoking marijuana because God said all of creation was good. I think of the movie that is coming out this year called “Corpus Christie” in which Jesus and the disciples are portrayed as gay men.

These things and many more are just dead wrong. The people who practice them and preach them have swerved from the truth. They try to tell us that these things are not against the law of God and they show their ignorance of the word of God. They somehow miss the scriptures that speak out against these things and only listen to that deceptive little voice in their heads saying “It’s OK. It’s OK.” They swerve into their own path and their own teaching so they can stand out as someone who knows a little more than the next person. But they too are deceived. They think their little foray into an obscure idea of what God is saying is a new revelation God has given specifically to them. The problem is that God will always confirm His word with two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15), and He will always inform His prophets of what He is going to do (Amos 3:7).

The second point is about those who get intoxicated by the world and start to think that God is all about giving them material wealth if they ask. They think they should be able to come up to God and demand things because this verse or that verse says a particular thing. They take the scripture out of context and apply it as law. “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14) is their rallying cry, They are swerving in and out of the truth. They find themselves wanting more and more and thinking that others should be able to gain wealth the same way they did. They think your lack of wealth is a lack of faith. This cannot be farther from the truth. Has God made everyone a rich man? Has God made everyone with the same capabilities? Has He made everyone with the same health?

We are not all the same When these deceptive teaching come along we must be very careful to examine the whole body of what they are saying through the lens of scripture. The whole body of scripture must be taken into account, not just a few verses. These teachers think they are wise and they think they are teaching the law but failing to back up what they say.

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement is a great example of this verse. I am not going to get into all the things this church movement is swerving toward because I want this blog to focus on Christian aspects that will help us grow. The NAR is sweeping through churches across the country and bringing in new doctrine filled with vain jangling and false teaching. I suggest you study up on it so you will be aware if it does start to creep into your church. You can learn a little about this by clicking HERE

Solomon said “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and that statement is just as true now as it was in his day. In everything we do, we need to do our best to remain true to scripture and it’s context. We need to stay away from those who are just talking with no purpose, or standing on one scripture and miss the mark even on that one. Seek the truth, the whole truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. Don’t swerve off the path!