Good morning everyone. I have not gotten an article in for quite a while and for that I apologize. I have had to do some re-organizing and am ready to get back to writing full force. I truly appreciate all of you who read my article.
“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect,” Mark 13:22.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that brought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction,” 2 Peter 2:1.
Notice the wording that Peter used ‘among you’. He is writing to the church and by saying, among you, he clarifies where these false teachers are: in the local churches. Warren Wiersbe wrote: “Satan is the counterfeiter… He has a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9) preached by false ministers (2 Corinthians 11:13) producing false Christians (2 Corinthians 11:26)….Satan plants his counterfeits wherever God plants true believers (Matthew 13:38).”
As believers we must be aware that there may be false ministers and teachers today that are the same as the corrupt ones in Jesus’ day. All may appear as they should, yet, they have the wrong spiritual foundation. They gain a place in the church in two ways: 1.) they begin in sincerity, truth, purity, and true faith in Christ. Then pride and selfishness take over and their love for Christ gradually dies. Then they become instruments of Satan. 2.) They are planted in the church by Satan. They never believed in Christ. Satan places them in the church to undermine the work of Christ.
So how are we to recognize the counterfeits. In 2 Peter chapter 1 we read about true believers. In 2 Peter chapter 2 we read about fake believers. If we read both we can see the difference.
Different Source….where does the message come from? Peter tells us that they did not follow invented stories, yet, the false teachers lead you with totally false stories. True teachers get their information from the Bible, false teachers have to make up their own message. Discern their character. Check their fruit.
Different message…..what is the substance of the message? True teacher….Jesus is the center of everything. False teacher…Jesus is at the margin of everything. False teachers will speak about how others can change your life. They will not make Jesus important.
Different character…..what kind of people does the message produce? A true believer escapes corruption while the counterfeit is mastered by corruption.
Different appeal…..why should you listen to the message? True teacher goes to the Word. True teacher asks, ‘What did God say in His Word?’ The false teacher asks, ‘What do people want to hear?’
Different fruit…..what result does the message have in people’s lives? True believer has knowledge of Jesus. Counterfeit believer promises much but delivers little.
Different end…..where does the message ultimately lead you? This will be the biggest contrast of all. The true believer will enter God’s kingdom. The fake believer will experience swift destruction.
Jesus tells us there will be many who have been involved in ministry in his name, to whom he will say,’ depart from me, I never knew you’. We must not be ignorant. We must protect the church. Among the many good people there will be some who come to do harm. They may seem sweet but they do no believe in the Bible or salvation. Welcome them because they need Jesus but do not let them have influence in the church. Skeptics will always say people in the church are hypocrites. The existence of the counterfeit is never a good reason for rejecting the genuine. Peter essentially tells us, ‘Of course there are counterfeit Christians. Of course there are teachers who do the church more harm than good. What else would you expect in these last days?
This is a subject that needs to be addressed more than it is. We are instructed to test the spirits. This is why you should seek the gift of discernment. Sometimes the counterfeit is so well hidden, it takes God to reveal it.
Until next week read the word and pray. God Bless!