False Teaching

Monday: Identifying the Poison

Some time ago a person commented on the theme to which we now come in our studies, saying, “If you are going to place poison on a shelf where you have healing medicines, you had better label it clearly.” Someone was discussing the presence of false teaching and false teachers in the Church, and he was recognizing that if false teachers are going to be present in the Church, as the Bible teaches they will be, then they must be clearly identified before they do harm.

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Tuesday: False Prophets

Now someone will ask, “Do you mean to tell me that God will allow men who are influenced by Satan to become church members?” The answer is “Yes, indeed.” And not only that, He will also allow them to become ministers and speak from the pulpit. This is the real meaning of 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 which says, “For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.”

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Wednesday: No Strait Gate

All of this brings us to the main point of Christ’s teaching, of course. For at this point we should correctly ask: How can we recognize false teaching? How can we detect a wolf in sheep’s clothing? There are several answers.

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Thursday: No Disturbing Doctrines

The second test does not come from the Sermon on the Mount itself—although Jesus Christ also referred to it elsewhere—but from the writings of Jeremiah. False prophets do not have disturbing doctrine in their messages, even though the true state of man demands it. Instead, their message is one of false peace.

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Friday: The Test of Good Works

Finally, there is the test of good works, which is the test that Jesus Himself gives in this sermon. He repeats it twice, once at the beginning of this section, and once at the end. In between he illustrates what he is saying. “Ye shall know them by their fruits… by their fruits ye shall know them” (vv. 18, 20). He shows that men are like fruit trees. Good ones only produce good fruit, and bad ones only produce fruit that is bad.

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