Thanks to television and social media, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has become muddied by false teaching full of false gospels, lying signs and wonders, and distractions that come from worldly desires that are all confusing many and leading them to false Christs.
Those of us who are students of scripture found much of what these people said, although in scripture, was taken completely out of context and used to advance political, personal, or doctrinal positions. This fits Paul’s description of a false teacher.
2 Timothy 4:3 (NLT2)3 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.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 (NLT2)3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life.4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
While many of us have become increasingly more frustrated in the last four years we are told to not quarrel with those with whom we disagree, but to instruct them, no matter how frustrated they make us. Our interest should be in their repentance, not winning the argument or being proved right even when we are.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NLT2)24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (emphasis mine)
These false teachers shouldn’t catch us by surprise because both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warned us.
Matthew 24:1-5 (NLT2)1 As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings.2 But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”3 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you,5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. (emphasis mine)
Even Though Frustrated How Should We Deal With False Teachers?
The Bible tells us how to respond when we see a false teacher twisting scripture; we are to warn others about their dangerous teaching, so more people do not fall prey to their lies and become entangled in deception.
It is easy to become offended and angry at false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, who deceive others and twist truth, but we must remember that if we begin to expose these teachers without love as our foundation and ultimate motivation, our efforts are fleshly and lack the compassion of the Savior. It must be out of love that we plead to these false teachers that they turn from their wicked ways and come to embrace truth.
Just like we would for any sinner, we must pray that false teachers would genuinely repent of their many atrocious false teachings that have often occurred for many years. We can be firm and strong in our rebuke, yet gentle and kind too.
2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NLT2)25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
If we are going to test all things and warn others of wolves in sheep’s clothing when we see their continual twisting of scripture, we better be doing those things while on our knees in prayer and ask God to help us be gentle (yet firm) and filled with hope that even the vilest of false teachers would come to their senses and repent being used by the devil. Their soul is in danger, and we should be broken, not hard-hearted over the reality of their eternal destination if they do not repent.
We ask you to soften our hearts towards false teachers who twist your Word and lead others astray. Help us guard our hearts from offense, bitterness, unforgiveness, apathy, self-righteousness, and anger, especially if we have been wounded by these wolves.
Please help us to find the balance between strong boldness in your truth as we expose the lies of these false teachers and warn others, yet all the while, we ensure that every word we speak is rooted and grounded in love for their souls and the souls of their followers.
We pray that those who are being tools of Satan to sow deception, would come to their sense, flee from the evil one, and stand firmly upon your Holy Word. May you grant them repentance, Lord. We trust and believe that nothing is too hard for You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.