Recognizing False Teachers

2 John 7-11

 

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. NKJV

Sometimes I think that in our zeal to be loving like Jesus we forget that he was extremely critical of the religious leaders in Matt. 23. The church has tried to become all things to all people not so that we might win them to Christ but that we might get along with everyone.

I received an invitation to a religious gathering this week. They will be meeting in a Church in East Moline. By all natural thinking you would think it would be all right to attend this meeting. But let me tell you about it. The title is Earth-Centered Spirituality Symposium. It is sponsored by the Pagan Alliance Group. It is meant to "address the needs of the Neo-Pagan and Wiccan community and to advocate social justice. PAG is composed of organized covens, affiliate groups of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Let me list to you a few of the programs. Members of Our Lady of the Prairie Coven will present the basic tenants of the Wiccan religion. Twisted River Witches will describe some of the various symbols used in Pagan celebrations. There is one session on the elements of Pagan ritual and worship. The session will end with a celebration ceremony honoring the God, Goddess, and the Elements.

Now my complaint is not that they are holding their meeting, since there have been Pagans since before Christianity was founded. But the idea that they would meet with the approval of what is understood by the community as a Christian Church and to be a part of that church, by description of the flyer.

 

  1. "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God"
    1. The meaning of the term doctrine of Christ
      1. 2 John 9 Not the teaching about Christ, but that of Christ which is the standard of Christian teaching as the walk of Christ is the standard for the Christian's walk (1 John 2:6). (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament,
      2. 2 John 9 These Gnostics claimed to be the progressives, the advanced thinkers, and were anxious to relegate Christ to the past in their onward march. This struggle goes on always among those who approach the study of Christ. Is he a "landmark" merely or is he our goal and pattern? Progress we all desire, but progress toward Christ, not away from him. Reactionary obscurantists wish no progress toward Christ, but desire to stop and camp where they are. "True progress includes the past" (Westcott). Jesus Christ is still ahead of us all calling us to come on to him. (from Robertson's Word Pictures)
      3. 2 John 9 'any one who goes beyond the teaching of Christ by not keeping within it,' 'any one who does not keep to the teaching that is Christ's, but goes aside from it (or adds to it).' (from the UBS Handbook Series.
      4. 2 John 7-9 Many have not only gained a fair reputation for religion, but much light therein, much conviction of the evil of sin, the vanity of the world, the excellency of religion, and the power of God's word. They have even tasted of the powers of the world to come, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit; and yet at last lose all. You did run well, who hindered you, that you should not obey (or not go on to obey) the truth? Sad it is that fair and splendid attainments in the school of Christ should all be lost at last. (from Matthew Henry's Commentary
    2. 2 John 9 Of Christ. Not the teaching concerning Christ, but the teaching of Christ Himself and of His apostles. See Heb 2:3. (from Vincent's
      1. Heb 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, NKJV
    3. The idea is that we are bound up in the teaching of Jesus Christ as delivered to us from the Apostles.
      1. We are not free to make our own boundaries.
      2. We are not at liberty to go beyond what the New Testament has laid down for us.
      3. The main problem with liberal Christianity is that they have gone beyond the teachings of Jesus.
      4. Either through scholarship or the desire to accept anyone's teaching.
  2. The sure way of fellowship with God. "He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son"
    1. How much a part of us is the teaching of Jesus Christ?
      1. How often do you talk about God or Jesus in your daily conversation.
      2. How often do you set down with your children to talk about the things of Jesus.
      3. One of the reasons that many "Christians" will be at the meeting of Pagans is they have never been taught any better.
      4. It is so sad that in many churches you can get into an argument can quote the Bible and have Christians who have been in the church for years say, the Bible doesn't say that.
      5. We know our politicians, our history, our sports heros but we do not know very much about the one who we testify is the captain of our soul our eternal destiny.
    2. You can't have one without the other.
      1. And then there are those who talk about Jesus but not about God.
      2. Well if you do not have Jesus you do not have God.
      3. We have the idea that the Moslems worship the same God as we do.
      4. Some even thing that everyone, even the Pagans are worshiping the same God.
      5. But the truth of the matter is that unless your God has a son and His name is Jesus Christ, you do not worship the same God that I do.
      6. I used to be a part of a group of Baptists that drew the lines a little to narrow, but I am not quite ready to include everyone that claims to worship God or the Goddess, or the elements.
    3. Abiding
      1. We have been looking at John 15 in our prayer meetings on Wednesday nights.
      2. Jesus made it very plain that we must abide in Him, abide in His teaching in order to have fellowship with God and Jesus. John 15: 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, NKJV
      3. To abide in the doctrine of Christ is more than a casual acquaintance with it.
      4. Do you read and study your Bible?
      5. Are you involved in Sunday School and make sure that your children do to.
      6. The challenge of the Christian church is not to make learning about Jesus more fun than playing video games but to realize the importance of sound Christian teaching that will ground our children for the remainder of their lives.
  3. How to handle false teachers; "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine"
    1. You understand what he is saying.
      1. Those who do not hold to the teaching of Christ as it has been held for 2000 years.,
      2. I am so amused by these new found theologians who have come up with an interpretation that is contrary to what all the great minds of Christianity have always understood.
      3. How can they be so arrogant as to think they found something that no one else found before.
      4. How could they think they are so smart that they know better than the millions of Christians who have read and studied this book down through the centuries.
    2. "do not receive him into your house"
      1. This means do not support them.
      2. This was the way traveling evangelist were supported by being received into a persons home during the time of their work in a certain city.
      3. It does not say do not support them bery much but do not support them.
    3. "nor greet him"
      1. Now this sounds down right unfriendly.
      2. This is for clarity sake.
      3. I remember talking to a JW one time for what seemed like hours and when he left he wished me well. That was fine except I needed him to understand that I was taken in by all that he said.
      4. I told him as he left that I did not agree with what he was teaching in very definite terms.
      5. When someone believers that Jesus was created like the angels and that His body did not rise from the grave and yet they claim to be a Christian, I need to let them know we are world appart.
    4. "for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds"
      1. The shame is that unknowingly many Christians have supported those who were opposed to the teaching of Jesus.
      2. When I find out if someone does not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, I do not need to know anything else.
      3. When I find out they think the miracles of Jesus are just stories, I don't need to know anything else.
      4. When they say that probably Jesus was not resurrected, I don't need to ask any other questions.
      5. When they deny the authority of the Word of God, it is end of discussion time.
      6. When they want to worship mother earth -
      7. When they want to talk about sexual preferences -

The question you need to ask yourself is do I know Jesus teachings well enough to know an impostor, a deceiver?

If you do not, you need to get into the Word of God. How can you be sure you are abiding in the teachings of Jesus if you do not study them for yourself.

There are many structured ways to get into God's word.

Sunday School, and Bible studies.

Correspondent courses

There are thousands of study guides.

There is no excuse.

 

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com