Friday, February 10, 2017

The Danger of False Teaching

 "Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:14-19)
Scripture clearly affirms that God is truth and cannot lie. It also affirms that Satan is a liar and the father of lies. That dichotomy pervades every area of the universe. There is conflict between the holy angels and unholy demons. There is conflict on earth between the truth of God and the lies of Satan.

The people of God have always been plagued with false doctrine. They have endured the invasion of false prophets and teachers throughout the ages. Satan attempts to confuse the world by drowning it in a sea of deceit. It was Satan’s misrepresentation of the truth to Eve that plunged the human race into sin (Gen. 3:1–6). The steady stream of false teaching has been so cumulative that it is wider and deeper now than it has ever been before. False teaching about God, Christ, the Bible, and spiritual reality is pandemic. The father of lies works overtime to destroy the saving, sanctifying truth God has given to us in His Word. The effects of false teaching have been devastating and damning. That’s why the Bible calls them destructive heresies (2 Pet. 2:1). As we get closer to the return of Christ, these deceptions, lies, and misrepresentations will increase.

Any servant of the Lord must be aware of false teachers and warn others about their lies. That is why the apostle Paul warned the believers and leaders in Ephesus (Acts 20:29–30).

Second Timothy 2:14–19 specifically tells us why we should avoid false teaching. Paul had called Timothy to be a faithful servant of the Lord. He asked him to rise above the influence of ungodliness, evil teaching, and evil people and to set the church right. To do so he had to keep his mind on the truth of God and be sure that he and his people avoided the impact of false teaching:

The literal translation of 2 Timothy 2:14 would read, “Remind of these things.” The word “them” was added because it identifies who is being reminded—the faithful men of verse 2. What things were they to be reminded of? What Paul said in verses 1–13. He wanted Timothy to remind the church leaders and teachers of their responsibility to pass on the truth to others. They needed to be reminded of the noble cause they served and the loftiness of the gospel ministry. Pastors, be faithful in all things and hold fast to the word of truth.