When I read a recent report of some Christians in Singapore who believe they have been misled by teachers promising to help them grow in their faith, the word that came to my mind was: “Beware”.
Reading about what they were reportedly taught, I could see how some believers who are unsure about the Christian faith might be confused by such teaching.
The Bible is full of warnings about false teachers who seek to spread erroneous teaching in order to deceive God’s people. Jesus himself warns us: “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves” (Matthew 7:15 NLT). Peter, too, warns of scoffers and false teachers coming in the last days to lead us astray from our faith in Christ and His truths (2 Peter 2:1).
These and other news reports about people distorting the person, works, and teaching of Christ is a timely reminder that false teachers and false teachings are not a thing of the past: they are still a real and present danger today.
It serves to remind me that I need to:
1. Examine what I hear and test it against Scripture.
That was what the people living in the city of Berea in Macedonia did. When the Apostle Paul shared the gospel with them, they received the message eagerly—but “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
God’s Word is always consistent, for He will never contradict himself. The only way to ensure that we are receiving godly teaching is thus to check it against the Word of God. Is it in line with what the Bible says? Does it contradict the basic precepts of our faith?
2. Know that God would never want me to deceive to serve His purposes.
Doing this would be entirely uncharacteristic of God’s character. The one who would use lies and deceptions to achieve a goal is Satan, the father of lies. “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
As Christians, we can share God’s love and talk about Him and His Word openly. We do not need to resort to trickery or deception in sharing and teaching His Word, for His truth is for all, and it will convict people and transform lives by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8).
3. Handle God’s truth rightly.
2 Timothy 2:15 calls on us to “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth”. This means we need to be found reading and meditating on God’s Word regularly (Joshua 1:8), and sharing it responsibly with others.
And if we are true and faithful disciples of Christ, we will also increasingly show the fruit of the Spirit in our words and actions. We will not be hearers of the Word only, but also doers (James 1:22) as we allow the Word of God to transform our lives. May God’s Word continue to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). —C. H. Tan
Father, give me the wisdom and discernment as I learn about You,
so that I will not be led astray by false teaching.
And help me to be faithful in sharing
Your truth and Word with others,
that I may help them draw closer to You.