“Now there were false prophets among the people, just as there also will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many people will follow their immoral ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. In their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. The ancient verdict against them is still in force, and their destruction is not delayed” (2 Pete 2.1-3).
From the above verses, we understand that false teachers are not going to come out from the world, rather, they shall rise from among the camp of the righteous (the churches).
There are many false teachers in the churches today. The devil uses false teachers to hit and attack the church, so that many will be lost and never get to find the way to heaven. Many will follow their ways and end up in perdition.
The Mask of False Teachers
False teachers mask themselves with some righteous deeds:
They “believe” “Jesus Christ”
They preach “Jesus Christ”
They look harmless and humble
They perform signs and wonders that marvel people
They do some charitable works
A person who does these things may quickly be called a man of God, but they may not be so. A false teacher is not known by some outward works, rather they are known by their fruit – the nature of their person.
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they?” (Mathew 7.15-16).
Remember, they preach another Jesus (not Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible). The motive of their charity works is questionable.
The Marks/Fruit of a False Teacher
The three principal marks/fruit of a false teacher are;
If a preacher has one or two of these attributes, then know that he is a false teacher. Even if he calls down fire from heaven, run away from him as fast as you can. The devil is moving about confirming the wrong teachings of these teachers with signs and wonders. If you follow the signs instead of the fruit, then you are doomed.
Greed is idolatry (Col. 3.5; Mat 6.24). Idolatry is a sin punishable by death (Rev. 21.8). There are diverse kinds of greed (Luke 12.15);
Lack of contentment
Storing up for tomorrow
keeping more than you need
Fighting over property
Refusal to share
Sharing only an insignificant portion of your wealth
Murmuring and grumbling
These false teachers have more than enough wealth that can last them five life times. They have so much while most of their church members are so poor. They do not only refuse to really help these poor people, but they still demand and collect from them. Their wealth is counted in millions of dollars. They live in mansions, drive expensive cars, wear designers’ outfit, own private jets, their children are in choice schools worldwide etc.
A preacher who is rich cannot be a disciple of Christ. The disciples of Christ give up their all for the kingdom of God (Mathew 19.27). Love puts the needs of others first. God’s servants obey him, and they give even to the last penny. These false teachers are going straight to hell and taking many with them. They suffer the righteous people both spiritually and materially.
2. Sexual Immorality
A preacher who cannot control his fleshly sexual desire is a false teacher. God does not work though carnal people, rather he works through people who are led by his spirit. God works in people before he uses them for any service. God is holy, and his servants are holy. Do not follow an immoral preacher even if he raises someone from the dead.
3. Selfish Ambition
Ambition is a trait that is applauded by the world but in God’s kingdom, ambition for self is sinful (Phil 2.3). These false teachers preach Christ to satisfy their selfish ambitions (Phil 1.17). They desire to promote self more than anything else. They are more earth than heaven conscious. They desire the pride of life and earthly possessions. They desire fame, political power, institutional positions and the comforts of life. They point their institutional ministries to people instead of pointing the Lord Jesus Christ to people.
Beware of false teachers!
“Many people will follow their immoral ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. In their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words” (2 Pet 2.2).
“…because false messiahs (christs) and false prophets will appear and display great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mat 24.24).
“Christ” means anointed one. This means that in the last days many false anointed ones will come. Many will come saying that they are anointed by God, but they are of the devil.
There is an uncountable number of “wolves in sheep clothing pastors”. Be careful to identify the characteristics of wolves in the church. We are in the dark times, may the Lord be your light.