2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the HOLY SCRIPTURES, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.16 ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The earliest recorded history of the workings of God and man’s enemy, the devil, is that of a deceiver. The future prophecy recorded in the Book of Revelation’s description of satan’s main activity among the nations of men on Earth shows it will continue to be deception (Revelation 12:9; 20:3, 7, 8). All of mankind without the truth of God’s Word can be deceived in their fallen state (Titus 3:3) as well as after salvation (1 Timothy 4:1). As Christians, aside from direct satanic deception, and self deception, we need to be on guard against the entry of deception that comes indirectly through false teaching and doctrines Romans 16:18; Ephesians 4:14; 2 Timothy 3:1, 13.
We must judge everything by the only objective standard we have been given which is the written Word of God. We cannot make the mistake of judging the truth of teachings solely by anything in the natural. We should not judge the validity of teachings solely on the basis of:
- The GOODNESS of the person teaching it. Good people can be deceived like Adam and Eve (Gen. 2, 3); like Peter (Gal. 1, 2). The enemy will use good people to float his lies.
- SIGNS AND WONDERS or supernatural things happening. Jesus said there would be signs and wonders by false Christ’s and false prophets and the Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul revealed satan’s power for signs and lying wonders (2 Thess. 2:9).
- POPULARITY or how many people are following it. False teaching and false teachers can be very popular 2 Tim. 4:1-4. Remember Jesus taught in His own home town and not many people followed or believed what He taught yet what He taught was the truth Mk. 6:1-6. In that crowd, He wasn’t honored and there were no mighty works He could do there.
- RESULTS or if it is working it must be God. No, that is what is called pragmatism or the ends (the results) justify the means (the ways or methods used to get there). Noah would have failed using this measure because he preached for a hundred years and only eight souls made it into the Ark yet he was obedient to God and did what God said.
Thank God we have the truth of God’s Word, the Spirit of Truth within us, and the safety that comes from leadership and fellowship in the local church. We must be as the noble Christians at Berea spoken of in Acts 17:11 who received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see whether the things they heard being taught were in the Word.