“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” – 2 Peter 2:1-3
Did you know that one of the ‘signs’ of the return of Jesus is an increase in false prophets? Oh, sure, there have been false prophets in every single generation, but look around! They’re everywhere, and some of the false teachings are sprinkled with just enough truth that it’s hard to tell the difference.
Take the ‘Health and Wealth’ or ‘Prosperity’ theologies with thousands of preachers saying you must give to God in order to get. It really should be called ‘The Gospel of Greed.’ Or, if you really pray hard enough, God will heal your disease, and if He doesn’t heal you, it must be that you don’t have enough faith. Give money to this or that ministry and you’ll get rich. It’s this false idea that God won’t let you suffer and wants you to be rich. That is heresy.
Other false prophets say that there are no absolute truths; that Christ is just a man; that the Bible is not true and always trustworthy. And as awful as it is, we shouldn’t be surprised about this. Jesus and God’s Word tell us to expect it.
So, how can you keep from being deceived by a false prophet or leader? The key is in knowing Jesus and His Word. Then, ask these very important three questions:
- Would Jesus say that?
- Would Jesus do that?
- Is what this person is saying consistent with Jesus and His Word?
If you’re a Christian, you have an added bonus: the Holy Spirit that dwells in you teaches you how to understand the Word and gives you a check in your spirit when something doesn’t ring true. But you have to be listening! Just make sure you’re listening to Him and not to the prophets that want to tickle your ears with false teachings. For you see, even Christians can be deceived. Don’t let that happen to you.