Focal Passages: 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 1-25
Jesus’ words “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” is apt instruction concerning the elusive doctrinal deception that often occurs in the body of Christ. It takes intellectual shrewdness to detect the words of a theological troublemaker. False teachers have always been a threat to the purity of the gospel, especially when they appeal to human sensuality, the questioning of biblical authority, and the desire for material gain. False teachers that have gone astray face God’s judgment for leading others to the waterless springs of Godless desires. They promise freedom, but deliver slavery and corruption.
J.I. Packer argues that the church is to be “a learning and teaching fellowship in which the passing on of what we learn becomes a regular part of the service we render to each other.”
The most loving act we can offer our brothers and sisters in Christ is to admonish one another to the truth, even if it requires correction. Without theological accountability the passing on of troublesome teaching becomes too pervasive.
The dissemination of false teaching has stretched well beyond the local church. Where false teaching was once contained by geography, it is now propagated through mass media, the Internet, and even in “Christian” literature. The gospel of health, wealth, and prosperity is not only ready available to Christians everywhere, it also appeals to humanity’s deepest sensual and material desires.
The gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in God’s authoritative word should be the litmus test of all teaching. Anyone who peddles a message that our best life is found by pursuing the good and benefits from this life now, inordinately takes the good gifts of God and establishes them above the giver, God Himself. May we be satisfied with Him and Him alone! Jesus’ presence and approval is all we need for everlasting joy.