Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Disunity--Teachers

I mentioned earlier that “followers” are a major cause of disunity. So are some teachers. Paul warns against such teachers in his charge to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:30.

“Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30

Teachers are gifted. They can distort the truth, and do it effectively. The reason is to get Christians to follow them. Paul mentions another kind of teacher in Philippians 1:15-18.

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Philippians 1:15-18

Here are some additional motives, envy, rivalry, selfish ambition, insincerity, and to stir up trouble.

Paul again speaks to the problem in Galatians 2:4, 5.

“This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.” Galatians 2:4, 5

Peter speaks to this in 2 Peter 2:1-3.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:1-3

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3

This is the Enemy of our souls at work seeking to destroy the Church by division. Deception is the major means. Jesus warned us several times in Matthew 24:5, 10, 11, 24.

“For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.” Matthew 24:5

“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Matthew 24:10-11

“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” Matthew 24:24

Christians are credulous. They easily believe deceivers.

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