16 Apr 2023

False Teachers, Satan & Jesus Part 2 [2 Corinthians 11:5-15]


False teachers disguise themselves. They are described as wolves in sheep's clothing. So, what do they use to disguise themselves? And how can we identify false teachers?



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As a church, we're going through the book of 2 Corinthians and we now come to Chapter 11.

The United States of America is a very powerful and influential country in this world. It has given us many good things, good products, iPhones, technology, music, culture. But one of the sad exports of America, as we've learned last week, is what we call 'the prosperity gospel'.

It's a perverted message of the Bible, that says God always wants His people to be rich financially or to be well and healthy physically. Now, God can certainly give riches, God can certainly give health but to say that God always wants this for His children, I think is a twisted perversion of what the Bible has to say.

We learned about this or we saw clips of this from the movie 'American Gospel'. I showed you some of the parts of this movie last week and I just want to have a check. How many of you managed to check out 'American Gospel' in this past week? Can I see by a show of hands? How many of you checked out this movie? Hah? Four ah? Okay, let me try again hah. How many of you.., that shows how terrible I am as a promoter or salesman. How many of you managed to check out 'American Gospel' this week? Can I see by a show of hands? Okay, still.., okay, I'm terrible at this then, okay.

Uh.. But let me just say this, I know that the full movie is two hours twenty minutes - rather long, and to add to that, only the first forty minutes is free. So if you can't, just check out the first forty minutes to whet your appetite. But if you'd like to watch the entire movie, I'm pleased to say that we are organizing a movie screening during our Family Day.

So Family Day is 27th of May. That's a time where we can gather together as a church, to have some fun, to know one another, to get to meet people we have not met, within our, that are not within our CG and so on and so forth. So we are going to have that screening of that part which is not free. So the free part we won't show, you can watch at home - forty minutes. The one hour forty minutes left will be screened here and hope you can come and join us and catch this movie.

Now, I thought this should be something I would encourage you to watch. Someone after service last Sunday, said to me, wah.. this movie power, solid. Why? Because three years ago, I watched this same movie and that's what prompted me to leave my former church and to visit this church during those days.

You see the danger of the prosperity gospel is very powerful because it is so innocuous, seemingly innocent, so pervasive and also so popular. Everybody seems to agree - well, God wants His people to be rich and healthy. And they do not see that at the heart of it all is that this is a teaching that leads you to idolatry. You don't seek God for God but you seek God for stuff. You seek God for yourself.

So anyway, erh.. that's all the advert I'm going to do. I'm not going to ask you next week if you've watched 'American Gospel'. It's.. on you, for you.

Ah.. but I also like to say that I found out that the 'American Gospel' is Part One, Two and Three. So the first movie, forty minutes free; the other part is not. But Part Two is absolutely free on their website for the month of April. So you may want to check it out. And I then found out that there's a Part Three that has yet to be released. It will be released this year and Part Three will be what we are talking about; will be on what I said or mentioned last Sunday and it will be on the New Apostolic Reformation.

Now this I think is interesting because this may not be so familiar to most of you. And to whet your appetite, I'm going to show you some clips from the trailer of Part Three on the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Now, the NAR movement, the archetypal church would be Bethel - Bethel Church in Redding, California. It's led by Bill Johnson and let me just show you before I say more. Take a look.

Video plays:
So with Redding, our three major economic engines are tourism, methamphetamine and marijuana - the drug culture, and then Bethel Church. Bethel Church is known globally. People come to Bethel from all over the nation and the world for healing. They say that the anointing is stronger here.

A couple who attends Bethel mega church in Redding is getting national attention for asking Christians to pray for the resurrection of their two-year-old daughter who died unexpectedly.

We have a biblical precedent. Jesus raised the dead.

So I went to Bethel School supernatural ministry. I.. did three years there, so it's a three-year programme. The leaders of this movement claimed to be apostles and prophets with extraordinary authority, miraculous powers. Some people locally call it the Christian hogwarts. They charge tuition to teach you how to use or even receive the gifts of the Spirit. They are part of a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation.
Video ends.

So that's the NAR in a nutshell and they have things like false prophets, apostles and superstitious practices as you will see further here.

Video plays:
We've seen a lot of pain come out of this movement. It was the first time I feel like I truly understood the Gospel. I was sold such cheap bill of goods. This movement impacts Christianity at every fundamental doctrine of the faith.

Standing in the office of the prophet of God. Now, how are we supposed to know whether an individual is a prophet? I execute judgement on you, COVID-19.

I had to come to the terms that I was not a prophet and I was also a false prophet. This is the sash that I received the night I was released as an apostle. So if somebody were to say to you in the ancient world, "I'm an apostle", the immediate question would be, "well, who sent you?". When a church changes its leadership structure to apostles and prophets, what follows is all this aberrant theology behind them.
Video ends.

They also have some mystical, superstitious, in fact new age practices like grave soaking or grave sucking. Ah... and there's a link here to the Lord of the Rings, so take a look here.

Video plays:
Apostolic anointing and so we just rip it right out of the ground. We just suck it right off his dead bones in Jesus' name. I don't think you have to be a cessationist, for example, to be concerned about adopting new age and or pagan and occult practices.

So as an apostolic team with the authority that God's given to us. They really believe they're apostles, and they believe they have apostolic authority. We decree and declare that racism will end. It's blasphemous and sad, thinking somehow they can recreate a scene from the Lord of the Rings. Thou Shall Not Pass!

Do you feel like you backed into a boring, dead form of Christianity when you moved out of the NAR movement? No, if anything I came to life. How was I so prideful? How was I so entitled?
Video ends.

In the NAR movement. So I mentioned last week that false teachings have crept into the church. Prosperity gospel has invaded most churches today.

I think the NAR is a powerful movement that has subtly influenced many leaders and therefore many churches. It has even a conference here that is attended by thousands, if not tens of thousands. These are false teachings within the church.

And there are also false teachings that use the name of Christ to hinder people outside the church. We would call them Christian cults. Christian because they use the name of Jesus. And I've mentioned some of the signs of a Christian cult. How can you tell if it is a cult?

Well, number one - they add to God's Word. They don't teach the Bible as it is but they have other sources of authority. It may be a magazine, it may be some leader and they take the leader's words to be as authoritative, if not more authoritative than the Bible itself. Then you know it's a Christian cult.

They subtract from the deity of Christ. They do not believe Jesus is God, the second person, person of the Godhead.

They multiply works of salvation or works to gain salvation. They say faith in Jesus alone is not enough to save you from your sins. You've got to multiply works.

And then they divide loyalties. They want you to follow their leaders and not just Jesus alone.

Well, these are some categories of false teachings that have been around us for some time. But false teachings are not unique to our era or generation. False teachings have always been in existence.

So we today are looking at 2 Corinthians 11 where Paul continues his discussion, his writing about false teachers, Satan and Jesus - Part Two.

[1] Paul Despised
Now, let me run through verses 5 to 15 for you, very quickly if I can. Paul, first of all, writes about how he has been despised. The false teachers during Paul's days were not just a quiet influence but they were offensive, they were aggressive, they took the initiative as it were to critique and to denigrate Paul and his ministry.

We read that for example in verse 5. Paul says, in defence, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super apostles. So apparently, the false teachers, the false leaders are calling themselves super apostles. The word 'super' in English is one word. But in the Greek it's two words. It's huper or hyper-lian. So very cute. It means super or hyper-lian. You know the Hokkien word? They are the hyper-lian apostles. Literally that's how it is.

Well, the word hyper is abundant or excessive or over and lian also means very. So in effect, I think the translation is not too bad at all. You can call them or they can call themselves the super-duper apostles. That's how they're addressing themselves. Not a surprise because earlier on in Chapter 10 we read about how boastful they are. They like to compare themselves, say how great one is and how many followers they have. So, obviously they are addressing themselves as super-duper apostles and then saying that Paul is an inferior ranked apostle.

Why do they say that about Paul? Why do they say Paul is inferior? In what ways are Paul inferior according to these false teachers? Well, picking up the evidence of 2 Corinthians so far, you recall in Chapter 3, they would say that Paul doesn't have the same letters of commendation like we do. We come with letters from Jerusalem. We come with endorsements from people. Paul - he has no letters, he has no credentials, he has no title in that sense from people.

Then we read recently that they say that Paul is like a paper tiger, all bark but no bite. Say that he will deal with you but when he comes, he's like a little mouse who doesn't dare to do anything with you. Not like us, we are imposing and strong. So they say Paul is inferior.

Today we're going to see that they're going to add two more things to critique or to denigrate Paul.

They say that Paul is unskilled in speaking; so Paul has to write now, even if I am unskilled in speaking. So apparently, they are saying that Paul doesn't speak with much polish. He's not so eloquent. He doesn't use bombastic terms. He's not sophisticated in his speech, not like the Greek orators.

Now, this is not the first time Paul had to deal with this. Earlier on in 1 Corinthians, mind you, 1 Corinthians, a letter that has been written earlier, Paul already said that when I come to you, I'm not going to come with lofty speech or wisdom. I'm not going to come with plausible words of wisdom. The word plausible means enticing. So I'm not interested to wow you with my oratory. I'm not interested to come to you with theatrics or sophistry. I just want to come to you in the.. in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So Paul was despised because of the way he speaks. He's not interested to impress people with humanistic philosophy.

A second thing that they denigrate Paul for, is that he preaches free of charge. Hekh.. and they say, if anything is free, it's because it's not worthy at all. If anybody is worth his salt, he should be well paid. So they say, we are well paid but Paul is not, therefore he is inferior.

That's again, something that Paul had to deal with. He said yes, I have to humble myself. The word here is to lower or to abase. He did live in a difficult situation because he suffered need in verse 9.

So, he obviously was not well supported at points of his life - physically, financially. So because of that, the false teachers say, hah.. Paul is an inferior apostle. He doesn't have any letters. He's a paper tiger. He doesn't speak with polish and eloquence like we do. And he is not paid at all. So that's how they have attacked Paul.

[2] Paul Defends
So in this passage, Paul also defends himself. He says with regards to unskilled in speaking, well, you may say I'm not with those sophistry or theatrics of good Greek oratory but I am not so in knowledge. In other words, my style, my presentation may not be so captivating in your eyes, but my substance is real. My substance is true. My knowledge is true.

Now, I'm sure you can understand that the knowledge here is not knowledge about mathematics or physics, but knowledge with regards to the Gospel, with regards to Jesus, with regards to the Spirit. He says this is true.

He says earlier again in 1 Corinthians, I'm not here to come with, to you with lofty speech or wisdom, but I come to you with Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is what I aim for. Not to try to impress you with, with great stories or human philosophies, but the simple but clear Gospel of Jesus Christ. So you may criticize me for my presentation, my speech but you certainly can't say that about my content.

Now, I hope preachers here don't take this.. take this to be an excuse to say, I don't care about preaching clearly, I just make sure my content is right. No, I think all of us got to work on our craft, to make sure we share God's Word in the most easy and clear and structured way as possible. But this is an issue of substance versus form. The substance is what Paul aimed for.

How about the charge or the criticism that Paul preaches free of charge? He's not therefore worth his salt. Well, Paul says, is this wrong, huh? Did I commit a sin if I should preach to you, FOC? Is it wrong for me to humble myself in order for you to be exalted or to be lifted up, in the sense that you come to know Jesus, that you come to know Gospel, that you are now a..a chaste virgin to be betrothed to Jesus Christ? Is it wrong for me to preach to you, to bless you, to exalt you?

Well, this is very similar to the mindset of Jesus when Jesus being rich, laid aside all His glory so that He became poor, so that we may be rich. Is it wrong, Paul says? Hardly!

1 Corinthians 9, Paul actually dealt with the same thing. You will see that many things in 2 Corinthians are kind of a flashback or it brings you back to 1 Corinthians. And in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul in effect says, we have every right that when we preach to you the Gospel, to receive your support financially. We have a right to receive. I'm not repeating the sermon, of course. But in that chapter, Paul says, look at a soldier. When he goes to war, does he also plant potatoes? He doesn't do that because when he goes to war, he trusts that the army will provide for his ration, for his needs.

He talks about a farmer. When a farmer farms, doesn't he have the right to also eat of the crops that he farms? Of course. How about the shepherd? Doesn't the shepherd have the right to also drink the milk from the flock? Of course. How about the animal, the ox? Didn't God's law state that when the ox is treading the corn, you shall not muzzle his mouth but he can eat from the corn that he treads out? And he also says, what about Jesus? Jesus said that they who preach the Gospel should live off the Gospel.

So the point is clear - we as apostles have a right to receive your support. But, in 1 Corinthians 9 he says, we forgo our rights. We waive our rights. Actually, we have every reason to receive support from you but we forgo our rights in order to forward the Gospel. And the rationale there is Paul does not want anybody to think that he's preaching the Gospel so that he may be enriched. He doesn't want anybody to think that he's there for his own pockets.

So, we have every right to receive the support but we forgo the rights to forward the Gospel, as he says in verse 19 of Chapter 9, for though I'm free from all, I've made myself a servant to all that I might win more of them.

So cycling back to 1 or 2 Corinthians 11, is it wrong for me to forgo my rights? Is it a sin? Of course not. I robbed other churches. So instead of being supported by you, I have to be supported by other churches. It should not be the case. That's why he used the word robbed. Of course, in an exaggerated tone to drive home the point.

And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden any one of you, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need - the people from the north. So I refrained and I will refrain. I will not receive support from you.

As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. So I.. I hope everybody knows that I'm not preaching for money. I have every right to, but I won't. I want this to be known. Why? Is it because I do not love you? No. God knows I do love you. But I'm doing this and I will continue to do this, so that in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission, they work on the same terms as we do.

The reason why I will not receive support from you is I want to make a difference, I want to make a clear difference between myself and those false teachers. Because the false teachers are here to 'jia' you. They are here to take advantage of you. They are here to earn from you, to profit from you. But I will make a clear stand by not receiving anything from you. They say they are like us. I say we are not the same because they preach for money; I preach for the sake of the Gospel.

So, they despised Paul. They hurl all kinds of accusations at him and Paul defends himself.

[3] Paul Denounces
But thirdly, Paul now switches gear and he goes on the offensive. The tone changes because he denounces them. He marks them out. He points them out and shows them to be false teachers. He says clearly in verse 13, for such men are false apostles.

So he doesn't say they are hyper-lian apostles. He doesn't say they are super-duper apostles. He says they are false apostles. They are hypocrites. They are not the servants of God. In fact, they are not even Christians. Because all they do is that they disguise themselves just like how Satan disguises himself. And so, they are also disguising themselves because they are Satan's servants. Same modus operandi. They are not Christians at all. They are fakes.

Recently, I read in a... well, I saw some pictures. And maybe you may recognize some of these people. This is.. Warren Buffett - poor version. Some of you who are investors would know Warren Buffett and some of you younger would know who this is. This is.. Mark Zuckerberg - poor version. The third person? Elon Musk - poor version. The fourth person? Bill Gates - very poor version, no clothes. And the fifth person? Donald Trump, also very poor version.

Now we all laugh, we all laugh because we know this is not real, this is fake. Now it looks like the real deal but actually it's fake. And this was actually reported in Straits Times. Slumdog billionaires: digital artist from India uses AI to reimagine world's richest in slum-like environment. It looks so real. Hard to tell, you might almost believe it.

And in, interestingly in the same week, another article in Straits Times talks about - are we ready for a post-trust world? Why? Because with generative AI becoming freely accessible, we are to brace ourselves for deepfake overload. This world is going to see a proliferation of misinformation. There will be overload of fake things.

But faking and disguising is not new. It's just technology has made it more accessible. Faking and disguising is old school. It's since the Garden of Eden.

And the apostle Paul says, false teachers are masters at disguise. How do false teachers disguise themselves? Very simple, look back at 2 Corinthians 11. They come to you with letters of commendation. Hah, to prove some legitimacy or to give you a sense of legitimacy, let me get some certificates. Let me get some letters of endorsement. Let me show you some videos of how people have been praying over me. Well, that's how you fake people. Superficial stuff, to disguise the lack of real life in God.

Maybe Christian vocabulary. Again, false teachers do not come saying, don't believe in Jesus, don't believe the Gospel. You know how they come to you? They come to you with another Jesus. They come to you with another gospel. So they use the same Christian lingo.

Have you met people who always come to you and say, hallelujah, praise the Lord? Well, there are plenty of people who can say, hallelujah, praise the Lord. But do they really know the Lord? That's another matter.

False teachers can disguise themselves in such a way and they can disguise themselves with eloquence. They speak very well and after a while you listen.. listen, oh.. okay lah, you make sense. You also blur already because they talk so well.

Some false teachers disguise themselves because they have a large following. I hear from someone who said, he comes from a.. previously he came from this huge church. And the pastor says to them, we can't be a false church because we have such a big following. So many of you can't be wrong, right? That's a, that's quite a smart argument. Because nobody likes to feel that they are in the wrong. And when they look left, look right, wah.. so many thousands, 30,000 and we can't be wrong. Everybody else is wrong. So they use large following as a disguise.

It's not easy to spot a false teacher. Because if a false teacher comes to you like that, you would 'siam'. I guarantee you nobod.., if I dress like that next week, uh.. I mean this week, will not come next week, I am 100% sure. And so I said, false teachers don't always look like this, they may look like this. As I've shared last Sunday. And they may look like this also, maybe the older version. Or they may look like this.. and they may look like this on the front page of your magazines.

The reality is, the word disguise reminds us of what Jesus said, they come to you like wolves in sheep's clothing. So before we end, I just want to be helpful in answering this question, how do you identify false teachers? How do you do that? Again, my approach here is to pick up the various pieces of evidence that we can read in 2 Corinthians thus far. And then kind of supplement it with corroborative evidence from the rest of the Bible also.

So in 2 Corinthians, we read about how Paul says, we are not like so many. So he's making a distinction between the true preacher and teacher of the Bible, of the Gospel with false teachers.

What characterizes false teachers? They are peddlers of God's Word. The word peddlers is used of people in those days who sell wine on the cheap. In other words, what they do is that they say, I'm going to sell you.. I don't know what, whiskey or, they don't have whiskey then. But, I'm going to sell you this wine but actually it's not pure wine because they have mixed water into the wine. So that it is cheaper for them and they make a greater profit there. So they have adulterated the wine. They have corrupted the wine for their own profit.

So Paul says there are people, the false teachers, they are peddlers. They adulterate God's Word. They corrupt God's Word. They add to God's Word, they take out from God's Word and they sell it to you as a product so that they can get rich. So they do not handle the Bible faithfully. They corrupt it.

This is reinforced in Chapter 4 when he says, we refuse to practice cunning or tamper with God's Word. I don't mess around with God's Word, Paul says. I teach it as it is. I teach it as it should be taught. We have renounced, we have forbidden, we have forbidden disgraceful or secret, underhanded means, shameful ways. We have removed all these cunning. We do not tamper with God's Word; not like the false teachers.

Again, false teachers ultimately do not lead you to Jesus, at least not to the Jesus of the Bible. They lead you astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. They may use Christian vocabulary, Christian lingo but they actually teach you another Jesus. For example, the prosperity gospel doesn't teach you the Jesus of the Bible that caused you to die to self, to live unto God but actually tells you of a Jesus who is more like a god of wealth and fortune and health. Not the Jesus of the Bible.

They give you another gospel. Not a gospel that is primarily focused upon reconciliation and obedience to God but a gospel that says, have it, name it, claim it. It's another gospel altogether.

This is what we can see in 2 Corinthians thus far. But Peter says in his epistle, in their greed they will exploit you with false words, with lies, with deceit. Romans tells us, Paul says, that these false teachers do not give you sound doctrine but they teach contrary to the doctrine. According to the body of truth that you've heard, they will come with contradictions to this body of truth that is biblical.

They actually will come to you with smooth talk. Literally, smooth or persuasive. And the word flattery is eulogia, which is to praise. So they come to you with things that are easy, smooth, goes down easily. And they come to you with things that make you feel good about yourself. They have a feel-good body of lies that people readily swallow.

The Bible tells us that people in these last days will not endure sound teaching because they're not easy to listen to, because it confronts our sinful nature. Human pride - that's why it's not easy.

But they having itching ears will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. So, it means that false teachers are experts at preaching things that you like to hear. You love to hear. Oh, this god is going to make me rich! Oh, this god is going to make me healthy all the time! Oh, this god is going to.. he doesn't bother about the way I live my life as long as I confess Jesus. Oh these things are so attractive and appealing.

So how do you identify false teachers? Not, let me say this again, not via titles or degrees. Someone can graduate from the top Bible school and have the best grades in his class but that doesn't mean you have to believe him simply based on that. There are plenty of people who come from plenty of Bible schools and they're all false teachers. This is not reliable.

How do you distinguish or identify false teachers? You cannot tell based on Christian vocabulary. Just because someone goes around saying, hallelujah, praise the Lord, doesn't mean he's a Christian. I hope he is but you can't assume. Eloquence and the size of the church, the number of books he has written, the number of readership he has - these are not reliable signs. We should learn that from 2 Corinthians already.

1. Doctrine
But what is reliable, I think, what is important for us to use is in this category called doctrine. Look at the way they handle the Bible. Hermeneutics is just the way we understand or interpret the Bible. And we must remember 2 Corinthians 2 and 4 where Paul warns against peddlers and tampering with God's Word.

Does this teacher teach the Bible and the text faithfully as it should be taught within its context, within the framework of the Bible? Or does he wrest this text out of the context and say whatever he wants to say? He adds to the Bible, he subtracts from it. I think a faithful handling of the Bible is something that we as God's people must examine and discern.

So it's not just the conclusions but how he arrives at a conclusion, how he approaches the Bible is absolutely important. Because if someone is dishonest with handling one part of Scripture, you can't trust him to handle it faithfully for other parts of the Scripture as well.

Second thing with regards to doctrine is that, I think at the end of the day, they preach another Jesus, another gospel, another spirit. Now, it may not be obvious right from the start but over time, it would tell.

And finally, I think this third point is also very important. They will teach a 'feel-good' theology that does not really lead people to personal holiness at all. Smooth talk and flattery.

Now, 2 Corinthians tells us in Chapter 11, their end will correspond to their deeds. I suppose the deeds here refer to their false teachings, their disguise, their deception, their evil deeds.

We also read, I'll jump on to verse 20 where Paul says, for you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, devours you, or takes advantage of you. So the false teachers are people who will take advantage of God's people. Very apt picture is that of wolves in sheep's clothing, they feast on God's people. Why? Because Paul tells us, these false teachers - their god is their belly. False teachers do not serve the God of the Bible; they serve this god, their 'patoh'. They serve their belly, they serve their stomach, they serve their fleshly appetites.

So, Peter would say that they are a people of greed. They seem to teach God's Word but it is all a disguise so that they fatten you up, they flatter you, they fatten you up, they butter you up and then they eat you up. They want to take advantage of you.

They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls - people who are not rooted and grounded in truth and in God's Word. They have hearts trained in greed. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing. This is a story back in Numbers.

But not only are they greedy, the Bible tells us they live a life full of sin. Again, it may not be obvious right from the word go when they start out but over time, skeletons in the closet may be revealed. They indulge in the lust of defiling passion. Because they are not God's people, they do not have the Spirit of God, they can only live out the lusts of the flesh. So it will show up over time.

They despise authority, they are full of themselves, they are bold and willful. In fact, they.. they criticize and they abuse angels which God says, we are not to. But they do that because they are full of themselves.

They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. So their lives will be filled with sin and their folly will be plain to all in 2 Timothy and it will only get from bad to worse.

So Jesus did say, how do you identify a false teacher? You shall know them from their fruits.

So, let me test you, because first service did not do very well. How do you identify false teachers? See? I know you all zoned out for a while. How do you identify false teachers?

Doctrine - very good, the first diagnostic is doctrine. And what about doctrine? Okay doctrine is a big word, but err.. how do you tell? No adding, no subtracting. So that is the 'chim' word - hermeneutics. Or simply put - how do they interpret and handle the Scriptures?

Are they honest? Are they faithful? Do they get to the Word in its correct meaning? Do they teach it in the right context? Do they compare with the rest of Scripture, whether it's congruent and in harmony? Are they honest or do they just pluck a text to say whatever they want? Handling of Scripture.

Second? So this is the method. Second is about the goal or the outcome. What is the outcome? Okay, they lead you to another Jesus, another gospel, another spirit.

The third point, the last one. Do they teach 'feel-good' theology but never really confronts people, challenges people, encourages people to personal holiness? I think that is a very clear diagnostic today, especially nowadays with health and wealth and NAR. But all these I think are taken from the text that we see in 2 Corinthians.

2. Deeds
The second diagnostic basket, so the first basket is doctrine, look at these things - check. When you hear a preacher, you can kind of quite, I think, quickly understand where he is from. The second is a bit harder to tell because you've got to watch his life. And it takes a long time, but it is with regards to deeds.

And look at their lives. Is it filled with greed or sacrifice and generosity? Do they live a sinful lifestyle? Again, I say it's not easy to tell because unless you're the wife or the helper or the kids, you can't see his life every single day. But with time, the fox's tail will show also. Do they despise authority? Are they full of themselves? Are they willful? I think these are the signs and symptoms I can pick up in Scripture.

So, the Bible does say at the end of the day, their end will correspond to their deeds. So they have wicked deeds, they will have judgement. And that is true. Paul says in Philippians, their end is destruction. Paul says, or Peter says, their condemnation from long ago is not idle and their destruction is not asleep.

And Romans 16, the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Now this is not just God and Satan, but this is with reference to false teachers. That's the context in Romans 16. So false teachers will be severely dealt with, you can be sure.

So as I end, I just want to encourage our church, all of you, to be sober and vigilant. We live in a very porous Christian world today, meaning a lot of things can get to you very easily. When I first came to church, I only listened to Pastor Paul and maybe a few tapes and magazines here and there. But by and large, I don't have a lot of access to a lot of media.

Today, any single one of you, with your phone and Wi-Fi, you can listen to any teacher today. Don't be undiscerning. I'm not saying please listen to Pastor Jason only. That is the, that's the worst advice you can give to anybody. But when you listen to anybody else or read anybody else, you've got to be discerning. You've got to be careful. You've got to watch out and you've got to avoid.

Too many people are sucked in and attracted and they feel good in such false teaching churches and they reason to themselves, what's wrong with a little bit of falsehood? I am discerning enough to eat the fish and spit the bones. Well, the reality is you will one day choke on the bones.

So the Bible makes it very clear, don't flirt around with false teachers. Don't feed that desire to feel good because you'll be dangerously close to being someone who is with itching ears and cannot endure sound doctrine. And soon, you'll wander off into myths and away from the sincere devotion to Christ. So avoid them is what the Bible says.

It's also what John says in 2 John, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. Very scary. Paul also said, pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church. And part of caring for the church is to watch out for wolves and to deal with them.

False teachers can come from the outside; false teachers can come from within. And let me say this, this is not just the responsibility of the spiritual leaders of the church. I think all of us has a role to play to watch out for wolves as well.

Remember how Peter says false teachers lead unsteady souls away from God? The unsteady souls, what does it mean? Well, perhaps this is the positive side to look at. God has given the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers.

Spiritual leaders from time past to your pastors, teachers today. Why? So that they may equip the saints, the church. Why? So that the church may be engaged in the work of the ministry, to serve one another. In Scripture, in prayer, in encouraging one another, in provoking one another to love and to good works, in teaching one another - that's what we are to do for one another.

And as we do this for one another, we are building up our lives. We are building up the body of Christ. We are strengthening the spiritual lives of God's people. And so when we are strengthened, God says, we will no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine. The best defence is that we will have a strong spiritual constitution in God's Word.

COVID-19 came. COVID-19 is still with us. The best defence, as we dealt with it for the past two years, is vaccination. We need to inoculate ourselves so that we have good immunity.

And God's people need to have good immunity in God's Word. I pray today you will be diligent to study God's Word. False teachings and false teachers are real. I think they may be more now than ever before. They are more accessible now than ever before. And we need to be fortified now more than ever before. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

The danger of false teaching is not just that you'll be sucked into a lie and scheme and that you will lose your money. But the danger of false teaching is that you'll be led away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You'll be led away from the true Jesus and you'll be led away from the true God. And you will then end up in a place of torment and God's wrath together with the devil. That's his end game.

Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He means business. So the Bible calls us to be sober and vigilant, to be alert, to watch.

The Bible commands us to serve one another so that we may be built up in God's Word, so that as we mature we'll not be like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. I pray that God's people will take this warning very seriously.

May we all, the leaders, the people, be always on the guard, sober and vigilant. May we be a discerning people. Now I'm not asking us to be a critical people, a condemning people, but we must be a discerning people.

We as a church must lift up the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Friends, if you're here with us, I know if you're here with us for the first time, all this sound so far away for you. But actually it comes down simply to this. God is holy, you are sinful and you are never going to be able to get to God by yourself. The Gospel is that when we are unable, God sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for your sins. He laid down His life so that you may find forgiveness and eternal life. And this same Jesus we are talking about did not lie in the grave as a conquered victim, but He rose from the grave as a victorious Saviour.

And God says, for God so loved the world, He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Today, there's only one message that saves, there's only one Saviour who can take away your sin. No man comes to the Father but by Him. His Name is Jesus. That's what the Bible says. And this Jesus is not here to give you money or health. He's here to give you a lot more than that. He's here to give you God and a right relationship with Him.

Will you today turn from sin, believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him? Following Jesus means you give up your old life, old ambition, old purposes, old goals. You follow Him and you'll find eternal life at the end of it all.

Dear Church, let us rejoice. The ultimate Protector for your soul today is not your pastor. It's not the pastors of this church but it's your Shepherd, Jesus - your Lord and your Saviour. Trust Him today. He will lead us safely home.

Now let's not take this for granted. Let's be diligent to watch, to guard, to grow, to study. But how we thank God today - He is our Shepherd!

So Father, thank You for this time. Bless Your people, bless Your church, bless those who need to believe the Gospel today too. Thank You, You are the Shepherd of our lives and our soul. We pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
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