beloved, although i was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, i found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. for certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. [jude 3-4]
these are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. [jude 12-13]
if these verses don’t paint enough of a picture of how jude (brother of james) and God the Father view false teaching, i would encourage you to go back and read the entire book (it’s only this one chapter.) it speaks of the subtlety of these boasters. they seemingly believe the truth about Christ, but when encountering anything they find difficult to understand, they complain, come up with alternative thoughts and ways, relying on their dreams and encounters, rather than scripture for truth. they turn God’s grace and freedom into things the believers could hear, taste, see, smell, touch, that would tickle their senses into believing that they must be ultimate satisfaction. they turn brotherly affection into sexual perversity. they turn prayer into divisive gossip. they turn the Lord’s table into ravenous gluttony. these things, they say, will save, rejecting the saving gospel of our Lord Jesus. and if all of this sounds blatantly obvious, remember that this entire church has allowed them to enter with this devious mission, unnoticed. it sounded, at least at first, so close to the real thing, that it was mistaken for the real thing. and this can happen today as well, and in our own body of Christ, if we are not diligent to hold fast to the confession of our faith. [heb 10:23] and pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. [heb 2:1]
while reading about current false gospels in america, i came across a video of a very popular pastor with a rapidly growing church and following, lead his entire congregation in a prayer of offering in which they prayed that they would get a raise, receive checks in the mail, and find money on the street. he also equated one’s faith and salvation with the ability to “allow” God to heal them because God never wants anyone to be sick, with their ability to seize up their bodies or laugh uncontrollably to prove they they had received the Holy Spirit, and with the ability to speak into actuality the material possessions that they want because God really wants to fulfill every fleshly desire that they have. again, these examples of false teaching may seem obvious to some, but for thousands, it is what they are hearing week in and week out, and believing whole heartedly, to the destruction of their souls. they do not know God. they do not know Jesus Christ. they blaspheme the name of God by saying he is whatever we want him to be.
so how do we protect the bride of Christ?
- pray for our leaders– pray for intimate time in the presence of God through his word. pray for unity in theology. pray for accountability to one another. pray for humility with boldness to always stand up for the truth of the gospel of Jesus.
- be in the word– the bible is God’s very words to us. in it, we see his glory, his character, his mission, and the exact imprint of his nature in his Son Jesus. read it often, meditate on it, pray through it, know it, memorize it. it is the bread and water our souls must have to survive.
- speak the truth often– the truth this body of Christ receives is certainly not the sole responsibility of our pastors and leaders! talk about the truth you are learning in the word. bring your questions to your leaders, get clarification, always holding scripture as the final authority in all things.
we have a crafty enemy who wants nothing more than for entire congregations to misrepresent the beautiful name of our God by chasing after idols. may we link arms with our brothers and sisters, and allow are God to uphold his bride through his Word, with His righteous right hand. [isaiah 41:10]
you shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. you shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. [deut 11:18-21]