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False teachings

Demon Influence   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Scripture repeatedly warns against false teachings, which deny or distort some aspect of the gospel. The origin of such teachings is attributed either to human error or to demonic inspiration.

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Examples of false teachings

Revelation 2:14–15 CSB
But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumbling block in front of the Israelites: to eat meat sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality. In the same way, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
See also Mt 5:19; 2 Th 2:1–2; 1 Ti 4:1–3; Re 2:20

Qualities of false teachings

They are valueless

Matthew 15:9 CSB
They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands.”
See also Is 29:13; Eph 5:6; Col 2:20–23; 1 Ti 1:3–7

They are destructive in their nature

2 Peter 2:1 CSB
There were indeed false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves.
See also Mt 7:15; Ac 20:29–30; Tt 1:10–11

They have the capacity to lead people astray

Acts 20:30 CSB
Men will rise up even from your own number and distort the truth to lure the disciples into following them.
See also Eph 4:14; 1 Ti 6:20–21; Heb 13:9; 2 Pe 2:14–15; 1 Jn 2:26

They may be popular

2 Peter 2:2 CSB
Many will follow their depraved ways, and the way of truth will be maligned because of them.
See also Mt 24:4–5; 2 Ti 4:3; 2 Pe 2:18–19; 1 Jn 4:1–5

They may be accompanied by miraculous signs

Matthew 24:24 CSB
For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
See also 2 Th 2:9–10; Re 13:11–15

The origin of false teachings

Demonic inspiration

1 Timothy 4:1–2 CSB
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.
See also 2 Co 11:3–4; 1 Jn 4:1–3; Re 16:13–14

Human error

2 Peter 2:3 CSB
They will exploit you in their greed with made-up stories. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
See also Col 2:8; 1 Ti 6:20–21

Discerning false teachings

By their content

1 John 4:2–3 CSB
This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world.
See also 1 Co 12:3; 1 Jn 2:20–23; 2 Jn 7–11

By the teacher’s lifestyle

Matthew 7:15–20 CSB
“Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
See also 2 Co 11:20; 1 Jn 3:7–10; Jud 4

By their effects

1 Timothy 6:3–5 CSB
If anyone teaches false doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain.
See also 1 Ti 1:3–4; 2 Ti 2:16–18; Re 2:20

The antidote to false teachings

Holding fast to the true gospel

1 John 2:24 CSB
What you have heard from the beginning is to remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
See also Ga 1:6–9; 1 Ti 1:18–20; 2 Ti 1:13–14

Shunning false teachers

Romans 16:17–18 CSB
Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create divisions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them, because such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.
See also 2 Ti 3:1–9; Tt 3:9–11; 2 Jn 9–11
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