In this sermon, Pastor Babij lists and refutes several of the false teachings of today’s health and wealth (prosperity) preachers:
· Christians are prohibited from judging them
· People must not disagree with them as they are God’s anointed
· Jesus personally speaks to them
· New Testament prophets are fallible
· Christians are little gods able to speak things into existence
Pastor Babij calls upon Christians to call out these false teachers, to separate from them, and to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Take your Bibles and turn to 2 Peter as we continue on looking and moving through this great epistle, specifically in chapter 2 as we are looking at the dilemmas of false teaching. Remember it’s about growing in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what is the most important thing when it comes to teaching that is false or full of error. We are able once we know the Word of God to detect those things. Continual growth in the true knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ will make you more holy and useful and will make the Church ready for the coming of Christ and discerning in the present situation.
This continual growth will take place by a regular exposure and transformation of the Word of God upon your mind, affections, and will. The reason for that is because we ought to be convinced as believers that the Scripture is sure, illuminating, revealing, and originated not from man but from God, therefore it is trustworthy.
So with God you can detect threats to the church and to your own thought life. False prophets were a threat to the unity and purity of Israel but they are also a threat to the Church. So we see and hear in Scripture that true prophets are mingled amongst even in the Old Testament. If you notice what it says in 2 Peter 2:1:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
So the Bible is telling us when not to be surprised when these things happen because they are going to. The point is that we are to be ready for these false teachers to come on the scene by knowing the truth. Last time we looked at who is an Old Testament prophet and we concluded that they are similar to the New Testament prophets. They were given direct revelation and they said, “Thus said the Lord.” The Lord spoke to the prophet and they turned around and spoke to the people.
God never gives a word to the prophet for the prophet, it was always for the people of Israel and Judah. So God is always speaking to the people through His prophets. So a prophet is to whom God gives this gift when there is a need. The prophecies did not originate in the prophet’s own thinking. The prophet did not study to get a message. So the Word of God never had its origin in the impulse, desire of the whim or the will. A true prophet is one who receives direct revelation from God.
A false prophet is one who has not had direct revelation and yet speaks. They tell the future but it doesn’t come from God, but their own imagination. So we looked at the threefold description at the prophet’s activities. Number one, they pretend their proclamation are good news but they avoid the warnings of judgment and replace those with promises of peace and security.
This passage of Scripture in chapter 2 is part of the job of a pastor and elder to warn the people not to bypass that because it seems like it’s negative. It’s not peace and security, because the judgment of God is coming for sure. The way to avoid that judgment is through the gospel of Jesus Christ because He has taken that judgment.
A second thing about what prophets’ activities are is that there is no divine authority behind their message because they didn’t get it from God. So if the Lord did not send these people on His behalf, then they have no authority. And yet they speak as if they do have authority when they don’t.
A third thing is that when they were condemned by God for their lies, God did not put up with them. They were condemned for their lies and those who were sent by the Lord were to be listened to because they were the true prophets. And those not sent by the Lord were not listened to because they were false prophets, and we saw last week that they were stoned to death.
Now it says in 2 Peter 2:1:
Just as there will also be false teachers among you.
False teacher here means that there is no direct revelation given to man by kind, which indicates that we already have full the revelation of God in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. So we have a complete Bible and there’s nothing God is adding to the Bible. So we need to study it!
There’s a great danger that faces the Church that these false teachers are here, and discernment on behalf of God’s people is needed. We need to know what the Bible teaches. So that leads me to my first major point which is discerning the threats of false teachers to the church. Now determining the meaning of the repeated word “will” is important because that word points to the fact that just as false teachers were present in the past, the present and future arrival of false teachers is also true.
I began to look at six reasons false teachers are a threat to the Church. The first one is in 2 Peter 2:1:
Who will secretly introduce destructive heresies.
There are seven given in these three verses. False teachers cleverly teach destructive heresies and subtle deviations from the truth. They will actually infiltrate with clever false ideas into different settings of believers. That means that the attack is not necessarily from the outside but the inside. I mentioned what Paul said when he left as he was speaking to the elders of Ephesus. He said that he knows after his departure savage wolves will come among them and not spare anyone in the flock. The false teachers have their own motives.
He also said that from among the body of believers, false teachers will arise speaking of perverse, twisted things. Many times these people are skilled in languages and are very charismatic and draw people to them. They can be friendly and sociable too and that’s the danger in this. They gather people around them but they are always the focus of attention. So when they speak their words do not line up with the Bible. They have an idea that creeps alongside the truth under some sort of cover and they genuinely believe their teaching.
Satan helps them cover up their teaching to the degree that it is different from the Apostles’ teaching. So in other words, what they’re introducing is not always easy to catch. It’s packaged very creatively in Christian lingo in a character that is likable. They bring in destructive heresies that spiritually destroys the Church. These false teachers want to bring disciples out of the church and want to prevent people from coming into the church. And the outcome of this false teaching is eternal loss of fellowship with God. Here’s what it says in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Now what they introduce is not healthy because they are teaching aims at ultimately denying essential doctrines of the Bible, especially denying that of the person and character of Christ. Many of them are modalists regarding the Trinity, not trinitarian. They deny the substitutionary atonement of Christ which leads to other doctrines that come in and end up getting confused and mixed and twisted.
So we are to discern who are Christ’s real disciples and accept them but then keep in mind that we are never relieved of our responsibility to discern truth from error, and to discern the spirits. We must be aware that there are those who pirate the name of Jesus for evil purposes. Last week I started to mention the Word of Faith Movement that thousands of people are involved with. People from that movement are false teachers because it breeds false teaching, and both men and women who have a false gospel.
Now they have within their movement certain criticisms against anyone, whether inside or outside their movement, who oppose them. I mentioned this last week, whether it is the Word of Faith movement, Charismatic movement, New Apostolic Reformation movement, that they all have this rule that you shouldn’t judge anything. They would say that in Matthew 7 it says not to judge. Well actually Matthew 7 says that you should judge, but not to do so hypocritically. You need to exercise discernment with Biblical parameters when judging others.
Also 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says:
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good abstain from every form of evil..
So hold fast to what is right, good, and true and throw out the rest. Now what are we to test? We are to validate and prove what is genuine and what comes from the Word of God. It says in 1 John 4:1:
Beloved, 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.
We are to examine and test their words and compare them with the objective standard of judgment that comes from the Bible. We are also to test out their imitations and deceptions that come along with their teaching. Usually this has to do with the enemy himself and his words. Again in Matthew 24:24 it says:
For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
We are to expose fraudulent leaders and teachers. Even on the internet and radio you can see them. The speed of publishing today is speeding error everywhere and we have to be ready to know what is true and not true. Now there is a ministry evaluation that we can use to test those things. One question is does the information exalt Christ? Another could bee does it opposite worldliness? A third question is does it point people to Scripture? A fourth one is does it elevate truth? A fifth question is whether it produces love for God and others? Another is if it produces maturity in Christ in growing in their Lord? And also does it get the gospel right?
So when we judge, we are to judge doctrine and also behavior. We live in a culture that values autonomy to the point of irrationality. We are taught that we can do and should do whatever makes us happy and no one has the right to hold us to any standard but our own. That is the mindset of our day. Now this is the great sin of the modern age, and people say we have no right to judge them. But the point is that Christians are to judge and do it in the right way.
A second criticism is this, that the Word of Faith movement that people shouldn’t name names. Yet when you come to the New Testament, you find Jesus who is pointing out the scribes and pharisees and calls them out as hypocrites and blind guides. He says they are clean on the outside but inside they are filled with greed and self-indulgence. He calls them white washed tombs, outwardly beautiful but inside filled with dead men’s bones.
Jesus was direct and had His harshest words to people who were supposed to know the truth. He came at them with very strong language and pointed them out among the crowds. The Apostle Paul made it clear to point out names that misuse the word of truth and that we are to handle accurately the Word of God.
Now let’s take our Bibles and look at 2 Timothy 2:15-18. Paul is serious here about pointing out people who are doing things that are wrong and claiming to speak for God when they don’t. It says:
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
He’s naming names right here! And he names the particular doctrine they went astray in and this is right here in Scripture. It was Paul that pointed out that Alexander the coppersmith did him much harm and opposed the teaching that was coming from God through the Apostles to those who were listening.
So those who twist the Scripture with teaching that leads to further ungodliness must be called out by name and warn about wolves, heretics, and false teachers who distort the truth.
There’s a third criticism that the Word of Faith movement has also. They use Psalm 105:14-15 to say this:
He permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sakes: Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.
The word not to touch means not to kill. But that’s not how they use it. In their interpretation, no matter what you do you cannot touch or rebuke someone who calls themselves an apostle. They take all these things to oppose anyone who is against them.
There are dangerous doctrines in this movement that need to be identified. One of them is that they say Jesus spoke to them. This is a common cliche among the whole evangelical church. If someone comes up to you and says the Lord told you something, how would you process that.
In fact Kenneth Hagan says that Jesus spoke to him and if you google it you can find what false teachers claim Jesus says to them. They will say that if you can’t find what they said in the Bible then it’s okay because they had direct words from Jesus. They claim to hear direct revelation from God. And there’s also a book about experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. They say that the premise of the book is that they suggest that the main way the Holy Spirit leads believers is by speaking with them directly in extra-Biblical words.
They believe that there are still prophets and apostles receiving direct revelation and giving more of the Word of God. Now those who deliver direct revelatory words from God according to Scripture must do so without error, otherwise they prove themselves to be liars.
Charismatics have made presumptions with prophecy to make it their whole movement. They have made it their fertile breeding ground for false prophets, granting a platform of authority to anyone who is brash enough to stand up and claim to have received direct revelation from God no matter how ludicrous or blasphemous their words could be.
Benny Hinn is at the top of the pile of the Word of Faith preachers and gave many utterances that never came true. He prophesied that Fidel Castro would die sometime in the 1990s but that didn’t happen. He also prophesied that the homosexual community in America would be destroyed by fire in 1995 but that didn’t happen. A major earthquake would cause havoc on the east coast before the year 2000 but that didn’t happen.
So charismatic theology incorporates enough of the truth to gain credibility. But mixing the truth with deadly deceptions had created a concoction of corruption and doctrinal poison that is lethal fabrications of what they say is truth that affects the hearts, souls, and minds of people. Many of the charismatic movement’s teaching have spilled over into the general population of the broader scope of evangelicalism. Even people that you and I know are convinced that God speaks directly to them all the time.
See it has become a favorite cliche of experience that really it’s everywhere you go and so to equate personal impressions, and imaginations with divine revelation is a recipe to greatly be in the wrong. This opens the door to satanic deception. The prophets today say that those in the New Testament were second tier prophets who spoke a form of prophecy that was fallible and non-authoritative. So they say that sometimes they made mistakes in their report of divine revelation and thus not required to meet the standard of Old Testament prophets and Biblical authors. No need to have 100% accuracy.
So they use Biblical terminology to refer to nonBiblical teaching and practices. There’s only one fatal problem with this logic, it’s not true. False prophets with fallible prophecies are not true prophets. There is no distinction made in Scripture between the prophets in either Testament. The definition of a prophet has not changed. There are not two kinds of prophets. False prophets and teachers represent a genuine threat to the body because there are no such things. How could you have prophecies filled with errors?
All prophets in the New Testament were subjected to be tested. 1 Corinthians 14:29 tells us that:
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.
In other words, whoever gave a prophecy was to be tested as to what was true and what was not. If it was ever connected with error then it was thrown out as false. So these modern day so called protest do not hold up under Biblical scrutiny. There is a second thing within their doctrine and it is that they claim to speak things within their existence. It started back with William Kenyon which was picked up by all the word of faith preachers like Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn.
Let me give you an example. Just recently at his church, the Eagle Mountain Church in Texas, Kenneth Copeland spoke at the coronavirus and declared it gone. He did this publicly and then he commanded a vaccine to be made immediately. No that doesn’t make sense, if you declared it gone then why do you need a vaccine?
Then he turned towards George Pearson who is his brother-in-law and said to him that that twelve noon on March 29th it was over and the virus would be killed. On that particular day, 144,321 cases were in the United States and unfortunately 2,542 people died.
And then on April 2 he commanded a heat wave, possibly thinking that the virus can’t survive during the heat, and on April 2nd the high was 67 degrees in Texas and on April 3rd it was 42 degrees which is below average. The heat wave never came. On April 10th, 502,876 cases were found in the United States and 18, 747 people died. In other words, these are flat out lies but people don’t call it out. The reason why is because you’re not supposed to call out or name names.
So in their minds already they are kind of controlling people about that kind of stuff. It still goes on. Why do they think they can command these things and call things in and out of existence? Because they have a doctrine called the Little God’s doctrine that, according to Creflo Dollar, says that when he says something we can be gods on this earth and it’s about time that we operate as gods instead of a bunch of powerless humans.
See Dollar also said that we can speak tings into existence like God does. So this is a doctrine that is embedded in their teaching. His rational and the Scripture he uses to back that up is Genesis 1:26-27 where it says:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
See Creflo Dollar concludes that from this passage if everything produces after its kind and if God made man, then you are god. The real him is just like god. So if they think that they are little gods then they call things into existence like God does. That’s why they have this idea that if you can imagine or claim something you can have it. The Word of Faith teachers that believers are little gods that can speak their worldly desires into existence.
Paul Crouch, head of the TBN network which is a national television network, says he is a little god and one with Him in a covenant relationship. Kenneth Copeland similarly told his listeners that they are all little gods and don’t have God living in them. These are statements that sound like they are coming from the Bible but their arrogance is evident when you examine them according to Scripture because this is nothing but satanic stuff.
Satan wanted to be just like God and got banished from Heaven because the Bible says there is only one God. It says in Exodus 20:2
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
This is a dangerous doctrine they believe in but you can see that it backs up a lot of the things they do and say. In fact the origins of these movements can be rooted in metaphysical thought, which is beyond the physical realm. It’s really a cultic doctrine wrapped up in Christian teaching. The bottom line is that they have a different doctrine, a different Jesus. This is nothing but new age teaching. I said all that for this reason, that we are to call people out and mention things that are not Biblical. We are to mention names and call out those being listened to on the internet. We have people like Sarah Young who said that she didn’t think the Bible was enough, so she wrote down whatever she believed God was saying to her. You see all these things people are saying like, “God told me,” and “I practice listening prayer,” etc.
Now that brings me back to 2 Peter 2:1 where the first threat to the church is that false teachers cleverly teach destructive heresies. The second point is that false teachers deny the God of the Bible. They don’t say this outright but they sure do it in a very subtle way. The first question that we should ask is if their god is the same God as the God of the Bible. Because if he is the same One, you would obey and love and follow after His Word.
So this passage in 2 Peter 2:1, it says:
Even denying the Master who bought them.
These false teachers deny the God of the Bible. This passage is not saying that Jesus purchased salvation for everyone even those who end up in hell. There is nothing here about the blood of Christ or the purchase of redemption. Peter even uses here the words for master and lord, which are not the regular word used in the Bible. This one is the Greek word kurios. The regular word in the Bible is despotes which means Sovereign Master or Creator. It gives the idea of ownership, especially that of an owner over his household. In 1 Peter 2:18 it says that servants are to be submissive to their masters. The same word is used there that a master has authority over his slaves or servants.
Now coupled with another word in the passage is the word bought which is the word for purchased. Now this goes further than the word master because a master is the one who purchases his servants, which is precisely how a house owner acquired a servant or slaves. In other words, a despot is someone who buys it and owns it. These false teachers are denying the Lord God Creator who made them and owns them. False teachers claim to be part of God’s household but refuse to submit to the Master of the house and His Word.
They deny their Sovereign Master in that they don’t obey Him and also in their teaching in adhering to falseness. They take away from God’s teaching and that means the Word of God is not the measure of what they teach which is not examined or tested. We also see that they deny their Master by their behavior and we’re going to see that next week. Their false teaching leads them to actually live a sinful life. They are living in contradiction to His life and teaching.
Actually the passage in Jude is good it says in Jude 1:4:
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
They deny Him by their behavior, teaching, and lack of obedience. That means they are not saved and don’t know Christ. They just know what Christianity can do and be marketed so they can make a lot of money. Now this brings me to one last thing this morning that is found in 2 Peter 2:1:
Bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
The third thing is that false teachers bring certain imminent judgment upon themselves. So the destiny of false teachers and those who follow them is destruction. Their teachings are destructive to others and now that destruction comes back on them as they deny the coming judgment and stress how long the world has continued as it is. It says in 2 Peter 3:4:
And saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
Now in Scripture it says that these teachers are going to be judged and under God’s condemnation. They actually already are! In the Old Testament when false teachers were called out and identified, they were killed on the spot. That doesn’t happen today. But it doesn’t mean that God will not judge them, it just means that God is tarrying. Their judgment is imminent, which means that it is long having over their heads. Just because they are not judged right now, doesn’t mean they are not marked for this condemnation, as I just read in Jude.
The Lord is just laying out judgment for the rest of those who are not yet saved. Look at 2 Peter 3:15:
And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you.
See God is tarrying and patient because He’s bringing in the rest of His sheep with the true gospel of Jesus Christ. But judgment is coming and it will take place. So what are we to do from now until then? Well by way of application we are to call these people out and warn others who are possibly influenced by people like Joel Osteen. These people are very popular and write many books who are the most sold in Christian bookstores. We are to warn people to not get involved in their teaching which leads to destruction.
Secondly we are to separate from false teachers and help people who are already involved to separate. We can’t dabble in false teaching. It says in Ephesians 4:14-15:
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming but speaking the truth in love.
The last truth is to speak the truth in love and grow in Jesus Christ. That’s how the epistle ends! It says in 2 Peter 3:18:
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The great thread that is before us and the way we fight against it is to grow ourselves in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that you are growing in it. Next time we look at this passage, we’ll look at the next things that are mentioned, which include threats to the church. There are three more we have to talk about next time.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You today for Your Word. Lord, I must admit that preaching is hard. All of us have issues as your people and none of us are perfect. I pray, Lord, even as we look at these Scripture that look at false teachers, I pray that You would convict when we think the wrong things and are not accurately handling the Word of God. Correct us in the things we are doing in our lifestyles that are not what we are supposed to do. I just pray You would always make us sensitive to examine not only what we think and what we are receiving as the Word of God, but also how we’re living. You change us and make us new. Part of that newness is not only thinking but also in behavior. We are to be speaking on behalf of the Lord in a proper and holy matter. Take these things, Lord, and convict us of them. Allow us to use the Word of God accurately and be ready for the thread that s all around us. I pray in Christ’s Name, Amen.