The believer of today need to be informed that there may be, in the churches, many workers corrupt and distant from the truth, as the teachers of the law of God in the days of Jesus (Mt 24.11,24).
Mark 13:22: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets
shall show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the
Jesus warns here that not every person who professes Christ is a true believer and that today, not every evangelical writer, missionary, pastor, evangelist, teacher, deacon and other workers are what they claim to be.
(1) These workers “outwardly appear righteous unto men” (Mt 23:28). Appear “in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15). May even have a message firmly based on the Word of God and expose high standards of righteousness. May seem earnestly engaged in the work of God and his kingdom, show great interest in the salvation of the lost and professing love for all people. Appear to be great ministers of God, renowned spiritual leaders, anointed by the Holy Spirit. Can perform miracles, having great success and crowds of followers (see Matthew 7:21-23 notes; 24.11,24, 2 Corinthians 11.13-15).
(2) However, these men are similar to the false prophets of ancient times (Dt 13.3, 1 Kings 18:40 note; Ne 6:12, Jer 14:14, The 4:15, the Pharisees and the NT. Away from the crowds, in their particular life, the Pharisees delivered to the “prey and iniquity” (Matt. 23:25), “full of dead bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27), “full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matt. 23:28). His life in intimacy is marked by carnal lust, immorality, adultery, greed and satisfaction of selfish desires.
(3) In two ways, these impostors achieve a position of influence in the church.
(A) Some false teachers and preachers begin their ministry with honesty, truthfulness, purity, and genuine faith in Christ. Later, because of his pride and immoral desires, their personal dedication and love for Christ disappear slowly.
As a result, depart from the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10, Gal 5:19-21, Ephesians 5.5,6) and become instruments of Satan, disguised as ministers of righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 11:15).
(B) Other false teachers and preachers were never true believers. A service of Satan, they are in the church since the beginning of its activities (Mt 13.24-28,36-43).
Satan takes advantage of his skill and influence and promotes their success. The enemy’s strategy is to put them in positions of influence to undermine the authentic work of Christ. If discovered or unmasked, Satan knows that great harm will come to the gospel and that the name of Christ will be publicly belittled.
Fourteen times in the Gospels, Jesus warned the disciples to beware of deceptive leaders (Mt 7:15; 16.6,11, 24.4,24, Mark 4:24, 8:15, 12:38-40, 13:5; Luke 12:1; 17:23, 20:46, 21:8). Elsewhere, the believer is exhorted to test teachers, preachers and church leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 4:1).
Here are the steps to test false teachers and false prophets:
(1) Discerning the person’s character. She has a life of persevering prayer and demonstrates a sincere and pure devotion to God? Manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), love sinners (John 3:16), hates evil and loves righteousness (Heb 1:9) and speaks against sin (Matthew 23, Luke 3.18-20)?
(2) Discerning the motives of the person.
The true Christian leader will seek to do four things:
(A) honor Christ (2 Corinthians 8:23, Philippians 1:20);
(B) lead to the sanctification of the church (Acts 26:18, 1 Corinthians 6:18, 2 Corinthians 6:16-18);
(C) save the lost (1 Cor 9.19-22) and
(D) to proclaim and defend the gospel of Christ and his apostles (Phil. 1:16, Jude 3).
(3) Observe the fruits of the life and message of the person. The fruits of the false preachers commonly consist of followers who do not obey all the Word of God (Matt. 7:16).
(4) Discerning the extent to which the person is based in Scripture. This is a fundamental point. She believes and teaches that the original writings of the OT and NT are fully inspired by God, and that we should observe all of its teachings Otherwise, we may be sure that such a person and his message did not come from God.
(5) Finally, check the integrity of the person as the Lord’s money. She refused large sums to herself, manages all financial affairs with integrity and responsibility, and seeks to do God’s work according to the standards of the NT for Christian workers? (1 Tim 3:3; 6:9-10).
Despite all the faithful believer will do to evaluate the life and work of such people, shall not cease false teachers in the churches, which, with the help of Satan, lurk until God unmask and reveal what really are. ~Ibson