But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. 2 Peter 2:1
A recent trip with little preparation and no reservations resulted in a bedtime search for a hotel room. We stopped at all the nationally recognized hotel chains within our budget, and each receptionist informed us there were no rooms available. Everyone was tired and frustrated with going from one hotel to another.
Finally, we saw a nice sign in front of what appeared to be a newly remodeled hotel and decided to stop. We didn’t ask any questions when informed there was only a suite available, but had regrets once we managed to get the door open. Apparently this room had not yet been remodeled. Our nonsmoking room smelled like an ashtray. Furniture was broken, trash and dirty utensils lingered, and the sink backed up when the water was running. The beds were uncomfortable, and I didn’t dare check to see if the sheets were clean.
As we laughed about the differences in the appearance from the road and the sight from the door, I realized we must be even more selective about teachers of the Word. Unfortunately, there are some who mislead others because of their own misconceptions and some with intentions of deception. Matthew 24:5 says, “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ’, and will deceive many.” Jim Jones and David Koresh are just two examples of false teachers who on the surface appeared genuine, but deceived many.
We have the capability of receiving God’s Word from many different avenues such as TV, radio, internet, church, and friends or acquaintances. We need to closely examine the teachings all around us to be certain they correlate to the Bible. Matthew 24:11 says, “And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” People are often lured under the facade of church or friendship, yet when examined closely the ideas being taught do not match the word of God. Our Bibles are a necessay tool for determining the validity of all teaching we encounter. Its important to be familiar with scripture and why we believe what we do, so that we can recognize inaccuracies.
Matthew 7:15 warns, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Things are not always what they seem. Guard your heart against false teaching. Sometimes when we look at things, we don’t see what is really there. On first glance at an optical illusion, we only see a portion of the image. After looking more closely we are able to see the hidden image. If you look closely at the optical illusion above, you can see the word “JESUS”. Once you see “JESUS”, it becomes difficult to look at the illusion and not see it for what it is. God’s Word is the same. We should only see Jesus, not those delivering the message. If Jesus is not on the surface as well as buried deep within the message, we need to consider if it is truly of God.