I recently had a dream. In that dream, I looked up and saw the belly of a plane in the sky. My vantage point then shifted to inside the plane.
The door of the plane was open, and a person hurriedly handed out parachute backpacks to a group of skydivers who stood near the door.
The backpacks looked identical – the same material, the same colour, and the same size.
I watched as one skydiver jumped, and after some time, the person opened his parachute. Then another skydiver did the same.
The next person made the same jump, but when that person tried to open their parachute in mid-air, it would not open. They tried, and tried. The person reached a critical moment in their descent, and they could not get it to work.
Theirs was a faulty backpack.
At that moment, where my own heart was pounding from witnessing this terrifying scene, I heard a booming voice speak two words that echoed all around me:
With those words ringing in my ear, I awoke, shocked by what I had seen.
Over the next number of days and weeks as Quinton and I prayed about the dream, we began to understand that the Lord had shown me a profound analogy to describe the consequences of false teaching.
A Sign of the Times
There are many prominent signs all around the Earth that we are living in the days that the Word of God describes as the end times. The Word also repeatedly warns us about false prophets, false teachers and false teaching. Jesus and the Apostles described these people as fierce wolves who come to lead many astray by creating deceitful and destructive myths and contradictions to the sound doctrine that has been taught about Christ (See Acts 20:29, Romans 16:17-18, and Matthew 24:11).
Deception can be subtle and can cause many, even the most faithful and astute, to stumble. Consider the Apostle Paul’s account of discovering that two of his counterparts were deceived. Paul so plainly described his personal reaction; he opposed Apostle Peter “to his face.” Paul emphasized that “even” Apostle Barnabas had been led astray. Paul specifies that he chose to confront them concerning this matter when he “saw that their conduct was not in step with the Truth of the gospel.” (Read the full account of this incident in Galatians 2:11-14.)
False teachers twist the Truth of the gospel and it may be difficult to decipher the difference. In the above-mentioned dream, the backpacks that were handed out to the group of skydivers were all identical in appearance. It was not until the skydivers needed for it to be functional at that critical moment in mid-air that one of the skydivers discovered that their backpack lacked substance.
When that skydiver’s life depended on it, they discovered that their backpack that was supposed to contain a parachute, was utterly useless and rendered them without the proper equipment to finish their skydive well.
This is a word of warning that we should not accept any and all teaching, no matter how well it is packaged or delivered to us.
False teaching may appear as though it is trustworthy doctrine, but such teaching will not be able to provide a firm foundation upon which you can, for instance, weather life’s curveballs and storms. If any teaching is not based upon the Solid Rock Himself, who is Jesus Christ, then it is based on other ground that is sinking sand; just as the classic hymn reminds us.
In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, we are warned of a time “when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made frictions [and will accept the unacceptable].” We are certainly living in those aforementioned times.
There are many contradictory messages that people are using to convince the masses these days, that attempt to dilute and devalue the precious and powerful work that Our Lord Jesus did for humanity through His death and resurrection.
A few tell-tale signs of deceitful teachings are as follows:
- promoting a lukewarm approach to faith;
- easing one’s conscience by condoning sin instead of detesting it;
- teaching from life experience that does not align with the Word of God;
- adapting the gospel to suit culture;
- sugarcoating ancient ideologies and rituals that are rooted in practices that do not honour God; and
- glorifying oneself instead of God alone.
And if you are curious to know about the judgment of God that awaits those who spread false teachings, take a moment to read 2 Peter 2:1-22.
How to Remain on Guard
So, how can we steer clear of false teachings?
- Pray and cry out for discernment.
We read the importance of praying for discernment in Proverbs 2:1-5:
“1 My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.”
Walking with the Lord and relying on Him completely will undoubtedly help us to discern, maintain our guard, and detect deception. Ask the Holy Spirit, Our Helper, to be the filter that will guard your heart from deception.
- Abide in Christ and remain in the anointing.
We must learn to remain in Christ and the protection that He grants us through the anointing. In 1 John 2:26-27, we read that abiding in Christ and in His anointing will prevent us from being deceived:
“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you….and teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie — just as it has taught you, abide in Him.
- Turn to the Word of God
The Bible will help you to know the Truth and grow in discernment. To know what is false, we must first know what is true.
- Incline your ear to the wisdom of Godly leaders
In Matthew 7:15-16, Jesus tells us that we can recognize false prophets and teachers by their fruit. Godly leaders also can be recognized by their fruit. They rely on the Holy Spirit as they teach the Word of God to people, and they also practice what they preach. They lead a life that honours the Lord and they submit to those who are in authority over them as their covering. If you have a question about something that you have heard or read, and where it stands in terms of sound doctrine, approach your pastor or church leaders and they will be able to help you determine whether it aligns with the Word of God. Proverbs 11:14 states that “…in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety.”
- Test everything and hold on to the good
I repeat: “Test everything!” First Thessalonians 5:21 presents to us the quality assurance audit we must undertake with everything we hear or see before we receive it into our heart. Once again, continue to ask the Holy Spirit to help you to walk in discernment and according to the Word of God. As He is the Spirit of Truth, He will faithfully lead us to know the Truth.
When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all Truth…
We trust that this blogpost has provided you with insight on how to remain on guard in your journey. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.