Today’s Scripture: II Peter 2:1-3
But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. 3 In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.
If we have learned anything from reading First and Second Peter and Jude it’s that the early church was VERY concerned with false teachers. To be honest I found myself wanting to just skim over these passages. I mean, do we really need to be warned about false teachers today? I get that early Christianity was beset with all kinds of strange ideas that needed to be weeded out. But this isn’t an issue today is it?
Unfortunately, while our issues are much different, we still need to be careful about what is taught in the name of Christ.
My purpose is not to call out all of examples of “false teaching” we see around today. For example, I’m not going to declare as “fake news” the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” which states that if you have enough faith, God will bless you with material wealth. But if I were going to call out these kinds of teachings then the Prosperity Gospel would be one of them. (See what I did there?)
There are of course other teachings that we could discuss. But my point is that yes, we still need to be careful of false teachers – even today.
So what do we do? How do we discern? I think we employ the Jesus Test.
We need to ask ourselves “Do I see Jesus in this teaching? Or do I see something or someone else?” So for example, if I hear a TV evangelist tell me that if I pray harder and send in a $100 check that God will bless me with a large bank account, then I need to ask “would Jesus say that?” Of course, the answer is no. Jesus talked about money and poverty a lot! But he never claimed that following him would get us rich.
If a teaching does not pass the “Jesus Test” – if it does not sound like anything Jesus would say – then you might just want to follow Peter’s advice and move along.
Holy Spirit, help us discern what is true and what is false. Give us the discernment we need to listen well and follow only the voice of Christ.
This Week’s Immerse Passages:
Week 5, Feb 1-7
Day 21 257-268 Mk 1:1-6:6
Day 22 268-279 Mk 6:6-10:52
Day 23 279-292 Mk 11:1-16:20
Day 24 293-301 1Pe 1:1-5:14
Day 25 303-310 2Pe 1:1-3:18; Jud