It could be their hair, dyed orange and done in a Mohawk. It could be their clothes, super tight pants on a larger man, or a T-shirt with a witty one liner. Or it could be their smile, their make up or one of a thousand other things.
Other times, it isn’t the person that stands out so much as it is the stuff they have that draws in attention. Tourists stick out because they are carrying around cameras. Clergy stick out in a crowd because they are usually wearing white collars or carrying a Bible.The gentlemen that I meet stuck out not because of how he looked or how his truck looked.
What caused him to stick out, and what caused me to believe that he was a false teacher or prophet were 3 unique things. 3 things that can be seen or heard from most false teachers and prophets. 3 things that are destructive and damaging, because they completely contradict the teachings of Jesus.
1. The core of their “faith” has no LOVE.
Now, at the start this gentleman seemed like he was on the level. He talked to me about Jesus, saying He was/is the Son of God. He told me that there was only one way to Heaven. He even mentioned that we as Christians need to be more purposefully missional in everything we do. We need to be going to work and living lives in our homes where our faith is acted out practically and effectively. All that seemed pretty good.
Then he proceeded to go on a rant about the hatred that he had for Middle Eastern people, especially those of the Islamic religion. He hated them because they were destroying his country and abusing his freedoms. He said they were going to bring about the destruction of modern democracy. He spoke of how these people were murdering children and women in the name of their god. He mentioned pedophilia and slavery as a normal act in this religion. All that they did, actually or speculatively, he hated. A pure, raw, fervent hate for these people.
That is not what Jesus taught.
See what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV)
Christians may not agree with another religion and call them wrong. We may disagree with other Christians about doctrines and live out our faith differently.
But we are never called to hate. We are called to love.
A false teacher or a false prophet will not preach love.
2. The core of their “faith” has no GRACE.
This gentleman continued to talk about what he believed, what his ministry was all about. I did him the courtesy of telling me everything, uninterrupted. At one point, he said something along these lines:
“WE HAVE TO WORK AT BEING GOOD SO THAT GOD/JESUS WILL TAKE US UP TO HEAVEN.”
As soon as he said that my spirit jumped up and down screaming, “NO! That is not right!” This man was going around the community preaching a gospel of works based salvation. That we had to earn our way to Heaven, somehow through Jesus.
That is not what Jesus taught.
Paul shared this truth in the letter to believers in Ephesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Some false teachers and prophets may not be so blatant in their declaration of anti-grace faith. Sometimes this fact is told in a very subtle way. They may discuss our need to be righteous, how we should be striving for holiness and perfection at all times. Righteousness, holiness and perfection are not wrong or bad things to strive for. But these things are not achieved through our own means.
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
It is by grace through faith in Jesus that we are saved, that we are made righteous and holy.
Anyone telling you differently may be preaching a false gospel.
3. The core of their teaching has no FORGIVENESS.
After his proclamation of hatred for the Middle Eastern people, and more specifically the Islamic religion, this gentleman went to take about a solution to the “problem.”
“They should all be killed,” he said. Or at the very least, shipped off, back to their own country.
He had absolutely no desire to be near them, or have them in his home country at all.
He did not want anything to do with them, yet said that they need to know the truth at the same time. As contradictory as his statements were, I could tell that there was a giant undertone to all he was saying.He wanted them to know the truth, but he was going to hold them responsible for all the evil they had done forever.Even if they came to a faith in Jesus, he would not forgive them for what they had allegedly done.
That is not even close to the truth that Jesus shared.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:12-15)
To preach and promote hatred, to be filled with disgust towards these people was a sign that this man was bound up in unforgiveness. Towards to Muslim communities or other people.
Regardless of who it may be, to speak of this violent unforgivness as the way things ought to be is not found in the pages of Scripture. Quite the opposite, actually.
It is promoting a false doctrine, making its promoters false teachers and prophets.
To be more clear, I am not making an argument for the Islamic faith. I am only sharing this with you so that you may be able to see those who are blinded by false teachings and avoid an unbiblical truth.
I do not believe as the Muslims do, but that does not mean that I should treat them with the malice that this man spoke of.
Rather, I should, we Christians should show and preach love, grace and forgiveness. Just as Jesus taught.
Now it’s time to hear from you.
Have you ever encountered a false teacher or false prophet?
How did you know they were?
Let me know in the comment section.
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