How to Recognize False Teaching
- 2017 May 19
Hello Beloved! Throughout the New Testament we find multiple warnings against false teaching. False teaching is any teaching that does not align with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is this type of teaching that leads us further from God and not closer to Him no matter how religious it looks. So today in our study of Galatians we learn key signs to look for to discern if a teaching is false. You’ll also learn what to do if you find yourself under false teaching and how to avoid false teaching altogether.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the truth of your Gospel and the freedom it brings. I pray for the discernment to know what is false and what is true. I love You. In Jesus Christ Name I pray. Amen.
Read Today’s Message
One of the major reasons Paul is writing this letter to the Galatians is that they have encountered false teachers who have told them their faith and God’s grace is not enough for salvation. So far in our study we’ve learned how easy it is for any of us to fall into this thinking, and start trying to work for our salvation. So I want to take some time today and help you to be able to recognize false teaching because unfortunately, it’s still very prevalent today.
The first thing that you’ll recognize in any false teaching is that it leads you to become more dependent on the teacher and less dependent on Christ. It’s very controlling and not freeing like the gospel of Jesus Christ is. In today’s scripture, Paul shares with us about the false teachers that the Galatians have encountered:
“Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.” – Galatians 4:17 (NIV)
A false teacher will build you up, not to grow your relationship with the Lord, but to grow your loyalty to them. It’s all about them and their ego and what they can get from you to build themselves up, not the Kingdom of God. So they will tell you what you want to hear, even if it does not align with God’s truth. It will seem like they want to help and care about you because they are telling you all these good things. But true love does not tell you what you want to hear. True love tells you the truth. False teachers will lure you with flattery, and they will speak to the desire of your flesh more so than the things of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ that gives all honor to Him and not our works.
Now this is where it gets tricky because false teaching will look really religious. As we see with the Galatians, they were told to do all these religious things in order to be saved. But the true teaching of Jesus Christ focuses on the finished work of Christ and not what we can do for Him.
If you have found yourself under false teaching, my advice is to remove yourself from that situation. If you have the opportunity and feel safe, let them know why you’re leaving and why you believe their teaching is false. If they’re unwilling to change, you’re going to have to dust your hands off and find a good Bible-teaching church that stays true to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Because this is such a sensitive situation to be in, that leaves many people jaded, feeling taken advantage of, and used, I encourage you to allow yourself some time for healing, but I would not say cut God off. Don’t turn from Jesus because someone else decided to misuse His Word and gospel for selfish gain; instead, seek Him for yourself.
When Jesus died on the cross He opened the door for everyone to know Him personally. When you accept Him as your Lord and Savior, you receive the Holy Spirit to help guide you in your walk with Him. That means you don’t need another person, a formal education, or recognition from man to seek God and know Him for yourself.
Now, I do strongly believe in joining a local church, but I also believe in seeking the Lord for yourself and not always relying on someone else to pray for you, understand God’s Word, and hear from God. God wants a personal relationship with you, not some secondhand relationship through someone else.
So, as a quick review, false teachers:
- Want you to be dependent on them, not dependent on Christ.
- Are not focused on Jesus’ finished work on the cross, but on our works.
- Use flattery to build loyalty only for the purpose of building themselves up.
- Tell people what they want to hear, even if it means not telling the truth.
I hope this week’s video brings you clarity and a deeper desire to seek God on a more intimate and personal level. Now I want to hear from you today, Beloved. Please comment and let me know: have you ever encountered any false teaching, and how did it affect your relationship with God? Let’s chat more in the comments!
If you enjoyed today’s message be sure to share it with a friend because you never know who might need some Beloved encouragement today. I post new encouragement every week so be sure join Beloved to have my weekly devotion “Hello Beloved!” delivered directly to your inbox. As always, thank you so much for reading and until next time be beautiful, be blessed and beloved.
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Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.