Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Danger of False Teaching

By John MacArthur


The effects of false teaching have been devastating and damning. That is why the Bible calls them damnable, or destructive heresies which lead men to destruction. And I believe that as we get closer to the coming of Christ, these deceptions, lies and falsehoods, misrepresentations will increase.

Now any servant of the Lord then must be aware of false teachers. Any servant of the Lord must be warned about lies.

That is why in Acts 20 the Apostle Paul for three years night and day with tears warned the believers in Ephesus and the leaders in Ephesus of those who would come from among them and from outside of them with lies.

The issue of false teaching is not isolated to the section we're looking at now. In fact in the first epistle of Timothy in chapter 1, chapter 4 and chapter 6 it's a major theme. In 2 Timothy in chapter 1, chapter 3, and chapter 4 it's a major theme as well as here in chapter 2. It then becomes incumbent upon any of us who is a servant of Jesus Christ in the church to be very much aware that we are set for the defense of the truth, that part and parcel of what we exist to do is to save people from drowning in the sea of deceit which Satan propagates.

Part of Paul's challenge then to young Timothy is to get him to hold the truth and then to pass the truth to the next generation, to avoid the insidious and debilitating and damning influence of false teachers and false teaching. And as I said a moment ago, I believe that the stream, the polluted corrupt vile and filthy stream of false teaching is deeper and wider than it's ever been in human history because it's cumulative.

Denials of the trinity, denials of the deity of Jesus Christ, denials of the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, denials of the salvation by grace alone through faith which God has provided, counterfeit gospels, false ideas of true spirituality, misrepresentations of the character, nature and work of God, misrepresentations of the character, nature and work of Christ, misrepresentations of the character, nature and work of the Holy Spirit abound. There are a myriad of people espousing all kinds of lies in the name of God's truth.

And from verse 14 to 19 he tells them to avoid false teaching and gives them a handful of reasons why...why.

First of all, because it...follow ruins the hearers, verse 14, "Solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers."

The first thing you want to realize about false teaching is it ruins those who listen to it. Let me go back for a moment to the word "solemnly charged." Again it has the idea of a constant reminder and a constant command. Constantly reminding them of their positive duty and constantly warning them to stay away from false teaching. The warning is serious because of the use of the verb diamarturomai, it has to do with a solemn command. But it's made even more serious by the next phrase, "Solemnly charge them in...whose presence?...the presence of whom?...of God."

The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of having done something dishonorably...shame. Anyone who propagates any false teaching ought to be ashamed and has reason to face God and be ashamed. This has reference over the shame that we have for the work we have done when it's inspected by God. In other words it's worthy of condemnation, not commendation.

Let me put it simply. Anyone who misrepresents, who misinterprets, who ignores or distracts from God's Word by giving false teaching or confusing people with useless human reason has cause to be ashamed no matter how many degrees you have, or how many PhD.s or how erudite you think you are, if you violate the Word of God or misrepresent its glorious truth, you have every reason to stand before God in shame. And you should feel painfully the consciousness of having done something dishonorably, and that is mishandling God's precious Word. So the issue here is that it shames the one who teaches it. So he says in verse 15, "Be diligent..." That's the first principle.

How do you avoid being a shameful teacher? How do you avoid being ashamed before the Lord? First of all, be diligent. I know the Authorized version says "study" but that's really not the word, the word spoudazo means to give diligence, to give maximum effort, to give persistent zeal, to do your best, to be eager. Simply put it this way, make a maximum effort...make a maximum effort.

You know how you avoid being a shameful teacher? By making a maximum effort. This verse is close to my heart, you know that. And I think being a teacher that is not ashamed starts with making a maximum effort. You have to give your whole life to it. That's why 1 Timothy 5:17 says, "The elder who labors in the Word and doctrine is worthy of double honor." It's a labor.It's a work to the point of sweat and exhaustion. It demands a maximum effort. It demands a commitment to excellence.

End quote.

Consider these words in light of what John Piper has been doing for years including lately with Rick Warren.

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