Christians need to be on their guard and watching out for bad teaching; that is why it is important for us to be reading the Bible ourselves. We are not just to trust all of the teaching we hear, but we are to test it; but how can we do that unless we are familiar with the Bible? I John 4:1 tells us “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” There are many bad teachers who claim to be teaching the word of God, but they are not. We will not know that unless we are familiar with the Bible ourselves. We do not have an excuse to not be familiar with the Bible. Many centuries ago, many people were not literate, they could not read. But even if they could, there were not very many Bibles to read from, so they had an excuse. But today, most people are literate; the Bible has been translated into all the major languages of the world and many of the minor languages. For us in the English speaking world, there are several translations of the Bible into English. So we no longer have that excuse.
One thing that we need to make sure that we are getting is the full counsel of God; are we getting taught everything or just a portion of what God wants us to know? There are several Pastor/teachers who only want to teach us of the goodness of God. How our faith will get us nice things or how God just wants to bless us because we belong to Him. But Jesus started His ministry by teaching the repentance of sins. Everyone has sin in their lives that we need to be repenting of, and we need to make the changes in our lives to get rid of them and to live the good life that God intended. In Hebrews 10 we read “26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” We need to turn our back on sin and try to live the righteous lives that God wants of us, of which we can only do through God’s help. There are many Christians who don’t read the Bible for themselves, but depend upon what they are taught in church. But several Pastor/teachers don’t seem to bring our sin to any emphasis in their ministry, which would tend to let people think that they can keep on sinning because they have a God who will forgive everything. Some teachers feel that their calling is to only inform people of the good teachings from the Bible, or about our faith. Many Pastors & teachers want people to like them and do not want to offend people. They think that if people hear this part of God’s truth that they will turn away from God, or will turn away from these teachers. But by not warning people about this harsher part that is found in God’s word, they are not adequately preparing people to meet God. We need to have Pastors and teachers who not only teach us about the nicer lessons from the Bible, but also not be afraid to sometimes remind us of the tougher lessons about God’s judgments too. After all, we do find in Hebrews 10 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Another passage warns us that we will have false teachers amongst us; Peter warns us in 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophet among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” There are several so-called theologians and pastors who teach false doctrine. Several years ago a group of theologians called the ‘Jesus Seminar’ published a Bible in which they showed what words they believed that Jesus really spoke. It was not very many, the vast majority of the words of Jesus they attributed to being added. But they started with the premise that Jesus never did miracles, so they started out with the premise that these events could not have occurred. Therefore it was easy to conclude that Jesus never spoke those words. They are a group of false teachers who are leading people astray and not into the true teachings of the Bible. There are several teachers who do not believe that Jesus arose from the grave and other false teachings into the church.
Many mainline denominations focus more on social needs than to staying with the truth of the Bible. Whereas the church should be feeding the poor and taking care of people, we need to be Biblically based in all of our teachings. Many of these denominations allow homosexuals to serve as pastors. These denominations are not holding their leaders to Biblical standards, so how do they expect to have their people ready to meet the Lord as to the sin in their lives? People who are teachers and in leadership positions are more accountable to God for what they teach, so they need to be especially careful to make sure that they are teaching what God would have us to learn from the Bible. They need to make sure that the Word of God is being taught in truth. But instead, they allow the politically correct teachings to go forth instead. They think that culture is changing so the church needs to change along with it. But they miss Hebrews 13: 8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The Lord is not changing with the times. If He called something bad in the Old Testament, He called it bad in the New Testament, so it is still bad for us today. We need to have good teaching from the pulpit that says that sin is bad and that we need to repent of it so we can stand before God. The Bible doesn’t say that we are saved because we naturally good, so God accepts us as we are. Instead, that after we have accepted Jesus into our lives as our Lord, that we need to allow God’s Holy Spirit to work inside our lives to make us more like Jesus.
This was about watching out for the teachings we receive about our sin and repenting of it; the next subject I want to touch is why we need to repent of our sins.