Editors note: this series of articles also appear in both the Sentinel Echo newspaper, Friday edition, weekly, London, KY and the Saturday edition of the Corbin Times-Tribune. They are a part of the teaching/evangelism efforts of the Mill Street church of Christ, 415 N. Mill St., London, KY.
Is your preacher a false teacher?
“…that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine…which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” - 1 Timothy 1:3, 6-7
The Bible “character profiles” a false teacher
In last week’s article there was a statement from the words of Alexander Campbell written in the year 1830, “exposing sin is what got our Savior killed”. Only when the true gospel (truth) is proclaimed will sin be exposed. Truth exposes error; it’s that simple. A false teacher will NOT do that in his preaching. He follows in the steps of Jeroboam, of whom we have used for a “character profile” to identify a false teacher today. Jeroboam was a false teacher because he changed God’s commands. This is still the criteria whereby one can properly be called a false teacher today.
There have always been false teachers for we read of Satan’s ministers who disguise themselves as ministers of light. The apostle Paul described them as follows: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
A false teacher behaves as Jeroboam. He follows the same progression in departing from the pattern that God has authorized. He makes things easy and convenient to gain a footing and popularity, (which is his motive). The apostle Paul spoke of those who preached out of false motives as follows: “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife...of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds...” (Phil. 1:15-16).
Truth will NOT be popular with most religious people, for truth calls upon people to change and conform to God’s pattern. Truth reveals your sin to you; exposing any and all evil in your life, while demanding of you to repent of it in order to be forgiven by God thru Christ. Whether you love sin or hate sin is shown in how you react to hearing the truth. Jesus taught, "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God" (John 3:19-21).
Jesus’ preached for the purpose of exposing sin: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22).
This was why Jesus was hated and killed...because he exposed man’s sin thru His teaching. This was commanded of Him by His heavenly Father.
Notice Jesus’ words on this matter from the following passages:
John 7:16 - “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.”
John 14:24 - “…the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”
Jesus taught the 12 apostles these words, with the command to preach them throughout the world, after His ascension. Notice from His prayer in John 17 of the specific and repeated references to the 12 apostles:
John 17:6 – “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”
John 17:8 – “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them...”
John 17:14 – “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them...”
John 17:18 – “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”
John 17:20-21 – “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
The apostles were hated and persecuted for the same reason as Christ: exposing sin when they preached; calling upon men to repent and obey the commands God gave to them thru Christ.
This is why we appeal to all who preach today, to preach the same things as the apostles preached! They preached what Christ preached. Jesus taught the will of the Father to the apostles; they went “into all the world” and taught the same; being guided by God’s spirit. (see Jn. 14:25; 15:26; 16:13)
Notice how uniform teaching was from God to Christ…to the Holy Spirit…to the apostles… to our Bible (the written word):
The apostles Peter & John said:
Acts 4:20 - “for we (the apostles) cannot but speak of
what we have seen and heard.” (FROM JESUS)
The apostle Paul said:Rom. 2:16 - on that day when, according to my gospel,
God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.1 Cor. 14:37- the things I am writing to you are a
command of the Lord.
The apostle Paul said:Eph. 3:3-5 - “…the mystery was made known to me by
revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this,
you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
which was not made known to the sons of men in other
generations as it has now been revealed to his holy
apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
The apostle John said:1 Jn. 1:1-3- “that which was from the beginning,which
we (the 12) have heard,which we (the apostles) have
seen with our (the apostles) eyes, which we looked upon
and have touched with our (the apostles) hands,
concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest,
and we (the apostles) have seen it, and testify to it and
proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father
and was made manifest to us (the apostles) — that
which we (the apostles) have seen and heard we
(the apostles) proclaim also to YOU, so that YOU too
may have fellowship with us (the apostles); and indeed
our (the apostles) fellowship is with the Father and with
his Son Jesus Christ.”If all who preach today, would preach the same gospel as
Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the apostles did, there would be
only congregations of the SAME church – Christ’s church, the
church would wear the name of Christ collectively. Any
greetings from one church to another church would be the
same as in Romans 16:16, “The churches of Christ
salute you.”There would be true unity, and such unity among the saved
would be the most powerful drawing tool to those still lost
in sin, to come to Christ. Jesus said in a prayer that if the
same doctrine was preached in all churches, the world
would, “...believe that thou (the Father) hast sent me”
Do you desire what Christ prayed for? Do you believe that
such unity in doctrine/preaching can occur? If so, we
earnestly plead with you to unite with us in such an effort
to preach the same message as Christ and His apostles
preached. Does your preacher condemn/expose sin?
Does your preacher call upon you to repent and be baptized
for the remission of sin? Jesus did...the apostles did...and
all who preach here at Mill Street do. Why not visit with us
and see for yourself the difference in preaching when sin is
exposed, and lives are changed thru repentance and living
in submission to the will of Christ. You will see this
difference if you attend.