False Teachers: You Will Know Them by Their Fruit

December 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM 9 comments

The always present wolf in sheep's clothing

The always present wolf in sheep’s clothing

by Fred DeRuvo

Another way to think of it is that you will know false teachers by how they live.

Since shortly after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, there have been false prophets who glibly talk of God as if they – and they alone – have His ear. They preach a mixture of truth with lies, using religious subterfuge to sweet talk their way into the hearts of those who follow them.

In Matthew 24, Jesus preached His Olivet Discourse and because of it, the disciples had questions about the end, about His return, and any signs that they should look for to determine the season. Jesus’ response to them in verse 3 through 8 is telling.

[3] And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

[4] And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

[5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

[6] And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

[7] For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

[8] All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Notice in verse 8 that Jesus says the list He just provided simply meant that the time He classified as “sorrows” was merely in the beginning stages.

In verse 5, Jesus specifically points out that there will be people who will claim to be Him and will deceive many (v. 4). They will do this with the way they talk, the things they seem to be able to do, and the way they itch the ears of those listening and caught up in the sham.

Peter speaks of another type of person who will become even more prevalent as time marches toward the end than they were in his day.

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;

3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

The above section of Scripture is from 2 Peter 2:1-3 and clearly cites the problem of heretical teachings presented by individuals who deliberately use lies to draw people to themselves. The question is why? The answer is found in the way they live.

These people seem to abound. Some of them are so familiar to us that they have become household names. On the surface, they appear to teach truth and it is only when we carefully examine what they teach that we are able to determine that at least some of what they teach is built firmly on a lie. This also might explain why people gravitate toward them and the teachers become extraordinarily wealthy, enjoying luxuries that most can only dream of having.

Unfortunately today, too many are unwilling to accept the fact that some of their favorite teachers are guilty of propagating false teaching. They have placed these teachers on pedestals and they feel they know them as a friend. It’s natural for them then to rise to their defense when someone else comes along and points out error.

On many levels, these teachers seem to be blessed by God because most are wealthy. But shouldn’t we take the time to truly investigate their teachings to ensure that truth is being taught? After all, if Paul was not offended when the Bereans compared what he taught with the Scriptures (Acts 17), then the teachers of today should not be either.

A compound fit for a queen

A compound fit for a queen

Where do these teachers spend their money earned from speaking engagements and book sales? The photo at right is an overhead shot of the compound of a compound in Missouri of a very well-known Bible teacher. This link provides more information about what you are looking at.

Why does this person need this much space, this much house, a pool that size and guest homes to boot? Notice at the link above, you’ll learn that the additional homes are all owned by the Bible teacher in question, but the sons/daughters and their spouses live in these homes. The homes are all owned by the ministry itself and all expenses related to each home (landscaping, lawn care, repair, upgrades, etc.) are paid for by the ministry.

How does any of this bring glory to God? I cannot see that it does. The emphasis is on material possessions for this family and the extended family.

As far as I’m concerned, I don’t even have to dig deeply into this person’s teachings to know whether or not truth is being taught. However, when I do, I learn that this person has taught that we are little gods, that there is power in the use of certain words in prayer, and other questionable doctrines that are spoon fed to millions of people worldwide. Here is merely one source that provides evidence for us.

Yet, in spite of this, people continue to send a great deal of money each year to this ministries. Why is this? Simply put, it is because people too often lack the basic ability to discern the truth. They don’t know God’s Word and because of that, they have nothing that helps them counteract the false teaching that they are taught. The foundation of these ministries is not built on God’s truth.

I do not believe that we have a right to live like kings on this earth. There will come a day when we will reign with Christ, but that day is not yet. How can we in good conscience use so much money (provided through a “ministry”) on ourselves? How is it that the Holy Spirit would let that go? This is not to say that the Lord might choose to bless a ministry with lots of money, but what should the money be used for? Shouldn’t it go toward the spreading of His gospel of grace? It’s not wrong to be rich. It’s wrong to use riches to satisfy your own needs, especially when that money was deliberately donated to a ministry.

Too many false teachers give themselves away today by the way they live and on money that was ostensibly given to them for the purpose of spreading the gospel. It is not right. In fact, it is unconscionable. They should be giving away at least some of their books. They should be flying coach, not first class or on their own private jets. They should live in modestly priced homes. After all, the money they are using for these things was donated to them.

Jesus succinctly stated, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” in Matthew 7:15. Their purpose is to deceive. They only appear to be gentle and honest as part of the deception. They ravenously seek your money to satisfy their own selfish desires.

This type of lifestyle is usually the product of someone who teaches lies. We need to keep that in mind as we attempt to determine whether or not the evangelist in question is preaching truth or falsehoods. Even if you cannot discern whether their teachings are true or false, shift your gaze to their lifestyle. That may tell you everything you need to know about them.

Entry filed under: Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology.

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  • 1. Lester  |  December 13, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many……….. People with itchy ears Fred!
    In context Jesus is saying that many will come in His name and nature proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ! This is a very dangerous place to be. Usurping Father! Making merchandise of God’s people!
    You have said it correctly Fred, $$$$$$$ gospels are the most false teachings in our world today. Jesus came to make us rich in Spirit and Truth. He became poor in descending into this flesh realm down from the glory He had with our Father. He was not necessarily poor in this earth and the family of Joseph may have been contractors that built Roman towns and may also have worked on the temple in Jerusalem.
    However he became poor again when he put away his tools and ended his earthly profession walking down to the river Jordan (the river of death) and rising up out of the water with all the fullness of Father’s spirit. The rest is HIStory. We must also be ready to hear the Word of Father from a different point of view than some of our outdated man made doctrines that bring false hopes and religious spirits.
    Discernment in the Holy Spirit is the only way. Not all of us can live up to all the fruits of the spirit and that is where the Lord comes in, helping our un-belief. Sherry, keep on moving from glory to glory learning and discerning unto that perfect day!

    • 2. modres  |  December 14, 2013 at 6:29 AM

      Thanks Lester.

  • 3. Richard M Nixon (Deceased)  |  December 13, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

  • 4. idiotwriter  |  December 13, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    So wonderful that if we just believe God enough and listen to him enough that we will all be bale to have lavish lifestyles! So darn superficial! I don’t think it is inherently ‘bad’ to have a little bit of comfort; go on a holiday occasionally etc…but my goodness…can we be made to feel inadequate in our faith because we don’t get from God what we pray for on a materialistic level? So many scripture are misquoted and taken out of context by SO many folk who are TRULY seeking God – and are being led astray – it makes me ILL. I WAS ONE – there was always something that did not feel right…

    BUT – if you TRY gently correct or point out the error to the followers of this ‘gospel’ – you get the whole ‘I am believing for my miracle speech’ and are accused of not having faith. So very sad. I wonder what more of a miracle would we like than what God already gave us through His beloved son???????

    Was it not enough?

    THIS what you have written is a passion VERY close to my heart and I KNOW my call –

    WE WILL set the record straight. The representation of believers this ‘movement’ gives – and the deception and MASS following is to be stopped –

    Thank you for the article.

    • 5. modres  |  December 13, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      Last night, I heard Pastor John Hagee say that those who bless Israel, God will bless FINANCIALLY.

      It’s ridiculous, yet too many follow that belief system. It doesn’t square one iota with Jesus’ life, but that doesn’t matter to many who, as you say, follow teachers who constantly rip things out of context.

      • 6. idiotwriter  |  December 13, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        – it makes me feel – how does one say – angry? It is misrepresentation of God and His nature.

  • 7. Sherry  |  December 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Thanks for loving the brethren enough to warn us. On your “…saying, I am He…” commentary, I also discovered that many false teachers will say thart Jesus is He but they will distort His ministry. Like the false teacher you were talking about in this post teaches that Jesus was born again in hell. She is nothing but a christianized psychology teacher and, believe me, I know how she made me feel miserable because I could not get relief from depression following her methods! As soon as I dumped her like yesterday’s trash, I felt the depression leave instantly. Like a weight off of my shoulders.

    BTW, her books, as well as many others I had, soon became recyclables. My bookshelves were emptied and I am still finding more authors who are, at best, questionable. Many true teachers and preachers are falling for ecumenicalism and new age spirituality these days corrupting themselves and their teachings. We need to be discerning lest we come to be shipwrecked in the faith. Stick to the simplicity of the Gospel! No more spiritual exercises that cannot be found in scriptures.

    God bless you!

    • 8. modres  |  December 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Thanks for your comments, Sherry. The person you and I are both referring to has some interesting beliefs, to say the least! It’s as if these people need to come up with something unique or slightly different before someone will really follow them.

      Of course, their teachings always have something to do with what people ultimately want to hear. I suppose that’s why Satan was successful in the Garden of Eden. Our first parents weren’t satisfied with the small limitation God placed on them and wanted someone to tell them that it was okay to do what they wanted to do.

      This – in my opinion – is what makes false teachers so palatable to the masses. They preach a type of rebellion that gives people reason to believe they are still following God but in a “new” way.

      I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of it as time goes on.

      Glad you got rid of the books, but next time the Lord leads you to toss out books or study aids, ask Him if it’s all right to send them to me so that I can use them in my research, will you? 🙂

      He protects me from the doctrines of hell because I’m using them to cite the actual worthless teachings in instructing others.

      Have a blessed day and as we approach the real reason for the season, may He open your eyes in ever-increasing measure to know just how blessed you are in Him, Sherry!

  • 9. Sherry  |  December 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Reblogged this on The Christian Gazette and commented:
    Some of you who participate in this blog are following these false teachers. You are struggling in one way or another. In this age of internet there is no excuse not to use your favorite search engine to find out about your beloved teachers!
    FTA: Yet, in spite of this, people continue to send a great deal of money each year to these* ministries. Why is this? Simply put, it is because people too often lack the basic ability to discern the truth. They don’t know God’s Word and because of that, they have nothing that helps them counteract the false teaching that they are taught. There is no foundation (or a false foundation)** in their life at all where truth is concerned.
    *minor editing
    **my add due to that being why I was deceived

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