By Jim Randall
One aspect of knowing God’s will is recognizing true and false teaching. The Bible teaches us not to be deceived because our enemy can appear as an Angel of Light. Something may look and sounds good but is it really from God.
When I met my wife, she was the head bookkeeper at a local bank. As we got to know each other better, we talked about our work. Each of us enjoyed our jobs but knew that eventually, we would serve the Lord full time. One day, as we talked about her job as a banker, the subject of counterfeit money came up. I asked her how they trained people to identify counterfeit money. She said it was easy to spot counterfeit currency. She told me that when a new bank teller is trained to do their job, they are told to study and learn what the real thing looks and feels like. They do not study counterfeits but the real thing because there can be so many variations of counterfeit money. The bank tellers become so familiar with the real thing that any slight difference will alert them that it is not real.
Many Christians are warned so often about false teaching that they automatically reject anything they have not heard before, regardless of whether it is scriptural or not. The Apostle Paul tells us that when he traveled to Greece, that he encountered believers in the city of Berea. Paul mentions the Bereans as being more noble than others he had met on his journeys because they checked the Word of God daily to verify if what He was saying was true.
As Christians, we are often taught to be afraid of false teaching or signs and wonders that may be new to us. While it is good to be cautious of things that may be new to us, we should not reject these things outright but rather check it with the whole counsel of the Word of God, like the Bereans, to see if it is true or not.
As mature Christians, we should be so acquainted with the written Word of God that anything that comes along that does not measure up will stand out immediately. Let me caution that sometimes there can be a huge difference between our traditions and what the Word of God teaches that may not have been our personal experience.
Two things are important to remember. First, Know the Word of God so thoroughly that any teaching or action which does not measure up will be immediately identified as false, like counterfeit money. Secondly, our enemy does not counterfeit what is not real. If you are unsure, don’t automatically reject it but study like the Bereans to see if it is true or real.
Lastly, please note that one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is “discerning of spirits.” God gave that gift to the church because we need it, like all the other gifts. The Holy Spirit will cause you to be aware of false teachers. (see Romans 8:16). Some people may not be false teachers but only teaching out of ignorance of lack of knowledge of the full counsel of the Word of God. (Acts 18:24-26). However, God’s Holy Spirit will supernaturally give us the ability to discern the difference between His Spirit and an angel of light if we only ask. (II Corinthians 11:14).
We need not be afraid of false teaching, but we need to study to show yourself approved, a workman who is rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (II Timothy 2:15)
*For more resources from the ALLC on ‘being spiritually led’, click here.