There is a Farmer’s Market Stand in a town nearby that advertises local produce. When I drive by I love seeing the big, green watermelons, the plump, juicy strawberries, and the colorful, bell peppers, supposedly all grown locally. However, the other day, as we were driving by, my daughter told me that twice now a friend of hers had witnessed the workers taking big boxes of Dole strawberries and putting them into unmarked boxes, so as to make the strawberries look like they were locally grown, when they really weren’t. Buying locally grown produce is very important to some people so this farce seemed to be a very deceitful tactic to get more business.
I don’t buy often at this stand, but I know that I trusted their sign and never would have guessed that they are not actually selling what they advertise. Buyer, beware!
But this practice is not only limited to fruit stands. We see it in car sales and on e-bay and countless other places. And the Bible tells us it will even be in our churches! I think of the Bible’s instruction to beware false teachers, who, if possible, could deceive even the very elect. That means that the messages they bring are filled with words that make us feel good. They preach prosperity and health. They preach that there is no hell. They preach that anyone can go to heaven and that Jesus is just one way of many. They appeal to our human sense of fairness and to our selfish desires.
But if their message doesn’t match God’s Word, then they are not genuine Christians teachers and pastors. Just like the red, yummy strawberries aren’t genuine, locally grown produce, so the false teachers may be appealing and wonderful, and yet not truly be what they say they are.
It is our job to test each teacher we give our ear to. This includes the messages we hear in sermons, in the music we listen to, and the books we read. Let’s harken unto the Word of God and test each message we hear.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.