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Three Characteristics of False Teachers

May 21, 2020

There will be false teachers among you. 2 Peter 2:1 (NIV)

Second Peter 1 describes genuine believers. Second Peter 2 describes counterfeit believers. Put these chapters side by side, and you will see the difference between authentic and counterfeit believers.

1. Different Source. (Where does the message come from?)
Peter says “We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:16). Then he says the false teachers exploit you “with stories they have made up” (2:3). The true teacher sources what he says from the Bible, the false teacher relies on his own creativity. He makes up his own message.

2. Different Message. (What is the substance of the message?)
For the true teacher, Jesus Christ is central. We have “everything we need for life and godliness” in Him (1:3). For the false teacher, Jesus is at the margins: “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them” (2:1). It’s rare for someone in church to openly deny Jesus. Movement away from Him is subtle. Listen carefully to what the false teacher is saying, and you will see that Jesus is not essential to his message.

3. Different Position. (In what position will the message leave you?)
The true Christian “escape[s] the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (1:4). Listen to how Peter describes the counterfeit Christian: “They promise… freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity, for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2:19). Two very different dynamics are at work here. The true believer is escaping corruption, while the counterfeit believer is mastered by it.

Thank God for the faithfulness you see in your leaders/teachers.


The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the President and Teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



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