Last week, the battery stopped on one of our clocks. It was perpetually 10:47 in our master bathroom.
It’s always interesting to me the things the Lord uses to bring lessons into our lives, and last week he used our broken clock. I remembered the saying about broken clocks:
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
As soon as that thought crossed my mind, the Lord planted another…”it’s kind of like false teachers.”
It is sometimes right
Yep, that quote is completely accurate…even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And false teachers are right about some of the things they say. In fact, most false teachers quote the word of God frequently. But they also omit things. They twist things around. They take things out of context.
That is why we should be diligent in comparing everything to God’s word.
Out of Context
The thing about time is that it needs context to make sense. In order for that 10:47 to be accurate, we need the ticking away minute-by-minute. 10:47 in and of itself is meaningless unless it was preceded by 10:46.
Similarly, God’s word is not meant to be picked apart like a salad buffet. I see false teachers doing this all the time, particularly some “prosperity preachers.” They teach that God’s will is for you to be comfortable, happy, and wealthy. In order to come to these conclusions, they omit. They conveniently leave off the less comfortable parts of verses, and focus on the feel-good parts. The focus of these teachers is man. Everything is man-centered, and worldly. Just as the popular book promises, “Your best life now,” these teachings are focused on the temporal and not the eternal.
It’s Most Dangerous when it’s “almost” right
This is so important. Let’s say my clock stops at 11:47. I need to leave at 11:50 to be somewhere. It’s now 12:00, but I glance at my clock, unaware that it’s not working and see that it’s 11:47. As far as I know, I’m not late, I still have 13 minutes to go. Now, if it says 11:47 and I know it’s around 8 am, I can easily see it’s wrong. Likewise, if it says 11:47 and I know it’s around dinner time, I can easily see that it’s wrong. However, when it’s closest to the correct time, I may not be able to easily know that it’s wrong.
This is why false teaching is so dangerous. These teachers aren’t usually teaching something that is straight up obvious. Sometimes, it looks so much like the real thing that we can be deceived. Paul warns us repeatedly about the danger of being deceived by false doctrine. The Bible warns us of a time when people will turn to false teaching in droves:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. -2 Timothy 4:3-5
Don’t be one of the people with itching ears who turns to false doctrine. This world has nothing to compare with the glory of Jesus Christ! The only truth is that which is not hindered by any part of the Bible and lines up with it completely.
Useless and Destructive
The bottom line is this. Like a broken clock, a false doctrine is at best useless and at worst, destructive. False teaching is dangerous.
I recently had a conversation with someone who said you shouldn’t “throw the baby out with the bath water,” when it comes to preachers.
I disagree. False doctrine is dangerous, and not something to trifle with.
The Lord recently convicted me about even sharing quotes from some of those teachers. Yes, sometimes that little quote may be completely accurate and sound, but if the rest of their teaching is not sound, then you shouldn’t share or endorse that teacher.
The best thing that you can do to protect yourself from false teachers is to get in the word!!! You can’t evaluate whether a teaching lines up with the word of God if you don’t know it.
You can also surround yourself with sound theology–friends and preachers in person, or those in the public sphere. Some that I like and recommend:
- John Piper
- Paul Washer
- John MacArthur
- Elisabeth Elliot
I also like to read from those faithful saints who came before us such as:
- Charles Spurgeon
- Oswald Chambers
- A.W. Tozer
- R. C. Sproul
- J. C. Ryle
- Jonathan Edwards
There are more, of course, but these are a few of my favorites. You can also hear some sermons from my preacher here.