II Peter 2:17-19: “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. The gloom of utter darkness has been reserved for them. For by mouthing grandiosities that amount to nothing, they entice in sensual fleshly passions those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption—for a person is a slave to whatever has overcome him.” TLV
OBSERVATION: How do you spot a false teacher? How do you discern sound doctrine from spurious teachings? In these last days, when prophets and teachers abound, when there are so many voices vying for our attention, it is important to heed the words of Peter.
One of the first giveaways of a false teacher is that they speak in grandiosities. They purport teaching a new truth, something that has never before been understood. Their speech is not straightforward, but it is filled with mystery and endless twists and turns that are difficult to follow. And, in their teaching, they bring glory to themselves for their great understanding and insight.
Peter says that such teachers are springs without water, mists driven by a storm. Proclaiming to be moving in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit, they are actually devoid of His presence in their life. And, unlike the God who never changes, their teachings and focus moves and changes with the wind. As soon as their current “new teaching” begins to gather dust, and when the excitement wanes, they miraculously have a “new revelation.” And guess what? It is something that no one else has ever discovered!
Why do they seem to have such influence? Why is it so easy for them to gather a crowd and a following? It is because their teaching is not about the cross or Christ (even though they invoke His name). Their teaching is always about the temporal, not the eternal. It appeals to the sensual appetites of the human condition. It is always about breakthrough, success, finances, and the miraculous. Their teachings are never about the cross, sacrifice, faithfulness, and the call to be a servant.
- “For by mouthing grandiosities that amount to nothing, they entice in sensual fleshly passions those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.”
And, while they tell their hearers that this revolutionary teaching will lead them to freedom and blessing, all the while they are bound by their love of money and position. They boast about their achievements, and with their deceptive speech they lead others into the same bondage that they are in. They are the blind leading the blind. They are the modern day Pharisees.
Here are some red flags to watch for.
- They claim to have a “new” revelation or teaching.
- They use their success to validate their teaching.
- They focus on the temporal things of life rather than the spiritual and eternal.
- They talk a lot about money, your money, and how you need to give it in order to enter into the blessing of this new revelation.
- They talk more about blessings than the cross, more about themselves than Christ, and more about giving to receive than giving to serve.
Peter says of these so called teachers,
- “For if—after escaping the world’s pollutions through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah—they again become entangled in these things and are overcome, the end for them has become worse than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after learning about it, to turn back from the holy commandment passed on to them. What has happened to them confirms the truth of the proverb, “A dog returns to its vomit,” and “A scrubbed pig heads right back into the mud.” 2 Peter 2:20-22 TLV
You might ask – “Who are they?” “Name some names!” Peter did not name anyone, he simply warned us all. If you keep your eyes on Jesus, if you take up your cross daily, if you humble yourself under His mighty hand, you will not find it hard to spot these false teachers. The truth is always Christ centric. The truth always leads us to the cross. The truth always gives all the glory to God. And, the truth is never about something that was just discovered, it is about the eternal truth that has been proclaimed through the ages – that never changes!
The truth is Jesus – the same yesterday, today, and forever!
In Jesus Name!