Growth. That’s what every living thing needs—especially Christians. To grow spiritually, we need clean spiritual food and water.
But Christians are being fed false food and fetid water, if we are to believe the apostle Peter: “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.” And “many shall follow their destructive ways…In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories” (II Pet. 2: 1-3). Who are these false preachers? It is important to know, for many Christians are following them.
The apostle Jude warns us of them, also. “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people”(v. 4). They secretly slither in to the congregation, sharing their tainted teachings. The apostle Paul warns us that in the latter days, many will leave the true faith and will be deceived by “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4: 1). In our time false teachers in sheep’s clothing are teaching doctrines about Christ that are straight from Satan. And these are so-called “Christian” teachers, preachers, pastors, evangelists, priests, and prophets!
Sadly, “many” are following these false teachings about Christ and what He is doing here on the earth. The word of God says that many are being fed false spiritual food and are being deceived. Where are “the many” today? The lambs and sheep of God have been herded into corrals with names like Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Charismatic, et al. Funny thing. The vast majority of these denominations believe that they are just about the only ones with the truth.
Hundreds of millions meet together. But Christ said to be careful not to follow the masses. He commands us to “enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mt. 7: 13-14).
Most just read over these words, never taking the time to let them sink way down into their hearts. The “wide” and “broad” way is the easy way. The wide, easy way has you to just “accept Christ as your personal Savior,” be baptized, and you are good to go. Conversely, the narrow gate is the cross experience where we place our old sinful selfish heart on the cross with Christ and let it die with Him. Then by believing in His resurrection, we receive His Spirit that raises us up to walk in a “newness of life.” Few get this deep, for they are seduced by false teachings about salvation. And until the day that my lips and fingertips fall silent, I will continue to testify for Christ, whose truth has translated me from darkness to light (Rom. 6).
Why Do We Hold on to the False Doctrines?
How do human beings get stuck in the mire of false teachings? First, no one’s pride encourages them to admit they were wrong. And there is a tendency in human nature to cling to the traditions taught them by their elders. However, going through the “cross experience” cures all this. For when we “die” spiritually with Christ on the cross, we abdicate our own will and desire and fling ourselves into His embrace. We, like a babe in arms, trust Him to care for us. We have faith in Another who is much wiser than we are. And we believe that He will raise us up and give us of His Spirit to lead us and guide us through this new spiritual landscape. This is being “born again” or “born from above.” And thereby the sin nature is gone. And He gives us the Spirit of Truth that “leads us into all truth.” It is His Spirit now within us that helps us know what is false and what is true.
This “cross experience” is there for all of us, whether we came to Christ yesterday or forty years ago. This experience is the narrow gate that allows us to enter into His kingdom. Without it, we cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God (John 3: 3-6).
So dig deep. If gigantic waves of people are following a certain teaching, it is probably a false doctrine. The cross is the starting point for Christian growth. If a person is still breaking the Ten Commandments, then how are they growing spiritually in Christ? Just remember: With God all things are possible—even to be free from sin and sinning.
False teachings are bad food for the flock of God, which stunts their growth. The true doctrine of Christ is a portion of the “hidden manna” that Christ promised to those of us who purge out the “doctrine of Balaam” (Rev. 2: 14). This spiritual bread from heaven is hidden from those who have not entered the kingdom of heaven. But it is being revealed to you and me. It has long been hidden and “kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Mt. 13: 35).
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Kenneth Wayne Hancock