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Sermon: What Is a False Teacher?

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What Is a False Teacher

Is everyone with whom we disagree a false teacher?

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 3, In the year of our Lord, 2013



  1. How much division over the past 1900 years could have been avoided, 
    1. if we understood just what a false teacher is?
    2. Church history is a history of countless division.
      1. Most people think that anyone disagreeing with them
      2. makes them a false teacher.
  2. The Bible shows 
    1. that a false teacher is someone who is deceptive and
    2. knowingly teaches things to lead people astray.


  1. False Teachers Deceive

    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt 7.15).

    17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom 16.17–18).

    14 …that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting… (Eph 4.14).

    2Pe 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.

    3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

    10 …those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self- willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries…

    12 …speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.

    18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.

    2Pe 3.3 …knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God…

    13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2Co 11.13–15).


  1. Be careful about labeling someone a false teacher. 
    1. False teachers exist.
    2. However, simply because someone disagrees with you
      1. does not make him a false teacher.
      2. He might be sincerely mistaken, but
        1. he does not seek a following nor
        2. is he necessarily doing the other things that make a false teacher.
  2. Have you ever believed or taught something that was error? 
    1. Do you think you were a false teacher back then?
    2. If not, why not?
      1. Is it possible that you believe, practice, or teach falsehood now?
      2. If so, and you are unaware of it, does that make you a false teacher?
        1. I do not believe so, and
        2. we should give the benefit of the doubt to others also.
  3. Give your all to follow Jesus, 
    1. to hear His voice in the Scriptures, and
    2. you shall be protected from following error of any kind.
      1. This is why confessing Jesus as Lord to be saved is so crucial.
      2. That is not a magical formula for getting saved, but
        1. it should be expressing the conviction of your mind and heart
        2. that Jesus is the Lord of the heavens and the Earth, and
          1. that you recognize He is Lord over your life, and
          2. that acknowledgement begins a life of obedience to Him,

            21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt 7.21).

            46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6.46).

            1. Yes, He wants to hear you confess that He is Lord, but then
            2. He wants to see you live as though He is the Lord.
  4. Jesus assured us, as recorded in John 10
    1. that knowing Him and
    2. following Him
      1. will keep us from following someone
      2. who is not of Him,

        All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them” (John 10.8).

        I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (John 10.14).

        But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10.26–29).

  5. What do you believe Jesus is telling you through His written word? 
    1. Are you doing it?
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