It is so important that we watch out for false prophets because it is their teaching that can destroy the people of God quicker than any of the outside influences that exist. We can worry about what is in the media and we should but at least those false teachings are easier to spot than those that are in are churches. It is amazing how many people will just accept what someone has to say because they are speaking in a church or Christian conference and not going to check to see if what they are saying is even Biblical.
Training our children to know what to believe and how to discern is more crucial than ever. Every Commercial, Song, Movie and television show are teaching a philosophy of life that may go against God’s philosophy for life.
Can you spot a false teaching if it was taught to you?
Do you check what I am saying and compare it to the word of God?
It is never wrong to question a spiritual leader and what is being taught. Jesus spends His last sermon to the public and a whole chapter of the Bible discussing the importance of watching out for false teachers. If Jesus spends this much time discussing it then it is something we should pay attention to.
We are going to see that Jesus is still continuing to rebuke the religious leaders publicly. We are also going to see that there are some strong rebukes that come from Jesus that we should all pay attention to.
The Bible honors those who present the Word of God accurately (Galatians 4:14; Philippians 2:29-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:17 and Hebrews 13:17) The Bible also condemns spiritual leaders more harshly than others. Jesus called them sons of Hell, blind guides, fools, robbers, self- indulgent, whitewashed tombs, full of hypocrisy and lawlessness, serpents, vipers, and persecutors and murderers of God’s people.
the word Woe means divine judgment
Jesus is telling them that divine judgment is coming on them soon for what they have done
Read Matthew 23:13-15
1) False Teachers Keep people from Heaven
Jesus said they shut the door in people’s faces. Jesus was accusing the religious leaders from not only teaching a false way to God but also intentionally keeping others from finding God that were searching for Him. It was as if they were standing outside at the gates of Heaven but instead of showing people the true way they diverted them from knowing the salvation of God.
To shut the doors of heaven is to keep people from seeing the true way through Jesus and replace it with a lie of another religion (s)
The religious leaders had a works mentality and they taught that if people were to make it into Heaven then they had to follow all these strict rules.
Luke 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
The religious leaders held the Key to Heaven but they misinterpreted it and led many away from God. The ones who should have been ready to present the Messiah (Jesus Christ) became false teachers when they not only rejected Him but led others to do the same.
Jesus once again calls them Hypocrites for being phony. (Drama Term) They looked religious and spiritual but it was all an act to rule over and control people.
Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[a] in heaven.”
As Christians we have to be careful that we are hindering someone from entering Heaven because we do not point the way properly or because of our actions we keep them from coming. We are given the key to heaven and the key is Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)
Have any of our actions kept someone from coming to Christ?
When people find out you are a Christian are they shocked?
The only thing that matters is where you and anyone you meet will spend eternity, all the rest is details. All the pain and suffering we experience here is nothing compared to eternity. Divorces, Diseases, Deception, and even Death do not compare to the wonderfulness of our God and through Jesus Christ we have been given the opportunity to spend eternity with God.
You neither enter it yourselves nor allow others to do so
The worse thing about false teachers is they do not see themselves as false teachers. They do not see that even they will miss out on Heaven. Too many people that are false teachers think that themselves and all their followers will be allowed into Heaven. This is just not true according to the Bible.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
False teaching keeps people from seeing the true way to Heaven. When we teach that all roads lead to God then we are part of the false teachers who deny the word of God. (COEXIST) When we teach people that they are good enough to get into heaven on their own works we keep them from Heaven. If all roads lead to Heaven then why did Jesus have to die? If all roads lead to Heaven then why did Jesus say He was the only way? (John 14:6)
Romans 3:10-11 None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
We are not comparing ourselves to each other we are comparing ourselves to a Holy and perfect God. When we teach people that they do not have to repent and turn from their lifestyle of sin we teach a false gospel . When we teach that some things are not sin we teach a false gospel. When we teach people that you add God to your life but that He is not your life you teach a false gospel.
Luke 9:23-24 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
We are literally to die to self in order that Christ may live through us. That means when I do not want to forgive I forgive knowing Jesus wants me to and has provided His Holy Spirit to live in me to do so. That means when I do not want to share about Jesus I share anyway because Jesus wants people to know that not all roads lead to God.
Romans 4:4-5 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in[a] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
This is the beauty of Christianity. We get to come to Jesus and He makes us clean something we cannot do on our own. If you try to get to Heaven on your own works then God will weigh out your actions compared to His Holiness and you will come up short every time. That means that you will not be allowed into Heaven and you will spend eternity away from God.
Every other religion is about you working your way to God or Nirvana, Higher Consciences, or even god-like status. Christianity is all about what He did for us. Not because we deserved it but because He loves us.
We shut the door of Heaven when we know we should share with someone the truth of Christ but because we are scared of offending them we say nothing.
We have been conditioned to not offend because of the manipulative tactics and bullying that takes place when Christians share their faith but the truth has to be shared.
John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
You travel over land and sea to make one convert
Their teaching was not just keeping local people out of heaven but it was spreading everywhere. It became a challenge to get gentiles to buy into the Jewish way of doing things and they wore it as a badge when they could get one gentile to convert to Judaism. They not only taught them a false religion those they converted had twice as much Zeal as they had with trying to convert others.
Many false religions do the same thing today when they teach people that acceptance with God is through their works and those people over zealously do more than even those who converted them.
Twice as much as son of Hell
Because of the converts zeal with the false religion they were doubly in trouble. The Word Hell comes from the word geena derived from the Valley outside of Jerusalem. It was a cursed place because children were sacrificed there to Moloch. When King Josiah declared the place unclean (1 Kings 23:10) it became a garbage dump. Smoke and fires continually burned night and day so Jesus uses it as an example of what Hell will be like.
As Christians we have the opposite job of trying to keep people out of the fires of Hell
Jude 20-23 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment[g] stained by the flesh.
Read Matthew 23:16-22
2) False Teachers Twist their Words to benefit themselves
This is a big deal in our society today and you are hearing repeatedly about this very thing with the Bible and the Constitution. The reason people hate things in black and white is because it does not leave them wiggle room to mess up.
Jesus said it was the blind leading the blind. This goes back to Matthew 15 when we discussed they came up with a lot of oaths and ways to wiggle out of commitments. They could lie all they wanted as long as they did not swear by it in a certain way. For example: They would say I swear to God carries more weight than I swear on my mother’s grave.
Jesus is confronting them that they are shown for who they really are with all their deceptive standards.
Matthew 5: 34-37 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.[a]
Our society likes not having standards to live by. We like to say “Listen to your heart” or “Follow the desires of your heart” It is a twisted world we live in as you hear people justifying their behavior. We all have a way of trying to find the loophole in our lives to not make it look like what we are doing is that bad.
The lie from the beginning was “Did God really say?” and we have been twisting the scriptures ever since to fit our lifestyles.
When you are confronted with a Sin in your life do you try and justify it or do you repent of it?
We like to make excuses for our anger because we said it would not have happened if you did not make me angry. We make up excuses for cheating on test or on our taxes because we say everyone else is doing it. Whatever excuses you come up with is what Jesus was confronting the false teachers about.
Our lives as Christians are to be Yes and No and nothing else. (Black and White)
When we live our lives a people that are always trying to find the loopholes in life we can be like false teachers. Every part of our life preaches and believe it or not you are making a convert of someone way or another.
- Are you a door opener or closer?
- To show someone the door is not a bad thing in this sense.
- To show them the door means to show them Jesus and then let them decide.
- Are your words true when you speak or do you twist them to benefit yourself?
- Our actions will keep people from trusting us when we speak of Christ.
- Many pastors have shut the doors to heaven not because of their words but their actions.