And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But you be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. Mark 13:21-23
“Gullibility is no mark of a saint or of piety. Note emphatic position of you …. Credulity ranks no higher than scepticism. God gave us our wits for self-protection. Christ has warned us beforehand.” Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, discussing verse 23 of Mark 13.
“You be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.” That also applies to you and me. Jesus warned time and time again of false teachers. Matthew 7:13-23; 15:1-14; 23:13,15.
Apostles such as Paul and Peter did likewise. Romans 16:17-18; Colossians 2:4,8; 2 Peter 3:14-18
But some believers don’t think false teachers can ever be influencing them. They believe anything that’s taught them, no matter who the teacher is. “Well, they claim to be Christian and preach in a church, don’t they?”
Look at some examples of false teaching in churches in the New Testament:
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:14-19
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. Acts 20:29-31
In Acts 20:20,27,31, Paul is recorded as saying the same thing Jesus said in Mark 13:23, “I have told you all things beforehand.” In other words, be on the lookout; they’re coming! Some checked even the apostles! Acts 17:11
And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:12-15
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” Revelation 2:2
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. Revelation 2:14-16
The last two from Revelation are actually Jesus’ words again, though the apostle John has written those words:
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.
He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Revelation 1:1-2
We can never say we weren’t warned! The different teachings in the thousand denominations – teachings that create the differences in the denominations – certainly cannot all be true to the New Testament. Read in full Matthew 15:1-14; Acts 20:17-32; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:12-14; 3:6-4:4; 1 John 4:1-6; 2 John 6-11.