1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have!
A Simple Question to Identify False Prophets and False Teachings:
"Can you find it in the Bible?"
If you can't find something in the Bible that is being preached or taught for your salvation, then it is a deception. (Especially if it's not in the Apostle Paul's writings for the present day, Grace-age believer.) There may even be a happy, feel-good, useful message or pleasant sermon to which the lie is attached. However, if it is not biblical, you would be foolish to avoid salvation in order to believe the lie.
Just as it only takes one murder for someone to become a murderer, it also takes only one false teaching for someone to become a false teacher. Who should you believe: Fallible man or the infallible Word of God?
So, just who are these false teachers?
Any who add conditions to faith alone for salvation or who deny that Jesus Christ is God. The founders and members of some cults and false religions may have good intentions and actually believe they have received divine revelations, but they could just be deceived by fallen angels posing as helpful angelic beings. Notice that most cults don't deny the existence of Christ, they'll just give you a different, fictional and non-Biblical "Jesus."
Many false teachers also intentionally confuse Law and Grace in the minds of their followers to enforce strict tithing and laborious works. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us modern-day believers that "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Grace-age believers give offerings in appreciation of salvation, NOT tithes to earn or maintain salvation! Don't give your money to false teachers to assist them in building massive church buildings or personal mansions. That edifies the false teacher - not God!
(If you want to send offerings to some solid ministries, find a good, local Bible-believing church or look in the links section of this page. I don't want your money. I just want you to know the Truth and thereby be saved!)
Following are some scriptural references to help identify false prophets & teachers:
But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death." You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
2 Corinthians 2:17
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