2 Peter 2:1-3--But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and the way of truth will be blasphemed because of them. They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
Brother Berrie is a false teacher. He dismisses sickness and decries suffering as never intended for God’s children. He will not preach 1 Peter 4 or any other passages about suffering for Jesus, because it is not a popular message. He promises things that no man can deliver and preys upon those who are needy by creating false hope. His “healings” are staged and his team laughs privately about how easily people are duped.
So how does one avoid exploitation from phony servants of God?
1. Know the truth. Rather than simply accept the words of those who teach/preach, take the time to study God’s Word and understand what it says. Whenever someone’s message contradicts what Scripture teaches that is an obvious signal that something is clearly wrong—and not with God’s Word.
2. Follow the trail. If the lifestyle of the prophet or teacher is lavish and gaudy that is a dangerous sign. Jesus clearly warned in Matthew 6:19 that His followers were not to collect treasures on earth. “You cannot be slaves of God and of money” (6:24).
3. Seek advice. There are plenty of God-fearing, wise people who can evaluate the words and actions of prophets and teachers and provide guidance as to their veracity. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth regarding what is being taught and proffered.
Godly men and women do not bring attention to themselves, take advantage of people for personal gain, or teach what is contrary to God’s Word. They faithfully bring Him glory.
In every false “gospel,” the focus is on us, on our political views, on our well-being, on our view of the biblical narrative, on our observance of rites and rituals, on our own good works, on our own opinion of God’s character, on our own emotional experiences, or on our own positive thinking.—Michael Youssef in The Barbarians Are Here
©2020 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)