When the Bible, God's Word, tells us to beware, we must pay attention and take great precautions to what it is warning us about! There are so many times we ignore God's warning and find out the hard and painful way the consequences of our disobedience. Here are some important warnings we are to heed from the New Testament.
Beware of False Christians & False Scribes
Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” - Mark 12:38-40
This one is similar to the first beware, but instead of just false prophets, we are also to beware of false believers. Those who seem to follow God but are really followers of Satan. These people are attention seekers, they dress the part, act as if they love and care about you, attend church regularly, pray long prayers, but inside they are full of rotten fruit. Instead of being honest, placing God first, worshiping Jesus, and loving others, they place themselves on the throne, want all eyes on their "good deeds", say nice words that are empty, and only do things to get something in return. Jesus says they "will receive greater condemnation". (Mark 12:40).
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” - Matthew 15:8-9
How are we supposed to beware of them if we are not to judge others? This is where many misunderstand God's Word. Yes, we are not to judge (condemn) others because we are also sinners in need of God's mercy. However, we are to judge (examine and determine) other believers based on the fruit we see in their lives. Understand that the English translation of the Bible is a translation, there are some words that don't convey the same meaning as the Hebrew words and also some words may not be the most accurately used, for instance the English translation says to judge those inside the church. If we aren't to judge others, why does it say judge those inside the church? Because the word judge used in Matthew 7:1a, "Judge not, that you be not judged." means do not condemn, where as the word judge used for "judge those inside" means examine. The Church is the body of Christ and false believers are not the Church nor should they be allowed to serve in our churches. We are to carefully examine others and see if what they say is truly what they believe, or if they are a wolf in a sheep disguise. Letting a false believer serve at church, take care of our children, attend regularly, and develop relationships with other believers, is warned against in the Bible! We are to be of one mind, worshiping God as a unit. Preachers/Pastors and elders/deacons are to protect the flock/believers.
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. - 2 Timothy 3:13-15
*Please note: I am not talking about only true believers are to enter the church and we are to kick out everyone else. On the contrary, we are to witness to others, and tell others about God, invite others to church to hear the Word of God. The ones I am talking about, those the Bible is referring to, are wolves in sheep clothing or open wolves, those who are not open to worshiping God and making Him Lord of their life, or those who have evil intentions, or who speak false doctrine, or who live a continual sinful life without repenting. It's one thing to attend church and hear God's Word and another to serve in the church as an unbeliever or false believer.
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 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. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. - Romans 16:17-20
What happens when we let false believers serve in our churches?
corruption will enter the church
discord and division come into the church
new believers, weak believers, and those searching are likely to be lead astray or stumble.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. - 2 Timothy 3:1-9
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. - Matthew 7:15-20
“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. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ - Matthew 7:21-23
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ - Revelation 2:18-29
What happens to false believers and false scribes?
They will lose their lives and go to hell. They will be judge by God at the white throne judgement and will receive their punishment.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. - Revelation 20:11-15
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” - Matthew 16:24-28
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. - Matthew 7:13-14