When the Bible, God's Word, tells us to beware, we must pay attention and take great precautions to what He 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. This series will go over the warnings God gives us in the New Testament.
Beware of False Prophets!
“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
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. - 1 John 4:1-3
What is the consequence of not heeding this warning? We become like blind sheep following after the "ravenous wolf" to the slaughter! When you are easily swayed by others, go with the crowd, or fear rejection, it brings many sorrows and sins! As Christians, we are to first, love God with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and strength: this means to obey God and His Word, follow Him, reject the world and the devil, bring God glory and honor, stand firm on our faith, and seek His wisdom and truth. It is a relationship with your Creator and Father. Second, love others as we love ourselves (yes, we are to love ourselves, not in a narcissistic, self-absorbed, or self-centered way, but with a healthy and true love): this means to tell others about God and His Word, speak with truth and love, chastise when necessary, encourage and comfort others, examine the words and actions of others to know what type of fruit they produce, and flee from temptation and bad influences.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. - Matthew 10:16-26
Beware of False Doctrine!
Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. - Matthew 16:5-12
This one goes with the first point, God gave each of us a mind to use not let it be brainwashed and go with how someone tells us to think. When we willingly or lazily give up control over our mind, it causes severe repercussions that have a tremendously evil result. Take for instance what is going on in the world right now? There is so much evil and so many lies that are obvious but many people are choosing the falsehood over truth, evil over good. False doctrine destroys nations! God tells us to teach our children and raise them up with the truth and wisdom from God! It is our responsibility to equip them with the tools and knowledge necessary to discern right from wrong and truth from falsehood.
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. - 2 Peter 3:14-18
What happens when we do not have wisdom or discernment?
When we do not have wisdom and cannot discern truth from falsehood or good from evil it leads down a destructive path to hell. God gives wisdom to those who ask and seek for it. God gives discernment through His Word. When we are truly saved, we have the Holy Spirit living in us telling us right from wrong, which way to go, and convicting us when we sin.
But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. - Revelation 2:14-16
What happens when we listen and follow the wrong people and have false faith?
Thinking you are saved without knowing you are saved is very scary! If you think because you are a good person, you said a prayer, and go to church makes you a child of God, you will be very horribly mistaken. Just because you try to live a decent and honorable life does not make you a true Christian. Having a relationship with God, knowing it is only through Jesus Christ's blood that you are set free from the chains of sin, understanding and accepting the free and eternal gift of salvation, and when you do sin, repenting and asking God to cleanse you of the stain that separates you from Him is how you know you are truly saved. There will be many people who go to hell because they falsely believed they were "good enough", "confessed enough", "lived a strict and disciplined life". Click here to learn how to truly be saved.
“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
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. - Matthew 10:32-33
What happens to those who teach false doctrine?
We know they will be in hell and will pay the wages for their sin for all of eternity. All of the lives they led astray and the tears and blood of righteous people they harmed and persecuted are on their hands, God will not let them go unpunished. It may seem evil is winning, but God is in control. Nothing and I mean NOTHING happens without God first allowing it to happen. Satan is the prince of the world right now, but God is still on the throne. Even though evil gets away many times and seems to outweigh the good, remember this is the ONLY "heaven" the unsaved get, their eternal punishment awaits them, while the ONLY "hell" the saved get is on earth, and our eternal freedom and blessings await us.
And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. - Romans 16:20a
For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. - 2 Peter 2:4-11
Here are two of the warnings we are to heed, may we take God's Word to heart and allow it to lead us in the straight and narrow way. I recently watched the movie "The Pilgrim's Progress". How easy it is to be led astray and to let the things we see dictate our opinions and beliefs. It is easy to let our emotions and feelings control us. God never told us following Him would be easy, in fact, He told us many times how hard it would be. Doing the right thing is not easy! Anything worthwhile in life that produces joy, peace, love, hope, kindness, and goodness is not easy or quick, but a long process with hardships and trials that requires patience, obedience, and faith. Let God lead you! Let His Word speak to you. Let the Holy Spirit help you. Stand firm, for the days are dark, but a beautiful sunrise, one like we've never seen before, will dawn soon and through that sunrise, our Savior will make everything right!