As I listened to Ron’s message last Sunday I couldn’t help but think about what was going through people’s minds when thinking of false teachers. I fear that most might be thinking that false teaching was associated with far out cults and drinking cool aid. It couldn’t possibly be that prevalent could it? After all, as long as someone acknowledges Jesus and at least mentions the word ‘gospel’ it must be OK right? Well, Peter and Paul would be in another time zone when it comes to this kind of thinking. In fact, as Peter said, these ‘false teachers’ were ‘among’ them. Often they give great appearances of being ‘christian’, and seem to say a lot of the right things. But as Paul points out in Galatians its not that they don’t have some aspects of the gospel right, they just add or subtract something that, even though seemingly small, actually makes it “a different gospel” (Gal. 1:6). Theyare not bringing some outlandish teaching, they are just tweaking the gospel ever so slightly, and like the parallel lines that are only one degree off, you don’t notice the parallel lines are off initially, but down the road aways the distance becomes obvious and huge. The sad reality was that the Galatian Church wasn’t very discerning when it came to gospel clarity. Just a little lack of discernment caused them to go down a path that brought Paul in with his guns blazing so to speak. He was hopping mad that they had allowed the gospel to be distorted. This didn’t happen overnight or obviously. It happened when false teachers came in persuasively with just a small adjustment that people received but to which Paul said you’ve received a “different gospel” and to which Peter is bringing a dire warning.
So...this brings me to my point...What are you listening to? We live in a world where there is so much information available and anyone can find a willing audience to their blog or website or podcast or Facebook page. This can be especially true of biblical truth. You must be very discerning. Don’t let anyone take you captive with another gospel, whether promising prosperity or just adding a little works here or there. If all they are concerned about is making you feel better about yourself, beware. If they are unwilling to talk openly about sin (like the biblical writers do), be careful. If the main point is about a better life on this earth, watch out! “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” Paul said (Gal. 5:9). Be careful what and or who you listen to. Be discerning. Keep your antennae up. If you’re not sure ask a pastor or trusted, mature, believing friend. Let’s fight for the gospel. Let’s take Peter’s warning seriously. Let’s be careful what we are listening to!