The last days will produce many false shepherds and teachers who will teach outright lies, twist the truth, or leave out those things that are unpopular or politically incorrect. We must learn to recognize truth and error or we’ll be easy prey for them.
2 Chronicles 7-8
True Under-Shepherds and False Shepherds
Verse 1, “… O Shepherd of Israel …”
Jesus is the Shepherd of Israel, but God also gives us under-shepherds in the form of Pastors, who are under the authority of the Great Shepherd (Jn. 10.11). The Bible teaches submission to authority in the home, in the workplace, in civil affairs, and in the church.
“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13.17).
Our responsibility is to be sure that we are in a church where the Pastor(s) are under the authority of the Lord Jesus and His Word because there are many “false shepherds” and their numbers will increase as we approach the return of Christ.
Those who are truly under the authority of Christ will teach the full counsel of God without omitting those things that are unpopular or politically incorrect.
False Shepherds will add to His Word, take things out of context, or twist the truth. At worst, they will deny the deity of Christ, the reality of the Trinity, the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture, or other essential doctrines.
But, we won’t be able to discern the difference unless we get to know the True Shepherd through His Word. We will recognize a counterfeit by knowing and handling the real thing (2 Tim. 2.15). But if we don’t, we’re easy prey for false teachers.
“The sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (Jn. 10.3-5).
You can learn to recognize the voice of the Great Shepherd by:
- Reading the Word for yourself, not just a passage here and there, but a systematic reading of the Bible. Whether that’s reading through the Bible every year, every two years or some other plan.
- Praying “open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” (Ps. 119.18). Ask God to give you understanding and illumination as your read His Word.
- Take your Bible to church or access one on your phone or other device and follow along during services.
- Read the Scriptures in context. Go back a few verses, read a few verses further, or read the entire chapter.
- Jesus said you would know a tree by its fruit (Lk. 6.43-44). Ask yourself, does the person teaching exhibit the character of Christ in his or her life?
- Study those books of the Bible that were written to address false teachers (Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude).
If we belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit who lives in each of us will help us learn and understand God’s Word, so we can become proficient at handling the Word of Truth and recognize the voice of our Shepherd (Jn. 14.26; 2 Tim. 2.15; Jn. 10.3-5).
If you would like to read more about recognizing false teachers, you can go to GotQuestions.org for a helpful article.
Today’s Other Readings:
2 Chronicles 7-8:
The God Who Answers Prayers
Chapter 7 contains God’s beautiful response to Solomon’s prayer of dedication:
“I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself … Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place” (vv. 12, 15).
Although God is omnipresent—present everywhere—He no longer dwells in a “place,” but in His people.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6.19-20).
Think about that awesome truth—the God of the universe, the God who answers prayers—lives in us!
What Do You Value?
“There is gold and a multitude of rubies, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”
Solomon, who had an abundance of gold and jewels, understood that wisdom and knowledge are much more valuable.
We live in an unprecedented time, when so much knowledge is available to us in our churches, through Christian books, on the airwaves, and to be downloaded from the Internet. Yet, what do we spend our time and effort pursuing? Do we seek after the riches and knowledge of this world or eternal riches through the knowledge of His Word and obedience to it?
Willful Hardening of the Heart Followed by Judicial Hardening
As I said yesterday Paul sought to reach the Jews by helping them see how Jesus fulfilled the prophesies of the Old Testament. But when they rejected the truth, he also warned them in verses 40-41:
40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you.
41 ” Behold, you despisers,
Marvel and perish!
For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe,
Though one were to declare it to you.”
Willful hardening of the heart by men will eventually be followed by judicial hardening of the heart by God. That’s why the Scripture says:
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb. 3.15).
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