Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”
2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Peter also speaks about false teachers and puts it this way, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2 Peter 2:1-2).My beloved, false teachers are proud and concerned for their own popularity, fame, notoriety and prestige. They can also be characterized by selfishness, and deception.
They usually can weave a very sophisticated web of deception in their teaching because they tend to be articulate, if they’re going to be successful, and they endeavor to engage other people to aid them in their deceitful enterprise which gives it a façade of credibility. False teachers are irreverent, spiritually destructive and have absolutely little, if any, regard for God, His precious Word or His Truth, but rather they would rather seek to lead people into error. Simply put their relationship to the world, to their ministry, to themselves and people, and their relationship to God all reflect the total deviation of their hearts and mind.
One of the most vivid and interesting descriptions of apostate teachers can be found in the book of Jude. These people who heap up for themselves the severe and certain judgment of God (v. 4) are likened to “clouds without water” (v. 12). Such individuals claim to be heavenly messengers with superior knowledge or power. Others more subtly put on “sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15) and exhibit a superficial beauty of form and purpose but deny the Lord who bought them (2 Peter 2:1). Having no absolute standards of truth because they reject the infallibility of the Bible, they naturally are constantly changing their position and are thus said to be “carried about by the winds” (Jude 12).
My beloved, do not many present-day preachers/pastors and even teachers fall into this category? They thunder in their pulpits and give out high-sounding promises of thirst-quenching truth, but they leave the hearts and souls of men and woman parched deserts of death. When Jesus lived on earth, He said to the money changers in the temple, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (Luke 19:6). And Jude spoke of another kind of thievery. He referred to certain men in the church who had “crept in unnoticed” and were motivated by greed (v. 4). Still today, dishonest and scheming men lurk within the church. They use their positions to prey on the unsuspecting with their false teaching. Jude exhorted believers to be strong in their faith so they could repel these “ungodly men” (v. 4).
I don’t know about you, but I thank God for every born-again believer who is a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, who preaches, teachers and speaks the whole counsel of God’s precious, priceless and eternal Word, and whose methods are consistent with His message of Truth recorded in His infallible Word. We must beware of “thieves and robbers,” who are more interested in preying on people than in praying for them. Because such “ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15) have disguised themselves as sheep and infiltrated the flock, we must heed the admonition of Jude when he said, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God” (vv. 20-21).
Leaders who talk but do not teach,
Who fail to practice what they preach,
Blind leaders of the blind are they,
Causing the flock to go astray. – Bosch
Follow the leader who follows Christ.