The Danger, Nature, Motives, and Defeat of False Teachers (Romans Sermon 117 of 120)
October 29, 2006 | Andy Davis
False Teaching & False Teachers
Introduction: The Spread of Black Death
The year was 1347, one of the pivotal years in the history of world civilization, although I'm sure they didn't know it at the time, and many of you may not know it now. But the place was the Crimea, a little peninsula down into the Black Sea, and there was a Genoese outpost, a trading outpost, there in the Crimea. The Genoese were known all over the Mediterranean Sea and on into the Black Sea for their prowess in navigation and sailing, their ability to set up trade routes, even into Asia and India, and this distant trade outpost was very lucrative for the Genoese. 150 years later, their favorite son, Christopher Columbus, established, for all time, and for the history of the world, the prowess of the Genoese in navigation, in sailing. But here was this outpost in the Crimea, distant from Italy, and an avenue of wealth for their home port, but they were in trouble in 1347, for they were surrounded by an invading army of Kipchak warriors.
Now, the Kipchaks were actually a Mongol-speaking people who came from the steps of Asia, from Siberia, and were part of that vast Mongol-speaking empire, which is vast as the world had ever seen that established by Genghis Khan, and they're part of what came to be known the Golden Horde, and they surrounded this Genoese outpost, and were besieging it. Within the walls, were some strong warriors, I think they felt confident that they would be able to withstand the siege, that is, until the Kipchaks hurled at them their most... Their deadliest weapon.
And I don't think they knew it at the time, just how deadly it was, but they used catapults to hurl over the walls some disease-ridden corpses, and they were ridden with the disease the dreaded bacillus Yersinia Pestis, which is transmitted by the rat flea, what came to be known as the bubonic plague. It started there in the Crimea. Within 36 hours, those defending the walls had large swollen lymph glands under their armpits and in their groins, and within a week, most of them were dead. However, a sailing vessel sailed from that outpost and went back to the port city of Genoa, and that's where the real trouble started. For the next four years, the Black Death, as it came to be known, spread over all of Europe, killing, estimated, between a quarter and a third of the population of Europe. Tens of millions of people died. And it reached everywhere, from the courts of kings down to the dirt-floored huts of peasants. Everyone was affected by it, there seemed to be no cure. All kinds of superstitions came around it, there were persecutions of the Jews and others because they thought that it was brought on by them. They didn't understand germ theory. They didn't understand the role of the fleas and of the rats. All they knew is that people were dying in numbers they had never seen before.
It was the greatest plague in the history of humankind, the greatest biological plague, that is. As I look at our text today, Romans 16:17-20, I see a greater plague than this one. For the last 20 centuries, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been the only hope of salvation for our sinful race. There is no other power of God for the salvation of sinners than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is an irresistible force for the salvation of men and women and children all over the world, and yet, Satan has been attacking it now for 20 centuries. And I think the greatest plague has been what he has catapulted over the walls of the church, and that is false teaching for 20 centuries. For 20 centuries, he sought to attack the doctrine of the Gospel. And I think it's fair to say that there's no specific significant or even some insignificant aspect of doctrine that has not been attacked by the devil, by false teachers.
I. The Danger of False Teachers
And so, what we have here in Romans 16:17-20 is the deadliest plague. We have the plague of false teaching. We have the Apostle Paul, out of love for this church in Rome, out of love for the people of God, warning them, as he's just about to finish this letter, warning them against false teachers. And, this morning, the Lord... As I was praying for you, the Lord gave me a love in my heart for each one of you, my deep desire is that you would be protected from the scourge, the plague of false teaching, that you would be protected from being destabilized by doubts and fears about the Word of God, that you would hear right teaching, and that you would accept it and understand it to be such, and that you'll be protected from false teaching from this pulpit and any place you go. That's my desire.
And that, I think, was Paul's desire as well. We come to the danger of false teaching here in Romans 16, and it comes rather abruptly. We had 16 verses of greetings, greet so-and-so, and greet Asyncritus, and Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and all these folks. Oh, and, by the way, I warn you about false teachers. It seems to come in the middle of nowhere, in Romans 16. Some people think that this was not originally written by Paul, it seems so abrupt, but it was. Paul frequently does this. He did it in Philippians 3. Philippians 3:1 says, "Finally, brothers, rejoice in the Lord." And then verse 2, he says, "Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh," the circumcision party. He's warning them about false teaching immediately, right in the middle. He wants them to be joyful. And then he says, "You want to be joyful, then guard yourself against false teaching, because false doctrine robs your joy."
Satan a Personal and Worldwide Enemy
Now, we have, in this text, a personal enemy, and that is Satan. I don't know if you noticed, but many of our worship songs talked about the power of Satan, and about our conquest of him, our victory over him by faith. But Satan is a powerful foe. It is a chilling thought, when you think about it, that you have a powerful and personal enemy who is seeking to destroy your soul, who is dispatching forces, demonic forces every day to try to make the progress of your soul and of the Gospel around the world impossible. He hates you, and wants to destroy you. But we have a personal enemy, 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, "Be self-controlled and alert, your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering." So there it is, your enemy, that's a personal enemy, your brothers throughout the world, that's a worldwide attack, that is the devil, and the power of the devil. It's even more chilling when you consider just how powerful Satan is. Satan may be the most powerful created being in the universe, he is clever, crafty, and vastly more experienced in spiritual matters than any of us here. He's been at it a long time and he's seen harder than you and he's defeated harder than you.
He is deeply malicious, more vicious than any tyrant that's ever lived. We know of the cruelty of the genocidal maniac, Adolf Hitler, and also the cruelty of his contemporary, Joseph Stalin, and others. 20th century was specialized in cruel and brutal dictators and tyrants. But none of them compare to Satan. Actually, I believe he was behind every one of them, the maliciousness of the devil. Satan hates the church and will do anything he can to stop it and oppose it. In 1529, Martin Luther wrote his most famous hymn, we sang it this morning, a mighty fortress is our God, and there, he talked a lot about Satan. Actually, if you look through the verses, there's a good deal about Satan in those, in that hymn. And Luther said, "For still, our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe. His craft and power are great. And armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal." So that puts you in your place, doesn't it? You are not equal to say, "Did we, in our own strength, confide." If you had put your trust in your own strength, our striving would be losing. Were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing, dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he. Lord Sabaoth. Lord Almighty is his name, from age to age the same, and he must win, he will win the battle.
By the way, next week, whole sermon, God willing, whole sermon on one verse, verse 20. There was just so much on Verse 20, the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, that I've been working on that sermon for six weeks. It's now 24 pages long. Come ready to listen. I'm just kidding. But I just want to go, using my imagination, to think what life will be like without Satan and his demons. Oh, I can't wait for next week, and I can't even more wait for the fulfillment of the truths that are in Romans 16:20.
False Teaching the Most Dangerous of Satan’s Weapons
But we have a mighty and a powerful foe. Satan has, as I've mentioned before, and I never tire of warning you, three great weapons that Satan hurls against the church, worldliness, the appeal to lust, and to sin, and to worldliness, persecution, namely, that our neighbors, or the prevailing government would be against our Christian faith, and make our lives so wretchedly miserable that we are tempted to turn away from Christ, persecution, but the third is the greatest, and that is false teaching, and that's what's in front of us today. And why is this the deadliest of all of the attacks? Well, because it attacks that which is the power of God for our salvation.
And not one of us has finished being saved. As I've mentioned to you many times before, you need to keep hearing the Gospel, you need to hear it every day, you need to be coming back to the cross again and again, you need to have the full work of the 16 chapters of Romans in your heart all the time. You need to be saved, you're not done being saved. And so, when false teaching comes in, it attacks the salvation process, the very thing which God is working to the salvation of our soul. Romans 1:16, "I'm not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, and then for the Gentile." Therefore, Paul constantly upholds the need of church leaders to fight for doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul said to Timothy, "Watch your life and your doctrine closely." Watch it closely. I need to do that. You're never set and done, doctrinally. There's a constant development, constant growing. And we should be developing in our understanding of Christian doctrine. You got to watch it all the time, Timothy, if you're a pastor, watch it closely. Constant vigilance is needed, and why? Because history is full of attacks on sound doctrine. As I've said, there's not a single significant doctrine in the Christian faith that's not been attacked, historically.
For example, the inspiration and authority of the Old Testament was attacked by Marcion in this very church, the church at Rome, 100 years after Paul, denied that the Old Testament was inspired. The deity of Christ was attacked by Arius. Original sin and salvation by grace alone, by faith alone, was attacked by Pelagius. The full humanity of Christ was attacked by the Gnostics and the Docetics. The sovereignty of God and salvation was attacked by the Semi-Pelagians. The inspiration and authority of the whole Bible attacked by higher critics and Liberals. The Trinity was attacked by the Unitarians. The imminence and active rule of God and day-by-day providence attacked by the Deists. The rogues' gallery of false teachers is terrifying. In addition to these that are already listed, we have also Joseph Smith, that bizarre dowser, who came up with Mormonism, the strangest new religion in history. And yet, they claim to be Christians, and are not. Charles Taze Russell, who resurrected Arius's old false teaching. And now we have the Jehovah's Witnesses. Mary Baker Eddy, originator of Christian Science. Jim Jones, founder of the Peoples Temple. David Koresh, who persuaded a bunch of people, through his sweet-talking, to fight against the US government, and they died in a fiery conflagration in Waco.
In every age of the church, we can trace out a history of heresy, and the attacks of Satan through false teachers, therefore, we must have constant vigilance to maintain doctrinal purity.
II. The Techniques of False Teachers
Now, in this text, we see, first and foremost, the techniques of false teachers. Look at verses 17-18, "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them, for such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naive people."
So the first technique of false teaching is simply false doctrine, to contradict the doctrines that were given, to say that is not so, this is so. False doctrine. That is their primary danger because they attack even the doctrines that Paul taught here in Romans. Paul has laid out a majestic structure, doctrinally, in Romans. It's marvelous. And he said, "Watch out for those who contradict the things that I've taught you here. These people will come, and begin to oppose it. Verse 17, They "put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching that you have learned."
The greatest stumbling block is false doctrine, it says in 2 Timothy 2:16-18, "Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly, their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some." Now, what a cheerful message that is. You missed it, not just the secret rapture, you missed the resurrection, you can imagine how discouraging that would be. They destroy the faith of some. And so, false doctrine.
They also use... Their technique is deception. They use deception. Look at verse 18, "They deceive the minds of naive people." They trick them, they fool them into believing a lie. This is the stock and trade of all false teaching. The first lie is that the false teacher himself is a godly man who has your best interest at heart. That is a lie, he is actually a ravenous wolf masquerading as a sheep. Did you see the picture on the cover? What a chilling picture that is, a flock of sheep, and there, in the midst, a wolf.
It's a terrifying thing. And Jesus said, "Watch out for these false teachers. They come secretly disguised as sheep, but, inwardly, they're ravenous wolves." So deception is important, the false teacher has to conceal his real motive, which I'll discuss in a moment, but his real motive is fleshly and self-seeking. He has to trick the people, deceive them, and hide his real intentions. Paul calls it putting on a mask. 1 Thessalonians 2:5 says, "You know that we never used flattery, nor do we put on a mask to cover up greed. God is our witness." So it's a putting on of a mask. This is, literally, in the Greek, the word hypocrite is an actor, somebody who would put on a mask, and play a role.
And so these false teachers are putting on a mask, and they're playing a role. They have to use deception. Behind all of it is Satan's alluring deception, he masquerades in enticing form, 2 Corinthians 11, Paul said, "For such manner, false apostles, deceitful workmen masquerading as apostles of Christ, and no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness." Now, you may wonder why does verse 20 suddenly talk about Satan. It's because behind all false teaching is Satan, and all false teachers are servants of Satan. And so they masquerade, they have to act like Satan, they have to hide who they truly are. I mean, can you imagine if Satan came to you hideously? Ugly, powerful, malevolent, and said, "Here I am, I'm Satan. I'm here to ruin your life." Can you imagine if sin just came and told the truth, said, "I know I look good on the outside, but really, I'm going to be poison for your soul." That's not the way.
There's gotta be some deception. And so they use deception, they use a masquerade. They also use smooth talk and flattery. Smooth talk is oratorical skill, fine-sounding language. The root word is kindness or goodness. The idea is kindly speech, smooth talk that panders to the ego. Thomas Brooks put it this way, "They know sugared poison goes down sweetly, so they wrap up their pernicious soul-killing pills in gold," end quote. So they're using smooth talk and flattery. The seductive woman, in Proverbs 7, the wayward wife, uses smooth talk to seduce the young man in Proverbs 7. She talks to him with persuasive words, she leads him astray. And all at once, he goes with her, and he doesn't know it's gonna cost him his life. Well, the same thing happens with the false teacher. Or then there's the case of Absalom. Remember how Absalom used to stand by the side of the road, and whenever anyone would come to bring a case to his father David, he would intercept them, and he would flatter them, and say, "Oh, if there was someone that would listen to you, someone that would care about you, someone like me. If they would just come, I would hear their case, and you would get justice from me." And if they would come over to kiss his hand, 'cause he's a prince, he would intercept them and kiss their hand. Smooth talk, flattery. In this way, it says in 2 Samuel, he stole the minds and the hearts of the people.
Smooth Talk & Flattery
The use of smooth talk and flattery by the adulteress, and by the usurper is nothing compared to the use of smooth talk and flattery by the false teacher. He seeks your soul, your very soul, he wants to destroy you, and so he uses smooth talk. Now, the problem is that people like it. That's the big problem. We like it. We want to hear good things. We want to be told sweet things. And so, it says, in Jeremiah 5, "A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land, the prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way." Even more blatant is Isaiah 30:9-11, in which the prophet says, "These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord's instruction. They say to the seers, 'See no more visions,' and to the prophets, 'Give us no more visions of what is right. Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.' Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel." They don't want to hear it, they want to hear pleasant things. And so, the problem isn't just with the false teachers, but it's with the people who want to hear that kind of stuff.
The doctrine that Paul laid down in Romans tells us the truth, tells us who we really are, it tells us of depravity and of sin and that all of our thoughts are turned away from God, unless he moves by grace, we'll be running in the opposite direction. "There is no one righteous, not even one." And it tells us of a bloody sacrifice. Jesus shed his blood on the cross, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. It's not a beautiful picture, it's actually quite jarring and quite ugly, but it tells us the truth of how the wrath of God was appeased at the cross, and by simple faith in Jesus, apart from any works of your own, you can be completely forgiven of sins. Oh, I pray and hope that if you come here today in a graceless state, that you're not a Christian, that you hear what I just said, all of your sins can be forgiven if you just simply look to the cross.
If you just look to the blood of Jesus and trust in him, all of your sins will be forgiven. But it's not a beautiful picture, it's a jarring thing to be told that you're a sinner, and that you need a Savior, and that the Savior had to die in order to save you, but it's the truth. But the people want to be told that they're okay, they're fine just as they are, they want to be instructed on how to find the champion inside you, and those books will sell like hotcakes. These Bible teachers will find the doctrines that everyone agrees about, and they'll preach those. You listen to a false teacher, you can get them on the internet or whatever and just... You just sit and listen to them, and you find yourself agreeing with a lot of what they say, maybe with all of what they say. And then, in the back of your mind, comes that warning that Jesus gave in Luke 6:26, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way they spoke of the false prophets of old."
Why would all people speak well? Because they're saying things that everyone agrees about. They are carefully and diligently avoiding topics that divide people. Jesus said, "Do not suppose that I came to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I've come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." And why? Did he come to do that directly? No. But that's going to be what happens when people hear the truth and they don't want to hear it.
Recently, a very well-known pastor was interviewed on Larry King Live. And Larry King asked him, "But don't you think if people don't believe as you believe they're somehow condemned? Like they're going to hell if they don't believe what you believe?" Here's what the pastor said, "You know, I think that happens in our society, but I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple of Sundays about it, 'I'm for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me, it's not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel is called the good news. So, my message is a message of hope, that God's for you, you can live a good life, no matter what's happened to you, and so I don't know, I know there is condemnation, but I don't feel that's my place.'"
Well, Larry King didn't let it go. He persevered. What if you're Jewish or Muslim or you don't accept Christ at all? Oh, be careful at this moment, if you're on TV. Better not to be on TV than to say this. I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know. Larry King said, "If you believe you have to believe in Christ, they're wrong, aren't they?" "Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe, here's what the Bible teaches, and from the Christian faith, this is what I believe, but I just think that only God can judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion, but I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity, so I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus."
Wow. Wow. John McArthur commenting on this interview, said this, "Divine truth is more important than anything else. And do you know why Jesus always escalated the conflict? It's because he always spoke the truth. If I ever do end up on Larry King or some other program like that, and somebody says to me, "Will Mormons go to heaven?" I will say, "No." If they say, "Will the Jews go to heaven, who reject Jesus as their Messiah?" I will say, "No." Do I want to start a fight? No. Do I want to be resented? No. Do I want to tell the truth? Yes. That's the issue. Jesus didn't escalate the conflict by being insensitive. He didn't escalate the conflict by being ungracious, the conflict escalated of itself because he spoke the truth."
So we've seen the methods of false teachers, they use false doctrine, they use deception, they use smooth talk and flattery.
III. The Motives of False Teachers
But what are their motives? Look at verse 18. It says, "For such people are not serving our Lord Christ but their own appetites." The word in the Greek is literally their belly. They're serving their stomach, and that represents their drives, their bodily drives, their earthly desires.
Like Philippians 3, it says, "For I've often told you before, and now say again, even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ, their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame, their mind is on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven." That's what these people want. For example, lust, lust, 2 Peter 2, it says, "Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures, while they feast with you, with eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning." And so, we see lust.
Or then there's greed, Peter calls them experts in greed. Paul says in 2 Corinthians, "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the Word of God for profit," we're not selling it. "…Peddling the Word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ, we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God." these false teachers want earthly pleasure. In order to have earthly pleasure, they need to have a lot of money, and so what they'll do is they tell the people what they want to hear, and the people pay them to do it.
Power and Control
That's the motive of the false teacher. They also want power and control, they want to be in charge. There's a lust for power, the ability to dominate people's lives. In 2 Corinthians 11:20-21, Paul was talking about false... The false apostles, and he said this, "In fact," speaking to the Corinthian church, "You even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantages of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. To my shame, we were too weak for that."
You see the domination of these false teachers, they like to be in charge, to dominate people's lives, to run them, and so we see the motives of false teachers.
IV. The Devastation of False Teachers
We see also the devastation wrought by false teachers. Look at verse 19, he says, "Everyone's heard about your obedience. So I'm full of joy over you, but I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil." Here is a beautiful little church, the Roman church, they are obedient to the gospel, they're growing. It's like a little garden of Eden. And here is the serpent coming in, and he's going to bring false doctrines. And so, here is this, sweet growing, healthy, obedient Church, and the devastation that false teaching will bring cannot be measured. It's a strategic church, they're right there in the capital city of the Roman Empire, and the serpent is coming. He's going to bring his false teaching.
And so, what is the devastation? Well, people deceive, they're tricked. They give up their faith, people's progress in the two infinite journeys is halted. We're supposed to be making internal progress, to be more and more like Jesus, the Gospel is supposed to make external progress to the ends of the earth, so that unreached peoples hear about Jesus, but false teaching stopped both dead in their tracks.
Paul says in Galatians 5:7. "You were running a good race, who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" Also churches are divided. What's going to happen is some people will believe the false teachings and some won't, and they're going to argue, and there won't be any resolution to it. The church will split. Churches get divided over false teaching. They cause divisions, it says, and they put obstacles in your way that caused you to be tripped up. As a result, the witness is ruined and the innocence is lost. Paul says that false teachers deceive the minds of naive people. He says, "You know, I wish you were naive. I wish you didn't know anything at all about evil."
You know, when the Lord's done finishing his saving work, we're all going to be clean and pure as driven snow. And that's what this word means. They deceive the minds of naive people. Actually, the same word is used of Jesus, that he's undefiled as our high priest, he's pure. But this has a sense of immaturity to it. Like these folks are wet behind the ears, they're like babes in the woods, they can't handle the level of warfare that's going to be needed when the wolves come, so they're naïve, and he doesn't want them to be. He'd like them to continue naive to evil, but the enemy is coming. And so we see the devastation of false teachers. What is the remedy?
V. The Remedy to False Teachers
Well, first of all, he tells them to watch out. Look at verse 17. "Now I urge you brothers, [I beseech you, I beg you to] keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances," literally, to mark them. In some communities, there's laws in which people who have been convicted of child molestation, other sins like that, have to identify themselves to the community. Well, I say that false teachers are far more of a threat to the church than those folks are to the community they're in, and they have to be marked. He says, "Mark them out. Say these folks are false teachers." Paul names names, Hymenaeus and Philetus, whoever they are. Well, I know they're false teachers. Mark them out. Let people know what they're teaching, and be vigilant all the time, watch for it, and be willing to fight for sound doctrine.
Jude 3. It says, "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write you and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." Contend for the faith, fight against false doctrine. The best thing you can do, though, I mean, in every level, saturate your mind in true doctrine, just saturate your mind in the Bible, be transformed by the renewing of your mind, understand the Bible. That's good for all things that's good for growing in godliness. But also, you'll be able to test those who claim to be apostles, but are not, and you will be able to find them false. You remember, in Acts 17, the Bereans, who are more noble-hearted than anyone else because they took the scriptures and they searched to see if what Paul said was true.
Oh, I pray that you would do that with my sermons or any sermons you hear in this pulpit. Take them back to the scripture and say, "Is it true?" Is Paul, in fact, warning the Roman church about false teaching in Romans 16:17-20. Don't just assume because I say so that that's what he's doing. Go back and read it yourself, and see if it's really biblical and true. Saturate your mind in true doctrine and right doctrine, and avoid these people, stay away from them. I know you think, "Oh man, I could take them on. Just me and Joseph Smith. That's kind of exciting, isn't it? I can win. Like the ego starts to come up, I know some scripture. Alright. I'm an expert in these things. I can take him on. I'll take on the Jehovah's Witnesses. Actually, I do, I enjoy taking on the Jehovah's Witnesses.
I've spent two hours with one in my house, thinking, I'm going to use up all their time. The odds that they're going to convert me to Arianism are close to zero, alright? But, at any rate, at least they're not with someone else, where their odds might be better, but, at the same time, I want to tell you, just speaking of myself, when I first got to seminary, and for the first time, really started reading Liberal theology, it really had an effect on me, it made me feel sick, it bothered me, it hit levels that disturbed me.
The attacks on whether Moses wrote the Pentateuch or whether the Old Testament was inspired the way we understand, these kind of things, they hurt me and it became hard for me until I went back to one thing that saved me, Jesus's view of the Old Testament, and that healed me. I said, "Jesus had an infinitely high view of the Old Testament, so should I." So much for the German Liberal higher critics, see you later. Alright, Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you? And so, I was healed. But I'm just telling you, it has an effect when you read that kind of false teaching. So avoid them, stay away from them, he says.
But, ultimately, our only defense is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at verse 20, the second half of the verse, "The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." As I was flying back from India, I was with Jenny, and we had some time. I do not sleep on planes. I envy you brothers and sisters who can sleep on those 18-hour flights, alright? It's nine hours plus nine hours, felt like 1800 hours and I just... You're sitting there. And what do you do with your head? Where do you put it? I would like to remove it and put it in a box somewhere, plug it back in when we arrive, but I just couldn't get comfortable, and I don't think Jenny could either. And so, I don't know. It was just perpetual darkness because we flew before the sun came up, we're going in the direction of the earth, so it was just forever, two hours before sunrise. And it was just never getting any lighter. And then they're bringing us food, and is it breakfast? Is it dinner? What is it? And I can't tell, you know what I'm saying? It's eggs, it must be breakfast, but I have no idea where I am or what I'm supposed to eat. And so there it is. So we started going through. I said, let's redeem the time, so we started going carefully through 1 John, verse by verse, just talking through 1 John.
And got to 1 John 2:20, and what a sweet verse. And there, it says, "But you have an anointing from the Holy One and all of you knows the truth." Isn't that sweet? KJV gives us an unction, you have an anointing you know the truth, if you're a child of God, if God's grace is on you, you will know false doctrine when you hear it. And you'll know true doctrine when you hear it. Even if it's something you've never heard before, immediately, the Spirit testifies in your heart, that is true, that is right. You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know the truth. John says, I don't write you because you don't know it, but because you do know it.
Isn't that beautiful? So we have the grace of our Lord, and so therefore, we cannot be deceived. If we are the elect, if we are the sheep of Christ, John 10:5, he says, they will not follow the voice of a stranger, because it's a stranger's voice, and they don't recognize his voice, they will not follow. Even when the Antichrist comes with deceiving signs and wonders to deceive, Jesus says in Matthew 24, even the elect, if that were possible. But it's not, because the grace of the Lord Jesus will be with you and he will protect you from false doctrine. Amen and Amen.
IV. The End of Satan’s Kingdom
Now, the end of Satan's kingdom. Next week, we'll talk about that. Alright, a full sermon. I had some things, but it just developed and developed and I said, "Oh, let's celebrate it. Let's spend a whole day next week celebrating. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. What applications can we take from this? First, come to Christ. I've already invited you. Come to Christ, trust in him for the salvation of your soul. That is true doctrine. Apart from Christ, you have no hope. You will die and go to hell. Your sins will testify against you on Judgment Day, but there is a remedy and the remedy is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you simply look to the cross, to the blood shed on the cross, you will be forgiven of all of your sins, past, present, and future. Come to Christ. If you've already come to Christ, can I urge you to just start by being thankful for the anointing you have from the Holy Spirit, that you know the truth, and be thankful for the gift of God in your life, which is faithful teachers of the Word of God? If anyone is a faithful teacher, Sunday school teacher, radio preacher, a book writer, even if they're dead, had been dead for three centuries, but if they're faithfully teaching the Word of God, they are a gift from Christ to you.
Thank God for right teaching. Saturate your mind, as I've said, in good doctrine, and be vigilant against false teachers. I am not insulted if any of you pray that I be protected from saying anything false. It doesn't insult me. I need that kind of prayer. I mean, I've done a lot of talking here in the last eight years. There's got to be something wrong in there. All those hours of talking. Pray that I'd be guarded and protected from saying things that are not helpful to the people of God. But pray also for yourselves that when I say things that are true and right, you put them into practice. That may be the greater threat, because it's a threat for me too. I see what's true, but am I living it? That's the issue. So pray that you put into practice the good doctrines, and rejoice... As we'll get to do for a full sermon next week, rejoice that Satan will soon crush... That God will soon crush Satan under your feet, that false teachers will not, in the end, win over the church of Jesus Christ. Close with me in prayer.