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TEXT: GALATIANS 1:6-9; II JOHNS 1: 9-11
- To awaken our consciousness on the prevalence of false teachings within the Church of Christ in this age.
- To be fully alert to fight every form of false teachings without delay
- To realize the impacts of false teachings in the church today.
- To see measures recommended in the Bible to handle false teachers and their teachings within and outside the church.
- To be equipped on ways to safeguard the church against false teachings.
The Church of Christ then and now have experienced the activities of false teachings by men who intentionally or ignorantly have infiltrated the church with false teachings. It is also observed that in Old Testament time agents of false teachings were there with some reasons to divert the children of God from the right ways of serving God.
Children of God should not live in ignorance of the existence of false teachers and their teachings as several warnings are clearly stated in the Bible that such will be experienced in the church.
DEFINITION OF KEY WORDS
- Impact: A forceful consequence; a strong effect.
- False: To mislead by want of truth; to deceive; not genuine or real; assumed or designed to deceive; counterfeit, hypocritical; not well founded; not firm or trustworthy erroneous; etc.
- Teaching: The act or business of instructing; the activities of educating or instructing; activities that impact knowledge or skill.
- The Church of Christ: The called out group of people bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ who have fulfilled the set out conditions in the Bible to become a household of God
- FALSE TEACHINGS/TEACHERS FORETOLD IN THE BIBLE
- By Jesus Christ- Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22-23
- By Apostle Paul- II Thess. 2:9-11; II Tim 2:15-19; I Tim. 6:20-21; Titus 1:10-14
- Apostle Peter- II Pet. 2:2; 1-3
With the above warnings and many which because of time we cannot mention, one may ask;
WHY DO WE HAVE FALSE TEACHERS/TEACHINGS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?
Both the false teachers and their teachings and those who accept them are by nature human beings with the power to choose either to obey God or not. The precepts/God’s teachings are simply set forth in the Bible. Like Apostle John writes in I John 5:3 “for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandment are not grievous”.
People teach falsehood for these reasons:
- To deceive (lead astray) the very elect- 24:24.
- To seduce even the elect – Mark 13:22
- To bringmany to condemnation who love not the truth – II Thess. 2:10-11
- To overthrow the faith of some Christians –II Tim. 2:18; I Tim. 6:21
- To make mechandize of some Christian – II Pet. 2:3
- For their belly and earthly cravings- 3:18-19
- For cheap popularity and desire to please men rather than God- 1:10; I Thess. 2:3-7
- Some teach falsehood out of ignorance- James 3:1
SOME FALSE TEACHINGS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST TODAY
We shall mention some false teachings going around in Churches of Christ today but we shall not discuss them because of limited times. The leadership of the church should give special attention for each of them to be discussed extensively. These are:
- Child Dedication.
- “Morning only”; “evening only”; “Night only” communion.
- White Wedding.
- “Prophecy” in the church.
- The use of instruments to accompany singing.
- “One bread” and “one cup only” for communion.
- Having choristers in the church.
- Formation of youth organization in the church.
- Clapping hands and dancing during worship services.
- Women keeping their heads uncovered during worship.
- “Ordained Leaders” to act as elders
- Formation of central bodies to oversee the activities of women, youth and gospel meetings of Churches of Christ in local governments.
- Observing of “minute of silence” to dead persons.
- Fund raising at funerals
- Payment of money for special prayers
- Giving of testimony as a means of raising money for the church#
IMPACTS OF FALSE TEACHING IN THE CHURCH
- It destroys the oneness and unity of congregations
- It breeds hatred among Churches of Christ the world over.
- It destroys the faith of the Saints
- It retards the growth of the church.
- It destroys the co-operation among various congregations.
- It gives room for the enemies of the church to speak evil about the Church of Christ- Rom. 2:23-24
- It doesn’t allow the difference between the Church of Christ and denominations to be seen.
The word dedication from Hebrew kădhesh, to sanctify, Hanukkah, to consecrate, an expression denoting dedication to holy ends, often used of the consecration of persons, but usually of the setting apart of things of God’s use.
Lots of things were dedicated in Old Testament
- Tabernacle Numbers 7
- Temple 1kings 8
- The city wall Nehemiah 12:27
- The temple treasure 1 Chronicles 28:12
- The child – Exodus 13:2 etc
On child dedication it was not merely a priest taking up a child and having the parents in front of the temple and prayed. It was not all the children that were dedicated.
Let the Bible speak:
Exodus chapter 13 verse 1-2, 12 (all first born whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both man and beast; it is mine)
Leviticus 12:2-8, Luke chapter 2: 22 – 24, Exodus 34:19, Number 3:13; 8:17
As seen in the Bible among the Hebrews, wedding (marriage) customs centered around two events of betrothal and wedding. The wedding itself did not include a religious ceremony although it is probable that the betrothal was ratified by an oath (Ezekiel 16: 8; Malachi 2:14) and after the Exile, written contract were drawn up and sealed.
On the day of the wedding, the bride dressed in white elaborately embroidered robes bedecked herself with jewels (Isaiah 61:10) and put on a veil (Genesis24 verse 65) and a garland.
The bridegroom, attended by friends and accompanied by musicians and singers went to the bride’s house (Matthew25:7) and then after receiving her from her parents with their blessings, he conducted the whole party back to his own house
On the way other friends of the bride and groom joined the party, and they was much music and dancing (Ps.45:15). A feast was held at the bridegroom’s house.Later in the evening, the bride’s parents escorted her to the nuptial chamber (Genesis 29:23), while he was led there by his friends or by the bride’s parents. The next day the festivities were resumed and continued for one or two weeks (Genesis29:27, Judges 14:12). The wedding festivities included much music and joking
This was marriage among the Hebrews.And it was not done in the temple, In John 2 verse 1-2, Jesus and his disciples were invited for a marriage at Canaan and they went. There in the bride’s compound, He performed His first miracle.
Marriage is family to family affairs and it is done according to the custom of the people involved. We have our own custom which is unique. Our young ladies want to push our boys into extravagant spending by duplicating marriage which afterwards put the young man into huge debts. If you check the cost of running duplicated marriages, you will be amazed by the debts and problems encountered after the exercise.
Sad enough in the journey, is our preachers and elders who encourages our brethren to fall into the net of indebtedness while they will go home and live happily with their family.
What is mostly important in marriage is the consent of both parents and blessings given to their children during marriage.
Let everything be done in moderation. Let us not be like others.
After all successful marriages are not guaranteed through duplication.
Impact of False Teaching in the Church
- It destroys the oneness and unity of congregations – Romans 16:17 – 18; 1 Corinthians 1:10 3:3
- It breeds hatred among church of Christ the world over
- It destroys the faith of the saints 1 Timothy 6:21
- It retards the growth of the church by tossing to and fro Ephesians 4:14
- It destroys the cooperation among various congregations
- It gives room for the enemies of the church to speak evil about the church of Christ Romans 2 verse 23 to 24
- It does not allow the difference between the church of Christ and denomination to be seen
How to Handle False Teachers/Teachings
- False teaching is like cancer, it spread so rapidly hence no delay and compromise should be given to it.
- Every form of false teaching should be withstood no matter who preaches it Galatians 2:4-6 Apostle Paul had to withstand Apostle Peter to the face in front of all Galatians 2:11 – 14.
- The elders of the church are given the charge of protecting and guarding the flock against false teachings and their agent – Act 20:28 -31.
- We must earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. – Jude vs 3, 2 Timothy 1:13
- We should not have anything to do with false teachers and their teachings 2John 10-11
Safeguarding the Church Against False Teaching
- By training sound teachers who will be able to identify and fight against false teachings in the church 2 Timothy 2 :3-10 -Titus 1:9-11
- The elders, preachers and teachers should be able to feed the church with sound gospel – Titus 2 1-8.
- False teachers should not be given an opportunity to spread false teaching in the congregations of saints. They should be marked and avoided. Romans 16: 17
- Dangers of false teachings should be frequently shouted to the saints to keep us alert of such dangers.
- Lectures, gospel meetings and seminars should be periodically organized to tackle the issues of false teaching within Churches of Christ.
- Prayers and fasting should be in place to protect the Church against the scourge of false teaching
False teaching has been in the past and will continue to be till Christ comes back. we should be vigilant to identify and fight every form of it.
Though many will love it because it appeals to the flesh, faithful children of God will ever stand for the few for the truth that will set us free. John 8:31-32
Delivered by Moses A. Akpan (Min.)
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR MARCH 2018