As I touched on yesterday, there are teachers out there in the world today attempting to lead you away from the truth. This happened back in the early New Testament church as well. And in Jesus’ letter to the church in Pergamum He said: “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Rev. 2:14-16)
In my study yesterday, we looked into several Scriptures about church leaders (and Bible teachers) who may entice others to sin. “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-30) These savage wolves will be more concerned with themselves, their desires and lusts instead of teaching about our sin, how before Christ we were separated from God because of it, and how we can repent, accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. They will be ear-ticklers to gain more numbers for their congregations, more money for their coffers.
The question was posed: “Do you think God holds us accountable for the church leadership we place ourselves under?” While we are part of a body of the church, it is not the church that decides our final destination: Heaven or hell. We have to individually make a choice to repent and follow Christ. If we choose to follow a false teacher who may not even tell us the truth about the gospel; and we haven’t believed in Jesus as the Son of God and the only way to the Father and repented of our sin, then no matter how “good” we are, we will not spend eternity with the Lord. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt. 7:21-23)
But the Holy Spirit will give us discernment and wisdom. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) We test the spirits by meditating on God’s Word, asking Him for wisdom and discernment, staying alert and persistent in prayer. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:9-11)