There is nothing that really rubs us the wrong way more than a deceiver. The thought of being lied to or misled leaves a sick feeling in our stomachs and keeps our heads constantly turning.
But the reality for a believer is that we should not be altered by the fear of evil, despite all falsehoods and antichrists (those that oppose Jesus) that fill the world around us. Just because there is deception in the world does not mean we have an excuse for living pent up in our own little corners, scared to live the lives Jesus has called us to live. Yes, there is darkness. But Jesus outshines it all!
So, what should be our response to those who oppose Jesus? What route should a believer take when faced with the opposition of false teaching and deception?
John’s second epistle to a little “sister” church helps us with the answer. We see how he warns the church of the danger of deceivers in verses 6 and 7,
“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (II John 1:6-7).
Deceivers are those “who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” (v.7) and those who “abide not in the doctrine of Christ” (v.9). Paul gave a similar warning in Galatians,
“Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:7-8).
A false teacher will come in the guise of truth and proclaim the lies of darkness. They will ultimately oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).
So, what should a believer do in a world of deceivers?
Know the Truth (II John 1)
If Christians are going to hold the banner of Christ high in this generation, we must excuse ourselves from the world’s devices and dedicate ourselves to mining God’s truth. What does God say about the subject? Is this teaching true according to God’s Word? If Christ is going to have His way in our world, we must be willing to dig ourselves into the bunker of the Bible and hold fast to the truths of God. Because only His truths change the world and debunk the lies of the culture!
Notice how John begins this second epistle: “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth” (II John 1:1).
Can I encourage you to not be ignorant of the truth? Don’t settle for just reading your Bible, although that is good; study it! (II Timothy 2:15) Know how to discern truth from error. What does John say, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (I John 4:6).
Walk in the Truth (II John 4-6)
Knowing right from wrong is an awesome superpower of the Holy Spirit that is made available to us through Christ. But just knowing the right thing to do is not enough to dissipate the destruction of false teaching. You must be on an active lookout for the subtle attacks of the enemy. Remember, these false teachers are the same people that are looking to guide your children. They wish to break the hedge of a godly environment and influence your kids to live contrary to God’s Word. Your children’s lives and lifestyles are truly at stake.
So—parent, pastor, teacher—live the truth.
“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it” (II John 1:4-6).
Our world needs Christians to live out the truth that they claim to hold so dearly. People are perceptive, and they know a phony when they see one. But when a Christian decides to live out the truth and the love of Christ that are in him, the world begins to turn their heads.
Speak the Truth
It goes without saying that speaking the truth is one of the greatest ways to respond to false teachings. Paul urges Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2). Paul saw the importance of training up younger believers in the truth of God’s Word.
I believe many Christians today do not see the value of personal discipleship because it’s not flashy or “doing something big.” But, may I say that when you instill the truth of God into a young heart, you are making a huge impact! So, if it’s to one or one thousand—speak the truth! Let the world know the hope that is in Jesus and the light that is in God’s Word.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15).