March 14, 2011

False Teacher Traits, Part 2

Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. Jude 20-23

Back in verse 8, Jude began compiling a list of ‘character traits’ that describe false teachers. He’s already said that they are dreamers, that they are men of unclean character, that they reject authority, and that they are proud and arrogant. But now, in verses 11-13, he continues the indictment. Follow along as he adds four more items to his list of False Teacher Traits:

In verse 11, he reminds us that false teachers are heartless. I believe that is part of the point of comparing them to Cain, Balaam, and Korah. We haven’t room for the details here, but search the Old Testament and you’ll see that each of these men were willing, in their selfishness and pride, to destroy other people. “Cain” murdered his own brother (Genesis 4). “Balaam” convinced God’s people to worship idols … resulting in a deadly plague upon the camp of Israel (Numbers 31.16). And “Korah” tried to bring down Moses, and ended up, in his arrogance, bringing his whole family to its death (Numbers 16). And what was the common denominator between these men (and the false prophets to whom Jude compares them)? They all got people killed! And that’s Jude’s point. The problem with false teachers is not that they just get a few things wrong … but that their errors are deadly! And they really don’t care. As long as they get what they want, who cares about you? And yet people still get sucked in by these Balaam’s! Don’t let it happen to you!

Second, Jude informs us that false teachers are spineless. Most of the time they don’t come right out and make their beliefs plain. Instead (Jude 12) they remain “hidden” within the church. They try to lull people into their confidence. They are sneaky. And they are, therefore, spineless – unwilling to just come out and say what they really believe. So we must be on guard! We must pay very careful attention to what we’re taught!

Third, Jude says that these men are fearless. They “feast with you without fear” (v.12). In other words, they are not really bothered by Paul’s warning that those who take the Lord’s Supper in a sinful, ungodly way might just be killed (1 Corinthians 11). Because, remember, they are arrogant. They think they are God’s untouchable anointed. So why should they be afraid? Soon enough, they will find out, Jude will go on to say at the end of verse 13! So make sure you don’t join them!

Next Jude tells us that false teachers are loveless. As we said already, they couldn’t care less what happens to you, so long as they get the prestige, or money, or power they are after. They care (v.12) only “for themselves.”

And finally, says Jude, these men are fruitless (v.13). They’re like clouds that never produce any rain, and like trees that never sprout any fruit. In other words, they do their thing, and look the part … but nothing good ever comes of it. No one is helped. No one is moved closer to heaven. No one is converted to Christ. No, the whole thing is just one giant house of straw. Their entire life’s work will come crashing down at the last day … just like a farmer eventually cuts down and burns the trees that take up space in his orchard and never produce any fruit! Such will be the fate of the false teachers. Such will be the fate of so many of the familiar, smiling faces on TBN and in the so-called emergent church. They have built quite an empire for themselves here on earth. But they will have no reward in heaven … because they cultivated empires instead of fruit trees!

So watch out for these men (and women). They’re very good at sucking people in. As Phil Collins sang: They’ll ‘take your heart but you won’t feel it.’ So guard that heart. Know the truth. Love the Scriptures. And cling to the biblical Jesus!

1 comment:

%Glo said...