I was fortunate to travel as a child. Travel was one thing that my parents wanted to give to their children. We took a few trips to Europe. I remember distinctly being warned before we made trips about the thieves in these countries. The warning was in the form a description of how these thieves operated. If we knew how they worked then we would be able to avoid them. One technique of thieves in Europe was to act as a newspaper salesman. They would open the newspaper in your face acting like they were attempting to make a sale while their buddy came along and took your wallet from your pocket. Another strategy was to employ their kids. Once we were riding a subway scrunched in with many other passengers while kids walked around below adult’s waist and took the money from their pockets (and fanny packs – in the case of my parents). This technique we were unaware of and so my parents were pick pocketed by little kids for all the cash they had on hand and credit cards.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he is warning Timothy about false teachers. In the first verses of chapter 3 he lists characteristics of what people will be like and then exhorts him to ‘avoid such people.’ Scripture shows us that there are such people as false teachers. Our problem is that we do not recognize them therefore we potentially will be led astray because we do not know how they operate. What Paul is telling Timothy and what we need to know is what these false teachers are like. This will equip us in knowing who to avoid and how to avoid them. Just as the thieves in Europe acted as Newspaper salesman in order to distract their victims so false teachers distract us in an attempt to steal our souls.
Thankfully as God’s people we have a great high judge who will judge those who seek to steal away sheep from the flock. It is important that we are aware of these false teachers and how they operate so we will know how to avoid them, but even more importantly we need to cling closely to Christ so as not to stray from his watch as our shepherd. One way in which we do this is in our worship, both in our preparation for worship and in our giving of our lives to him. So as we approach Sunday morning seek to prepare your hearts to worship the one who guards us and keeps us from the wiles of our enemies.
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-9
Sermon: Know the Truth About False Teachers