SHALL THEY HEAP TO THEMSELVES TEACHERS
By John C. Carpenter
 
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, whom Paul referred to as his beloved son in the faith, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist [Greek, anthistemi, to stand against, oppose, withstand] the truth [of Christ and the gospel message]: men of corrupt minds, reprobate [Greek, adokimos, unapproved, rejected, worthless, a castaway] concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was (2 Timothy 3:1-9). Later in his letter, Paul adds these words: I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word [Greek, logos, a reference to Christ and the gospel of Christ, not to the bible]; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:1-4). In these verses, the apostle describes some men who will be a part of the church of the last days and, as Paul also describes, perilous times. We can surmise that these men Paul is referring to are not only believers in Christ but are also part of the last days church [but not necessarily church leaders] because Paul eventually says “they heap to themselves [false] teachers.” We should ask, though, why are false apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers so prevalent within the contemporary Christian church. The answer is that there are two main reasons, as we shall see.
 
THERE ARE MANY FALSE APOSTLES, PROPHETS, PASTORS, EVANGELISTS,
AND TEACHERS WITHIN THE CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN CHURCH
 
In this early part of the year 2022, and it is glaringly obvious that there are many false apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers operating within the contemporary Christian church. This has been the case worldwide for centuries, but within the United States, false teachers and teachings appear to have proliferated within the last few decades. All we have to do is turn on the television or radio, or buy a few books written by some of these false teachers, and then compare the messages of these leaders to the long-accepted Christian doctrines of the holy scriptures. The doctrinal differences of these false teachers and preachers are obvious. This is especially true in the ministries who propagate the so-called health, wealth, and prosperity doctrines. These false leaders within the church clearly are preaching and teaching so much aberrant doctrine, and thereby leading many astray from the true gospel of Christ, as the scriptures so aptly teach and warn.
 
According to the scriptures, there are two reasons why there are so many false teachers and doctrines within the Christian church – the lusts of false ministers who are teaching error, and the lusts of believers sitting on the pews in these false churches. Both are guilty for promoting false leaders within the church.
 
We must confess, if we are truthful, that God, through the scriptures, has amply warned us about those who pervert or reject the true gospel of Jesus Christ and teach and preach heresy. Most of us are well aware of the many warnings we have been given within the scriptures. For example, the apostle Paul referred to false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming [disguising] themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
 
Christ Himself, warns us all to Beware of false prophets [Greek, pseudoprophetes, a spurious prophet, a pretended foreteller, a religious impostor], which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening [commit extortion] wolves [Greek,lukos, whitish hair, symbolizing those who appear white, pure, and truthful]. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:15-20).
 
Paul also warned Timothy about false individuals within the church with these words: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing [Greek, planos, roving from truth, imposter, misleader, deceiver] spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [developing their own manmade laws and commandments for others to follow such as] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
 
One of the best warnings about false individuals in the church came from Christ Himself. Christ argued with some unbelieving Jewish pharisees: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you [Pharisees], I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again (John 10:1-17). In His anger, and in order to make His point, Jesus contrasted Himself with the Pharisees, who were false teachers teaching false doctrines. Christ told the Pharisees they were not chosen nor called by Christ, but climbed into the sheepfold [became spiritual leaders in the church] by some other way than through Christ, and as false servants, they place themselves in importance before Christ. Jesus also described the Pharisees as strangers and thieves who came only to steal, kill, and destroy, that they were hirelings, they were not the true shepherd of the true sheep, and the true sheep did not hear their voice nor respond to them. Jesus also said that when they, false leaders, see the wolf [predator of the sheep] coming, they leave the sheep and flee, and the sheep are therefore scattered. Jesus also told the Pharisees that, as hirelings, they flee the sheep because they do not truly care for the sheep. Jesus described Himself as the true and only door into the sheepfold, and that when the sheep enter the fold through Him, they shall be saved, shall go in and out of the fold, and find pasture. Christ also said that He came that the sheep might have life, He is the good shepherd who knows His own sheep, and they know Him, and that He knows the Father, the Father knows Him, He lays down His life for the sheep, and therefore does His Father love Him. Clearly, Christ was contrasting Himself with the Pharisees, and all false individuals, ministers, and leaders within the church. Argument is often made that this "thief" who steals, kills, and destroys is Satan. Truly, Satan is influencing and controlling the actions of these false servants of God, but these false servants are, according to Christ, nothing other than thieves and hirelings who are stealing, killing, and destroying from the true flock of Christ. This idea is verified throughout the old testament scriptures as well. Jeremiah told us Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour(Jer 23:30), Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD (Jer 23:1), and Many pastorshave destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness (Jer 12:10). Referring to the false shepherds [religious leaders] of Israel (Ezek 34:2), Ezekiel also said, Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock (Ezek 34:3). Isaiah told us As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths (Isa 3:12). Christ and the scriptures make it clear that false apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers, that is, the false religious leaders of the church, are the ones who are stealing, killing, and destroying.
 
FALSE CHURCH LEADERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PREVALENCE
OF FALSE MINISTERS IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
 
No doubt there are many false teachers and teachings within the church, but what is the reason and motivation for these individuals to depart from the truth and teach false or perverted doctrines? Why would anybody be willing, if not eager, to twist, adulterate, and pervert the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. The scriptures provide us with two main reasons.
 
The apostle Peter gives us the first reason. Speaking of the last days, Peter warns that there shall be scoffers who are living according to their own lusts (2 Pet 3:3) and ungodly men (2 Peter 3:7) who are unlearned [ignorant] and unstable [unfixed, vacillating] wrest [wrench, pervert, twist, reverse], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness (2 Peter 3:16-17). According to Peter, men who pervert or twist the scriptures are unlearned as well as unstable. Not only do these men not know what is right [and sometimes they do know the truth but ignore it], but they also, for their own lustful reasons, are easily influenced by others and, therefore, tend to vascillate back and forth. There is no biblical stability in their lives, or in their doctrinal teaching.  There is another reason why false church leaders are so prevalent in the church. Paul wrote the church in Rome, Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words [Greek,chrestologia, fair speech, plausibility,convincing, flattering] and fair speeches [Greek, eulogia, fine speaking, elegant language, speech resulting in adoration] deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17-18). False teachers and preachers not only promote divisions and offences contrary to correct doctrine, but through pleasing speech they are able to easily deceive those who are vulnerable, unsuspecting, and naive. Knowing the dangers of fair speeches and alluring, but deceptive language, Paul reassured the Corinthian church my speech and my preaching was not with enticing [Greek, peithos, persuasive, convincing, deceptive, to cause to assent to] words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
 
Another reason for so much error and falseness in the church is covetousness, that is, fraudulent and intentionally deceptive greediness. To them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, the apostle Peter warned. there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers [Greek, pseudodidaskalos, a spurious teacher, a propagator of erroneous Christian doctrine] among you, who privily shall bring in damnable [to cause ruin or loss] heresies [Greek, hairesis, a wrong choice, disunion], even [specifically] denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious [Greek, apoleia, damnable, destructive, wasteful] ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness [Greek, pleonexia, avarice, fraudulency, extortion, greediness]shall they with feigned [Greek, plastos, moulded, artificial, fictitious, to fabricate in order to deceive] words make merchandise[Greek, emporeuomai, to travel into a country as a pedlar, to trade, buy and sell, to obtain gain by selling] of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not (2 Peter 2:1-3). Referring to false teachers who speak evil about truthful things, who teach doctrinal error, who because of their own greed will take advantage of the flock for their own gain, and who even deny Jesus Christ, the apostle explains that these false teachers shall bring upon themselves swift temporal and eternal destruction and damnation. Peter further explains that many will follow their ways of destruction and damnation will also reap the same destruction and damnation.
 
Another reason false teachers are contributing to the prevalence of false teaching in the church is because false teachers, for several reasons, want to have their own group of followerss. The larger the number of followers, the greater their egos are stroked, the more power and influence they have, and the more money they make. Television evangelists and megachurches are a good example. They have extremely large audiences, yet continually desire to have more and more people joining their ministry, filling their money coffers, and fulfilling their own lusts. They bring in millions of dollars each year, but are continually asking for more donations. They are puffed up with leaven [the swelling of pride and hypocrisy], and strut themselves before massive audiences speaking lies, error and heresy. Their stated excuse for their insatiable appetite is that they say they want to spread the gospel to more people, and this is why they say they have so many fund raisers and ask for so many donations. The truth is they are lusting after larger and larger houses and properties, expensive airplanes, excessively expensive automobiles, fine furniture, and swollen egos, among many other things. Speaking to Ephesian church elders, the apostle Paul, who knew the dangers of large followings, said,For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse [Greek diastrepho, to distort, misinterpret, corrupt] things, to draw away [drag forth] disciples after them [to themselves]. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears (Acts 20:29-31). Paul hit the nail on the head when he said these false leaders do not spare the flock, and speak perverse things in an effort to draw disciples and followers to themselves.
 
Another reason there are so many false leaders in the church is that they have no conscience. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul warned, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy [Greek,hupodrisis, deceit, false, pretense]; having their conscience [Greek, suneidesis, perception, moral consciousness] seared with a hot iron [Greek, kauteriazo, to render insensitive, consumed] (1 Timothy 4:1-2). These false church leaders have departed from the true faith of the gospel of Christ, are responding to and following seductive evil spirits and demonic ideas and teaching, and are speaking hypocritical lies, all because their conscience is no longer sensitive to right and wrong, or good and evil.
 
Another reason for the prevalence of false teachers and teaching in the church is that false prophets and teachers are extremely good at luring unsuspecting individuals into their heretical and greedy ministry. Referring to false prophets and teachers, Paul clearly warned, These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling [insolent, weighty] words of vanity [Greek mataiotes, inutility, transientness, moral depravity], they allure [Greek, deleazo, to entrap, delude, trick, deceive] through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness [Greek, aselgeia, licentiousness and other vices, filthy], those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage (2 Peter 2:17-19). Peter esplains here that false prophets and teachers, through speaking swelling, but vain, words, delude, entrap, and deceive those who follow them by catering to the lust of the flesh in the believing follower. Simply put, for their own gain, false leaders use deceptive speech to prey upon the weaknesses of believers who ignorantly, innocently, and naively follow them.
 
Another reason for so many false leaders in the contemporary Christian church is that these false men and women were, for God's own purposes, predestined to be false, and therefore suffer the fruit of condemnation. Look at the warnings provided us by Jude: Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained [written about and predicted in ancient times] to this condemnation [Greek, krima, a decision against, damnation, judgment], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:3-4). God decided early on that certain men and women, written about in ancient times, were ordained to judgment and condemnaton because of their ungodliness, lasciviousness [unbridled and excessive sensuality], and denial of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Yet, another reason there is so much falseness in the church is that false church leaders begin preaching significant error because they stumble over affliction and persecution, their primary concern is for the cares of this world, or they are overcome by the deceitfulness of riches [this reason should alert us to the many heretical prosperity teachers and teachings]. They may also give in to the lusts of worldly things, all of which eventually choke the presence of the gospel seed, the gospel message becomes unfruitful, and then doctrinal perversion begins to creep in. Jesus taught His own disciples these dangers in the parable of the sower: The sower soweth the word [Christ and the gospel message, not the bible]. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended [Greek, skandalizo, to entrap, trip up, stumble, entice to sin]. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred (Mark 4:14-20).
 
And last, but not least, Paul, in our own subject verse, gives us another clear reason why false leaders and teaching are so prevalent within the church. As Paul instructs us, these false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers within the contemporary church are lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses,so do these also resist [Greek, anthistemi, to stand against, oppose, withstand] the truth [of Christ and the gospel message]: men of corrupt minds, reprobate [Greek, adokimos, unapproved, rejected, worthless, a castaway] concerning the faith. In this paragraph, Paul lists a multitude of reasons why some pervert the gospel of Christ, all of which reflect an obsession with self. The Lord responded to this reason with these words: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man [or woman] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it (Matthew 16:24-25).
 
CHURCH MEMBERS ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PREVALENCE
OF FALSE MINISTERS IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
 
The physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual states of false individuals within the church are not the only reasons why false teachers, these thieves and hirelings as the Lord described, are so prominent within the contemporary Christian church. Another main reason is that those sitting on the pews, the church members themselves are a significant part of the problem, and are as responsible, if not more so, for the presence of false teachers within the church, as the false teachers themselves. The scriptures mention several reasons why believing sheep contribute to false teachers and teaching within the church.
 
Just look at what Paul wrote to Timothy:For the time will come when they [church members] will not endure [Greek, anechomai, put up with, hold oneself up against, bear with] sound [Greek,hugiaino, to have sound health, uncorrupted, true in doctrine] doctrine [Greek, didaskalia, instruction, learning, teaching]; but after their own lusts [Greek, epithumia, a longing especially for what is forbidden, concupiscence, covet, desire] shall they heap [Greekepisoreuo, to accumulate further, seek additional] to themselves teachers, [because the church members are] having itching ears; And they shall turn away [Greek, apostrepho, turn away or back, pervert, separate from] their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [Greek, muthos, a tale, fiction, a myth] (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
 
Many, but certainly not all, church members who allow themselves to be taught false doctrines by false ministers do so for the reasons mentioned by Paul. First, these church members do not want truthful doctrines to guide their lives, possibly because learning true doctrine is time consuming, and requires a lot of hard work, struggle, patience, and persistance. Additionally, many church members also suspect, correctly so, that learning and following true doctrine will certainly involve significant pain and suffering or one kind or another. Honestly, they believe that seeking and following true doctrines, on the whole, are just too difficult, and not worth it and truthfully, some are just plain lazy. Second, these church members, because of their own lusts, eagerly seek out, attend, and even join, false churches headed by false preachers. Additionally, the church members have itching ears, meaning, they want to hear from preachers and teachers what they want or need to hear. The members want to hear sermons that meet their own needs, even though that church leader is preaching error. If an individual is having financial troubles, they may attend churches and seminars which promote abundance, wealth and prosperity; or if they are ill, they may attend churches which promote miraculous healing. If an individual feels powerless to change their own circumstances and lives, they may attend churches that promote power and miracles, even though no true miracles of God are occurring there. If an indivudual prefers an intellectual church, they may attend a particular church that meets that need. If the individual desires fun, food, picnics, singing, entertainment, or sports, they will seek out a church that emphasizes those activities. I have known weak and emotionally unstable women who followed the media ministries of strong and domineering women pastors because they were strengthened and felt more secure under the guidance and preaching of those pastors, even though that pastor may be teaching and preaching significant error. I knew of one woman who began to attend a church because she was attracted to the church pastor, even though he was much younger, and married. I have known of men who attended a church simply because they were attracted to a particular church member in the congregation or choir, even though that church was not teaching biblical truth. The spiritual, physical, social, and personality needs of the individual periodically determines the church which is attended, because those churches satisfy the lustful needs of the individual. You can get a pretty good idea of what the desires and needs of an individual are by examining the church they attend. It also quickly becomes apparent if the individual sitting on the pew of a church that is teaching error is there for God, or for self. Third, and lastly, these church members turn away from and reject the truth because they prefer fantasy, fiction and fables. The truth is too difficult and painful, too permanent, too time consuming, and they consider fables and fiction to be more digestable and tolerable than the truth.
 
There is yet another reason why some individuals attend false churchs and continue to listen to false teachers. Although it sounds rather harsh, the scriptures tell us that these people are simple. Simple means that they are easily deceived and gullible. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul warned, Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple [Greek, akakos, innocent, gullible, unsuspecting, unperceptive, naive] (Romans 16:17-18).
 
Another reason church members promote the presence of false ministers and churches is ignorance. Many members who are attending churches that preach error are attending those churches because they do not know that what is being taught is dangerous error. Because of their ignorance of the scriptures and their consequent promotion of error, the Lord scolded some Jewish sadducees with these words: Jesus answered and said unto them [the sadducees], Ye do err [Greek, planao, to cause to roam from safety, truth, or virtue, to be deceived, seduced, wander from truth, to be deluded] , not knowing [Greek, eido, be aware, consider, have knowledge of, understand] the scriptures [Greek, graphe, that which is engraven, a document, holy Writ], nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29).
 
REPROVE, REBUKE, EXHORT WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE
 
There is no doubt, if one believes the scriptures, that false prophets, teachers, and doctrine are infiltrating more and more of the contemporary Christian church for two reasons: the evils present in false leaders, and the evils present in the hearts of those who not only seek our but follow false prophets and teachers. Paul exhorted and instructed Timothy to be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. According to the scriptures, the lusts of believers are much of the cause of false prophets in the church. Our own lusts [which may even be subconscious and not recognized] drive us to seek out and navigage to churches which we think will satisfy those lusts, whether the lust is for money, power, ego, opportunity, success, health, prosperity, or a thousand other things. In short, we are looking for someone to support and encourage us, and who will tell us everything is going to be allright. Truthfully, those who follow false church leaders are looking for a god, instead of THE GOD. False leaders in the church are more than willing to be a god, to step in and scratch the ears of we snotty nose sheep by wiping our noses and telling us what we want to hear. In churches with false leaders, most believers sitting on the pews or using media do often sense deep within their hearts that something is not quite right with the leaders they are following, but they are so driven by their own lusts that they repeatedly and intentionally overlook the dangers of the church they are involved with.
 
So, from the viewpoint of the believer, what is the answer to the problem of false leaders in the church? Paul gives us appropriate advice. To the church in Ephesus, Paul exhorted That we henceforth be no more children [Greek, nepios, immature, simple minded, childish], tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:14-15).  Paul also instructed Timothy, ...be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine [Greek, didaskalia, instruction, learning, teaching](1 Timothy 4:12-13). To Titus, Paul wrote, ...speak thou the things which become sound doctrine (Titus 2:1), and the apostle John wrote, Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (2 John 1:9).
 
We believers should also heed Paul's advice found in our subject verses. We should not only endure, but seek out and learn sound, life-giving doctrine through studying the scriptures. We must also seek the guidance and powerful help of the Holy Spirit. If we do not know sound doctrine when we hear it, how can we know if the doctrines being taught in the church we are in are sound or unsound. As Paul advised, we should reprove, rebuke, and exhort with longsuffering and [sound, correct, proper] doctrine. Last, we should also stop rejecting the truth. We should stop having itching ears, and we should stop listening to those who tell us what we want to hear. Lastly, we should stop listening to and participating in fables, those things which we suspect, or even know, are absolutely false.  AMEN.
 
 
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“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe
unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and
prudent in their own sight!”
(Isaiah 5:20-21).