Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?” ~ Acts 13:9-10
Barnabas and Saul, now called Paul, are on the island of Cyprus. As they are sharing the Gospel with the proconsul, his attendant speaks in opposition to them in an attempt to keep the proconsul from turning in faith to Christ. The Scripture tells us that the attendant was a sorcerer and a false prophet. While we are not told what he said, his words must have been turning the proconsul’s head, because Paul finally addresses the attendant directly. Not only does Paul call him out, but filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul says in verse 11, “Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” The attendant is blinded, and the proconsul comes to faith.
The world is full of false prophets. Some actively speak against Christ, and such false prophets are easy to identify. But the false prophets that concern me most are those that twist God’s Word in misleading ways while cloaked in an appearance of Christianity. These are oftentimes not so easy to identify, and therefore present a great danger. Their objective is not to preach the Truth; their objective is to make us feel good, to build numbers of followers by telling people what they want to hear. They seek human acceptance as they attempt to conform Christian doctrine politically and socially while demeaning Christians who insist on adhering to the Truth revealed by God in His Word. Paul warns us of this in his second letter to Timothy: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3) Paul was absolutely right; that time is here.
We must guard ourselves against such falsehoods. How do we do that? I believe there are four important things each Christian should do: (1) Be in the Word daily – we must build our understanding of God’s Truth to better equip us to discern Truth from falsehood; (2) Be in prayer daily – seek God’s guidance as we read and study His Word and pray for His church and our fellow Christians; (3) Seek and actively participate in a church in which the preaching and teaching are firmly rooted in God’s Word – not in popular thought; (4) Seek fellowship with firmly planted believers.
Ponder this: How many Christians have been led astray by modern day false prophets? What would God have me do when such falsehoods are presented as truth?
My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I lift up your church and all who proclaim You as Lord and Savior. May all who preach and teach do so only on the basis of Your Word. Grant me the gift of discernment, that I would know the Truth and follow it as I reject false teachings. In Jesus’ name. AMEN