The false teachers are described by Scripture as wolves coming in sheepskin to dwell among the unsuspecting sheep in the church. They will come in disguise as servants of righteousness. They can even masquerade as apostles of Christ ! 2 Cor 11:13-15. So how can we discern ?
Firstly, as agents of the devil, they will preach a different Jesus or a different gospel for sure to lure many in the church away. So this will be the main criteria to judge the motive of the false teachers. If you find them adamant in not recanting what they preach on the wrong soteriology and Christology after expose by many quarters, won’t you find it so strange ? Any genuine believer, all the more for so-called leaders, will not want to be misunderstood on belief on these very important doctrines and will definitely do their best to clarify them.
Secondly, they will have a different spirit and we can know them by their fruit stated in Jude 1:11-12.
Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
- Way Of Cain. They will walk in the way of Cain.
When Abel came to worship God, he came by faith knowing that he had to bring a substitutionary atonement sacrifice. Heb 11:4 told us that he brought a better sacrifice so there is reason to believe that God had instructed both Abel and Cain on the right form of worship sacrifice. Cain simply devised his own way of worship and came not by faith. Today, we can see the false hyper grace and NAR teachers devising their own way of worship denying repentance and forgiveness of sins, and including demonic manifestations during worship respectively.
- Balaam”s Error. They will run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit.
Basically Balaam’s error is a deliberate decision to promote falsehood for monetary gain. Though Balaam was a prophet of God, yet he counseled Balak, God’s enemy, on how to exert harm on Israel for the sake of gain. When God stopped him from using his prophetic gift to curse Israel, he still counseled Balak how to weaken Israel through using women to seduce Israelites into sexual relationship and pagan worship. Today, we see the false hyper grace and prosperity teachers gaining so much wealth by perverting God’s truth.
- Korah’s Rebellion. They will perish in the rebellion against God’s authority.
When Korah promoted himself as leader over Moses, he was actually rebelling against God who called Moses. Today, we see the ambition of the NAR false prophets to subordinate God’s servants worldwide to their authority as apostles and prophets. God’s true leaders will shepherd their flocks and serve with humility and care and will not lord over them. 1 Pet 5:2-3; Matt 23:8-12.