Posted by: Heather | April 9, 2009

false teachers 2

One more thought I wanted to throw out there for you to ponder and respond. (I really do want to know what you think about this one)

Notice how Jesus addressed false teachers one on one.


The rich young ruler: (remember, this man was a ruler of the synagogue – a religious leader who rejected Jesus – sounds like a false teacher to me)
Matthew 19:16-22
(16) And behold, one came and said to Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?
(17) And He said to him, Why do you call Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.
(18) He said to Him, Which? Jesus said, You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness,
(19) honor your father and mother, and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
(20) The young man said to Him, I have kept all these things from my youth up; what do I lack yet?
(21) Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me.
(22) But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

Second, look at Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus was not born again, yet he was a teacher of the synagogue.

John 3:1-21
(1) And there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
(2) He came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles which you do unless God is with him.
(3) Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(4) Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?
(5) Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
(6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(7) Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.
(8) The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
(9) Nicodemus answered and said to Him, How can these things be?
(10) Jesus answered and said to him, Are you the teacher of Israel and do not know these things?
(11) Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak what we know and testify what we have seen. And you do not receive our witness.
(12) If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
(13) And no one has ascended up to Heaven except He who came down from Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven.
(14) But even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
(15) so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
(17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.
(18) He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
(19) And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.
(20) For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
(21) But he who practices truth comes to the Light so that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.

Jesus was truthful, but gentle to them. You find him being aggressive when addressing them in groups, but I can’t think of a time when Jesus addresses one false teacher alone in a harsh tone. Can you?

I am thinking of Paul speaking of false teachers in Phil 3 in tears:

Philippians 3:17-19
(17) Brothers, be imitators together of me, and mark those who walk this way, for you have us for a pattern.
(18) (For many are walking, of whom I have told you often and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ;
(19) whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, those who mind earthly things.)

What do you think?




  1. Well, the Pharisees were false teachers, and Jesus called them “You brood of vipers.” Also “hypocrites and whitewashed tombs.” That sounds pretty harsh.

  2. Yes, he was very harsh and confrontational when speaking to them as a group. But I can’t remember a time when he addressed one of them alone in this manner. I believe there are times when we must address false teachings (where ever they are) in the public square and be pointed. However, it appears to me that in one on one conversation we are to be gentle. Still truthful, but gentle.


  3. Oh, ok, I see — one on one. No, you are right, I can’t think of any occasion where he was harsh to anyone one on one. Well, what about Peter? “Get thou behind me, Satan.” I guess he was speaking harshly to Satan through Peter.

  4. I must say, I have really struggled with that statement to Peter. I just don’t get it. Not to say in any way that it was wrong, (It couldn’t be, Jesus said it) I just don’t understand it. Seems like he had to deal with Peter a little like he has to deal with me. I am a pretty bone headed sometimes.

    Was Jesus saying Satan was in Peter? I don’t think so. Was he pointedly telling Peter where that came from? Maybe. Could he have been pointing to the exact same error Satan (and Eve) made of thinking he had a better idea of what needed to happen than God?

    I wonder. . .

    Could not have been a pleasant conversation though – to be sure!


  5. I’m wondering if Jesus wasn’t talking to Satan through Peter. God frequently in the Old Testament spoke to Satan through other people, like the King of Tyre, for example.

    And Jesus’ words to Satan served to teach Peter just where his throughts were coming from, I think.

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