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Don't Fall for False Teachers

by Alan Allegra  
9/12/2013 / Church Life

October is the first full-fall month. "Octo," as anyone who has seen an octopus or heard about Nadya Denise Doud-Suleman knows, means "eight." Therefore, naturally, October is the tenth month of the year.

October is a very important month, according to Wikipedia:

"In common years January starts on the same day of the week as October, but no other month starts on the same day of the week as October in leap years. October ends on the same day of the week as February every year and January in common years only. October of the current year starts on the same day as April and July of the following year."

"The last week in October is the only time of the year when all four major North American Sports league schedule games - the NBA generally starts in that last week while the MLB postseason is just ending."

Perhaps not as confusing or thrilling is the fact that October includes National Mole Day (23) and, in Greece, No Day (28). I thought Mole Day honored little fuzzy vermin, but it has to do with some scientific measurement that is more confusing than the first quotation but probably keeps the time-space continuum from rending the universe in twain and hurting us. No Day was equally disappointing. Thinking it was a missing day, it turns out to be the day Prime Minister Metaxas said "No!" to Mussolini's demand to occupy Greece, resulting in war.

A more recent celebratory designation for October is Clergy Appreciation Month, a time for honoring those who "are keeping watch over your souls" (Hebrews 13:17). This is the highest calling of any occupation. At most, other honorable occupations can provide for personal safety, sanity or satisfaction, but only the pastor can help sanctify your eternal soul. Therefore, pastors are not only to be honored for one-twelfth of a year, but "[o]bey your leaders and submit to them . . . as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you" (v.17).

The true clergyman will point you to Jesus Christ, "the Shepherd and Overseer [Bishop, KJV] of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25). Christ alone commands the destiny of your soul: "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!" (Luke 12:5).

October is also National Squirrel Awareness Month. It is tempting to draw parallels for sarcasm's sake, but the Bible does give warnings about false clergy. Jesus himself said, "For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:1415). The Apostle Paul warned, "I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:2930).

Comparing false teachers, prophets, and clergy to squirrels may sound unkind, but God goes farther for the sake of our protection: "But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively" (Jude 10).

It is vitally, eternally important to follow the right spiritual leaders. If he is not following Christ and exalting him as the Son of God, "and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works" (2 John 1:1011).

Therefore, "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).

Let "no" day go by without thanking God for faithful teachers!

Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!

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