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Satan is trying to propagate false doctrine

Consider 1 Tm 4:1-3.

1 Tm 4:1-3 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

In 1 Tm 4:1-3 the apostle Paul tells us that in the later times (such as ours) some will fall away from the faith. Now when you read in 1 Tm 4:1-3 that ‘some will fall away from the faith’ do you read it as referring to ‘somebody else will fall away from the faith’ or ‘this could happen to me’?

The way we read Scripture can make a world of difference in what we do after we read Scripture. For, if you think that this applies to somebody else you will not pay too much attention to it; but if you realize that this could happen to you, then you will immediately become alert. So don’t be asleep but learn to apply Scripture to yourself. It can make a huge difference.

Paul says that the reason that they will fall away is because they will pay attention to demons that attempt to deceive people with false doctrines. Now do you think that these demons will appear as red beings with two horns and a tail? Not at all! Consider 2 Cor 11:13-14.

2 Cor 11:13-14 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Apostles! These demons who will try to deceive you can be apostles or pastors or seminary professors or teachers. Your pastor could be teaching you false doctrine every Sunday morning. And then, your small group leader could be reinforcing it on Wednesday night! Satan recruits the very people that you would trust the most. That is why you can’t depend on any man but have to get your doctrine directly from the Holy Spirit.

Realize that one of Satan’s schemes is to spread false doctrines. He used this scheme successfully with Eve, deceiving her into thinking that God was a liar (Gen 3:1-5). 1 Tm 4:1-3 tells us that he has now sent out his evil spirits to deceive as many people as he can with false doctrine. From what we read about Christian history it seems as if Satan has been very successful in deceiving the church into believing one false doctrine after another. We will see in the next section the devastating effect of believing false doctrine.

The Holy Spirit must have considered it very important that we know of Satan’s plan to spread false doctrine because He made this revelation very clear to Paul ("The Spirit explicitly says…" said Paul in 1 Tm 4:1-3). Therefore we are to pay careful attention to it. Awareness that one of Satan’s schemes is to propagate false doctrine will help us be on the alert to test every spirit (1 Jn 4:1).

If a friend told you that there were pickpockets on the road would you not be alert when you walked down the road? Even if you really didn’t believe your friend you would still be on the alert just in case your friend spoke the truth.

In 1 Tm 4:1-3 the Holy Spirit warns us about those who are trying to steal the truth. If we love the truth as much as we love our money then we will very careful about accepting any teaching, no matter who the teacher is. We will carefully study the Bible to see whether the teaching is true.

If we read 1 Tm 4:1-3 and do not realize that someone is trying to steal the truth then we will not be alert and it will be easy to fool us into believing false doctrine. So the first point that I want to make here is that you should realize that there is an organized effort to promote false doctrine and that unless you make an effort to counter this promotion by deceitful spirits you will end up having false doctrine.

Let me say again that these deceitful spirits are not necessarily outside the church in the cults and in other religions. The falsehood of the cults and in other religions is quite obvious and there is nothing deceitful about it. These deceitful spirits might very well be within the church because they cause people who are in the church to fall away from the faith. Those who are in the cults and other religions are already outside the faith. In fact, the deceitful activity would be concentrated in a church that has sound doctrine because that is where there would be the most need (from Satan’s standpoint) to deceive people.

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