But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 2Co 11:3-4
The Nature of Poison
The word poison is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a substance that through its chemical action usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism; something destructive or harmful; to treat, taint, or impregnate with; to exert a baneful influence on; corrupt. The January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U. S. Capitol is the greatest example I can think of to illustrate what a poisoned gospel does. What we saw on January 6 is the outgrowth of some of the bible teaching in America during the past 40 years. We saw people mixed up and confused about what the gospel of Jesus Christ means. Similar teaching has been fed daily to people on worldwide television through a multitude of teachers. Erroneous concepts have been taught and a way of life has been formed by people as they absorbed and invested in the teaching. Networking and organizations have formed around the teachers and their teachings. A generation has grown up and been established in a mindset developed into a certain way of life and who will now tell them that it is wrong. The gospel taught by the early Christians went around the world converting souls and nations adapted the faith and grew. The disciples made from American preaching over the past 40 years have caused people to turn on its leaders and try to destroy their own nation. Doctrinal beliefs have caused the country to divide into two companies at war with each other because neither understood the Christian message of love. People from housewives to realtors to retired military rose up, prayed in Jesus’ name and then went out to maim or kill their leaders. They felt confident in their cause and empowered by their teachers to carry out their assignment.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. Gal 5:14-15
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? Luk 12:49
Unity through Truth
Father God wanted a family in the earth but He did not entrust His plan to angels. God made man from the dust of the ground and blew the breath of life into his nostrils (Gen 2:7). He personally taught Adam and Eve the truth about life. As the progenitors of the human race, it was important that they understood how to live life and be able to train up their children. They received the word of God in its purest form, straight from the Father, Himself.
When God sent the word into the earth for the New Testament saints, He again sent the word straight from His own mouth. The word was not sent from an angel or even a human prophet. God came Himself in fleshly form as Savior. He walked and talked with the disciples and they had a chance to observe His day by day life and to ask Him questions. The word came in its purest form, from God Himself.
The authentic delivery and spirit of a work is always best when experienced from its original source. No one sings a song or plays a musical piece with the intensity of the one who created it and copies do not retain the original quality.
Preaching of the true gospel is accompanied by the Holy Spirit to bind us together, to heal, deliver and save. Peter preached and people were convinced that even his shadow falling on them would bring healing. Apostle Paul taught about false prophets who tried to duplicate his ministry to bring upon him further persecution and claim power they did not have. One such incident in Acts 19 caused the false prophets to be beaten by the demons they tried to exercise from the sick. The authentic gospel comes with the authentic power of God.
As an apostle over the people of Galatia, Paul was concerned that they were becoming removed from the true gospel and believing lies. First he reminded them that he had received the genuine gospel from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he had relayed to them that authentic word. He wondered why they were now going astray. He founded they had been listening to false prophets that had no authority from Christ. We are seeing similar problems today as ministers teach their beliefs rather than the Word of God. Paul scolded the believers for tolerating the false prophets and for allowing themselves to be persuaded by a false gospel.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Gal 1:6-10.
The best way to identify the false is by being familiar with the real. Bank tellers can spot false bills because of familiarity with the real ones. Every born again believer has a real encounter with the “real” Lord and His power. Once you have experienced the real power of God, you are sealed by the Lord (2Co 1:22) and should have no tolerance for the false. Where innocent people fall victim to a false prophet, God will, nevertheless, help those that continually seek Him with a sincere heart. When false prophets teach and preach a false gospel, they make to themself disciples of the god they serve or the devil (Mt 23:15). Many religious people become so committed to their church until it would be difficult to save them from their false teaching; but if the heart remains open, the truth can enter and break down the wall to dispel the lie (Heb 4:12). We have seen a generation poisoned with a false gospel claiming prosperity and supremacy over others that has replaced the real Christian goal of love for God and neighbor. The prosperity message sounds good because it satisfies the need or greed of the hearer. Jesus rebuked the temple clergy for their distortion of the Law and for corrupting the children of Israel. This generation of religious people does not believe in being corrected and believe any rebuke is a negative spirit, but listen to what Jesus told the religious hypocrites.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Mat 23:15
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. Mar 13:22
The gospel has been spread worldwide by the American church but the state of our Christian witness in the world attests to the type of preaching the people have been receiving. Many Americans are caught up in their religious rituals without verifying whether or not the preaching is truth. It is difficult to get Americans to examine their faith through the Word of God because they put their confidence in their preachers. Our relationship with God is not just a Sunday worship but the preaching of the gospel should bring about a transformed life lived every day for Christ. The attack upon the Capitol by people who prayed and called upon the name of Jesus proves that there is a large group of people who have been taught another Jesus or error about the character of Christ. They evidently believed they were true disciples of Christ even though they formed a mob to break into the Capitol seeking to hang or kill the legislators while destroying federal property, using profanity and where hatred was so strong that death resulted. The people who invaded the capitol were from various states, churches, and organizations; but they shared the same erroneous belief about Jesus Christ, accepted an ideology of Trumpism and white nationalism. The coming together of these groups from various states, churches, and organizations; reveal the wide reach of this erroneous teaching. False teaching is being expressed through radio talk shows, news broadcasts, churches, political events, newspapers, magazines, and books that influence the minds and hearts of multitudes. The media is calling this false mixture of religion, politics and conspiracy theories that is corroding minds as it is fed to multitudes of people a form of disinformation. Groups have united their mixture of religion and ideology over the past 30-40 years and mobilized into the religious right culminating into the group that stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Some of them have awakened from their fog afterward and wondered how they could have been misled.
The greatest concern is whether their indoctrination could cause further threats like that against the Capitol and whether or not they can be deprogrammed to lessen the threat to our society. The same way that these people were radicalized is the same way they can be de-radicalized by teaching of truth. Since they believed that the immoral work they were doing was for Christ and Donald Trump, the best place to correct their error is through the truth of the gospel in the church and correct reporting of facts by the media. Correction should have been done as a matter of the normal preaching of the gospel. The authentic gospel had gotten lost between the Old and New Testament and had to be reintroduced by John. As Paul declared to the Corinthians, some preachers are preaching another gospel or another Jesus. All through the bible, the believer is warned against false prophets and their doctrine. The believer is admonished to personally read the word, study and pray to prevent deception, even from church teachers. Jesus cautiously taught and warned the believers in John chapter 10:14-15 about possible encounters with false teachings and how to know the truth.
Jesus warned His disciples about the way the anti-Christ would come in to deceive.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Mat 24:4-5
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. Mat 24:11
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, … Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Mat 24:15-16
Church leaders were given instructions in the Word of God to help identify the enemy and protect the saints against the overwhelming power of the anti-Christ spirit and his teaching. Our modern-day church has often been compromised by a spirit of greed and pursued a false gospel directed toward material obtainment rather than a relationship with Christ. Apostle Peter warned the church about this deception in his preaching.
False Prophets and Teachers
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2Pe 2:1-3
A false gospel has led many churchgoers astray and given ground to the enemy to enter in and do his work. Apostle Paul warned in the lead scripture to beware of another gospel and heed the true gospel. False teachings in the church have hindered the truth and opened the door for evil to walk and devour the people. We have seen the results before our eyes over the past several years as false teaching led to bad political choices, decay in our government, and the rise of an anti-Christ spirit dividing the nation, and insurrection against the Capitol.
Despite the past and present sins of America, it is still the best hope for bringing the world to Jesus if we can acknowledge and repent of our errors and walk in obedience. Where the devil has used racial division as a wedge between black and white people to divide the nation, the bible readily teaches that we should come together in unity through the teachings of Christ and His love for all. The white community has held on to the lie of racial supremacy for too long and seems unable to admit to the error of white supremacy and conform to the love of Christ. Every Christian is taught that salvation starts through confessing of sin, about the original sin that separated us from God, how salvation comes through Christ, and how we must continue to repent of sin to continue as a child of God.
There are mega churches and denominations that have courted the lie and they should be compelled by the leaders and members to reject the lie and walk in truth. That is how we turn the general body of citizens from the craziness we have seen. A church that wants to acknowledge Christ but reject His teaching about loving our neighbors and our enemies is not following the gospel of Jesus Christ and should be rejected as false. It is not enough to say I go to church; but we must become a born-again Christian and live for Christ to be saved. America has a lot of showboat Christians and too few genuine Christians. Jesus asked: “For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away (Lk 9:25)?” Similarly, what would it profit one at the end of life to have spent a whole life pretending to be saved and then die and go to hell?
Jesus compels us to come to Him: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (Joh 6:37). Life is found only in the Lord and outside of Him is death. Jesus gives assurance to the believer that He will never leave or forsake him. No one else is able to truthfully make that promise. Jesus says to us: “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (Joh 14:6).” Apostle Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake (Act 28:3), but the power of Christ was with him to save him. Jesus will keep those that trust in Him. He has given us very clearly through His words and example the path to find the real gospel and the real Christ. We can pray to the Lord at any time and at any place in sincerity of heart and be confident that He will hear and answer our prayers. Christ is the only way back to truth and life.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Mt 11:28-29