Today’s reading: 2 Thessalonians 2
Paul begins the second chapter of his second letter to the Thessalonian church addressing concerns about false teaching. Specifically, some teachers of the day were asserting the second coming of Jesus Christ had already taken place. Further, they claimed this message had come from Paul himself. The Thessalonian Christfollowers were confused and were worried they had been left behind.
In his usual way, Paul addressed their concerns head on. He reviewed the known facts around the second coming, helped the Thessalonian Christfollowers realize the account given by the false teachers didn’t line up, and reminded them false teaching is a product of Satan. Paul spends a good part of 2 Thessalonians 2 describing the Anitchrist, who is coming to earth do the work of Satan. Based on the timeline laid out in scripture, the Anitchrist must come and assert his influence BEFORE Jesus returns to overtake him and claim victory over evil forever. I’ll be honest, verses 10-12 are pretty unnerving, especially when you get to verse 11. God is going to allow people’s hearts to become hardened because they refuse to accept the truth. Did this make your belly hurt? It did mine. Falling into the trap of false teaching has pretty serious consequences.
He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Have you ever encountered false teaching? More importantly, are you positive your interpretation of Biblical passages is accurate? How can you be confident you aren’t spreading false teaching? In late 2015 when B.J. and friends launched the idea of biblejournal.net and asked me to be a writer, I had this concern. I reminded him that I really didn’t have the credentials to be holding myself out as an expert on God’s word – I didn’t go to Bible College, I’m not a Biblical scholar, and I don’t really have a whole lot of experience. In response to my concern (and the concerns of a few others), B.J. shared the Eastview Preaching/Teaching FILTER for us to use as a guide. It is pretty straight forward to use – if the interpretation of God’s word doesn’t line up with all of these six tenets, it is likely false. You need to study a little more and ask God to reveal his message to you more clearly before proceeding. This guide helped us step into the biblejournal.net authorship journey with confidence. May I share it with you? This FILTER is a powerful tool you can use to sniff out false teaching and/or to give you confidence as you share Biblical truths with those around you.
(F) First Importance – Does the teaching affirm the Gospel message as of first importance? For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 5:3-4).
(I) Inspired Word – Does the teaching underscore the inspiration and authority of scripture? All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
(L) Lordship of Christ – Does the teaching point to the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus? He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent (Colossians 1:15-18).
(T) Triune God – Does the teaching elevate the triune God? He exists in three equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, perfectly, submissively, joyfully, and in full unity as One. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14).
(E) Essential Unity and Maturity in Christ – Does the teaching support the local church / body of believers? We are shaped by the Triune God’s unity, the vision He has given us, and the ongoing spiritual growth He desires. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
(R) Respect for the Bride of Christ – Does the teaching respect the church by protecting her from division, corruption, and cultural seduction? If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
As Christfollowers, we are called to share Jesus’ salvation message with all the world. May you find the Eastview Preaching/Teaching FILTER a guide to help you along the way.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).