We hear a lot about fake news. In fact, fake news are all over social media. I have always just been leery about believing what I see and read on sight. I usually first look at who is saying it, then try to confirm or dismiss it with a little research.
Checking the sources, even doing minimal research on Google can easily help one get to the truth. Snopes, FactCheck.org and Truth or Fiction are all sites that are specifically created to fact check rumors, myths, and stories that make their way to the public.
Who are you listening to? I used to have on the cable news channels as background noise. I learned that Fox News has a right wing, conservative bias, MSNBC has a left wing, liberal bias and CNN, a little to the right of MSNBC. It’s important to know the bias.
I believe that everyone has a bias, or a closely held position that dictates their view. One needs to know that those biases might be behind the message.
In a different realm, what do you use to determine whether what you hear, watch and are reading in the Christian world is sound and biblical; especially, when the source claims to be Christian? How do you know if it’s fake or false?
We don’t have the Apostle Paul that went around in the first century of the church to dispel and refute false teachings and false gospels.
If the gospel message and the Bible teachings were already getting polluted in the first century, closest to Christ’s time on earth; how much more might it be polluted and diluted now, some 2000+ years later?
Jesus warns that many will claim that they are for him, that they are Christian, and yet are not. He warns to be aware of false teachings and false prophets.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits, Do men gather grapes of thorn, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth |bad| fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father, who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name cast out |demons|? And in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:15-23 KJV
So, do you know who you are listening to? How can we know whether they are just tickling our ears, giving us what we want to hear, or giving us the unadulterated Word of God?
One of the most important things I have learned from my former pastor and former Sunday School teacher, both of whom are now deceased, was to read the Word for yourself. Don’t rely on what they are saying. That was great advice! They often pointed us to the Bereans, early Christians in the book of Acts, known for going home after the preaching and checking the scriptures for themselves.
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea, who, coming there, went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11-10-11 KJV
There is only One Lord, One faith, and one baptism. There is only one way to heaven. See Ephesians 4:5.
The Apostle Paul was so concerned that believers were being captivated by new gospels. He marveled that they departed from the one who called them by God’s grace to another gospel. See Galatians 1:6-9. He says those who preaches or teaches another gospel should be condemned.
I suppose in order to know truth from error, one must be in the Word, and the Holy Spirit who resides in all believers will give us discernment.
I used to listen to one certain ministry on my way home from work, and really enjoyed his messages, and then one day, I realized while he gave out excellent principles for living, I never really heard about sin, about fearing God, and living a holy life. I stopped listening after that.
You see, I have bought many self-help books, “How To Clean House in 30 Minutes to How To Listen To God.” I’m kind of wired that way, to want to know what to do to get what I want. There is probably nothing in and of itself, wrong with it, but in many ways it points us to another way around what we are supposed to be looking to God for from the scriptures. Fortunately for me, by the grace of God, I was made to recognize I needed the Word, reading it, hearing it preached, convicting me, challenging me and stirring me, all used to conform me into the image of Christ, which is a lifelong journey.
There are many preachers and teachers out there that espouse all kinds of new ways to get what we want, and less about what God requires from us. We need to know who and what we are listening to. Some may use scripture to disguise the error that they are promoting.
I recently cited one such case in Declare and Decree!
Shai Linne, Pastor/rapper captures it in False Teachers:
Let’s heed to Jesus’ words – Beware.