Doctrine is “a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true.” Biblical doctrine refers to teachings that align with the revealed Word of God, the Bible. False doctrine is any idea that adds to, takes away from, contradicts, or nullifies the doctrine given in God’s Word.
For example, any teaching about Jesus that denies His virgin birth is a false doctrine, because it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture (Matthew 1:18). There is more. Jesus helps me know the truth. Jesus is the truth.
We need to be careful with what we hear to assess the Truth of Jesus in the message.
As early as the first century AD, false doctrine was already infiltrating the church, and many of the letters in the New Testament were written to address those errors. Paul exhorted his protégé Timothy to guard against those who were peddling heresies and confusing the flock:
“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Master [Lord] Jesus the Messiah [Christ], and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3–4).
False Doctrine: It may be of demonic origin
- 1 Timothy 4:1–5 — 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. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
- 1 John 4:2–3 — By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the anti-Messiah, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When looking for “fruit,” here are specific tests to apply to any teacher to determine the accuracy of his or her teaching:
What does this teacher say about Jesus?
- In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.”
- In 2 John 9, we read, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of the Messiah [Christ] does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
- Jesus the Messiah and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is the Son of God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity.
- First John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the the Messiah. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.”