This might sound like a silly question to answer. You might tell me that you never even thought about this type of question. But you know, I had to think about it. I want to use two incidents in my life that might shed some light on this question as we will see how people react, but also what we should learn from this.
One evening while having supper, someone knocked on the front door of our house. I must admit that I was not in the best of moods, as I had a difficult time trying to convince a prospect that it was time to make a decision and give me the order. At that stage I still did not even know if they had made a decision.
How could people at my front door upset me? Easily. It was two young women from the Jehovah’s Witness that tried to convince me that their Gospel was the one and only Gospel. I explained to them that they should not even try to convince me and that they should rather believe the Bible than their own writings. As they turned and left, I suddenly found myself shouting at them that they should stop with their deception.
As I sat down again, it suddenly dawned on me that I probably didn’t react like a good Christian should. Didn’t I perhaps act like a thug or something similar. I had no reason to lose my temper. A Christian should never react this way. These were some of the thoughts that crossed my mind. I must admit that I felt terrible. What will the neighbours think of me?
Has it ever happened to you? We are told to never react this way, but in the heat of the moment, this is what happens. Maybe it is not a problem for you, but for me it was a huge problem. I felt hopeless, as they did not even want to listen to someone else’s view and just continued with their deception.
I ended up asking the LORD to forgive me for the way I reacted and tried to leave the incident at that. I suddenly felt that the LORD wanted to use this incident to talk to me about this subject. I wrote down everything I could recall and then, when I started looking at what the Bible taught about this subject, found something that I did not expect to find.
We must at all times project the image of Christ in our lives. We have to act like He did. Only when I started meditating on this idea, did I realise that I might have acted like Christ would have. Remember the incident in the temple? Matthew 21:12 “¶ And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
This incident gives us a look into how Jesus reacted when people did not show God the necessary respect. This is exactly what these two women did. They treated their leaders revelation, which is a lie, higher than the Word of God. They are part of the false teachers we are warned against in the Bible.
What did Jesus and the Apostles say about these people, as they also had to deal with them.
Let us see what the Bible says.
1 – Firstly Jesus:
- Matt 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
- Matt 24:11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
- Matt 24:24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
2 – Secondly Paul:
- 2 Cor. 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
- 2 Cor. 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
- Gal 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
3. Thirdly Peter:
2 Pet 2:1 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.
4. Lastly John:
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Some of these false teachers were part of the original group of people that came to salvation through the early work of John, Paul and Peter. The above scriptures inform us that there would be false prophets (fortune tellers), apostles, (reverends, pastors, professors) and then lastly false people, but it still does not tell us how to act when confronted by them.
I found two scriptures that will shed some light on it.
1 Cor. 16:22. If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be a curse. The Lord comes! (YLT)
2 Joh. 10-11. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
When I read this it seems to me that the first Christians did not receive these people well at all. It seems that we must learn to act like God, and that is to love those that love Him, and to hate what He hates. One statement that I found from Paul also surprised me, and this is found in 1 Cor 14 verse 38: “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
Jesus also declared that He did not come to earth to bring peace, but He came to cause separation according to Matthew 10 verse 34 and 35: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law”. Do not be surprised if people do not like you when you declare that you do not want to abide with an unbeliever.
The LORD wants us to act like He did, and that is to make a difference in peoples lives, to share the Gospel, and to make people His disciples. But we have to learn that if someone does not want to receive us, then we should not even greet him or her. So next time when someone tries to worm their way into your house, know that you have the right to close the door without feeling bad about it. Jesus chased them out of the synagogue, so they have no right to confront you in your own home.
The second incident happened about six months later.
That night was catastrophic to me. I firstly allowed that my wife submitted herself to another man, and then I allowed that the same thing happened to a very dear friend of ours. And all this in my own home. The Bible declares that a woman must subject herself to her own husband, and not to other men. This is why Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 14 that a woman should be quiet during a meeting, but that she and her husband will sort out how their relationship will function without anyone else having any say over it. No other man can give your wife any orders of how to live. If he does, then he does not act like a true Christian.
After everyone left that night, Hettie, our friend and I sat down and discussed what happened, and why we acted the way we did. But first a bit of information as background concerning the situation that night.
A mutual friend contacted us and asked if we would open our house to another person who wanted to invite some people to find out what they thought of him going into full time ministry. He wanted to hear from us if we all thought that it was from God, and wanted our input. He also invited a fairly older man who was a so-called prophet, who would serve the people with a word from God if they felt that they needed a word from God. We decided to help this person, as the verse immediately came to mind that declared if you received a prophet that you would receive the same wage as a prophet.
Hettie had like normal, made herself attractive to me by wearing my favourite necklace and earrings. This “prophet” arrived and immediately asked her if she wanted a word from God, which she immediately agreed too. While he was busy with her, our mutual friend arrived and was immediately included in this “word from God”.
What the person told her as if it was a word from God was his own doctrine. He was brought up as a member of the “Members in Christ” church, a group that believes that woman are not allowed to wear any jewellery as this would make them spiritually blind and deaf, using the incident in Israel’s history of the golden calf as their proof.
What I learned through the years from the Bible is that one should be careful when saying that it is a word from God. Peter describes this for us in 1 Peter 4 verse 11: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
How do I know that it was not a word from God but a word from his doctrine? After the event I heard that he has used this at most meetings he attended.
During the meeting my wife and our friend had to remove their jewellery as this person would not continue with them still wearing their jewellery. He then took over the meeting and bragged about all his escapades and how he ended up in the African jungle without even informing his wife where he was. All he could talk about was how great he was.
What format should we have followed at the meeting? The answer I know of is found in 1 Cor.14:26 to 33: “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints”
What happened here was that the person was glorifying himself, and not Jesus. He also did not know that there were four other people at the meeting who moves in the prophetic gifting. His word was judged, and rejected. If I want to say something and all the attention is drawn to me, it means that I have not yet been to the cross, to lay down my own life and to follow Jesus. I am not making people my disciples, but disciples of Jesus. This did not happen that night.
A question I had for myself that night was: Why did I allow it to happen? There were a number of reasons. The first reason was that this so-called prophet was a guest in my house and an invited guest by someone using our house as a venue. The second reason was that the LORD used this incident to teach us how to identify a false prophet. The LORD was busy the whole week prior to this incident to talk to me concerning being watchful. Luke 11 verse 21 and 22. “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils..”
I was not watchful that night. The person was said to be a prophet. I did not even imagine that he would take on my wife in our home.
But the LORD is always faithful and true. He gave me the answer even before I could jot down notes about this incident. The scripture comes from Amos 5 verse 13: “Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.”
To recap. A false prophet was allowed to take on my wife with his doctrine in my own house. I allowed it, as I was not watchful. The LORD however used this incident to teach me about being watchful at all times, and about identifying false teachers. He also gave us a word of comfort before going to bed that night.