The Genuine Gospel - Recognizing the Counterfeits

AN OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK OF GALATIANS (Galatians addresses the topic of this hub page):

1) PRELIMINARY CLARIFICATIONS:

A. Abbreviations for the various Bible translation references - AV: King James Authorized Version, Phil: Phillips, ASV: American Standard Version, BBE: Basic Bible in English, NIV: New International Version, EWB: Bullinger’s Critical Lexicon & Concordance. Books of the Bible abbreviated (i.e. Gal. = Galatians)

B. Greek words are underlined.

C. Contrasting words/terms in Galatians:

  • Liberty/bondage or slavery (2:4, 5:1)
  • Flesh/spirit (3:3, 5:16-17, 6:7-8)
  • Circumcision/uncircumcision (2:7-8, 6:15)
  • Jew/Gentile (2:7-8, 2:12-15)
  • Works of law/Faith in Christ (2:16)
  • Law/Grace of God (2:21, 5:4)
  • Law/Christ (3:24)
  • Works of law/hearing of faith (3:2)
  • Through flesh/through promise (4:28-29)
  • Bondwoman/freewoman (4:22, 4:30-31)
  • Two covenants: Hagar/Sarah (4:21ff)
  • Mount Sinai in Arabia (present Jerusalem)/Jerusalem above (4:25)
  • Slave/son (4:7)

B. Key words/terms used in Galatians simply defined:

  • “Apostle”: A person who is sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver the message about Him.
  • “Gospel”: Literally, good news. Scripturally, the good news of God to all. The evangel.
  • “Preach” translated from euanggelizo is used 8x in Galatians: 1:8 (2x), 1:9 (2x), 1:11 (1x), 1:16 (1x), 1:23 (1x), 4:13 (1x). It is the verb form of “gospel.” Euanggelion (the noun) is translated “gospel”.
  • “Grace”: Unmerited favor, free, gift.
  • “Of Christ”: Of Christ’s work (not our work).
  • Heteros: “Another” Gal. 1:6. One of a different kind or nature, as in English; heterosexual.
  • Allos: “Another” Gal. 1:7. One of many, as in; other or another.
  • “Evil” (Gal. 1:4) poneros: not simply inherently evil as is kokos, but infectiously evil, malignant, causing labor, sorrow, pain; (denoting the more active form of evil). EWB
  • Huper: Used as; in place of, in behalf of. Translated “for” Gal. 1:4, 2:20, 3:13.
  • “Angel”: messenger, in Gal. 1:8 & 4:14 “messenger from heaven” “messenger of God”
  • “Circumcision”: Literally, a cutting around. Used as a title meaning; those in covenant relation to God, as in the nation of Israel or figuratively as those who live for God by the covenant: Rom. 2:25-29, Phlp. 3:3.
  • “Certain men from James” Gal. 2:12; Certain men of importance, sent from and representing James. See Acts 15:1-21, Acts 21:18-22. James appears to be favorable to the Law of Moses in these records, therefore, these “certain men” would then be about the Law. These “certain men from James” would’ve then caused Peter to feel that judgment against him for eating with Gentiles, since to eat with Gentiles was contrary to the Law.
  • “Faith”: The belief of what God says, so “the faith of (genitive of relation; where "of" is equivalent to "pertaining to") Jesus Christ” would then be the belief of what God says regarding Jesus Christ.
  • “Abraham”: The father of all who believe God: Rom. 4:11, The one through whom God promised to bless all nations – Gal. 3:8. See further Rom. 4, Gal. 3, Gen. 12-26:5.
  • “Christ formed in you” Gal. 4:19; used of the realities produced by the Christ developed into the mind; hence, the renewing of the mind to reality in Christ – the gospel.
  • “Covenant”: Agreement, a will and testament, a pact with promises: Gal. 3:15, 3:17, 4:24.
  • “Stumbling block of the cross” Gal. 5:11; means that the finality of the cross (no additional work necessary for its accomplishments) was not being accepted, therefore some were tripping over it as something in their way.
  • “Household of faith” Gal. 6:10; The family devoted to, adhering to the faith (See above “faith”)
  • “New creation” Gal. 6:15; “new” is “not merely recent, but different from that which had been formerly; new, as coming in the place of a thing that was formerly…” EWB.
  • “In the spirit” Gal. 3:3, 5:16, 5:25, 6:1 (pneumati)
  • “Spirit” is used many times for what came by the spirit, hence; reality in Christ. According to the spirit would be understood as the gospel truths: Gal. 3:2, 3:3, 3:5, 3:14, 5:16, 5:17, 5:18, 5:22, 5:25, 6:1 “spiritual”, 6:8.

2) SYNOPSIS OF GALATIANS:

The book of Galatians is a letter to the churches of the region of Galatia from the Apostle Paul. Paul had initially brought them the gospel. To the Galatians also, this was new revelation, new doctrine about what Christ accomplished, not about the work we are to do for righteousness. Shortly following, Jewish religionists systematically corrupted the gospel by persuading the Galatian saints to keep the Law of Moses. The letter of Galatians was a sharp attempt to turn these saints from false religion back to the truth.

3) THE MAIN POINTS OF GALATIANS (These are exlained in more detail further down in the hub):

A. Gospel

  1. Genuine Gospel – DONE (By Jesus Christ’s work)
  2. Counterfeit Gospel – DO (By your work)

B. Ministers

  1. Genuine Minister
  2. False Ministers

Paul had brought them the gospel (Acts 16:6 and Acts 18:23), but Israelite Religionists, legalists, distorted the gospel by teaching that these Galatians must keep the Law of Moses:

  • Acts 15:1 “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved”
  • Acts 15:5 “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”
  • Gal. 1:7 “…there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”
  • Gal. 2:4 “false brethren”
  • Gal. 2:12 “certain men came from James”
  • Gal. 3:1 “who has bewitched you”
  • Gal. 4:17 “What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them.” NIV
  • Gal. 5:7 “who hindered you from obeying the truth?”
  • Gal. 5:10 “he who is troubling you shall bear the guilt of it.” DARBY
  • Gal. 5:12 “those who are troubling you”
  • Gal. 6:12 “Those who have the desire to seem important in the flesh, put force on you to undergo circumcision; only that they may not be attacked because of the cross of Christ.” BBE
  • Gal. 6:13 “Because even those who undergo circumcision do not themselves keep the law; but they would have you undergo circumcision, so that they may have glory in your flesh.” BBE

C. Paul aims at restoring them to the truth:

  • Gal. 1:4 “who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father:”
  • Gal. 1:6-7 God “who called you by the grace of Christ”
  • Gal. 1:16 “that I should announce him (Christ) as the glad tidings”
  • Gal. 2:2 “I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles”
  • Gal. 2:5 “so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.”
  • Gal. 2:7 “…when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;”
  • Gal. 2:14 “they were not straight forward about the truth of the gospel”
  • Gal. 2:21 “I do not frustrate the grace of God”
  • Gal. 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth?”
  • Gal. 3:11 “the righteous man shall live by faith”
  • Gal. 3:25-29 More truths of the gospel
  • Gal. 4:16 “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
  • Gal. 4:19 “I am in labor until Christ is formed in you”
  • Gal. 5:16 “walk by the spirit…”
  • Gal. 6:15 “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”


4) THREE RESULTANT POINTS IN GALATIANS DUE TO THE MAIN POINTS ABOVE:

A. Paul defends his apostleship. (1:1, 1:10-12, :13-16, 2:7-8, 6:14, 6:17)

B. Paul defends the authenticity of his gospel message. (1:6-12)

  • Paul didn’t learn the gospel from the other apostles (1:1, 1:11-12, 1:15-2:1)
  • How Paul received the gospel (1:1, 1:11-12, 16)

C. Paul fights for the gospel message and for the believers to stand according to it. (2:11ff)

  • Legalistic Jews (Judaisers) erroneously pressed the Law of Moses for righteousness and spiritual growth upon the believers. (2:2-5, :16, :21, 3:1-5, :10-14, 3:17-6:14)
  • Why was the Law of Moses given? (3:19-4:7)
  • The faith of Jesus Christ eliminated the need for the Law (3:24-25).

5) PAUL’S MINISTRY AS AN APOSTLE: To preach the gospel.

  • Acts 28:30-31 The last record of Paul as an apostle.
  • Gal. 2:7-8 “I have been entrusted with the gospel…”
  • Rom. 1:1-6 Separated unto the gospel of God
  • 1 Cor. 1:17-18 Christ sent Paul to “preach the gospel.”
  • 1 Tim. 1:10-11 Paul was entrusted with the gospel.
  • 1 Tim. 2:7 (PHIL) “to teach…the gentile world to believe and know the truth.”
  • 2 Tim. 1:10-11 Paul was appointed a preacher, apostle, and teacher for the gospel’s sake.
  • Acts 26:12-18 (Rev. 1:1 How did John receive the information to write down?)

RECOGNIZING THE COUNTERFEITS

How do banks teach their employees how to recognize counterfeit money? The first thing is to show them what the genuine looks like.

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Is this picture below of "ONE ZILLION DOLLARS" a picture of genuine money? Is it worth $ 1,000,000,000,000,000 USD? (If it were real you wouldn't be reading this, I'd be out running live classes about the grace of Christ...)

 

Therefore, before we look at the counterfeits...

THE GENUINES:

The genuine gospel:

A. Scriptural Definition:

“I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7 ASV)

The Genuine Gospel IS:

  1. GRACE: Unmerited favor, free, gift.
  2. OF CHRIST: Of Christ and his work, not ours.
  3. GOOD NEWS: It puts a smile on your face.

The gospel of the grace of Christ is: The good news of God’s unmerited favor as a result of Christ’s work.

What does the gospel center on? Romans 1:3 tells us that it is concerning (peri: peri) God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. From this Greek word “peri” we derive English words like “perimeter”. The perimeter of a property is all around the property. Referring to Romans 1:3, we could say that the gospel of God is all around or about God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

B. The genuine gospel of grace according to the Scriptures:

  • I Cor. 15:3-4 Jesus Christ’s death – burial - resurrection
  • I Tim. 1:10-11 It is sound doctrine.
  • Rom. 1:15-17 It is the power of God.
  • Gal. 1:6-7 It is the grace of Christ.
  • Acts 20:24 The gospel is of the grace of God.

C. The gospel does the work:

  • Rom. 1:16 It is the power of God UNTO wholeness/deliverance.
  • Rom. 8:2 What sets us free from the government of sin and death?
  • Rom. 8:13 How do we put to death the deeds of the body?
  • 2 Cor. 3:18 What transforms us into the same image, the image of God?
  • Titus 2:22-23 What is it that disciplines/instructs/trains us unto these things?
  • Gal. 5:16 To not fulfill the desires of the flesh, what are we to do?
  • Jn. 15:2 What prunes/cleanses us from uselessness? Do we clean up our lives?

D. The gospel produces fruit:

  • Rom. 16:25-26 God establishes us according to the gospel.
  • Acts 26:15-18 The gospel will open people’s eyes so that they might turn from darkness to the light, from the power of Satan unto God so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance with the sanctified ones.
  • Col. 1:28 The preaching of the gospel is so that the saints would mature in Christ.
  • 1 Tim. 4:6 “constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.”
  • 2 Tim. 3:16-17 The scripture equips us unto every good work.
  • Gal. 5:22-23 The fruit (not works) of the spirit.
  • Jn. 15:1-8 Abiding in Christ (1 Jn. 2:24) causes fruit to be produced. Apart from Christ you can do nothing.
  • Eph. 4:15 “Speaking” is being, or holding to. How do we grow up into Christ? In how many things?
  • 1 Tim. 4:15 “…that thy profiting may appear to all.”

The genuine building of the church:

“being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (CL translation, Eph. 2:20) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • LEGALISM: The counterfeit gospel addressed in Galatians is legalism. Legalism is in contrast to grace, the gospel about Christ’s finished work of redemption. Legalism is a system of achievement/works for growing with God. It develops into doing things in the sight of men. The Adversary quickly attacks new believers with legalism to artificially supply their genuine desire to live for God. Then systematically it is used to replace the grace of Christ. Legalism works like poison, slowly choking the life of Christ out of those who are unaware. It is the system of false religion. It has a form of godliness, yet is void of the power of God. It is promoted by supposed ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15). Their message will include the sins you shouldn’t be committing, where you’re falling short of walking with God, what you need to do to “straighten up your act,” how to be a better Christian, and such like things. It is a belief system which is focused on the believer and which provokes the believer to be focused on his/her achievements rather than on the Christ and the results of grace from his accomplished work. In other words, legalism puts our focus on what we DO, are suppose to be DOING, and/or shouldn’t be DOING. The genuine gospel puts our focus on what Christ has DONE, therefore, what is true in him. Galatians was written to correct the error of legalism.
  • FALSE STANDARDS are given to replace the standard of the gospel. God built into mankind a sense of wanting to do what is right so that we will be drawn to Him to be right. The Adversary is the great counterfeiter. He has set up many systems of being right for us to adapt to. This is how the religions of the world develop and thrive. Christianity and its subsequent churches are not immune to these lies of false standards. In fact, we are loaded with them. These standards are written, spoken, or even unspoken. For example, if the group which you associate with as a believer in Christ enforces or even encourages attendance, then you are pressed with a false standard. Where in God’s Word does He require attendance? The subtlety of these false standards can be recognized by judgment. Sometimes this judgment is outward in the form of confrontations and even disassociations. Sometimes the judgment isn’t outward at all, but you can sure feel that you have not lived up to the standard. Don’t get tricked! Even if you are succeeding in false standards, they’ll eventually catch you insufficient. The travesty of them is that THE STANDARD – reality in Christ is at best a runner up to these highly esteemed false standards. The home is a place where false standards can also easily replace the gospel. Beware!
  • See “Images” by E. L. Clowser: “The religious man is characterized by a concern for outward appearance as to how he is living up to a self perceived image of a Christian, which he believes is Spirituality. He lives in submission to a type of legalism not based on sound biblical doctrine. He dare not mar his image of what might smack as worldly behavior.”
  • Red Flags: Guilt, shame, condemnation, success/failure results, fear of consequences.

Genuine ministers:

See above “PAUL’S MINISTRY AS THE APOSTLE”. Also, Acts 20:24. The ministry of the Apostle Paul was to make known (preach and teach) the gospel as an apostle.

II Tim. 2:1-2 Ministers are to be strong in the gospel to impart it to others. II Tim. 1:13 Ministers are to retain the standard of the gospel so as to not be deceived.

Genuine ministers are built up in this same grace of Christ, reality in him, and therefore…

  • they minister Christ (make known Christ and all that is true through him). Rom. 15:15-16, Col. 1:7
  • they teach the same as the Apostle Paul: 2 Tim. 2:1-2, 1 Cor. 4:15-17, Titus 1:3
  • they don’t seek their own recognition, but instead are in behalf of the things of the Lord Jesus Christ, and so genuinely care for the welfare of the saints: Phlp. 2:20-21.
  • they do things for the sake of the gospel: 1 Cor. 9:23, 2 Cor. 13:8, Gal. 4:16.
  • they are according to the common faith: Titus 1:4.

THE COUNTERFEITS:

Counterfeit gospels:

  • Gal. 1:6-7 "unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ."

  • 2 Cor. 11:3-4 “He that preaches another gospel” Gen. 3:1-6

  • See also Col. 2:4-8.

False Ministers:

False ministers are those who do not minister the grace which is in Christ Jesus. Their messages will lead you to what you should do to be a better person, or how to live for God better. They have been deceived away from the truth. They usually genuinely desire to help people. They are usually very committed to their cause. It is common to find them fighting for, and defending their doctrines. In trying to help people repair their lives they promote programs, seminars, classes, counseling meetings, etc. in stead of truth. Most times they are very nice people and committed people. Whether intentionally, or unintentionally, they replace the truth of Christ’s finished work at the cross with messages which leave you with a sense of responsibility to live more for God through your achievement. They replace the truth with doctrines and commandments of men: Mt. 15:1-9, Col. 2:20-23. They replace the truth with the Law of Moses: They replace the truth with “good words and fair speeches” Rom. 16:18. Through men, the old serpent is still “corrupting the word of God” (2 Cor. 2:17), he is still “adulterating the word of God” (2 Cor. 4:2). 2 Cor. 11:2-4. False messages always lead to good works for acceptance with God, which teaching goes right back to Cain. See Gen. 4:1-7 (Heb. 11:4, 1 Jn. 3:12)

How ministers get tricked.

They get tricked through their desires for recognition, higher position in religious systems, ego, pride, etc.

  • Jas. 1:13-15 The Devil uses the desires of well-meaning people, such as the desire to be recognized, to feel good about yourself, to have a higher position, to be important, etc.
  • Pride: Isa. 14:12-14 “I will…” ( “will” is desire; it is stated five times in these verses)

Common threads of legalists/false ministers.

  • They serve themselves, not our Lord Jesus Christ: Acts 20:29-30, Rom. 16:17-18, Phlp. 3:18-19.
  • They seek self-recognition, rather than seeking the recognition of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Gal. 1:10
  • They teach “other than,” “contrary to,” “beyond” the doctrine (the gospel).

A list of "Bewares” about false ministers: Beware of…

  • 2 Thess. 3:1-2 “perverse and evil men, for not all have the faith”
  • 2 Tim. 2:18 those who have “gone astray from the truth”
  • 2 Tim. 3:8 those who “oppose the truth”
  • 2 Tim. 4:4 those who “turn away their ears from the truth”
  • 2 Tim. 4:15 those who “vigorously oppose our doctrine”
  • Mt. 7:21 those who appear to be servants of God (but only to the untrained in the gospel).
  • Mt. 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
  • Luke 11:52 “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”
  • 2 Pet. 2:1-20 “false prophets” and “false teachers”

A list of "Be aware": Be aware of...

  • II Tim. 2:24-26: Genuine ministers will be wronged by those who oppose God, those who are in the snare of the devil, held captive by him to do his will. These can come from outside the church or from within: Acts 20:29-30.
  • The Devil deceives the whole world: Rev. 12:9 & 20:10.
  • “charge certain persons not to teach different doctrines;” 1 Tim. 1:3b, MURDOCH
  • Mk. 12:1-9: The owner of the vineyard. Those whom he put in charge have abused their privilege and carried out business a/t their own affairs. Many parables and recorded statements of our Lord in Matt., Mark, Luke and John are directed at the falsities of the religious leaders of his time and their doctrines.
  • Mt. 16:6: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Then verse 12, the leaven is their doctrine.
  • 1 Tim. 4:1 Seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.
  • Col. 2:20-23 See the genuine to be pursued immediately following: Col. 3:1-2.
  • Rev. 2:2 “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false.”

New Testament Scriptures of false or deceived ministers.

  • “16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” (Joh 7:16-18 AV)
  • “28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Ac 20:28-30 AV)
  • “17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Ro 16:17-18 AV) - "Simple" as opposed to prudent: Prov. 13:16, 14:15, 22:3.
  • “18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Php 3:18-19 AV)
  • “43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (Joh 5:43-44 AV)
  • “38 And in his teaching he said, Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and to have salutations in the marketplaces, 39 and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts: 40 they that devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers; these shall receive greater condemnation.” (Mr 12:38-40 ASV)
  • “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.” (Ga 1:10 AV)
  • “Whosoever goeth onward (goes beyond the doctrine) and abideth not in the teaching (doctrine) of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son.” (2Jo 1:9 ASV)
  • “14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust (desire/craving), and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived (been impregnated), it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (Jas 1:14-15 AV)
  • “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa 14:12-14 AV)
  • “3 doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; 4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.” (Php 2:3-4 ASV)
  • “For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ.” (Php 2:21 ASV)
  • “I wrote somewhat unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” (3Jo 1:9 ASV)
  • “4 but even as we have been approved of God to be intrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time were we found using words of flattery, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness; 6 nor seeking glory of men, neither from you nor from others, when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ.” (1Th 2:4-6 ASV)
  • “Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind. We will no longer be influenced by people who use cunning and clever strategies to lead us astray.” (Eph 4:14 GWV)
  • “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” (2Co 2:17 AV)
  • “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2Co 4:2 AV)
  • They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them.” (Ga 4:17 ASV)
  • “13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. 15 It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.” (2Co 11:13-15 ASV)
  • “3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if ye receive a different spirit, which ye did not receive, or a different gospel, which ye did not accept, ye do well to bear with him.” (2Co 11:3-4 ASV)
  • “17 But ye, beloved, remember ye the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 That they said to you, In the last time there shall be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are they who make separations (make divisions), sensual, having not the Spirit.” (Jude 1:17-19 ASV)
  • 2 Cor. 5:12: “…those who take pride in appearance and not in heart.”
  • 2 Cor. 10:12: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12 WEBSTER)
  • “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” (2Co 10:18 ASV)

Some Old Testament records of false ministers.

  • 1 Sam. 15:1-16:1
  • Jer. 23:9ff (:16, :21-22, :25-32, :36)
  • Jer. 6:13-14
  • Zeph. 3:4
  • Ez. 22:25-26
  • Malachi

Some deciphering thoughts.

So, how do you know where (or if) a minister is genuine? Here are some thoughts on deciphering the genuine from the counterfeit;

  1. What is the doctrine? What is the message being taught? Is it the grace that we have in Christ Jesus?
  2. Are you left predominantly with a sense of blessedness about what Christ has accomplished for you, or are you left only with another “fix-it” principle for your life, what you should be doing to make your life more godly.(Gal. 3:1-3, 2 Jn. 9-11)

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