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Keep on the Alert

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” – 2 Peter 2:1-3

Never doubt it: evil is alive and well, and it is attacking the Church today.

It’s depressing when you consider it. Not only do we have to fight enemies on the outside – whether that is outright physical persecution or the intangible philosophies of an ungodly society – but we also have to fight heresies inside our own doors.

We cannot let our guard down. We must be sober and alert at all times – engaging our brains to examine everything that comes our way, whether it be from people we meet, the TV, Internet, radio, book, or pulpit.

Fortunately, Peter gives three keys to discern falsehood in these verses. If a book, philosophy, person, or teaching does any of the following, we are to name it for what it is – heresy – and avoid it at all costs:

* Denies Jesus – his Person, his death, or his resurrection.

* Promotes sensuality – focusing on the body and material things rather than on spiritual character and Christian growth.

* Demonstrates greed – preaching God but living like the devil.

So take the time to carefully consider:

* What books am I reading? What and who am I listening to? How do they stack up to these three keys Peter gives?

* Suppose you identify a popular Christian book or teacher as heretical based on one or more of these three points (yes, it does happen): how should you react if another Christian thinks the book or teacher is wonderful?

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