False Teachers and True Contentment

by Mike Ratliff

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:10-13 ESV)

When I see or hear so-called Christians speak of God prospering them because of their faith or see Pastors or “Evangelists” with their own private jets, huge homes and limousines there is a bad taste that forms in my mouth. From the birth of the Church until now there have been those professing to be Christians who are anything but. They major in minors while ignoring the major points of our faith. They take passages of scripture out of context to make it say that it supports their aberrant forms of Christian theology. The huge tragedy of this, of course, is how many blindly follow them thinking they are Christian, when they are nothing but False Teachers who love money. Money is their idol and as we have seen in earlier posts, idolatry always leads to spiritual blindness.

Yes, my brethren, there is such a thing as sound doctrine. How can we tell the difference between it and false doctrine?

Teach and urge these things. 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 2b-10 ESV)

Sound doctrine agrees with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and is in accord with godliness. What does that mean? It means that we must study Jesus’ words from the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John always seeking the literal sense of them, never allegorizing what is not an allegory. From His words and the teachings from the rest of the Bible we learn what true godliness is. Genuine Christian teaching will never violate these two principles.

In this passage, Paul gives us 3 characteristics of false teachers. First, they teach contrary to sound doctrine. That may sound simplistic, but it often overlooked by people without discernment. Man thinks he is a reasoning being, but, in fact, the Bible is very clear that unregenerate man is depraved in mind. Humanistic reasoning can never stand before then light of God’s truth. False teachers preach a different doctrine that contradicts God’s revelation of His truth from scripture. Second, They do not consent to the wholeness of God’s Word as being errorless and unchangeable. Thirdly, Since they reject this, their teachings are not according to scripture and are, therefore, unholy leading to godlessness in their ministries instead of godliness. False teachers will be marked by sin and they use their ministries to get rich because their real love is for money and power.

False teachers, to support their false doctrines, must create disputes over words. They argue about the meaning of passages in the Bible because if they submit to what it really says then they stand condemned. However, since they are not Spirit-led, but flesh driven, they do not understand divine truth. They are constantly arguing about terminology and must attack the authority of scripture. The ministries of these false teachers produces nothing godly because the source is only their fleshly, greedy minds instead of from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

False teachers are apostates. This is no fun for me to write about. Apostasy is a terrible thing. Apostates are those who once knew and seemed to profess faith and adherence to God’s truth. However, they have now turned to full rejection of it. I have never seen an apostate who did not do so publicly. There seems to be two camps. One camp turns completely from Christianity and become full enemies of our faith in their atheism or they may embrace a false religion such as Islam or Buddhism. The other camp appear to be Christians, but they teach a version that is not Christian at all. It is bound to some form of Humanism. Think of Word/Faith preachers such as Benny Hinn or Pelagians such as Joel Osteen or Modalists such as T.D. Jakes.

What marks genuine teachers of God’s truth who teach sound doctrine? Instead of going around trying to build private kingdoms and becoming rich, they are content. They are satisfied with the Lord’s provision. They are content because they can do all things through God who strengthens them. All Christians should seek to be content in God’s provision and not seek self-indulgent gain. Why? To do so is an expression of a love for money. This love is the root of all kinds of evil. Those who are in love with money fall into temptations that cause compromises in their ministries and their walk before the Lord.

How should we respond to this?

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:11-16 ESV)

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33 thoughts on “False Teachers and True Contentment

  1. Since money isn’t evil but the love of it, do you believe the word “love” as it is used here is pride of self? If you got nothing from money, then you wouldn’t want it. I think that is why God phrased it as “the love of money”. It is this love of money that gets you things to build up your pride (fancy homes etc), gets you power which is pride, and mostly importantly takes the place of God in your heart and sets you up as god instead. These false teachers love money because of what it does for their pride. They not only get the money from teaching heresy and all the accommodations that come with having money, but they get to try to tear God from His throne. God sitting on His throne is hard on human pride. What do you think?

  2. Nice work brother!

    I especially appreciated the time you spent producing scriptures to refute the vain contentions of the “blab it and grab it” crowd that are so prevalent on TBN (The Blasphemy Network).

    I blogged on this very subject not more than a few days ago, but admittedly my post was a bit more of a rant than a well thought out and cogent defense of orthodoxy such as you’ve presented here.

    As you’ve already pointed out above, the Holy Writ is clear when it says “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment”.

    Praise the Lord!

  3. Sarah,

    Yes, the love of money is the motivational factor in what those who love it do to find “fulfillment.” People enslaved to their flesh do this. Their pride is the engine that runs each of their personal train wrecks. Good analysis Sarah!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  4. Coram Deo,

    Thanks for the link and your kind words. The tragedy of the TBN outrage, to me, is that I have close family members who are neck deep into it. I love them, but I still must speak the truth.

    Yes, that passage from 1 Timothy is very powerful and highly neglected. Let’s never stop being God’s instruments and chosen vessels who proclaim the truth to His people to break the chains of their bondage and downright slavery to their flesh.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  5. No one can read the New Testament and come away with the prosperity message, as a matter of fact the exact opposite is clearly taught. It is a sign that in the midst of any culture the church will, if not on guard, slowly take on the character of its surroundings. The prosperity gospel was birthed through many years of dwelling in the western prosperity and eventually aligning their teachings to accomodate their lusts.

    It is so far away from God’s Word that it shows us just how far the church has been prostituted. The visible church has been constructed on man’s flesh and the Bible is now a self help manual. The church has rejected the suffering servant and embraced Elmer Gantry.

    A great post, Mike!

  6. Rick,

    Your synopsis here is very well done and right on brother!

    God has laid a burden on my heart ever since I watched the trailers of the new movie “Amazing Grace.” It is about William Wilberforce and John Newton in the battle to end the slave trade in England. As I watched them it was as if God was showing me how most Christians are slaves to their flesh. One man stood against the slave trade and twenty years of fighting it eventually led to it being outlawed. Of course, he was not alone at all. He had God behind Him. One man can stand in the gap and be used by God in miraculous ways. Oh brother, I know I am not alone here. I know that there are many other brothers and sisters who are burdened by this. Be praying and be ready!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  7. Mike,

    I’am quite sure that those with any decernment at all can SEE that things in the world and in the professing church in this hour are in quite a mess.

    It is quite evident to those who know the Word of the Lord the Bible this whole mess was started with one question that was asked to a WOMAN many years ago.

    Now the serpant was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD GOD had made. And he said unto the woman, YEA, HATH GOD SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN?

    Genesis 3:1

    The thought that I have is this we believers are familiar with the story of David and Goliath.

    Could the remedy to all this madness the victory over our spiritual Goliath once again be found with Goliath’s sword {a QUESTION }?

    A QUESTION not asked to a woman this time but a QUESTION ASKED BY A WOMAN THIS TIME.

    It was the stone that the builder rejected that smote the Philistine 1 Samual 17:49.

    And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

    Genisis 3:15

    And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; IT SHALL BRUISE THY HEAD, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

    Is Goliath’s sword {a question } to be used once again by a Davidic Priesthood to spiritual cut the enemy’s head off thus securing the victory for all time?

    Just a question.

  8. ron,

    Without a doubt, the Compromised Church is not THE CHURCH. The Church are those genuine believers, the Remnant. Those who are not in it, but appear to be Christian are in the visible Compromised Church, but not the invisible true Church or the Spiritual Church. In Revelation the Woman you are speaking of is going to be destroyed and the Remnant within are called out of her. Could we be seeing that right now? Just a question.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  9. Mike,

    I believe also that we are seeing the ELECT being called out of the great whore before our very eyes. Like Noah before it actually started to rain they have been warned of things to come.

  10. ron,

    First, please forgive my flippant ending to my comment. Ever since I typed that it has been bothering me.

    Second, Yes, that is absolutely true. That is my burden brother.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  11. Mike,

    I guess we both can agree a question ASKED TO A WOMAN way back in Genesis is responsible for starting this wild fire. Genesis 3:1

    That being said the thought that I have IS could a question ASKED BY A WOMAN this time be the Living Water that begins to put out that wild fire?
    John 4:29

    And the Spirit and the bride say, COME. Revelation 22:17

  12. ron,

    Yes I see what you are saying. It sure seems to me that we are seeing that happen right before our eyes. So, are we then in midst of the seven years?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. Mike,

    If the men in her city are to truly come unto him in this hour they must leave the CITY as Laben did in Genesis 24.

  14. ron,

    The CITY is the Great Harlot.

    After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.” And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. “The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!” The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, “Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?” And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.”
    (Revelation 18:1-24 ESV)

    The Come out of her was a command from Heaven in this passage. You are right in saying it is from the Living water, but I never thought about those in the Bride doing so as well.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  15. ron,

    So, who makes the cry? I am in full agreement that we are at a time when this appears to be happening, but is it simply a cry from Heaven, from God or does it also come via His prophets?

  16. And I John saw these things,and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

    Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, nd of thy brethern the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

    Revelation 22:8:9

  17. Ron,

    Then, let’s do what it says. Let’s keep the saying of the book and worship God. Let’s also tell everyone the truth as we are commanded to do. Time is very short, Our Saviour’s return is right at the door. We must be about telling all who will listen to come out of the Great Harlot. We must also pray that the Lord will prepare their Hearts to hear that truth and respond to it.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  18. I like this saying from Spurgeon…. and in fact it originated from whitfield.. its so true that genuine preachers of God’s truth can think only this way.. I think thats one way we can discern true shepherds of the flock..

    I am not particularly anxious about my own name, whether that shall endure for ever or not, provided it is recorded in my Master’s book. George Whitefield, when asked whether he would found a denomination, said, “No; Brother John Wesley may do as he pleases, but let my name perish; let Christ’s name last for ever.” Amen to that! Let my name perish; but let Christ’s name last for ever. I shall be quite contented for you to go away and forget me.

    and though he had a great love for the baptist church and believed it to be true and though he was a strong follower of calvinism he said the following words

    That, however, we care very little about; for I say of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ’s name last for ever. I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living. I hope they will soon be gone. You will say, Why? Because when everybody else sees baptism by immersion, we shall be immersed into all sects, and our sect will be gone. Once give us the predominance, and we are not a sect any longer. A man may be a Churchman, or a Wesleyan, or an Independent, and yet be a Baptist. So that I say, I hope the Baptist name will soon perish; but let Christ’s name last for ever. Yea, and yet again; much as I love dear Old England, I do not believe she will ever perish. No, Britain! thou shalt never perish, for the flag of Old England is nailed to the mast by the prayers of Christians, by the efforts of Sunday Schools and her pious men. But, I say, let even England’s name perish; let her be merged in one great brotherhood; let us have no England, and no France, and no Russia, and no Turkey, but let us have Christendom; and I say heartily from my soul, let nations and national distinctions perish, but let Christ’s name last for ever. Perhaps there is only one thing on earth that I love better than the last I have mentioned, and that is the pure doctrine of unadulterated Calvinism. But if that be wrong—if there be anything in that which is false—I, for one, say, let that perish too, and let Christ’s name last for ever. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! “Crown him Lord of all!”

  19. Paul,

    Absolutely true! Thanks for sharing that.

    Rick,

    Yes, the one thing we must do in order to do this is pray and it is also the one thing that most of us neglect in our self-focused laziness. We are in a crucial time for the Church and God is calling those who know the truth to proclaim it. However, we must be clothed in HIs power when we do that and that comes via prayer.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  20. Hi Mike,
    The word of God sure contridicts the teachings of the prosperity teaching.

    “Beware and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15)

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).
    Matthew 6:24, “You cannot serve God and riches.”

    I sometimes see some of these so called pastors deceiving folks for their own gain and it bothers me so much. What bothers me most is the guilt they lay on folks that if they do not give it is a lack of faith on their part and on the while these pastors are lining their own pockets. It’s sad but we can rest in one fact God knows. Great post Mike.

    Cristina

  21. I don’t belong to any denomination – never have. I was raised in a dead Lutheran church. They never held an alter call. But God held His own alter call and told me and needed to ask Him into my heart. I did. Later, I was baptised in a Baptist church. Following that, I have attended many different churches with many different labels of denominations on them. I’m contemplating joining the church I’m attending now, which left its denomination because of another pastor of that denomination who performed a same-sex marriage and was not disciplined by the denomination for it. I found Paul’s letter (who began it with a quote by Spurgeon) very interesting and do not intend to ever call myself by any denomination, no matter what name is on the building. No matter what, I belong only to God. No matter what church I attend, I only believe and follow what is written in His word.

  22. Is Jesus Christ Important?

    “What did you do with My Son?”,
    God, the Father, will ask someday.
    And each of us must answer
    individually in his or her own way.
    Some will say, “I didn’t know
    He was so important to You.
    I thought He was just a prophet,
    was the only conclusion I drew.”
    Others will say, ” I didn’t believe
    that He was Your ONLY Son.
    Some said that Satan was too, and
    that the Bible can’t be relied upon.”
    Some will try to blame the church,
    or a certain pastor who failed.
    But our eyes should’ve been focused on Jesus
    for the cross on which He was nailed.
    So when you run out of excuses
    and run out of places to hide,
    you’ll also soon run out of time.
    Will you have Christ inside?
    Because it’s very important!
    That’s what the Father MUST see!
    The sinless and pure Lamb of God,
    who is interceding for me.
    So when you come before God,
    I hope that you can say,
    “I love Jesus Christ, Your ONLY Son;
    and HE is the ONLY Way!”

    Written 1988 by
    Anna Nomus

  23. Genevon,

    We are Christians not Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, et cetera IF we are part of the Genuine Church. However, there are many Baptist, Lutherans, Presbyterians, et cetera who are not Christians at all. I would say I want to be part of the first group instead of the second. I love corporate worship and being part of a group hearing edifying ad God glorifying preaching and teaching. However, the local church can’t become our idol and focus. Our walk before our Lord must be and from that flows our service, worship, et cetera. I had it backward for many years and I fear that most Christians do as well.

    Thanks for the poem.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratlliff

  24. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches)- Matthew 6:24 and this is a verse that Jim Bakker said he had never before read prior to his imprisonment. Right smack in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount? We are not, as so many, corrupting the word of God” 2 Corintinans 2:17. Great post!

  25. Thanks David. You know, your quote of Jim Bakker, if he was speaking the truth, is very telling. It sure reveals that you don’t have to know your bible to “succeed” in the ministry these days does it?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  26. Bakker originally repented of his Prosperity Doctrine fresh out of prison but has since returned to his own vomit. He and his new wife Lori are back on television peddling their wares. One bright spot is that this time there is no air conditioned doghouse.

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