This is the talk I hope to be giving this evening - from the main platform. I found it difficult to write... I don't know whether because this has been a stressful two weeks what with all the medical stuff, and the builders in (2 here at the moment) - or that I couldn't quite get a handle on what was required.
Anyway, its done and dusted, and I have practised it once with Captain B and twice with my householder, so I can do no more.
WHAT STEPS CAN WE TAKE TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM FALSE TEACHERS?
Setting: A home Bible study; Study No.44: Effective use of questions.
Assigned Scriptures: 2 John 9-11; Romans 16:17.
Sue. Before we start our study today C, I wanted to ask you what you thought about the public talk on Sunday.
C. It was interesting, But what the speaker said about the religions of the world and how they have been misleading people has put a question in my mind. And I hope I won't upset you by asking it, but how can I be sure that what YOU are teaching is the truth?
Sue. C, that is an important question. It's one you do need to ask because, well doesn't the Bible warn us that Satan is misleading the entire inhabited earth. How can we protect ourselves from being misled?
C. It seems almost impossible.
Sue. It would be, without the help of Jehovah's spirit. Think about the title of this book we are using in our study: "What does the Bible REALLY teach? Why would it be so important to know?
C. Because it contains the truth. It is inspired by God's holy spirit.
Sue. Exactly. It is the Rock against which we can measure what we are taught. If it is in harmony with the Bible we can be sure it's true. And the Bible gives clear practical advice on how to make sure that false teachers do not infiltrate the congregation. Would you read 2 John 9-11 for us?
C. reads: (2 John 9-11)" Everyone that pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. He that does remain in this teaching is the one that has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works."
Sue. Do you see what we must avoid?
C. Those who don't remain in the teaching of the Christ. But surely, you would have to live like a hermit to avoid all such wrong teaching?
Sue: Yes, indeed. And, as you know we don't do that. We don't isolate ourselves - for a start we have to do the preaching work - and we have normal contacts with our neighbours, our workmates, our schoolmates, and many others. But did you notice the word "remain"? He that does not remain in the teaching of the Christ. So we must avoid anyone who tries to bring wrong teaching and wrong conduct within the Christian congregation. In fact, the elders have to remove any such ones from the congregation, and we must all co-operate with this disfellowshipping arrangement. So we all have our part to play in keeping the congregation free of false teachers. Would you read Romans 16:17.
C: Reads: (Romans 16:17 "Now I exhort you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who cause divisions and occasions for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them."
Sue: How might each one of us keep an eye on those who cause divisions and avoid them?
C: I was thinking about the Watchtower study that followed the talk on Sunday - didn't the Speaker say something about apostate sites on the internet, and how important it was to avoid them?
Sue. Yes, that is a real protection for us An apostate is someone who has left the truth, and who then turns round and tries to mislead their former brothers and sisters. Jehovah tells us, clearly and simply, to avoid them.
C. So you are saying that following Bible teaching is our protection against falsehood?
Sue. Yes. Just to illustrate that, you know those antique shows on the telly where you see an expert pick up, say, a small blue and white china bowl, turn it round, have a look at it, and say: "Ming dynasty. This is worth at least £500 at auction." Then he picks up an identical (as far as I am concerned) blue and white bowl, and says: "Made last month, shipped by the container load, and worth about a fiver". Now, how can he tell? I can't see any difference between them.
C. Well, I suppose because he has examined so many of the real thing - he sees the difference straight away.
Sue. Yes. And so the more we examine the truth, God's word, the more we will be able to recognise false teachers for what they are and avoid them.
Carol: We had better get on with our study then.