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One Bible scholar describes false teachers as those who invent their own message, preach what people want to hear, and preach to make money. They attract those who have been let go by true churches when they refused to repent of some gross sin. False teachers often abuse and enslave people. They usually exalt themselves instead of Jesus as Lord, and may even perform false miracles. The Apostle Paul expressed great concern about the presence of false teachers among God’s people. In Romans 16, he identified another trait of phony teachers. He wrote, “I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people… I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong.” Paul then recalls the damage Satan did to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. With smooth talk, he tricked them into disobeying God and, as a result, their sin of rebellion against God brought death and decay into the world. So since false teachers can do so much damage, God’s people must stay alert.

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