Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” – Acts 13:9-11b
Paul and Barnabas had been sent out by the Antioch church with the blessing of the Holy Spirit to begin their first missionary journey to spread the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles of the region. They sailed to the island of Cyprus and traveled to Paphos to preach where they encountered Bar-Jesus (Elymas), a sorcerer, who troubled them and opposed them in their teaching of the truth. He even tried to turn away the local magistrate, proconsul, who wanted to hear from Paul and Barnabas about the Lord. Elymas troubled them so much, that Paul under the Spirit’s direction, called out the false prophet, rebuked him, and even pronounced a curse of temporary blindness on him. He was blinded immediately. This action caused the proconsul to believe in the power of the Lord.
I used to be of the persuasion that we shouldn’t publicly expose false teachers and prophets but go to them quietly and individually and speak to them of their wrong teaching and doctrine. However, after listening to Rev. Jack Van Impe’s message, “Reclaiming and Restoring Biblical Christianity,” I am fully aware that I was wrong in my practice of private rebuke of false prophets and teachers simply because I had heeded the word of my pastor, who feels and practices such. The truth of the matter is that the Bible in the OT and NT has several instances of men of God refuting and rebuking false teachers/prophets publicly – including Jesus!
The world is in such moral decay that we need to stand up and speak the Truth of God’s Word and confront the errant teachings of false prophets and teachers everywhere. People have been so deceived by false religion and the blending of religions like Christianity and Islam into Chrislam, and the psycho-babble of televangelists, that people can’t tell the truth from lies. Then there is the apostasy growing within the church that is a doctrine of demons known as the gospel of accommodation that says to just “love” people into church and then get them saved. It also says that people can just do and be whomever they are like they are because we can’t offend anyone with the Truth of the gospel – bah! humbug! – the gospel confronts people in their sins! It requires them to make an immediate decision and to turn from their sins, not live in it until they feel comfortable enough to change! We accommodate or allow people to live in their sins? Come on! That is straight out of hell!
If you see a false teacher/prophet, let people know and teach them to avoid those people just as the Bible says! Now, if a true brother errs in preaching, don’t ridicule him. Be sure you have searched the Bible to ensure that the teaching was right or wrong. The Bereans searched out the Word each time they heard Paul preach. A false prophet/teacher will willingly teach false doctrine. A brother making an honest mistake from insufficient study will still hold to the truth of the gospel of Jesus and be willing to admit one’s mistake in teaching when confronted.
Father, help me to root out all false doctrine, prophets, and teachers in my part of the world. There are enough souls dying and going to hell already. I am not a witch hunter nor on a witch hunt, but I will expose those men and women who teach falsely with the intention of doing so. Raise up men and women, please, who will have the fortitude to do the right thing and rebuke, correct, and stand against the sons of Satan and their deadly venom they are infusing into your house. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.