Jesus often talked about discerning the truth. We should not follow someone blindly, but be sure that what others teach is the truth. He reminds us that there are many false teachers out there. He also reminds us that we should have enough knowledge and wisdom to know if a teaching is true or not. If you are a part of a church, find out what their beliefs and teachings are. Does it follow the word of God? Do they teach from scripture? If not, find another one. Do they compromise what the Bible says to fit in with the world? If so, find another church. Jesus chastises the leaders of His day that they can discern the simple things but they do not see the truth that He is who He is. We need to be discerning and know what we believe. John says to not follow the world, but to follow Christ.
Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?”
This one is not really a parable, but Jesus is pointing out that when people see certain signs in the skies they can tell what weather to expect. But after fulfilling countless prophecies, they couldn’t see what was right in front of them.
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR; HE HAS SENT ME TO HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED, TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET AT LIBERTY THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED; TO PROCLAIM THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” [Isaiah 61:1-2]
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ “ Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
The leaders of Jesus’ day knew the scriptures inside and out, but they could not (or would not) see the truth. Maybe some did but were too worried about losing their power and prestige. Or maybe they were so focused on themselves they did not see the Son of God right in front of them. They had all seen and heard of Jesus fulfilling every prophecy about Him and He did many miracles, yet they could not see. Here we are 2000 years later, and many are the same way. They don’t have Jesus in the flesh, but they have the New Testament writing and history that tells of all He has done, including dying on the cross for our sins and His resurrection. We have His teaching and eyewitness accounts and the teachings of the apostles, yet many still do not believe, or they follow false teachers, false religions, and false beliefs.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Let us always seek God’s word and be sure that any teaching aligns with it. We can’t be led astray by these false teachers who claim their teachings are from God, yet contradict what the Bible says. There are plenty of those out there. Jesus has a harsh warning for them and knows their hearts. There is one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ and Him alone. The only way to salvation is believing and trusting in Him.
1 John 4:1-6
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Jesus is the Christ, the One and only Son of God. He came to this world in the flesh, God among us. He came to pay for our sins by dying on the cross, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). That is the gospel. If anybody teaches otherwise, or adds requirements to salvation, do not listen. That person is a false teacher. Anyone who does not live in a way that shows that they trust in Jesus, do not listen to them.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
The world will try to tell you that God does not exist or that we are all god or that what the Bible says is not really true or is outdated. Even churches today are turning to accepting what the world says is right but the Bible clearly says is wrong. Do not believe them and do not follow in their ways. Trust in Jesus. He will not lead you astray. And He will never leave you or forsake you.