My church is currently going through book of Titus in our Sunday worship service. I recently had the responsibility to preach two sermons on Titus 1v10-16. Titus 1v10-16 deals with the problem of false teachers and the pastor’s responsibility to rebuke them. Without a doubt false doctrine can cause catastrophic damage to a church or individual. However, in my particular context, our church does not particularly struggle with temptations to tune into T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, or the like, by the grace of God. For those of us in solid reformed circles, we are not easily deceived by such men (that’s not at all to say that we are immune). Therefore, when we come across passages like Titus 1v10-16, it can be easy for us to sit back in our pews and point our fingers at Joel Osteen and his crew. But let us not walk away from a biblical text feeling justified by condemning others (and don’t get me wrong, we should call out false teachers).
There are lies and heresies hurled at each one of us every single day that does not come from heretics, but comes from our own hearts. For many of us, the greatest threat to the soundness of our doctrine is not Kenneth Copeland, but our own hearts. Our own hearts are the most dangerous false teachers that we know. And we listen to them every day. From our hearts we believe that just a little bit of sin won’t hurt anybody. From our hearts we believe that our sin is sweeter than fellowship with Jesus. From our hearts we lose our peace, because we lose our trust in Jesus. From our hearts we believe that God doesn’t hear our prayers. From our hearts we doubt what God is doing with our lives. From our hearts we believe lies about God – things that are simply not true. We have barricaded ourselves from Steven Furtick, but our own hearts snuck in the back door.
So in those moments during the heat of the day, when you are tired and weak, and false teaching begins to seep up from your heart, who will protect you from those fiery darts from the Evil One? Christ. Christ is there. Remember Christ Jesus our shepherd-warrior- king. Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of lies and false teaching, you do not have to fear any evil, for Jesus is with you. Christ’s rod and staff, they comfort you. In those dark moments when your heart is shouting lies at you, remember John 10. Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” In those moments where the lies from the Evil One are being shot at you like flaming arrows, remember that Christ took the flaming arrows of God’s wrath for your sin at the cross so that you would not be destroyed by your own sin, Satan’s weapons, or God’s wrath. In those moments when the ravenous wolves of deceit seem to be encircling you to devour, remember that our Good Shepherd protected us from the ultimate wolves of death when He laid down His life, rose from the dead, and slew every evil wolf in one fell swoop with His cry, “It is finished!” The wolves can’t touch you.
Jesus will hold us fast from falling into ultimate false teaching and deceit.