Many people who seek religion accept doctrines contrary to God. The New Testament warns of false doctrines and practices that plagued the church of Christ of the first century and would continue to endanger it:
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ…” (Colossians 2:8);
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy…” (1 Timothy 4:1,2);
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17,18);
“…withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6);
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…” (2 Timothy 4:3,4).
It is evident that the devil has sown his seed (Matthew 13:38b,39). He offers today:
·denominations of your choice;
·religious experience for his plan of salvation;
·unscriptural forms of worship;
·and perverted “Bibles”.
To be the true church of Christ, we must “Hold fast the pattern of sound words” (2 Timothy 1:13), and condemn the product of the devil. Timothy was exhorted to “Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). This means that error and false teachers must be exposed. It also means that some feelings will be hurt, some losses sustained, and that there will be some who will take the side of the devil against the truth of God.
By way of illustration - what if an antique car salesman tried to sell you an antique 1936 Ford coupe and, upon closer investigation, you learned the following: (1) the body hull was Ford; (2) the front fenders and grill were Mercury; (3) the motor and drive train were Plymouth; (4) the wheel hubs and rims were Nash; (5) the steering wheel was DeSoto; (6) the seats were Dodge, (7) and, the dash and instrument panel were Chevrolet?
Most assuredly, if you were knowledgeable about such matters, you would conclude that somebody was trying to pass on to you a mess of goods rather than the real thing - a genuine antique car.
We have a New Testament pattern for the church’s organization, plan of salvation, worship, and work. If we study and learn God’s perfect plan for the church, then we will be able, upon close investigation, to discern when someone is trying to sell us a mess of goods in place of the genuine article.