Look Out for False Teachers

Philippians 3:2 ESV

“Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.”

A dog is considered to be someone despicable, who is a spiritual predator who feeds off others. “Dog” is often used as a term describing a false teacher, but it is also describing the impure, the wicked, the spiritually unclean, i.e. those outside of genuine faith in Jesus Christ, particularly those who are workers of evil. But they are usually those portending faith in Jesus Christ who are masters at smooth talk and flattery for the specific purpose to manipulate and to deceive the naïve and the unsuspecting.

These “dogs” oppose the true gospel of salvation, and they teach a false gospel of men, of the flesh, not of the Spirit. They also oppose the Lord’s servants and messengers who are teaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ and who are exposing the lies. Today these “dogs” would be any teachers of any false gospel which opposes the true gospel of our salvation as Jesus taught it and as Paul and the other apostles taught it, in its fulness, which is the whole counsel of God, which teaches death to sin and living to God.

Therefore, if we want to know the true gospel, we have to read the Bible in context and not take Scriptures out of context to build our doctrines. Whether these dogs, i.e., these false teachers, are teaching true legalism (man-made rules), not of God, or whether they are teaching a cheapened form of God’s grace, which is a lie of Satan, either one is still of the flesh of man, not of God, not of God’s Spirit, and thus not the true gospel. So, we need to be aware of this so that we do not fall into any of their traps.

[Php 3:2,18-19; 2 Pet 2:1-3,12-22; Jude 1:4,8,10-13; Rev 22:15]

Philippians 3:3 ESV

“For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.”

Now, the early church – well especially regarding the Jewish believers in Jesus – was in transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. And so those who had lived under the Old Covenant had some definite adjusting to do to the New Covenant. And in that period of adjustment and change there were Judaizers who were trying to convince Christians that they needed to obey some of the Old Covenant liturgical and ceremonial laws, including dietary laws and restrictions. And so Paul had to correct that error.

But that was not the only error Paul had to correct. He also had to correct the error coming from those “dogs” who “have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). For their false gospel does not require true repentance, obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant) and submission to Christ as Lord (Master) of our lives. Yet it promises people heaven when they die.

And this is the primary false doctrine which is permeating the modern church of today in America. Yet the Scriptures are very clear that we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that our sins must be put behind us, and we must follow our Lord in obedience to his New Covenant commands. For if we do not, the Scriptures say, we do not have salvation from sin, we are not in relationship with Jesus Christ, and heaven is not our eternal destiny, but hell is (1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10).

So we have all kinds of instructions in the New Testament regarding how we are not to live, as followers of Jesus, and how we are to live, as disciples of Jesus Christ. So we are taught that we are to walk in holiness and in righteousness, in obedience to our Lord, and that we are not to walk in sin, in the practice of such things as drunkenness, sexual immorality, sensuality, impurity, orgies, idolatry, adultery, lying and slander, etc. All such things as these are to be put away from our lives.

[Matt 15:19; Mk 7:21-23; Rom 13:13; 1 Co 5:1-13; 1 Co 6:13-18; 1 Co 10:8; 2 Co 12:21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-11; 1 Thess 4:3; 1 Pet 4:3; 2 Pet 2:2; Jude 1:4-7; Rev 2:14; Rev 14:8]

So, the circumcision Paul was referring to here was not a physical circumcision but a spiritual circumcision, i.e. a cutting away of our sinful flesh via us being crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we are no longer living as slaves to sin but as slaves to God and to his righteousness (Romans 6:1-23). And “the flesh” includes our sinful nature and our sinful practices as well as it includes us trying to earn or to deserve our own salvation via our own works, of our own doing, and not of God, but of the flesh.

Philippians 3:17-19 ESV

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”

So, returning to the subject of these “dogs,” we need to be people of discernment, i.e. a discernment which comes from God, and we need to be those who are testing the words of those professing to be evangelists and preachers and teachers of the Word of God and who are pastors of church congregations, etc. For many of them today are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and they are “dogs,” and they are walking as enemies of the cross of Christ, because they are not teaching nor living death to sin and living to God.

Instead, many of them are teaching that all we have to do is make a profession of faith in Jesus just once and now we are guaranteed forgiveness of all sins and eternal life with God in heaven. But that is not what the Scriptures teach us. And so they are leading many people straight to hell on the promise of heaven when they die. For their minds are set on the flesh and on the things of this earth, and they are not set on God and on things above. And so they are leading others to be just like them.

So, know what the Scriptures teach, for they teach that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. They teach that Jesus died on that cross so that we might be crucified with him in death to sin so we will no longer live as slaves to sin but as slaves to God and to his righteousness. And they teach that we must walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant), and that we must no longer habitually and deliberately sin against God.

And they teach us that if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and holiness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, that we do not know God/Jesus, he does not know us, we are not the children of God, we do not have forgiveness of sins, and we do not have eternal life with God. And they also teach us that all of us are going to be judged by God one day according to our works, and if we have lived to please the Lord, we will have eternal life, but if we lived to please the flesh, we will die in our sins.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

I Will Serve Thee

By Lynda Randle

I will serve Thee because I love Thee
You have given life to me.
I was nothing before You found me,
You have given life to me.

Heartaches, broken pieces,
Ruined lives are why You died on Calvary.
Your touch was what I longed for,
You have given life to me.

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