Jeremiah was a voice for repentance and judgment 2500 years ago in Jerusalem. But Jeremiah was not a singular voice. Jerusalem was filled with a cacophony of voices. False prophets proclaimed over and over again that Judah would avoid judgment. They proclaimed, “Peace,” when God promised violence. They erred because they did not hear the voice of the Lord.

And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.” 

Jeremiah 14:14

We are not all that different from Jeremiah’s day. False prophets build platforms and proclaim their own ideas. In the cacophony of voices and noise around us, how do we as followers of Jesus discern truth and avoid false doctrine?

Christian, it is your responsibility to know the Word of God. Jeremiah preached truth because he preached what God said. False prophets are those who proclaim what is not true according to Scripture. Discerning the difference is our responsibility.

The Secret Service carries a responsibility to investigate counterfeit currency. They don’t learn to identify counterfeit money by studying what is fake. They learn to identify the counterfeit by studying what is authentic. As followers of Jesus, we need to study and know the authentic and true (God’s Word) so we will be able to discern what is false.

Here are some ways that you can develop your knowledge of the Bible as authentic and true. I will link to resources at the bottom of the post.

  • Read and study the Bible daily. The single greatest thing you can do for your spiritual life is read the Bible.
  • Memorize and apply the Bible regularly. Knowing the Bible is good, but living the Bible is the goal.
  • Listen to biblical preaching weekly. Make sure you are attending, watching, listening at your local church and/or listening to solid biblical preaching on the radio or podcasts as often as you are able.
  • Avoid false teaching. If you become aware of a teacher or preacher who is unbiblical, avoid it.
  • Read commentaries and books that develop your biblical understanding. Strengthening our faith through learning will help us better understand and apply our Christian faith.

If you are concerned about family or friends who are listening to false teachers, pray for them. Don’t just yell at them or condemn them. Pray that God will give you an open door to have a fruitful conversation about their church or listening habits.

Sometimes our theological concerns with family and friends is not between false and true, but rather about areas of theological interpretation. Dr. Albert Mohler offers an insightful illustration for discerning theological differences in his Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity.

If you doubt there is false teaching out there, then let me commend to you the documentary, American Gospel: Christ Alone. The documentary reflects on the false doctrine that permeates the prosperity gospel movement. You can also find it on a number of streaming platforms.

Finally, here are some preaching and teaching resources and recommendations for solid biblical preaching and teaching that will strengthen your faith. These are some of my favorites.

Truth for Life, Allistair Begg

Gospel in Life, Timothy Keller

The Briefing, Albert Mohler

You can search and subscribe for any of these wherever podcasts are found. At Wilkesboro Baptist Church, we are making our Sunday sermons available in podcast format as well. Soon you will be able to download lessons in theology from our podcast channel as well. Be sure to search and subscribe “Wilkesboro Baptist Church” on the Apple Podcast App, Spotify, and wherever podcasts are found.

Maybe you caught some of the Presidential debate this week. Maybe you didn’t. In any case, I think we can all admit that we long for something more.

I’m a bit of a political junkie. I read history and politics, follow news sites, and watch Presidential State of the Union addresses. I stay up on election night to hear the results. And I watched the debate this week. I was hoping for something more.

For many viewers, the debate reinforced their disdain for the other candidate. For other viewers, the debate made us long for the Presidential wit and tone of a Ronald Reagan or the gravitas of a John F. Kennedy . But alas, the first 2020 Presidential debate was not that. Few of us who watched finished the night proud of the choices in front of us.

I have friends of both political persuasions who can make philosophical or political arguments for their party or candidate. Some of those I know will never vote for the other party because they can’t support its platform. Some of those I know will never vote for the other candidate because they can’t support him personally.

There is a pretty good chance that members of both parties will read this. Some of you reading this will vote Republican, some will vote Democrat, some will write in a candidate, some will not vote. I’m not writing this to change your mind either way. I’m writing this to remind us all that there is something more.

We are being told that this is the election on which America will rise or fall. This election is the most important in our history. If one party wins, our nation will be fundamentally changed. If the other party wins, our nation will be doomed to racism and hatred. I believe there is something far deeper at stake.

Be warned. Do not put your trust in a politician or party.

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

Jeremiah 17:5

You may have good reasons for the vote you plan to cast. But don’t put your trust a politician, or a party. If you do, you might just find yourself cursed.

The people of Judah in Jeremiah’s day were guilty of trusting in kings and international alliances. Instead of seeking God and trusting in him, they relied upon man. The Lord told them that their choice of trusting in man was a curse. I am convinced that Christians in America need to hear this warning.

Our hope does not rest in a politician and a party. When immorality and depravity are rampant, when child pornography is called a documentary, when millions of babies are murdered in the name of choice, when churches preach prosperity instead of the gospel, when sex trafficking is overlooked, oppression is embraced, racism is ignored, hate is platformed, pride is promoted, and what is false is called true, our problems run far deeper than can be solved by a presidential election.

We are a nation in desperate need of awakening and a church in need of revival. Politicians cannot fix our problems, for our problems are not primarily issues of public health, the economy, law and order, or foreign policy. Our problems run as deep and depraved as the human heart.

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
 “I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Our problem is spiritual, and it requires a spiritual solution. We need Jesus to intervene.

Don’t read this and think I’ve given up hope. I have not. Nor should you. We should however place our trust where it belongs.

  • We should invite the Lord to search our hearts and lead us to personal repentance.
  • We should pray that God would bring a spiritual awakening to our neighbors and to our nation.
  • We should become evangelists for the good news of Jesus rather than the short-sighted news of politicians and parties.

By all means, vote. Vote your values. But do not place your hope in your ballot cast. Place your hope in the Lord whose kingdom is forever and whose rule is righteous.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash