Below Paul is addressing the church in Corinth and warning them about false teachers who have been coming into churches all over the territories teaching false doctrines.
2nd Corinthians 11:13 For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds. (NRSV)
We must always be careful about accepting any teachings just because we trust the teacher. Does anyone consider me to be a Bible teacher? Don’t trust me just according to that. I’m not perfect. There are many teachings about many Bible passages that certainly seem contradictory. They can’t all be right. That’s the point. We are not to judge on perfection, and we are not to simply accept things at face value. Each must search God’s Word for himself asking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
But it is one thing that people can strive to honestly teach God’s Word. It is quite another that there are many out there who teach with an obvious lack of belief in God’s Word. There are those who claim to be Christian, yet call Jesus a liar in His claim that no one can come to the Father but by Him. We must learn to recognize false teachers and call people to find the truth, as best they know how, and earnestly searching for our Heavenly Father Who told us in Jeremiah 29: 13 that those who searched for Him would find Him if they searched for Him with all of their hearts. It is in this same collection of writings that are called the Tanakh or Old Testament that prophecies concerning Jesus are made and in the New Testament where these prophecies are revealed. So searching for the Lord according to this word from Jeremiah means searching for the Lord through the message as it unfolds in the works of his publishers. Those works would be what Christians call our Bible, God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures. If you search for the Lord on the basis of Jeremiah’s word, then it means studying from Jeremiah’s perspective, not going off into the teachings of Buddha or Astrologers or New Agers.
For anyone who considers the possibility of an eternity beyond this earthly existence, then it is certainly a serious matter to consider what may be the terms of that eternity. I believe in the Bible. I don’t claim to be perfect in understanding all of it, but I firmly believe it to be the true source of TRUTH. Each person must search for himself and within himself to find what he believes to be the TRUTH, but it should certainly be obvious that not what each individual believes to be true constitutes actual TRUTH.
For others who believe in the Bible, be careful about believing all that is taught by people who ‘sound sincerely religious’. Be careful of many who say that we can love God in all of nature. True, we can see God’s creation as beautiful and wondrous, but it is the Creator we worship not the creation. There are those who say they can worship nature (the trees, flowers, etc.) and sound beautiful, but we must be careful not to thank a flower for being beautiful, but thank the Father who made such a beautiful flower. It is one thing to go out into the sunshine and lift our hands and praise the glorious God who created the sun. It is a totally different matter to thank that we can lift our hands to the sun and be energized by the sun. The sun is God’s creation. We get energy from God, not the sun. We can pray to God for energy on our knees beside our beds just as well as we can in the sunshine. The same sun that gives light and radiance also sometimes brings drought and famines. We pray to God, not the sun. Angels are also God’s creation. One area we must be very careful of here is remembering that the fallen angels who are God’s enemies can also come to us and disguise themselves as ministers of mercy. These angels would certainly encourage us to worship them, but the true angels of God would say that they are only servants of God and we are to worship only God, not God’s creation, and angels are God’s creation. The Bible teaches that we may entertain angels without being aware of it. This may mean feeding a hungry stranger. But any true angel of God would teach to worship God, not the angels, for angels are only God’s creation and were created to serve.