My wife, two kids, and I crammed into a Volkswagen Rabbit, stuck a luggage carrier on top, and drove off to California for the trip of a lifetime. We were going to a church convention, and it gave us an opportunity to spend time together as a family—free from all the worries of our ministry back home in Chicago. But God had other plans.

I got a phone call from one of my church elders. He told me a certain pastor and his family in our church had been standing at the back door after each service greeting people. The elder asked me if I had assigned them as greeters. I had not. It turned out that the family was trying to take over the church in our absence. They came to our church under false pretenses and tried to deceive our people. Thankfully they were stopped before they could do any serious harm.

Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light, so how much more are his ministers? If we don’t want to be deceived by false teachers, we need to watch all teachers and compare their teaching and lifestyle with what the Bible says. If there’s a lack of submission to authority or false teaching, you can be sure something isn’t right. But you have to know the Word for yourself to discern these things.

Maybe you’ve been captivated by a popular television or radio preacher, and you esteem his every word as gospel. Does his teaching match God’s Word? If so, then that’s wonderful. But if it doesn’t line up, then you need to honestly ask yourself if you’re willing to part with him and stand for God. The most dangerous spiritual enemies are those who pretend to come in the name of Christ. Watch out for the secret enemies inside today.

By entertaining of strange persons, men sometimes entertain angels unawares: but by entertaining of strange doctrines, many have entertained devils unawares. — John Flavel

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder