A person can lose what they have gained by being deceived into false teaching.
“24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matt 24:24 (NIV)
If a group becomes deceived, they can lose what others have worked for. People can run ahead believing that they have advanced beyond the teaching of the apostles.
“8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” 2 John 8-9 (NIV)
We are to test everything.
“21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV)
The teachings must be what Christ taught. He taught humility and love among many other teachings. We must spend time testing the teachings we sit under. It is not the responsibility of others. Examination of ourselves and asking Christ to examine us will keep us from being deceived.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23 (NIV)
People can say they do this but their actions and reactions will reveal the truth. They can hide it for a time, but it eventually shows. The danger in that is that God knows our heart’s condition right from the beginning and at all times, in all circumstances.
“15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” Luke 16:15 (NIV)
He knows the condition of our hearts and He is concerned. He wants to lead us into truth but it is up to us to be willing.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NIV)
Just as Jerusalem, we can kill the prophets and stone those sent to us. If we are not willing to gather the children together as Christ was commanding, our house or church could be left desolate. Christ told them they would not see Him again until they say “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” It is possible for Him to leave us or leave the “group” and unless we do as He says, He will not return.
34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Luke 13:34-35 (NIV)
When He commands us to say something, it must not only be in words but it must come from the heart. Christ will know. For us, actions and the attitude of the heart must support the words in order for us to know whether we are sincere. We can also know the sincerity of others in this way. Talk may deceive some, but those with discernment from Christ that John wants believers to have is spoken of in his letters.
1 John, 2 John, 3 John