A new York City couple received through the mail two tickets to a smash Broadway hit. Oddly, the gift arrived without a note, and they wondered who had sent it. But they still attended the show and enjoyed it immensely.

Returning to their apartment, they discovered that their bedroom had been ransacked. Valuable furs and jewels were missing. On the pillow was this simple note: “Now you know.”

Like that nameless thief, a false teacher knows what people want and appeals to their desires (2 Pet. 2). He doesn’t wear a lapel pin to warn of his lies, but he comes disguised as a representative of the truth. He claims he will enrich lives, but those who follow him often learn at a high cost that they have been deceived.

Jesus, however, is a teacher we can trust completely. He offers us the gift of eternal life because He truly loves us. Accepting His gift of salvation is the first step in protecting ourselves from the deceptive gifts that false teachers offer.

But even believers can be deceived by false teaching. That’s why God’s Word exhorts us to study the Scriptures (1 Pet. 2:2), test what we hear (1 Jn. 4:1), and grow in the faith (2 Pet. 1:5-9). That way, we won’t suddenly discover that our spiritual life is in disarray.