"(17) I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. (18) For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people."
Throughout the ages the church has been bombarded with false teaching, and it's still prevalent today. Since the only way to combat error is with truth, the church must be grounded in the Scriptures to avoid falling victim to deception.
The church needs an accurate view of Jesus. To hold firmly to the truth of the gospel, we must have a solid understanding of who Christ is. Though some claim Jesus was a teacher or a prophet, Scripture says He was fully God, who created everything and came to earth to save mankind from condemnation (John 1:1-13). Others argue that there are many ways to God. However, reconciliation with Him requires that sin's penalty be paid in full by one who is sinless. Only Jesus, the perfect Son o Man, could meet God's requirement. Therefore, no one can come to the Father except through him (John 14:6).
The church must also affirm true doctrine. False teachers can be very persuasive and lead listeners into wrong thinking, confusion, and discouragement. In contrast, true doctrine strengthens and encourages believers by assuring them that salvation is by God's grace through faith in Christ alone; it is not gained or maintained by their performance (Ephesians 2:8-9). Those who belong to Jesus need never fear condemnation because the penalty for their sins has been paid (Romans 8:1). Everyone who is born again has an imperishable inheritance, which is reserved in heaven and protected by divine power through faith until God reveals it (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Can you discern false teaching? The only way to guard yourself and your church is to be firmly grounded in God's Word.