Satan, as the father of lies (John 8:44), has been deceiving the world since Adam and Eve occupied the Garden of Eden roughly 6,000 years ago. Those who learn from him to deceive others become children of the evil one as does anyone who becomes deceived and therefore follows attractive but unscriptural doctrine.
Deceivers take the form of spiritual weeds – tares – that come up alongside true believers in Jesus and often squeeze the life out of the body of Christ. They also come as false messiahs or false prophets. Many of these have been on earth since the time of Christ, but a special false Christ and false prophet will exist during the time of the end just before our Lord’s return and subsequent wrath of God (see my 2011 book titled “Finding the End of the World” for a comprehensive study of this important topic!).
How can we tell the tares apart from true followers? It seems that tares are made evident at the “fruit-bearing stage” when, at the same time, “the wheat sprouted and bore grain” (Matthew 13:26). This is verified by Jesus’ emphasis upon the good works that a true follower will produce in his/her life: “By their fruit you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-20). Thus, tares, as false wheat, look like wheat (even sound like wheat) but the fruit of their character will identify their true spiritual nature and parentage.
Test what you hear or see in the Church against God’s standards to avoid deception. Continual study of the Scriptures, fellowship, and discipleship will help you learn those standards and strengthen your faith. Don’t let church weeds choke the spiritual life out of you!