!Audacious Church Bible Study: Responding to False Teachers
This bible study is prepared for !Audacious Church to help them through their pastoral crisis, but any church that is struggling with a false teacher can use !Audacious Church as a model.
Most quotes are from the ESV translation, but of course we don’t have the actual words of Jesus, so the exact translaton doesn’t matter that much.
Sharing: What are the qualities you are look for in a pastor? What makes a pastor trustworthy? What do you expect from the leader of your church?
Biblical Qualifications For Pastors
Let’s talk about the biblical qualifications for pastors. What does God expect from the leader of a church?
Read 1 Timothy 3:2
2 Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b]sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
Read Titus 1:6
6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife,[a] and his children are believers[b] and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
Questions about Biblical Qualifications for Pastors
Q: What does it mean to be “above reproach”? Can a pastor lie to his congregation, and still be “above reproach”
Q: Is it possible tell a lie, and still be “self-controlled?”
Q: Is lying publicly “respectable”?
Q: Is boasting about winning a debate “arrogant”?
Q: How do biblical qualifications for pastors protect the church from unfit leaders?
Q: Would you let someone who lied to you babysit your children?
Q: Would you let someone who lied to you give you spiritual guidance?
Q: Have you ever had a pastor lie to you? Could you tell that your pastor was lying at the time?
Q: How can you tell if your pastor is telling the truth?
Share a time that a current or previous pastor lied to you and your congregation. How did you feel? How did other people in the congregation react?
Pray that God puts qualified pastoral leaders in your life.
Pray that God only brings qualified pastoral leaders to your church.
Pray that God cuts away unfit leaders like chaff from wheat.
How False Teachers Harm People
What happens when false teachers promote their lies? How do false teachers harm people?
Read 1 Timothy 3:7
7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
Read 1 Peter 3
not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
Read Luke 6:39
39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
Read 2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Questions About How False Teachers Impact People
Q: How should pastors be thought of by outsiders?
Q: Why should pastors be “well thought of” by outsiders?
Q: Does publishing lies on youtube go over well with outsiders?
Q: What happens when a pastor tarnishes his reputation with outsiders?
Q: How is a church’s reputation harmed by an ensnared pastor?
Q: How is a church harmed by a bad reputation? Is it good for a church to be pastored by a known liar?
Q: What does it mean to be an “example to the flock?”
Q: What example should a pastor set for your children? For his own children?
Q: What happens when a pastor sets a bad example to the flock?
Q: What happens when a false teacher leads others?
Q: Has your pastor ever told your congregation a myth, as if it were true?
Q: Did your congregation indulge in the pleasure of the myth?
Share a time a pastor set a bad example for the flock. Did it strengthen, or weaken the congregation? Did it bring out the best in people, or the worst in people?
Pray that God protects your church from false teachers.
Pray for healing for those that have been harmed by false teachers.
Pray that false teachers will repent, and take another path.
The Severity Of False Teaching
How serious is false teaching? Is it a small sin, like driving over the speed limit, or a serious sin that must be “plucked out”, and “cut-off”?
Read 2 Corinthians 11:15
15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Read Galatians 5:10
10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is.
Questions On The Severity Of False Teaching
Q: How will things end for false teachers?
Q: What happens to false teachers who create trouble for people?
Describe a false teaching you’ve heard. How will God handle it?
How Do You Identify False Teachers?
No one expects that their pastor is a false teacher until he or she is exposed. How can you identify a false teacher?
Read Matthew 7:15-16
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Read 2 Peter 2:19:
19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves[a] of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
Read Matthew 7:22
22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
Read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Questions about Identifying False Teachers
Q: Does a false prophet look like a false prophet, or appear to be genuine?
Q: How can you recognize a false prophet?
Q: What are some examples of corruption?
Q: Is lying to a congregation a sign of corruption?
Q: Can false teachers still perform works that resemble works of God, but aren’t?
Q: You can’t serve two masters. Is your pastor a slave to Christ, or a slave to something else?
Q: Can you be a slave to corruption, and a slave to Jesus at the same time?
Q: Is it possible for a false teacher to appear as an “angel of light”?
Q: Have you ever thought of your own pastor as an “angel of light”? Is he really?
Share a time that your pastor became a “slave of corruption.” What was their sin?
Share a time a pastor claimed that their “mighty works” outweighed their sins. Will God recognize them? Do you?
Would you trust a false teacher just because they appears to be Christ-like?
Pray that God will give you discernment to identify false teachers.
Pray that God will expose false teachers in your midst.
Pray for courage to do the right thing when you find a false teacher at your church.
The Responsibility Of All Christians
Considering that false teaching impacts so many people, what is the responsibility of Christians? What should their posture be towards false teachers? What should happen when they identify one?
Read 2 Timothy 3:5
5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Read Matthew 24:24-26
24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
Read Hebrews 2:1
2 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
Read Acts 20:28-32
28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you [a]overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He [b]purchased [c]with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give youthe inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Read Titus 1:10-13
10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.[a] 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans,[b] a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”[c] 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke themsharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
Questions About The Responsibility Of All Christians
Q: Who’s responsibility is it to be on the alert for false prophets?
Q: Who are you responsible to?
Q: Once you identify false teachers, should you avoid them?
Q: Should you follow a false prophet?
Q: Should you believe a false prophet?
Q: What are ways you can “pay closer attention” to detect false prophets?
Q: Should false prophets be silenced?
Have you ever faced the dilemma between loving a false teacher, and loving Jesus? How did you feel? Are you able to trust Jesus if you choose him over the false teacher?
Pray for God to help you be more skeptical, and pay closer attention for false teachers.
Pray that God gives you the wisdom to avoid false teachers, when you identify them.
Pray that God gives you the courage to speak out against false teachers, so others in the flock are not harmed.