The Bible makes it clear that there are false teachers in the world, and there may be false teacher in our churches. Unfortunately, false teachers don’t clearly identify themselves. They tend to look and sound like biblical teachers. This leaves us in a dangerous situation.
Fortunately, God has given us four ways to spot a false teacher in the book of Jude. The recipients of Jude’s letter had false teachers in their midst. Jude wanted these Christians to know how to find the false teachers and remove them from a position of influence. Here are the four ways to spot a false teacher:
1) Their lifestyle doesn’t match their teaching. Jude 1:8, “In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.” False teachers often preach on holiness and teach a strict code of ethics that they expect everyone to follow. However, their personal lives often fall short of their message. If a person’s behaviour doesn’t match their preaching, then it may be that they are a false teacher.
2) They think they’re the smartest people in the church. Jude 1:10, “But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.” False teachers tend to undermine and underestimate the teaching and authority of the established pastors and leaders in a church. They are constantly questioning the church’s teachers, and even contradicting them (Sounds like myself. Forgive me O Lord).
3) They stir up disunity in the church. Jude 1:16, “These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.” False teachers often cause divisions in churches, ministries, fellowships and small groups. They cause disruption in just about every group they find themselves in. They treat others well only to get them to follow their lead.
4) They don’t produce any real fruit. Jude 1:12, “They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots.” False teachers don’t really help others pursue God. They might have followers, but these followers aren’t growing in their love for Jesus and his church. False teachers care too much for themselves to see real fruit developed in the lives of others.
How aware are you of false teachers within Christianity?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.