Lesson 1. Jesus did not hold back in his critique of those who would pervert the way of God.
Lesson 2. He specifically called the Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, blind guides, whitewashed tombs and snakes. These were the teachers of God’s Word. These were the men who were experts in it, taught it and proudly made converts to it – according to their various sects.
Lesson 3. False teachers have no intentions of keeping God’s Word beyond the personal benefits it brings them. Be it power, fame or fortune.
Lesson 4. It is noteworthy that Jesus gives us good reason to view those well-versed in the scriptures with initial suspicion. This is being discerning. “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1Jn.4:1).
Lesson 5. All will be revealed. Listening carefully to their doctrines is a good start; doctrine determines behaviour! Sooner or later, you will see their teachings for what they are. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit” (Mt.7:18).
Lesson 6. Not all false teachers are about money, but those who are meet talk of ‘a humble and sacrificial lifestyle in Christ’ with derision. Jesus also dealt with these types. “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him” (Lk.16:14).
Lesson 7. It is not surprising that many look up to these men. They have all the badges of success: Money, nice homes, flash cars, talent and popularity. They look and act as if God has blessed them richly.
Every time we hear the Bible taught, we must adjust our minds to what is being said and done in front of us. Am I suggesting we become some sort of ‘false teacher bounty hunters?’ No, not at all. Instead, we must confront. Truth is to be accepted and humbly acted upon, and lies are to be confronted and humbly acted against.