Chapter Twenty — Part Eleven: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 11/06/2022Foundation Scriptures:
1. False Teachers.
Acts 20:29-30 KJV — For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
b. Paul instructed them to be on the watch for those who would be sent by the enemy to destroy the Church.
c. He warns them that not only would savage wolves enter in from outside to attack the flock, but there would be those from among the flock who would rise up and create schisms or splits in the Church.
d. They do this to get people to follow and support them, even as they lead them astray.
e. We see from the book of Revelations that this did take place—and it is still happening today (Rev. 2:2; 2:6).
f. Paul warned that evil men and seducers (impostors) would become worse and worse—deceiving others and being self-deceived (2 Tim. 3:13).
g. Two of these people, who turned on Paul, were Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim. 1:15).
2. Not True Apostles.
a. The Bible mentions false teachers, prophets, and apostles.
b. What makes them false, is that these are self-appointed titles and positions.
c. They do not truly represent the Lord or the Gospel.
d. You can know them by their fruit and their works (Matt. 7:15-23; 12:33; Lk. 6:43-44)
e. Our godly life and works should reflect genuine repentance (Acts 26:20).
f. False apostles, spurious counterfeits, deceitful workmen—masquerade as apostles—just as Satan, himself, masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13-14).
g. But their end will be according to their works.
3. The True and the False.
a. Do not be deceived by outward appearances.
b. A gift or a spiritual manifestation is not an indicator of spiritual stature or integrity.
c. That is why the Bible tells us to know—inspect and examine—those who labor among us (1 Thess. 5:12).
d. Is the fruit of their lives and ministry the fruit of the Spirit or the works of the flesh?
e. A true disciple of Jesus Christ has died to sin and crucified the flesh, and the lusts thereof, and walks in the love of God and the fruit of the Spirit.
f. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
g. A false disciple/apostle pretends to serve God but continues to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
g. The works, or practices, of the flesh are obvious: they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger or ill temper, selfishness, divisions and dissensions, a party spirit—factions, sects with particular opinions, and heresies—envy, drunkenness, carousing, and other similar things (Gal. 5:19-21).
h. Do not follow a person who does these things.
4. Pride and Manipulation.
a. False brethren are proud and arrogant, vainglorious, and self-conceited (Gal. 5:26).
b. They love to be able to control and manipulate others for their own ends.
c. Unrighteousness and unscrupulous men try to attract and draw people away from the Truth.
d. They draw them to themselves—to create a following, and to side with them and their party, or faction.
e. They are selfish and insecure; therefore, they try to make others dependent on them rather than on the Holy Spirit.
f. They are not content until people are obedient, submissive, and subservient to them.
g. They are merciless and unforgiving.
h. If people do not comply, they treat them as an enemy.
5. Discord and Division.
a. False brethren are divisive—provoking and irritating—and stirring strife, discord, and dissension among the brethren.
b. They are competitive and challenging—biased and partial.
c. They are envious and jealous of others, and try to provoke others to envy, too.
d. Wherever people are carnal and competitive, and behaving like mere men, there will be envy, strife, and divisions (1 Cor. 3:1-9)
e. Do not put any man on a pedestal—respect authority and leadership—but fear God and keep your eyes on Him.
f. People cause strife from the pew—by looking to man, rather than to God.
g. Paul planted, Apollos watered, but it is God Who gave the increase (1 Cor. 3:3-7).
6. Deception and False Doctrine.
a. The Bible tells us that many false prophets shall arise, some with signs and wonders, and shall deceive many—in some cases, even the elect (Matt. 24:9-13; 24).
b. They are self-deceived and lie as a way of life.
c. The things they think, plan, and do, are wicked and evil.
d. 2 Timothy 2:16-18 AMPC — But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. 17 And their teaching [will devour; it] will eat its way like cancer or spread like gangrene. So it is with Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 Who have missed the mark and swerved from the truth by arguing that the resurrection has already taken place. They are undermining the faith of some.
e. False brethren speak perverse, distorted, morally corrupt, and wicked things, that lead others astray (Acts 20:30).
f. They have given Satan place, or access, into their own lives and operate directly and indirectly by demonic power and/or control.
g. False prophets/teachers: bring in damnable heresies—even denying the Lord that bought them—and bring upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet. 2:1).
h. Paul warns us of those in latter times who would depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
i. They invariably are involved in some form of immortality and encourage it in others.
j. They sin, without repentance.
k. They depend on, and cater to, people’s ignorance of the Word, and their own fleshly nature and carnality
l. They jeopardize the lives/blood/eternity of those they lead astray.
a. False brethren are selfish, greedy, and covetous.
b. Paul admonishes us not to keep company with, nor eat with, a so-called brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner (1 Cor. 5:11).