Explore the Bible Study: On Guard

10:34 AM

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most important, how important is it for you to measure all teaching by the Person of Jesus Christ and His Word? If you hesitated to place it at a 10 or if you chose a number less than 10, what does this reveal about how you might be swayed by false teaching? Does this matter to you? The Explore the Bible study: On Guard focuses on answering this question.

This week's study TARGET focuses on helping your group evaluate their view of false teaching and the importance of measuring the accuracy of theirs and other's beliefs against the standard of God's Word.

Consider using some of the following ideas to supplement your study:

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.

Option One:
  • In Advance (Before the Session): Choose a heavy object and weigh it on a set of scales at home. Bring the object with you to the group session and display it as the group arrives.
  • Ask (As the group arrives): Call attention to the heavy object. 
  • Ask: How much do you think this object weighs?
  • Discuss: What if I told it weighed a certain amount that seemed impossible to believe? How would you respond? Would anyone want some type of confirmation that what I was saying was accurate?
Option Two:
  • In Advance: Bring some type of food item that contains a nutrition label.
  • Guide: Whoever guesses the weight (or calories) wins the prize today. (Give the person who guesses the closest the food item)
  • Discuss: Would you trust my accuracy on the weight if I did not have some way of confirming my conclusion? Why or why not?
Ask: Has anyone heard of the website Snopes.com? What is the purpose of this website? (It’s an internet reference site that helps verify facts, rumors, urban legends, and other information posted on the internet.)

Discuss: Do you think people are as concerned about getting their facts right today as they have been in the past? How does the massive amount of misinformation being given to people today affect their view of Scriptures? How does it affect their view of Christians who espouse biblical views?

Introduce: Our session today comes from two different books of the Bible, 2 Peter and Jude, but they contain similar content. Both Peter and Jude faced false teaching that was spreading in their day, and they wanted to help their readers, and us, understand how important it is to measure everything we hear and the people we follow against the truth of Scripture.

Transition: Let’s begin by listening for ways both Peter and Jude described the actions of false teachers.

LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

2 Peter 2:1-3
  • What were the actions and attitudes of false teachers Peter and Jude describe? (Capture on Markerboard)
  • Why is it so important that we understand the actions and attitudes of these false teachers?
  • Everyone read Jude 16-19 and identify words and phrases Jude used to describe false teachers and their teachings? (Continue to add to the list on the markerboard)
  • Is it easier to spot false prophets by their actions or their words? Explain. (PSG, p. 126) 
  • What reality did Jude give regarding false teachers? What does he say about their spiritual condition?
  • Which of these should we use to measure the teachings of a church leader? - Their looks | Their age | Their degrees | Their charisma | Their leadership skills | Their temperament | Their biblical accuracy | Their ability to communicate | The pleasantness of what they teach | Their decisiveness.
  • How easy is it for Christians today to sacrifice biblical accuracy if they are following a religious leader or even a denomination (or cult) that offers any of the other areas mentioned? Have you seen someone compromise their faith because they “liked” what someone was saying
  • On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most important, how important is it for you to measure all teaching by the Person of Jesus Christ and His Word? If you hesitated to place it at a 10 or if you chose a number less than 10, what does this reveal about how you might be swayed by false teaching? Does this matter to you?
Transition: Jude also provides suggestions regarding how we can combat false teaching. Listen and identify some of the preventative measures believers can take and how they should respond to those who are led away by false teachers.

Jude 20-23
Identify: What were the preventative measures? – Build yourselves up in your faith (keep growing) | Pray under the leadership of the Holy Spirit | Keep yourselves in the love of God | Hold on to your hope of eternal life.

Discuss: How can these help us become more discerning regarding false teachers? Which of these are most visible in your life? Which needs to become more visible or active.

Discuss: How did Jude say we are to respond to those who are being led astray by false teachers?
  • Some who doubt: Have mercy. Less mature Christians might begin to doubt which makes them easy prey for the smooth and convincing false teaching they hear. Therefore, we should be merciful to them – we forgive their false steps and seek to guide them to build up their faith.
  • Save Others: This probably refers to non-Christians. They have nothing to doubt but must be warned of coming judgement as we share the gospel so that they might be snatched from the fire of hell.
  • On Others: refers to the godless people who have no desire to turn to God. They are so far gone that their garments smell like rotting flesh. We are still to show mercy but with a cautious attitude knowing that their sin could “contaminate” our faith.
Discuss: Which of these types of people do you have difficulty showing mercy to? Why?

Transition: In the midst of this hard message and difficult content, Jude gives his readers and us a shout of praise and words of affirmation that we should all strive to remember.

Jude 24-25

Identify: What are the promises Jude gives us? Which one gives you the greatest encouragement as you strive to guard your faith against false teaching?
LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.
  • When have you caught yourself leaning toward a false teaching? What put you back on the right track?
  • Are there individuals you know who are leaning toward embracing false teachers or teaching? How could you help them based on our passage today?
  • We don’t have to guess whether something is true just like we don’t have to guess on weights and measures IF we have an accurate way of measuring something.
  • Based on Peter’s and Jude’s writings and our discussions, let’s prepare a checklist that we can use to measure the validity of someone’s teachings.

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