1. JESUS spoke AGAINST many claiming to be Servants of God

Does the Bible say to not speak against pastors? Christian leaders claim it is wrong and dangerous to speak against them. But Jesus and his apostles spoke against many claiming to be servants of God. Pharisees and scribes are the equivalent to today’s pastors and Bible scholars. In Matthew 23 Jesus called them "hypocrites," "blind guides," "full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness," "full of hypocrisy and iniquity," "fools and blind," "serpents," and "generation of vipers." Do these same descriptions apply to your pastor and church leaders? Jesus said on Judgement Day God’s wrath will fall on them—he said, "how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" and "ye shall receive the greater damnation." Pastors argue you should never speak against any church leader because you risk accidently speaking against God’s true servants. But Jesus said it is dangerous to not discern who you follow. Those who follow false teachers will end up with them. In Matthew 15:14 Jesus warned, "And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." If you simply follow anyone claiming to be God’s servant, you risk damnation of hell. So, how to know if someone is a true servant of God, or a blind deceiver? Jesus taught 3 key signs of false teachers.

2. False teachers teach DOCTRINE of HYPOCRISY, instead of Jesus’ doctrine

The first mark of a false teacher is spreading doctrine that cunningly undermines the doctrine of Jesus. Doctrine is teaching that should guide how we live. When born into the world our soul is born into a flesh body. If we are convicted to turn away from doing sin and cry out to God to help us, then our soul can be born again into a spirit body—that is, God gives your soul the holy spirit to lead you to live righteous and holy. A newly born-again believer is a spiritual baby. How does this baby grow? An immature, weak spiritual baby develops into a full-grown, strong spiritual man by obeying the doctrine of Jesus—it is the milk, meat, nourishment for spiritual growth. The doctrine we receive to obey will either nurture our spirit, or it will destroy our spirit. Matthew 16:6,12 says, "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees…Then understood they [the disciples] how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." Leaven is a substance added to dough to make it rise. Only a very little bit is needed and once mixed in it is not visible, but the leaven penetrates the whole lump of dough to transform it. Jesus warned his disciples to pay careful attention to avoid the doctrine of religious leaders. Most churchgoers do not bother checking if the doctrine taught by their pastor is the same doctrine taught by Jesus. Even if they happen to notice differing doctrines among their leaders, they politely and silently follow along. Without realizing it, this doctrine will penetrate and transform their person.

What is the doctrine Jesus is specifically saying to beware of? In Luke 12:1-2 Jesus said, "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." The doctrine of religious leaders is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is insincere, dishonest pretending. The doctrine of false teachers is putting on an outward show of godliness. This perverts the doctrine of Jesus to obey God from the inside out with a pure, honest heart. Jesus’s doctrine guides us to put to death our sinful, flesh nature and transform through the holy spirit to become as holy and righteous as God is holy and righteous. If we transform to take on God’s divine nature, we become His children—and God promises His heavenly kingdom to His children. 2 Peter 1:4 says, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." This is God’s incredible promise—if we escape our sinful desires in this world and instead partake in His divine spirit nature by obeying the doctrine of Jesus, then we will be rewarded with eternal joy in Heaven. Pastors spread a doctrine of hypocrisy—they promise Heavenly glory to sinning churchgoers who put on an outward show of godliness by participating in church activities and tradition. They are not godly from the inside out, they simply pretend to be godly with public outward displays of fasting, emotional singing, ministry giving, and so on. But God will not give Heaven to those who put on a great performance, He uncovers your heart’s very intention of why you did what you did. In Luke 12:1-2 Jesus, "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." So, you will be judged for Heaven or Hell according to your hidden inner intentions and desires.

Pastors are hypocrites, and they teach their followers to become hypocrites. In Matthew 23:14, 23 Jesus said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation….Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith…" Jesus accused religious leaders of putting on an external show of being godly by making long prayers and paying tithe. But they had no mercy on poor, weak people whose money they shamelessly plunder using God’s name, and they do not obey the God’s righteous principle to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This will bring them greater damnation and punishment. Church leaders teach you to put on a performance with fasting prayer, all night prayer, and chain prayer services. But Jesus said not to pray to be seen and heard by others—in Matthew 6:5-6 he said, "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men…But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret…" Pastors teach you to worship God with your tithe and offering. But Jesus said to worship God in spirit and truth, which is obeying God’s will to live a holy, just life.

The doctrine of Jesus is to purify from the inside out. In Matthew 5:8 Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." The doctrine of false teachers is to put on an outward appearance of cleanliness. In Matthew 23:25-28 Jesus said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." Following church ceremony and tradition may convince others that you are a godly, righteous person, but God will see the iniquity of your heart, God will see a hypocrite, God will see a spiritually dead soul. Jesus spoke against religious leaders because if you receive their doctrine of hypocrisy, you will be damned to Hell. In Matthew 23:13, 15 Jesus said, "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in…Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." Pastors pretend to have great passion for evangelism and saving souls, yet Jesus said such false teachers will not enter heaven and their doctrine will also stop others from entering. A true servant of God is baptized by the Holy Ghost and teaches the doctrine of Jesus. In John 14:24-26 Jesus said, "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." The Holy Ghost is God, and He gives spiritual revelation of Jesus’s teachings to true servants, so they will lead true believers to love Lord Jesus by obeying His doctrine. False teachers study the Bible using the interpretations of commentaries and seminary schooling, so, they teach doctrine that undercuts Jesus’s true doctrine in sneaky, deceptive ways.

3. False teachers solicit MONEY to build ministry

The second mark of a false teacher is soliciting money under the pretense of building God’s ministry. The reason pastors twist and pervert Jesus’s doctrine is to please people’s itching ears to gain money for themselves. In Romans 16:17-18 says, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." Apostle Paul warned believers to carefully note and avoid leaders teaching doctrine opposing the words of Jesus. He said such false teachers use nice sounding words to deceive people because they serve their own belly. Most pastors do this—Jesus says fear God, pastors say no need to fear God just love him; Jesus says strive to enter heaven, pastors say heaven is a free gift not attained by your work or effort; Jesus says you will be judged for eternity according to your works, pastors say Jesus finished all salvation work on the cross; Jesus says whoever commits sin is a servant of sin, pastors say sinning churchgoers are saved children of God. Why do so many pastors preach such lies contrary to the doctrine of Jesus? Apostle Paul tells us why in Titus 1:10-11, "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers…Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake." Most pastors are scam artists—they sell lies, flattery, and false promises to cheat people out of their money. Paul calls it filthy lucre, because it is money gained by deceiving people to believe they gain God’s blessings and heavenly reward by giving tithe, offering, mission giving and so on.

Did Jesus instruct his disciples to do ministry work by soliciting money? When Jesus sent his disciples to preach to the Israelites he gave the following instruction in Matthew 10:7-8, "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." True servants do not solicit money to do God’s ministry work. They freely received the truth and power from God, and they freely give it just as Jesus taught. In Acts 20:32-35 Apostle Paul said, "…brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." Apostle Paul says the doctrine of God’s Word can spiritually build up a believer so that they may inherit God’s kingdom once they are sanctified (that is, purified from sin). As a true servant of Jesus, he did not desire other people’s wealth or belongings, instead he remembered Jesus’s teaching to freely do God’s ministry. People gave support to God’s workers, but true servants did not desire or solicit money to build God’s ministry. 2 Peter 2:1-3 says, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies…And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." Apostle Peter warned the mark of a false teacher is covetousness (that is, desiring to take your money and belongings), and they do it by pretending to be God’s servant who loves and cares for your soul. They deceive you with deviation from Jesus’s teaching that is disguised with pleasant sounding words to get your money.

4. False teachers make FOLLOWERS of SELVES, rather than followers of Jesus

The third mark of a false teacher is making followers of themselves, rather than followers of Jesus. In Matthew 23:2,5-7 Jesus said, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:…But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi." Jesus said religious leaders take the position of true servants of God (such as Moses), but everything they do is with the intention of being seen of people to gain status, power, and respect. They want to dress, be seated, and greeted with great importance. Their priority is not nurturing believers to spiritually grow to follow Jesus’s example, rather they want people to submit to and follow their requests and orders. Acts 20:28-31 says, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." Apostle Paul spoke against and warned of false teachers daily over 3 years. He makes 3 key points here. First, true servants are baptized by the Holy Ghost to be made ministers who spiritually feed the church of God. Second, he warns that dangerous false teachers (who he calls grievous wolves), will penetrate churches and take advantage of the people. Third, from within the church also false teachers will arise who corrupt the doctrine of Jesus for the purpose of drawing people to be followers of themselves.

Apostle Peter instructed true servants to spiritually feed the church with a ready, willing mind and be examples for the flock by living a godly life. 1 Peter 5:1-3 says, "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder…Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." Peter said God’s ministry should not be done for money which he also called filthy lucre, and it should not be done to gain power to lord over others. A true servant desires the church only to follow them as they also follow Jesus’s example. Otherwise, their purpose is not manipulating people to submit to them. To make followers of themselves, false teachers know they must satisfy people’s worldly lusts, so they feed them deviant doctrine. True servants please God by preaching the truth that came by Jesus and, so, they were not and are not beloved by most religious people. In Matthew 23:34 Jesus said, "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city…" True servants that Jesus sends will be hated, tormented, and chased out—but not by gangsters or criminals or secular people of the world, rather by those claiming to be godly people. In Luke 6:22-23, 26 Jesus said, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets…Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." Jesus told his disciples they will be hated, reproached, spoken evil of, and separated from the friendship and fellowship of religious people. But he tells them to rejoice, as they will receive a greater reward in Heaven. He points out that past true prophets were also persecuted, and the mark of false prophets is being spoken well of by all people.

5. True Servants MUST Speak AGAINST false teachers, just as Jesus did

True servants speak against pastors who are false teachers, just as Jesus and his apostles spoke against them. Jesus reviled and cursed religious leaders who did not teach or do as He did. Why should a believer or disciple of Jesus now respect and honor such hypocritical servants of Satan? No one can be more holy or more righteous than Jesus himself—he is the gold standard. A word of caution—please note that false preachers may point out some errors of other false preachers to create an image of being truthful. Perhaps they are not as deceptive or false as the one they are accusing, but simply accusing others is not a sign of being truthful. Being truthful is being truthful. Most pastors and many churchgoers insist it is wrong to speak against any church leadership as they are God’s servants. But preachers who do not teach the same doctrine of Jesus nor follow his example of living a godly life are NOT servants of God, they are servants of Satan. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." The reason true servants must speak against false teachers is because deceivers put your soul in danger of Hellfire. In Matthew 24:11 Jesus said, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." False teachers are cunning deceivers who infiltrate church leadership by appearing as servants of Christ. If a sexual predator dresses up pretending to be a policeman and lurks around your child’s school playground, is it wrong to warn others and speak against him? No—in fact, if you do not speak up, it means you do not truly care for the child’s well-being. So why is it wrong to speak against deceiving servants of Satan who will lead many to become hell bound? You can and must discern the marks of false teachers because they are dangerous predators. In Matthew 7:15-19 Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits…A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Jesus said false teachers can be known by their evil fruits. Follow his teaching to discern, speak against, and avoid servants of Satan. Because you will meet the same end of those you choose to follow.