What Motivates False Leaders?

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False leaders have a variety of sinful motives. They may:

  • Want to do the deeds of the devil. (Jn. 8:41-44)
  • Want to gain power by controlling people. (3 Jn. 9-11)
  • Seek to undermine the authority of Scriptures and the Lord’s true servants. (Phil. 1:15-17; 2 Pt. 3:16)
  • Seek praise and honor from people. (Matt. 23:5-7; Jn. 12:42-43; Gal. 1:10)
  • Seek personal financial gain. (Jn. 12:4-8; 2 Pt. 2:3; 2 Pt. 2:12-16)
  • Promote their fleshly lifestyles. (2 Pt. 2:17-22)
  • Promote their own teaching. (1 Tim. 1:3-7)

A false leader’s motives, with time and discernment, will become obvious. Observe the fruit of their words, life or ministry to discern their motives. (Matt. 7:15-20; Matt. 12:33-37; Gal. 5:19-25; 1 Tim. 5:24)

Take a moment for reflection or discussion:

1. How have I discerned motives of others in the past?
2. How can the principle of “observing fruit” assist me in discerning motives of false leaders?
3. If fruit reveals motives, what motives does the fruit of my life reveal?​


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