1. False teachers are proud. They are concerned for their own popularity. They are concerned for their own fame. They are concerned for their own notoriety. They are concerned for their own prestige. They’re concerned to see themselves and hear themselves in the public eye. They want large crowds, as it were, to bow down in great homage to them. They’re characterized by pride and they will do anything to gain the ground they need to gain for the welfare of their own personal ego, including any amount of compromise necessary.
2. Secondly, false teachers are characterized by selfishness. They tend to be self-centered. They are concerned for their own comfort. They are concerned for their own popularity. They are concerned for their own prosperity. In the end, it’s all about money, fame, and prestige and notoriety equals an increased bank account. They are in it for the money and the personal material benefits that they can gain as they endeavor to feed their selfish desires.
3. Thirdly, They are characterized by deception. They usually can weave a very sophisticated web of deception in their teaching because they tend to be articulate, if they’re going to be successful, and they endeavor to engage other people to aid them in their deceitful enterprise which gives it the, sort of, facade of credibility.
4. They’re not only proud and selfish and deceptive, but [fourthly] they’re irreverent. If there’s anything that sort of dominates in my thinking about false teachers, it is their irreverence. They have absolutely no regard for God. The fact that they would go against God, that they would elevate themselves the way they do, that they would pervert the truth indicates their utter irreverence. They have little, if any, regard for God, His Word, His truth, His glory, His honor…
5. Finally, they are spiritually destructive. They seek to use people; they seek to abuse people. They seek to lead people into error, which destroys them—into sin, which pollutes them.
So, as you look at false teachers with regard to the world, they are proud and they seek fame and popularity. With regard to themselves, they are self-centered, selfish, self-aggrandizing, self-gratifying. With regard to the nature of their ministry, they are dishonest and deceptive and lack integrity. With regard to God, they are utterly irreverent; in fact, they are blasphemous. And, with regard to the people that they influence, they are spiritually destructive. So, their relationship to the world, their relationship to the ministry, their relationship to themselves, their relationship to God, their relationship to their people all reflects the deviation of their hearts.