When False Religions Deceive
The Point: Truth is grounded in the reality of who Jesus Christ is.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Mashable, a media and entertainment company, published a list of the “best scammers of 2018.” Here are several of their favorite scams/scammers from last summer:
- Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills, Esq. appeared on a number of news shows, pretending to be an expert on royal weddings, just in time for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Mills’ name and British accent were both fake. And he was no expert on royal weddings.
- Anna Delvey pretended to be a German heiress and scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from rich people. Her real name is Anna Sorokin and she is now facing 15 years in prison for grand larceny.
- The Cairo Zoo in Egypt painted stripes on a donkey and tried to pass it off as a zebra. A zoo visitor noticed that the “zebra” ears were too big to belong to an actual zebra, and posted pictures of the “zebra” on Facebook. The smudged paint and the large ears gave it away.
- Two lunch ladies in New Canaan, Connecticut, were arrested for skimming $478,000 from students’ lunch money over a five-year period. They hid their crime by underreporting the amount of lunch money the school had received.
Say: When it comes to deception, there seem to be endless ways to scam people. Then call attention to Question #1 (What’s the most unusual scam you’ve seen or heard about?) and invite the group to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
ADDENDUM (2/19/20): The news of Jussie Smollett’s attack continues to unfold and may be proven to be a hoax. As you discuss Question #1, it is likely someone in your group will mention this event. Prior to your group meeting, check the news for any new information in this unfolding story. (A shout out to Toni, who alerted us to this teaching suggestion.)
Study the Bible
Use the following information to supplement Question #3.
In January, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary hosted “Defend,” a week-long apologetics conference. Chris Brooks, who is the senior pastor of Evangel Ministries in Detroit and the author of a book titled Urban Apologetics, talked about the importance of Christians being “salt and light” in the culture today. Brooks stressed the importance of believers looking for points of agreement when talking to nonbelievers and then seeking the best way to communicate with the person. “We need to be Christians, not anti-atheists. We need to be Christians, not anti-secularists,” he said. To impact their communities, Brooks said, God will use people “who will think critically and live compassionately.”
Say: Compassion is key as we share our faith with those who are not believers. Then call attention to Question #3 (How can we demonstrate respect for others while opposing their beliefs?). Invite the group to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible – Optional Activity
After reading 1 John 2:18-20, display a dollar bill or ask group members to get one from their wallets. Make the point that banks and businesses must be able to spot counterfeits. You can learn how to recognize a fake bill by studying the real thing in detail. Go to https://www.uscurrency.gov/denominations and have group members look closely at the dollar bill while you read what features to look for in each bill.
Similarly, we recognize counterfeit teachings by studying God’s Word and becoming ‘experts’ of it. By knowing the truth, we are less likely to be deceived by false teachings. (Option is from the Senior Adult Leader Guide, page 153.)
- What’s something you read on the internet that turned out not to be true?
- When have you been deceived by a cam? How did the scammer pass off false information for truth?
- What false idea about Jesus or Christianity have you heard recently?
1 John 2:18-20
- Why is community so vital to our faith?
- How important is it that we be able to identify false religions? Why?
- How can we identify false teachings?
1 John 2:21-25
- What are some of the ways the world denies the truth about Jesus?
- According to verse 22, what is a clear sign of a false religion?
- According to this passage, how does being rooted in truth impact the way we live and believe?
1 John 2:26-29
- What are some obstacles that hinder us from remaining in Jesus and relying on Him?
- How has Jesus proved His identity to you throughout your walk with Him?
- What are some specific steps we can take to “remain” in Jesus each day?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Engaging Culture – Session 6
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