In the last post (see “Test the Spirits”), we discussed being on the lookout for false teachers and teaching, and the need to always test what we hear by holding it up to the standard of God’s Word. I wanted to say a bit more about those things today. Perhaps more than any other point in my lifetime, there is a lot of noise in the community of believers. We certainly live in fascinating times, and many are taking the opportunity to promote their ideas on why things are unfolding as they are.
They carefully select scriptures (typically a single verse to avoid the context of the passage) to make their case. Some do this for sheer notoriety. Others base entire ministries on it and are taking full advantage of current events to fill the coffers of their ministries. Now more than ever, we must be discerning. We must cut through the noise and read God’s Word.
Many popular preachers of our day make their sermons either about themselves by twisting every scripture to relate to their life or ministry, or they will place you in the middle of the story. Friends, we are not the center of any story in the Bible. God is at the center of the Universe, all of life, and His Word. The Bible is all about God and not about you or anyone else. Read God’s Word looking to understand what it says, not seeking ways to find yourself in it. Here’s a hint: you’re not in there!
What we need teachers to do today is to preach the Word. We don’t need them to make it more exciting than it is. It’s about God. You can’t make up anything more fantastic or compelling than Him! We don’t need teachers making Scripture culturally relevant. Read God’s Word and you will come to understand Him and His plan for this world. Take that message to the culture. And we don’t need teachers who make the Word say things it doesn’t say or deny the things it does say. We need preachers to preach the Word. Period.
False teachers – and some respected men of God say this is likely the majority of pastors in Christianity today – deny the deity of Christ (overtly or indirectly) and preach a different gospel than what is revealed in scripture. They add their ideas and “revelations” to what scripture clearly says. As Solomon wrote thousands of years ago, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). God’s Word is the perfect and complete revelation of God Himself. There is no new revelation. If you want a revelation from Jesus, read God’s Word. It is complete and available to all.
Read God’s Word. There is no substitute for learning, and no better resource to help discern truth from lies. We know many will come to deceive even believers (Matthew 24:24). Be diligent. Guard your heart by immersing yourself in the Word of God. There is no better defense against false teaching, and there is no greater balm for your soul. Don’t neglect the gift of scripture. Read God’s Word. Get to know our Father and grow in your love for Him. Everything you want to know about God’s love, truth, mercy, grace, and holiness is free for the taking. Open the book. Let the Holy Spirit use the Word to bring you into His light.