Not long ago the while sitting in church the words “Who is man to dominate me” came heavy on my heart. I wasn’t quite sure why until a couple of weeks ago when God opened my eyes to see something that I.… well let’s just say I still have a hard time believing what I saw. God showed me something that if shared with others it would put a huge crack in the very foundation of any Christian upbringing. What God showed me was what I have been taught is mockery.
When I was searching for an answer to what I saw, God reminded me of some things He taught me about teachers of the Gospel.
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. James 3:1
Those who teach the Word of God are held accountable for every word they teach. This is because it is important to maintain the integrity of God’s love in truth. Teaching God’s word is not just reading scripture, but it includes guidance in how to apply it in your life- how to live and breath the word of God. Good teaching will guide and direct you to seek the good in others, to love and to forgive. Bad teaching leads you to seek the faults in others, debasing rather than building up, discouraging rather than encouraging and leading you to judge and hate. Bad teachers intimidate rather than comfort. Most, but not all, bad teachers are false teachers.
Yes, unfortunately there are false teachers. False teachers prey on the weak, the weary, the suffering and the afflicted. False teachers fill their own purpose, many for financial gain. They twist the Word of God in order to give false hope and leading people to believe that in order to get more financially, they must give more financially.
The good news is that we can identify these people. There are those who feed their own appetites, and pockets (Romans 16:17-18) and there are those who are truly not of God, wanting to keep people from the truth, leading them away from the Lord. These you can tell because they can not confess Jesus as having come in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3).
But there are some bad teachers who are not false teachers, they are just bad teachers. Bad teachers debase others in order to promote themselves. They say others are wrong and they are right. What this really does is it encourages people to judge and hate. It causes division and deters people from loving the way God desires them to. It also can destroy a person’s self-esteem and confidence. This is not a good and proper way to teach.
Finally there are also many good teachers who merely error in their teaching. They have a desire to do what is right and don’t see they have done wrong until it is shown to them. Usually, when they have been shown their wrong, they will repent and God will forgive them. They will be allowed to continue their teaching not to judge, hold grudges, or hate, but guiding them to love and forgive.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling. Proverbs 16:18
Pride is a very destructive thing. Any teacher, who lets down their pride to see their wrong doing, usually become the best teachers because they learn how to apply the word of God to life through experience.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15
Every wind of doctrine is the doctrines of the churches. The word doctrine here actually means the instruction of the church. This refers to the application of the Word of God in our lives. It is one thing to speak the word of God, but words are only words. If the application of the word is taught incorrectly, then we are not being taught God’s way, but the churches way – filling people with church doctrine, not God’s doctrine.
The next part of the verse in Ephesians it says “the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” This includes using the people of the church to seek faults in others. They come up all welcoming and pleasant, but they are actually there only to trick you. It is also the twisting of words in order to get people into their church only and not focus on the truth of the salvation of Christ. These are the people who look to promote themselves and not God. They tend to look at headcount or dollar count before anything else. They are the ones who put the needs of the physical church before the spiritual church.
These are the grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. Jude 16
Does this sound like anyone you know? Those who seek faults in other people maybe? To find fault in others is to seek our own desire to always be right – believing that we are better than others. When did we become perfect or better than others in the site of the Lord? Do you know people who use sweet words and flattery instead teaching of love and truth? Do you know anyone who is arrogant? (Arrogant means to exaggerate your own worth.) Are you arrogant?
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not to regard in another. Galatians 6:3-4
Are you something or are you nothing? We are to examine our work. Are you bending the truth to promote your own self worth, even if it means to build on a bad foundation? Are you lying and deceiving in order to puff yourself up and make it seem like you are being fruitful? Are you condemning and judging others when you have no authority to do such a thing, putting your selfish pride before others needs? Or are you sharing the Lord in truth and love and building on a strong foundation, unifying to one body in Christ?
Many will, in fact, do anything and say anything to show they are fruitful. But are they really being fruitful? If you build on a bad foundation wouldn’t the walls crack and the structure eventually fall?
Showing God’s love and teaching of His mercy and forgiveness, never condemning but accepting and loving each person for who they are to the Lord (not to me or anyone else), will help to build on a solid foundation; a foundation of truth and love, not condemnation, intimidation, deceit and fear. Each person will have to make their own choice of whether to accept Jesus as their sacrifice, but how many would in truth come to the Lord when they are taught by deceit and how many more would come to the Lord in truth when taught of God’s love in truth.
When I was searching for an answer to what I saw, I came across a very profound scripture that speaks of this very thing.
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? 1 Peter 4:17-18
What the Lord put on my heart about this is that He will remove the bad leaders in order to give those who have been misled an opportunity to see real truth. If God didn’t do that He would be denying Himself. God will do whatever it takes to give each person an opportunity to see His truth, an opportunity to choose what is right over what is wrong- an opportunity to be forgiven and be saved.
Father God you are the author and creator of all living things. Thank you, Lord, for your loving grace and mercy. Thank you for your light and love. Thank you for your patience and peace. Help each person examine themselves in Your truth, Father, and only Your truth. Help us Lord to unify and become one body. We are mere specs of sand alone, but bonded together with Your love we can be bricks on Your wall. You, Father, are love and truth and I ask that each person see that truth. Father, I ask that you show each person the wolves, the ones who are false. Let those who are not of You stand out like a sore thumb so we have absolutely no doubt which ones to avoid learning from. We thank you, Lord, for being faithful always. Thank you for protecting and guiding us in that which is right. We love You, Lord, and trust in only You. In the blessed name of Jesus Christ. Amen.