How can we know if someone is a true teacher from God?
BY CAREY KINSOLVING & FRIENDS
“When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree,” says an ancient Vietnamese proverb.
Good teachers are like those who plant fruit-bearing trees. Psalm One says that a wise person, who meditates in God’s Word day and night, is like a tree planted by rivers of water that brings forth fruit in its season.
“God’s teachers speak for God and not for themselves,” says Emily, 12. “They get all their teachings from the Bible and nothing else. The only reason they teach is for God’s glory.”
Jesus taught only what he heard from his Father. His followers called him Rabbi, a title of dignity given by the Jews to their doctors of the law and their distinguished teachers. Jesus’ haters called him demon possessed and sought to kill him.
Jesus warned about false teachers when he said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits,” (Matthew 7:15-16a).
“So if someone says, ‘Once you do 20 good deeds, you will go to heaven when you die,’ and that is not what it says in the Bible, then they are not a true teacher of God,” says Andrea, 11.
The kind of teaching or preaching that advocates good deeds as the road to heaven appeals to our ego. It feels good, but it’s deadly. It glorifies self instead of God.
The gospel of grace whereby Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins shows the depths to which we have fallen. The fact that God had to exert such extreme measures to make our salvation possible is a severe blow to our ego. It shows that we cannot save ourselves. We need a savior. We must trust in Christ and his work on the cross, not ourselves or anything we can do (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Apostle Paul reserved a special curse for those who teach a false gospel: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed,” (Galatians 1:8).
Yes, there is a special curse for those who teach another way of salvation or a mixed teaching such as Christ plus our good deeds, penance, etc. If there is one thing you want to avoid at all costs, it’s being under a curse from God. Life is too short to have God opposing you.
Those who teach God’s Word have a heightened responsibility. God will hold them accountable. “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment,” (James 3:1).
The first order of business when deciding if someone is a true teacher of God is to discover what they teach about the person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle John says this is priority one.
“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God,” (I John 4:2-3a).
Think about this: Whether Jesus is both God and man in one person and salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone are two essential issues that will often separate the true teachers of God from the false ones.
Memorize this truth: I John 4:2-3a previously quoted.
Ask this question: Are you listening to true Bible teaching?
(Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost.)