In the world we live in, there are some who have decided to use the Bible as a tool for earning an income. As a result, the message they preach often proceeds beyond the scripture to include some self-aggrandizement. These false teachers attempt to elevate themselves to the level of prophet, claiming their teaching to be the source of new revelations. Their goal is to get people to buy their books and donate to their false ministry. Many of these charlatans are extremely successful. Fortunately, Jesus provided us with a way to tell the difference between honest men of God and false teachers. Jesus Himself was challenged on this very question during His ministry.
“The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.” John 7:15-16 (NIV)
Jesus wasn’t writing books or developing His own theology. Jesus was delivering information directly from God. The reason the Jews were so impressed by the teaching of Jesus, was because it was full of sound morals that pointed directly to God. They knew in their heart His words were true and could not understand how He acquired such wisdom without attending the schools of the rabbis. Unlike today’s false teachers, Jesus was not out to make a name for himself. His mission was to glorify God.
“Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” John 7:18 (NIV)
Here is the method we can use to discern false preachers from true men of God. Those who are out for “personal glory” should be avoided. Those who are focused on bringing glory to God are likely speaking truth. Some of these false teachers are extremely clever and the line between personal promotion and true glory to God can be blurred by well-executed deception. In the end, when Jesus returns, the charade will be over and all of the false teachers will suffer greatly for their selfish gain gathered by exploiting God’s Word. Until that time, our greatest source of truth is in fact, the Word of God. There is no deception in the pages of the Bible.
Answer each question as though you were speaking privately to Jesus. Don’t just answer yes or no, explain your answer completely to yourself and to the Lord.
Have you identified someone who is preaching about Jesus for personal gain?
Are you aware of those who are using Christianity to acquire great wealth?
Have you experienced humble, glory to God teaching, that seeks no material reward?
Are you involved in your own personal study of the Bible?
Do you confirm that which you are taught with your own personal Bible study?
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