One of the signs of the end of the age is that there will be many false teachers. It is very easy to sway to the tune of these individuals because of our humanity. We are prone to fall to heresy every once in a while because we are still in the flesh.
How do we identify false teachers of the Word? If we don’t, we may fall into their trap which endangers our faith. It also affects our relationship with God, and such individuals could take advantage of our frailty.
Ways to Identify False Teachers of the Word
It is pretty easy to become a minister of the Gospel these days. You can get a certificate online, start a church, get equipment, and start teaching. Not every teacher out there was sent by God. Some of them are teachers of the Word because of their selfish interests, among several other reasons. How do you identify such false teachers? Here are a few pointers:
One of the first things to help you uncover the mask of a false teacher is their doctrine. John tells us in 1 John 4:1-3 not to believe every spirit. He further explains that there are many false prophets in the world, and they will confess differently from Jesus Christ’s doctrine.
This is one of the reasons why you must study the Word by yourself like the Berean Christians. Deep knowledge of God’s Word makes it easy to identify a teacher that isn’t following the doctrine in the scripture. Weigh every doctrine against what you find in the Word.
Paul emphasizes this in 1 Timothy 6:3-4. He says that any person that teaches another doctrine asides from the ones taught by Jesus Christ understands nothing. In other words, such an individual is a false teacher.
Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 7:15-20 that one of the ways to recognize false teachers is through their fruits. What kind of fruit is the individual bearing? Thistles cannot produce figs, and neither can thorn bushes produce grapes.
“Fruit” here refers to character traits and results. Paul lists the acts of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:18-23. It may not be easy to see the character traits of a teacher at first glance. However, the Holy Spirit will open your eyes when you ask for help.
Check the life of a teacher to see which kind of fruits they produce. If their fruits are not consistent with the fruit of the Spirit that Paul described, then they are false. Don’t be swayed by the swagger of a teacher and their sweet words, check their fruits. Remember, “by their fruits, you shall know them.”
What does the teacher focus their teachings and efforts on? The scripture is versatile and is used for different things according to 2 Timothy 3:16. A teacher of the Gospel shouldn’t just use the scripture to speak about earthly things and acquiring physical possessions only. Their focus must be on things above and growing your relationship with God.
Let’s face it, even the devil sometimes quotes the scripture. However, he will always manipulate it to suit his deceitful desires. False teachers are not so different, they bend the truth of the Gospel and beam their focus on deception and manipulation. See beyond the façade so that their words do not deceive you.
False teachers will always seek division rather than unity in the body. In Romans 16:17, Paul warns the Roman church about individuals that seek to cause divisions in the body. He also advises Titus in Titus 3:9 to avoid any foolish controversies.
False teachers will constantly stir disunity. They will facilitate hate, division, and actions that will scatter the people of God. These individuals do this relentlessly to pursue their ungodly passions.
Water down holiness
Times may have changed, but God hasn’t and will never change. He will not drop His standards for us. Grace doesn’t give us the license to sin; it gives us the power to live above it.
Any teacher that waters down holiness and approves sin is false. Such teachers see nothing wrong with meddling with the affairs of this world. Meanwhile, Paul admonishes Timothy that a soldier never entangles himself with the affairs of this world. Once a teacher proposes a different doctrine, you should flee.
We need to guard our hearts and not fall prey to the schemes of false teachers. This post has shown you five ways to identify false teachers. Feel free to drop other identifying factors in the comments section if you have any. Also, don’t forget to check out other articles on our blog.