Focus: Listening to good teachers
Luke 6:40 (NKJV) A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
If the promise of Luke 6:40 is that you will become like your teacher when you are perfectly trained, then you’d better be sure that whoever you’ve chosen to be your teacher is someone you want to be like. Of course we all want to become more like Jesus, but in the Word of God we are instructed to be teachable and accountable to others who are able to teach well.
In Ephesians chapter four, the apostle Paul is writing a letter to the church at Ephesus. Paul uses the occasion of his letter to speak some truth into the Ephesian’s lives. In verses eleven and twelve (NKJV), Paul is describing some of the spiritual gifts that Jesus imparted to His disciples before He ascended back to heaven. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
It’s clear that Jesus appointed some people to be teachers, and that He expected there would be those who would need to be taught. None of us should consider ourselves to be above learning from another brother or sister in Christ who has studied the scriptures and has the gift of teaching and an honest and humble spirit—no matter how much experience we may have. We should always be willing to learn and be taught the truth.
In 2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV), the apostle Paul was writing to his disciple, Timothy. Paul refers to Timothy as his son in the faith. “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
As Paul was writing, he was explaining to Timothy that he was responsible as a student, for what he had been taught. He was letting Timothy know that his knowledge was not intended for his own exclusive benefit. Timothy was being instructed and exhorted by Paul to share what he had learned with other faithful believers who would be able to continue passing down what they had learned from person to person, and in essence, from generation to generation.
Something we all need to be careful of is that we are not being taught by the wrong teachers. Not all of the false prophets and teachers in the world today realize that what they are prophesying and teaching is false. They may be passionately convinced that what they are prophesying and teaching is the truth. Passion is not to be mistaken as, or confused with the truth.
2 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV) says, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring destructive heresies, even denying the Master who brought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false word. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV) says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Just before Peter said to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he warned the people he was writing to, to be careful who they listened to. Peter said that some scriptures are hard to understand and people who haven’t been properly taught—and who were also unstable—would intentionally or unintentionally twist the scriptures to their own destruction. As we grow in the Lord and apply ourselves to the truth, God is able to lead us and guide us in the building of our faith, but He wants us to be willing to learn to discern the truth from lies.
2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV) warns, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions…” In other words, Paul was saying that people who found the truth of the Word of God to be unpalatable in some areas, would twist it for their own convenience.
So, how can we find a good teacher and how do we know if who we are listening to is teaching the right things? Matthew 7:7-11 (NKJV) has the answer. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” We can be sure if we ask God to help us, He will.
Declaration: I will find new strength by asking my Heavenly Father to lead me to the teachers He has chosen for me to learn from.
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