So many churches and ministries are teaching and preaching different, sometimes contradictory, messages. If we are given the task by God to teach or preach His Word, how can we be sure we are teaching the truth?
God Has the Answer in His Word
Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:13-16 (NASB)
But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. John 4:23 (NASB)
There are two themes repeated in these two scriptures and if we will follow them both, we will be able to stay out of error when we teach and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Speak the truth of God’s Word
Paul exhorts Timothy to pay attention to the public reading of Scripture because that’s the foundation of all truth. When we hear lessons and exhortations that can’t be tied directly to a scripture in context, we are going to be in error. Our broken, earthly thinking is incapable of arriving at the truth without the Author of truth providing the initial push in the right direction. If we have to let go of what the scripture clearly states in order for us to make our points, we have let go too much. God gave us His Word to be the ruler against which we measure everything else in our lives. If a thought or principle doesn’t measure up and agree with what God has clearly said in His Word, it has to change or be completely discarded altogether. If His Word supersedes our experience and our feelings, we will be on solid ground.
Be led by the Holy Spirit
Not only has God provided us with ultimate truth His Word, but He has given us the Spirit of Truth in the Holy Spirit. As we listen to Him in our daily lives, He illuminates God’s Word and shows us how to practically apply the truth into our every day existence. He has given us the gifts of the Spirit to help us flow in His supernatural power to teach, preach and proclaim this truth to the world. As we rest in Him and learn to listen to His Spirit, we will be able to faithfully flow in prophecy, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, and the other gifts as the Holy Spirit uses us to explain and confirm His Word in power.
As teachers and preachers, we have the responsibility to hold every principle, every assertion, every point up to God’s Word. We can’t let the winds of this present age shift what we teach to agree with the current culture shifts going on around us. When we do this, we are literally poisoning those we are seeking to help and we are burying them in further bondage from the devil. Only real truth will set people really free.
Paul shares with us God’s promise that as we pay attention to our teaching and hold fast to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, we will ensure salvation for ourself and for those that hear us speak and teach. If we will do these two things, we won’t falter and those following us will be blessed as well.