Key verse: 2 Peter 2:19
Big idea: The difference in true and false teachers is seen in their fruit.
This spring, I lost track of some of the seeds in my garden. I did not know what kind of plants the various seedlings were, and was left with only one option: wait. When some plants started bearing okra, some tomatoes and some cucumbers, I found out what kind of plants I had. A plant’s nature is inevitably revealed by its fruit. This is not always true in our ordinary life; some of the best coaches in any sport were mediocre players. Or someone might be a good professor of medicine and a poor doctor. It is possible to know about something and not be able to do it well.
But biblical knowledge is different. Head knowledge and obedience are not neatly separable things, because the proclamation of the Christian message is not just about information but transformation. That transformation requires the blessing of God and the presence of His Holy Spirit, so a true teacher will be marked by the lives which they live. Someone who claims to bring some new insight, yet who is in bondage to sin in their own lives, reveals their nature. Indeed, Peter warns us that these false prophets offer freedom to their audience - freedom to do what they want, when they want, how they want - while the liar's own life shows that they are just peddling another kind of slavery. Like a dog returning to its vomit or a washed pig to the mud, these false teacher's superficial change reveals that they were never transformed in the first place.
We should be cautious in today's world of internet, TV, and radio pastors of buying into whoever has the slickest presentation or who says what we most want to hear. The personal life of a Christian authenticates and verifies their message, which is why the local church is so important.
Discussion idea: What are some messages that offer freedom and deliver slavery?
Prayer focus: Lord, help me to live worthy of the calling you have given me, to proclaim your message with word and works alike.