Monday, March 31, 2014

Devotional: The Teacher Motive Shift

Losing interest in God's Word or looking for ideas that tickle the ears of a group leads to what I call in the this devotional, The Teacher Motive Shift.
If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness, he is conceited, understanding nothing, but has a sick interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5, HCSB)
I have seen this scenario play out time and time again:
  • Leaders become bored with or undisciplined in their study of Scripture so they look for other sources in an attempt to justify their lack of interest or discipline.
  • In the short term the group grows either numerically larger, emotionally closer, or both. 
  • They become dependent on the leader; the leader likes what his new approach is producing so he goes further which produces more of the same.
  • There is an attitude shift. You begin to hear things like, "Our group is different than the other groups at church," or "We are a unique group." 
  • The group begins to isolate itself from the rest of the Bible study groups and quits following the leadership of the church.
  • Eventually a climate is created that produces the fruit of division, elitism, and pride. 
These are all evidence of a group that is experiencing spiritual depravation because a leader felt that his truth was greater than God's truth.

This was driven home to me as I read some commentary notes while preparing to teach 1 Timothy 6.
His ignorance makes the false teacher a pathetic figure, sadly deluded and in need of instruction. However, his arrogance makes him a difficult person to help. He will not listen because he is convinced he is right and hesitant even to entertain the possibility he is in error. Such a person becomes especially dangerous, however, when he also delights in debate. At best this individual only stirs up occasional controversy, at worst he actually success in deceiving others and leading them away from the truth of the gospel. (Explore the Bible Teacher Commentary, Spring, 2013, page 62)
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Lord, protect us (me) from the lure of other doctrine or unsound teaching. May I remain steadfastly committed to teaching Your Word in a way that promotes godliness. Keep my motives pure and my heart focused on You.