|Amazing Grace Church
|The Teaching Ministry ©
John Stemmons, Amazing Grace Church, Fujisawa, Japan - 021402/RV 082708
|How should we interact with those who instruct us in the Word of God?|
JAS 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation (judgement). V2 For in many things we offend all...
The function of the bible teacher is to help build up the body of Christ. Like the challenges in any building business, old foundations must often be torn out and new bricks must be put in, and we must attempt to do that without impeding the spiritual growth of the object of God's love and our labor, the disciple. God likens us to sheep, because we possess many ovine qualities, not the least of which is recalcitrance. Like sheep, people are stubborn! People follow people like sheep follow sheep. Ignorance of God's Word is a terrible enemy of the disciple, and must be defeated.
IS 5: 13a Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge
HOS 4: 6a My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge
Wrong teaching must be exposed, so that the disciple can reject it. The foundation of any good building must be solid. We cannot just "teach over it", we must expose and correct. This is not easy, as people have a strong tendency to believe the first thing they are taught, right or wrong. Even Jesus could not change most of the Pharisees and Sadducees. False teaching can be exposed by the light of God's Word. If false teaching is not replaced by truth, the person can be confused and double-minded. Because of this, disciples can expect to hear things that will be new, and perhaps conflicting with what they had been previously taught.
But how is the disciple to know what truth is and what truth is not? Whose responsibility is it to know? In the final analysis, it is our life, and we have free wills to decide what to believe, but we can trust the Word of God, and all teaching should be tested against scripture before incorporating it into our lives.
ACTS 17:11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they (Bereans) received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so
IS 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
One of the first lessons in the Christian life is learning to surrender to the Lord. Our Christian walk is a constant process of surrender and submission. As we yield up bits and pieces of who we were, and replace with who God says we are in Christ, we are conformed to His image.
EP 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; V23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; V24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Jesus loves people and if we desire to serve him, we must love them also.
EP 4: 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: V13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: V14.That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; V15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ...
Jesus set the teaching ministry in the church for a purpose. It is not the function of the teacher to provide entertainment for Christians, but rather to labor with God's people, to achieve the purposes of God. If the teacher was always right, he would be Jesus and we would worship him! Instead, the teacher has an anointing and a responsibility to bring disciples into the Word in a powerful and dynamic way that causes a burning hunger for the Word of God. The disciple is responsible before God to:
2 TIM 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
RO 12: 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. V2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Christians want to tell people about Jesus Christ, but must take care to represent God accurately. All heaven is watching us as we go about our task.
EP 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: V10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, V11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
Teaching is not effective unless the disciple is changed, or made stronger. Teaching seriously affects us only when we receive it, and allow our hearts to incorporate it into our lives. Again, surrender is imperative.
Our spirits are instantly, completely, and permanently perfected at the new birth. Our souls are being perfected, but this work will not be complete until we get to heaven. James says the Word has the ability to save our souls. Our cooperation is required:
JAS 1;21 "...and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. V22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
And Paul tells us that we must:
PHP 2:12 ....work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Unless we follow the directions, how can we expect good results?
The teaching gift is a ministry office, anointed by God. As such, the teacher deserves respect, not for who he is, but for whom he represents. We can learn something from almost any teacher if we try, but we should judge the teaching against scripture. It is not your responsibility judge the teacher. God reserves that job for himself.
RO 14: 4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Learn to love the teaching that changes your life and moves you from glory to glory, not just the teachings that make you feel good.
2 TIM 4: 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; V4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
If you, in all good conscience, and after searching the scriptures, disagree with something that is taught, be at least as smart as an old cow! Eat the hay and spit out the sticks!
If a teacher is clearly misrepresenting scripture, that is serious, but you may expect to disagree over minor points from time to time. Remember, the teacher is liable to God for what he has taught. When you disagree, instead of being upset, love your teacher anyway, pray for him or her, and ask questions. If you think that the teaching is wrong, most teachers would prefer for you to confront them in love, and give them a chance to explain or change their position, as the case may be.
We pray that you will be blessed by our teaching, and...
EP 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: V18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, V19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, V20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.