“For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers”
by Steven Chan
- Christianity is a faith system that needs to be taught. In John 6:45, Jesus said: “It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me.”
- All need to be taught of God. One who desires to come to God the Father must hear the words of the Father (which have been taught by Jesus and His apostles – John 12:49-50; 17:8; 1 Cor 2:12-13).
- One may only come to Christ after one has heard and learned that which is taught by God the Father. There are those who are ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth – 2 Tim 3:7. In John 7:16-17, Jesus therefore answered them and said, My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself. “ Do we desire to do His will?
- That’s why the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ requires us to teach others the gospel – as recorded in Matt 28:18: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
The disciples were to go and teach all nations – that’s how disciples will be made. Then continuing to teach them all things commanded by Jesus.
People are not going to become disciples of Jesus by some “better felt than taught” kind of experience. They need to be taught – that’s why “Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt 4:23) and “Paul and Barnabas tarried in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also” (Acts 15:35)
- The Bible says that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17). If “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”, it then asked the following questions in Rom 10:13-15: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? Even as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!”
Faith can only come about after one has been taught the gospel. But someone has to teach the gospel! Otherwise, no one will be taught the gospel and none can be saved!
- That form of teaching that needs to be obeyed in order to be saved needs to be taught: “But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered. And being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.” (Rom 6:17-18)
- The Church is to be equipped for service through God’s provision of “apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12). The teaching ministry is integral to the growth of the church.
- That’s why the elders and the servant of the Lord are required to be “apt to teach” (I Tim 3:2), “holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayer” (Titus 1:9). Similarly, every Christian who is the “servant of God must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing, 25 in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will. “ (2 Tim 2:24-26)
- It is by faithfully teaching the Word that we may commit the same to other faithful men as instructed by the beloved apostle Paul: “the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:2). Teaching is the God-chosen process by which the apostolic teachings may be passed on to the next generation of believers.
- Every Christian is expected to grow in his faith until such time when he is capable of teaching others the Word of God. That is why the Bible recorded the frustration with Christians who have yet to grow to such an extent that they may be able to teach others the Word of God: “For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. 13 For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe.” (Heb 5:12-13)
As we come to the end of 2014, and the start of the New Year, let us all take some time from our very busy schedule to reflect on our spiritual growth. Have we devoted sufficient time to the study of God’s Word as exhorted by Paul in 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.” We may not all be public teachers in the assemblies (James 3:1) but we ought to grow unto maturity, ie. to the level that we may be able to teach the Word of God in private to our family and friends – from house to house (Acts 5:42; 20:20). “By reason of time you ought to be teachers” is a severe indictment– some have grown dull of hearing God’s Word (Heb 5:11)’ others are still spiritual babes in need of teaching of the elementary principles of the Word of God (Heb 5:12). May we all do our best to grow up and appreciate the love of God and do that which is pleasing to Him. Let’s all aim to be teachers of the Word of God – to our family, friends and those who ask us a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet 3:15).
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