Are we “apt to teach”? (7-30-17)

Like almost every congregation where I have been a member, we are in need of those willing to teach. Both for the upcoming Wednesday evening topical series, but also in our various bible classes on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. It always seems that those who are willing to help teach a class are always at a premium. We never can find enough people willing to help teach a class. This is quite a contrast to Paul telling Timothy that all Christians (not just elders) ought to be apt to teach” 2 Tim.2:24. We see that elders should be apt to teach, 1 Tim. 3:2, but many of us don’t want to step up and apply this to ourselves. But God does tells us otherwise. We may make excuses as to why we think we can’t teach but 2 Timothy 2:24 doesn’t give us that out.

I think back about the time that I became a Christian, it wasn’t more than a year or 18 months before I was asked to teach a class. It was the 5th and 6th grade class on Wednesday evening. I am ever thankful that they gave me that opportunity. It got me moving before I developed all of the excuses that many of us use. A couple of years later after I had moved to Texas, a friend asked me if I would help preach Sunday evening for a small group that was starting a new congregation. He and I rotated preaching Sunday evenings. I wasn’t confident in my abilities, but I agreed. I would study and prepare a lesson, even writing all the verses that I wanted to use on 4X6 note cards so that I wouldn’t forget them. Somehow I got through my first lesson, no one laughed at me, in fact the folks thanked me for presenting my lesson. They must have seen my nervousness but they encouraged me, and I found that the regular bible study helped me to grow as a Christian.

When we don’t step forward to take the teaching opportunities that come up, we make excuses. We find one excuse after another to try to justify our refusal and try to convince ourselves and others that we just can’t teach. The writer of the book of Hebrews tolerated no such excuses. He even castigates them for their inactivity: Heb. 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. They should have been teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ but weren’t. In fact they had shrunk to the status of becoming an infant again because they were not exercising themselves through study and teaching.

Paul told Timothy that faithful men would teach Christ’s gospel: 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. What we forget is that in these verses part of being faithful is equated with teaching. Teaching is not optional, it is expected even required. We all can do it. There are opportunities for each and every one of us.

Older women are to teach the younger: Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. Each of us should be looking for chances to teach. As we saw in Hebrews, those Christians had shrunk, principally because they were not on a spiritual exercise plan. They needed to be teachers, think of the growth that would have come through the study and preparation for such teaching. Paul reinforced that idea in: 1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Notice here that he relates Christian exercise to godliness. If we want to be godly we will study and then share (teach) the fruits of our study. The Greek word translated exercise carries the meaning: generally, “to exercise, to train the body or mind” (Eng., “gymnastic”). No one would think that one could be a gymnast without hours of practice (exercise). Likewise it is such spiritual exercise that will make each of us strong Christians.

Paul told the Romans that before one can believe on Christ they must be taught by someone: Rom. 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! We are to be carrying the gospet to others. This passage also shows us that teaching only comes after one has prepared them self through study (exercise).

Paul was only restating Christ’s directions to each and every one of us. Remember Christ’s teaching just before He went into heaven: Matt. 28:19 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 always, even unto the end of the world. Amen, and again in: Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. These commandments from Christ forcefully instruct us that we are to be teachers. There are no excuses, we are to educate the world about Christ.

We claim to follow the bible and try to do as the first century church did, however if we are going to achieve this we need to carefully note the examples we are taught about this church: Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers, and again in: Acts 5:42 And every day, in the temple and at home, they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus as the Christ. This was a teaching church. They were obedient to Christ. They were teachers. The Greek word for teachers here means: διδάσκαλος {didáskalos} \did-as’-kal-os\ an instructor (genitive case or specially):–doctor, master, teacher. Have we prepared ourselves to be a doctor of Christ’s teachings? Are we a master of His teaching? The question becomes, have we prepared ourselves to teach God’s word? Are we teaching others? I see no escape clause here that would exempt any of us. Are we willing to teach? Are we willing to obey Christ in more than words? I certainly hope so. Step up and accept a role in teaching here at Southeast.

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