By Dennis Eldred
There are four requirements that limit who can effectively teach God's word. These are:
1. Those that hear what the Spirit is saying. Supporting scriptures; Deuteronomy 4:36 and Hebrews 5:11.
2. Those that have the Spirit. Supporting scripture; Nehemiah 9:20
3. Those that practice what they preach. Supporting scriptures; Romans 2:17-24
4. Those that have understanding. Supporting scripture; Daniel 11:33
Until you can meet these requirements, you shouldn't expect your teaching to be effectual for God. Plainly speaking; it would be better if you didn't teach!
These things aren't said to discourage you from teaching or preaching. My object is to encourage you to do it in a manner that brings maximum results. Proverbs 11:26 warns us that people will curse us if we withhold their corn. But it also tells us that they will bless us if we provide it. This "corn" is the righteous teaching of the word of God. This can not be done without heeding the warnings and requirements that God gives His teachers.
First, let us start out looking at James 3. Verse 1 says strive not to be many masters. This word, masters, actually reads teachers in the original Greek. Okay, now skip to verse 13 and read through verse 18. Do you see our requirement to sow in peace? We must have the armor found in Ephesians 6:15. James says, we must have mastery of our tongues.
Next, we must be sure that our teaching is biblically sound. This does not only involve knowing the word we teach, it also means explaining it precisely. Jesus illustrated this to us in Mark 12. Especially look at verses 24 and 26 through 27. Their error was in not understanding that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead of reading it, I am, they were reading it, I was. This small mistake made a big mistake in their doctrine. The small parts of God's word matter. Revelation 22:18-19 must be heeded both ways, neither add nor detract from God's word.
I also believe that the messenger of God should avoid alcohol and drugs. I do not mean the talking of medicines for illness. I mean the misuse of drugs and alcohol. The stories found in Genesis 9:20-25 and 19:30-36 end on the most tragic note the minister of God can imagine. The sin coming into the families is easy to spot, but there is something even worse. Noah and Lot aren't used by God again. Oh how tragic it would be to end our ministries because of alcohol or drugs.
Sound teaching is needed in the body of Christ. We must sweep away the doctrines of demons and men that pollute our assemblies like a cancer. This is the edifying of the body spoke of in Ephesians 4:11-12. It brings discernment (Ezekiel 44:23 & Ephesians 4:11 & 14). Good teaching perfects the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). Not only will sound teaching, if received, bring the fallen back to the Lord, it will also keep them in the Lord (Jeremiah 31:16 19, II Timothy 2:25-26, Jeremiah 6:8). Old teaching will bring forth new ones (Matthew 13:52). Our worship will become alive, vibrant and not in vain (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7). We shall be known for our wisdom and discernment (Proverbs 19:20, Ezekiel 44:23, Ephesians 4:11&14).
These things are not automatic, they must be taught!
• No other doctrine (I Timothy 1:3),
• Men to be disciples (Matthew 28:20),
• Ordinances and laws (Exodus 18:20),
• The way to walk (Exodus 18:20),
• The work to do (Exodus 18:20),
• The fear of the Lord (Proverbs 15:33, Psalms 34:11),
• Judgment and knowledge (Psalms 119:66),
• The difference between Holy and profane (Ezekiel 44:23),
• Jesus Christ (Acts 5:42),
• The kingdom of God (Acts 28:31),
• I Timothy 4:1-10 (I Timothy 4:11),
• Who to honor (Leviticus 19:32, I Samuel 2:30, I Timothy 5:3&17, 6:1, Ephesians 6:2, I Peter 1:7, I Peter 2:17, I Peter 3:7),
• The word of the Lord (Acts 15:35, Acts 18:11, II Timothy 3:16),
• Wisdom (Colossians 1:28)
Not all teaching is from a pulpit. Personal teaching has its place in the Body of Christ. Jesus taught many people individually.
Another thing to remember is that not all teaching is for everybody. Three scriptures ( Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:7, and Matthew 7:6) tell us not to cast our pearls before swine such as the scorner, the wicked, and the fool. These lost people are those that Matthew 5:19 and I Timothy 1:8-10 tells us to teach the law. These are those that need to see their sin, so they might repent and seek God. Also remember what Paul spoke to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 3:1-2. The immature in Christ are not able to take strong teaching. In spite of these difficulties, no one is left out from learning the ways of God. We are to teach children, grandchildren, the unlearned, sinners, the wise, the just, and all nations. (Deuteronomy 4:9, Proverbs 1:8-9, Proverbs 4:1, Proverbs 9:9, Proverbs 21:11, Ezra 7:25, Matthew 28:19, I Thessalonians 5:14, II Timothy 2:25-26). However additional cautions are in order for these sessions.
A woman teacher; please don't neglect her special position as a teacher of younger women. Titus 2:3 4 is very clear on this. It is their responsibility to teach women how to be good mothers, wives and housekeepers. Young women do not know automatically how to do these things. It is not a matter of instinct. Do not turn this responsibility over to men. Many sex scandals could be avoided in the church if people having bad marriages, family and home problems were taught by members of their own sex. A person in such a weak position could be attracted to the strength exhibited in the person of the opposite sex that tries to help them and becomes sexually or emotionally involved with that person, instead of leaning on God. I say this not only to women teachers, but the same also applies to men teaching about the same matters.
Ideally there would be a man teacher to instruct the man and a female to instruct a woman. Another possibility would be for the teacher to instruct the married people as a couple. This would avoid most problems and both husbands and wives would be present to clarify themselves and directly understand the teacher without the message passing through the spouse. When it is not possible to teach both, the one willing to listen must be taught to change their behavior and then live as an example for the other to see.
Whatever the situation, let us teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18-20, Acts 5:28-29). Humbly, gently, patiently, and meekly we must teach (II Timothy 2:24-25). Teaching must not avoid reproof (Proverbs 6:23). Our teaching should be with the word of God and songs (II Timothy 4:2, Colossians 3:16). The minister of God is always seeking for words and ways to get the message through to the people (Ecclesiastes 12:9-11).
A closing word is given in I Corinthians 15:58. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
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