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The Ministry of a Teacher
by Segun Olumide
10/26/2014 / Bible Studies
Ministry Gifts Series
All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in this book are from the King James Version of the Bible.
KEYS TO OTHER BIBLE VERSIONS USED:
AMP-The Amplified Bible
NIV-New International Version
TLB-The Living Bible
Gideons-The Gideons International
RSV-Revised Standard Version
NCV-New Century Version
GNV- Geneva Bible
JUB-Jubilee Bible 2000
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation;
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.;
Revised Standard Version (RSV) Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.;
New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version. Copyright 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
2014 The New Apostolic Movement
The New Apostolic Movement,
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SPECIAL! SPECIAL! SPECIAL!
A MUST READING/VIEW
(Google the following free of charge on the Internet and God will change your life forever.)
1. Holiness Required For Heaven by Carillo from Bolivia
2. Eternal Destinations: Godly Attire and Adornment
3. Another Warning by Kingsley Ubani
4. Time Is Over : Run For Your Life by Kingsley Ubani
5. 9 Testimonies on Tithing from Heaven and Hell Visions
6. The Dangers of Eating Gods Tithes and Offerings
7. The Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega
(Crosscheck these testimonies with the Scriptures and if you have questions you may send us an email.)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. THE MEANING OF A TEACHER
2. THE SIGNS OF A TEACHER
3. EXECUTING THE MINISTRY OF A TEACHER EFFECTIVELY
4. TEN WRONG NOTIONS ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF A TEACHER
5. TEN WARNINGS FOR TEACHERS
6. HOW TO PREPARE AND DELIVER SERMONS
7. TEN THINGS TO WATCH IN TEACHING
8. DEALING WITH FALSE TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS
9. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TEACHING MINISTRY
10. WARNING FOR TEACHERS AGAINST WRONG WAYS OF RAISING MONEY
THE MEANING OF A TEACHER
The Greek word translated teacher is the word didaskalos, which means an instructor.
So a teacher of Gods word is an instructor in Gods word. An instructor is someone who explains how to do something.
God has put some teachers or instructors in the Body of Christ to explain to the saints how to do certain things.
Ephesians 4: 11-12 (NIV) reads:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and SOME to be pastors and TEACHERS, to PREPARE GODS PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE, SO THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP.
1 Corinthians 12:28-29 (NIV) reads:
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with the gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? ARE ALL TEACHERS? Do all work miracles?
We see from these two scriptures that all believers cannot be teachers. Only some of us are divinely endowed with the gift of teaching.
Also, we see that God appointed the teachers to work together with the other four of the five-fold ministry in order to prepare the saints for their individual work of ministry so that Christs body can be built up.
The importance of the teaching ministry cannot be over-emphasized. For example, if aggressive evangelism is not followed by strong teaching, then the harvest may never be consolidated and conserved. It may result in a great waste and loss.
Furthermore, we need to understand the difference between a preacher and a teacher. Paul acknowledged that he was A PREACHER; an apostle and A TEACHER of the Gentiles (I Tim. 2: 7, 2 Tim. 1:11).
A preacher proclaims or heralds the Good News, which is the Gospel while a teacher explains, exposes or expounds on it.
A preacher focuses on telling others the WHAT-TO-DO of the Scriptures whereas a teacher on the HOW-TO-DO of the Scriptures. Everyone called into anyone of the five-fold ministry must first be a preacher.
Paul was first a preacher, then an apostle and then a teacher (see Galatians 1: 15-16). So all teachers are preachers, but not all preachers are teachers.
THE SIGNS OF A TEACHER
1. HE HAS REVELATION OF GODS WORD.
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a THOROUGH KNOWLEDGE OF THE SCRIPTURES. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and TAUGHT ABOUT JESUS ACCURATELY.
When APOLLO wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, HE WAS A GREAT HELP TO THOSE WHO BY GRACE HAD BELIEVED. For he vigorously refuted he Jews PROVING FROM THE SCRIPTURES THAT JESUS WAS THE CHRIST (Acts 18:24-25, 27 -28, NIV).
We read here about Apollos, a teacher of the Word. The Scripture recorded that he had thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, which enabled him to teacher about Jesus accurately right in Ephesus.
Also, he greatly helped the believers in Achaia through his anointed teaching ministry. Again, he proved from the Scriptures to the Jews there that Jesus was the Christ.
He disproved their theories. A teacher is usually known for having some revelation knowledge of Gods word. That doesnt have to be a new revelation. It is the same revelation but probably seen in a new light or taught in a new way.
A true teacher can become a false one by teaching some weird or strange revelations, which are unscriptural. Such dangerous poison will always cause harm or damage to the Body of Christ.
John was a great teacher who had great revelation knowledge on God's kind of love (Agape). Paul was an outstanding teacher with some awesome revelation on grace and redemption among other things.
2. HE SIMPLIFIES GODS WORD FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND PRECEPT BY PRECEPT.
Whom shall he TEACH KNOWLEDGE and whom shall he make to UNDERSTAND DOCTRINE? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little (Is. 28: 9-10).
Lets assume that Gods Word is a tuber of yam. A preacher can cut it into big slices, cook and serve you with two or three slices.
But a teacher will further cut each of those two or three slices into ten or more pieces. In other words, he cuts them into small bits that are very easy for you to eat.
A teacher simplifies Gods Word. He makes very simple what may appear difficulty in Gods Word. One of his aims is to teach people knowledge revelation knowledge, not sense knowledge.
Science teaches man sense knowledge. The word science in 1Timothy 6:20 King James Version (KJV) is rendered knowledge in the same verse in the New International Version (NIV).
That means that science and knowledge (sense knowledge) can be used interchangeably. A teacher of Gods Word does not teach sense knowledge coming from the five human sense organs. Rather he teaches revelation knowledge inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Author of Gods Word.
Another aim of his is to make people understand doctrine. A doctrine is set of teachings. He achieves his aims by teaching with simplicity precept by precept.
A teacher true to Gods Word will never complicate Gods Word. He will rather always strive to simplify it so that his listeners can know and understand better and more clearly.
The truth is: the higher your teaching anointing, the more you can simplify the Word of God for people to understand.
3. HE EXPLAINS (TEACHES) NOT NECESSARILY PROCLAIMS (PREACHES) GODS WORD WITH A PECULIAR GOD-GIVEN GRACE (ABILITY) WHICH MAKES IT MORE EASILY PRACTICABLE FOR PEOPLE.
We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a mans gift is prophesying, let him, let him use it in proportion to his faith if it is TEACHING let him TEACH (Rom. 12:6-7 NIV).
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it it was he who gave some TEACHERS (Eph. 4: 7, 11 NIV).
It is clear from these Scriptures that a teacher has a peculiar God-given grace which enables him to function differently from any other ministry gift.
The peculiar ability or grace of a teacher lies in explaining Gods word with an anointing that makes it more easily practicable for people.
Paul and Barnabas certainly had this ability. They assembled the Church in Antioch together and taught them for one complete year.
As they explained Word to them, it came alive. It became more easily practicable for them. And as the saints began to practise what they were taught, people labelled them Christians because of their different life styles. (See Acts 11: 25-26).
The word Christian means Christlike. They were called Christians because they were Christlike. That means they talked like Christ. They acted like Christ, They reasoned like Christ.
I believe that preaching mainly produces believers but teaching definitely produces Christians.
Believers are many. Proselytes are many. But Christians are not as many. Acolytes are not as many. Proselytes are believers or converts, but acolytes are Christians or disciples.
About a year after I got born-again, I was assigned to teach a Sunday School in a fairly big church that I was attending then.
I was encouraged by the growth of the class spiritually and numerically within few months. Before long I began to receive invitations to minister in some places.
Interestingly, people began to tell me that I have a teaching ministry. One visiting prophetic minister gave me a prophecy that I have been called to be a teacher and author.
So I began to see people act more easily on the Word as I taught. I was amazed to discover that the teachings were transforming not only the listeners but also me.
Paul wrote Timo, "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, YOU WILL SAVE BOTH YOURSELF AND YOUR HEARERS" (1 Tim 4:18, NIV).
I went somewhere to minister in those days. I taught them about receiving the Holy Spirit. Then I laid hands but hardly could anyone receive. Then I felt led to teach them more clearly on the subject, which I did.
Suddenly, without my laying hands, several people received the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. It was like heaven was loose upon us! About two people prophesied before the meetings were over.
Several years ago, some guys came to visit me and we had a nice time together. As I was seeing them off, I asked if they had received the Holy Spirit. They said no. So I gave them an appointment.
So, the three of them came to see me at the set time. I sat them down and taught them the word about the Holy Spirit baptism for about one hour.
Then I began to lay hands on them. One of them was filled with the Spirit that day and spoke in an unknown tongue.
The second person spoke in a strange tongue but I knew in my spirit that that was not Gods Spirit.
The third person did not receive the Holy Spirit. So he said to me in a discouraged tone, I didnt receive. Why me? My brother has received (paraphrase).
I encourage him not to worry. Then I got a piece of paper and wrote some scriptures for him to meditate on as well as some steps to take, so they left.
About a week later, he came back rejoicing. He told me he followed the steps and the scriptures I gave him.
Surprisingly, he was filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in an unknown tongue while at home! What an awesome God we serve.
4. HE REFRESHES PEOPLE ESPECIALLY WHENEVER HE TEACHES (UNDER THE ANOINTING).
Moses said, under the inspiration of the Spirit, Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like shower on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants (Deut 32:2, NIV).
Paul wrote, I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow . For we are Gods fellow workers; you are Gods field. (1Cor 3:6, 9, NIV).
Have you ever seen how refreshed some plants are after rainfall? Have you ever noticed the cooling effect of early morning dew on plants?
A teacher refreshes people with the spiritual rain or dew of the word of God. A teacher who doesnt refresh people is either not called to be a teacher or not true to his calling by walking in the anointing and authority of a teacher.
When rainfall is not enough for the plants naturally, then farmers irrigate or water them artificially. Similarly, teachers of the word are to irrigate or water with the Word Gods spiritual garden − Gods people.
Paul wrote the Corinthian church, YOU ARE GODS GARDEN (1Cor 3:9, TLB).
God also spoke about the Israelites, THEY WILL BE LIKE A WELL-WATERED GARDEN (Jer 31:12, NIV).
You see, we are Gods garden, and a garden in the natural is supplied with water directly through rainfall or indirectly through irrigation. It is interesting that bible uses rainfall and irrigation (watering) to illustrate the teaching ministry.
Moses said, LET MY TEACHING FALL LIKE A RAIN . LIKE ABUNDANT RAIN ON TENDER PLANTS (Deut 32:2, NIV)
And Paul wrote, I planted the seed, Apollos WATERED it (1Cor 3:6, NIV).
Apollos, himself, was a great teacher who helped so many people through his teaching ministry − watering ministry (see Acts 18:24-28).
I remember reading about someone who visited a green house (a building for growing plants). He marveled when he saw how strongly and thickly the plants grew.
Sometimes later, he visited again but noticed a change. When he asked them what went wrong, he was told that the man who used to water and look after the plants had died and somebody else was doing it at that time.
Some months ago, my wife planted some things in our corridor. About two of them appeared to be surviving. But eventually, they died because she mostly forgot to wet them regularly among other reasons. I noticed at a time that one of them was dying, however, shortly after she had wetted it, it came alive again but it finally died of neglect.
5. HE HAS A BURNING PASSION (DESIRE) TO SEE BELIEVERS BECOME MATURE IN THE FAITH THROUGH THE TEACHING OF THE WORD.
We proclaim him, admonishing and TEACHING everyone with all wisdom, SO THAT WE MAY PRESENT EVERY ONE PERFECT IN CHRIST. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me (Col 1:28-29, NIV).
Jesus told his disciples: Therefore go and MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, baptizing them and TEACHING THEM TO OBEY EVERYTHING I HAVE COMMANDED YOU (Mat 28:19-20, NIV).
A teacher has a God-given desire to teach people unto maturity. He longs to help the saint become perfect in Christ. The word perfect as used in the scripture above means mature.
Jesus told his disciples to make disciples, not just converts who dont know their right from their left. He told them to make disciples of all nations. Then he showed them how to achieve it: TEACHING THEM TO OBEY EVERYTHING I HAVE COMMANDED YOU.
I was taught that the word disciple and discipline come from the same root. In other words, a disciple is a disciplined person. So a teacher longs to produce disciplined saints − mature saints.
Personally, I see a teacher as a spiritual dietician. A dietician is an expert in diet and nutrition. He will tell you to avoid malnutrition by having a balanced diet on daily basis.
A balanced diet is a good diet containing the right foods (all the food classes) in the right proportions. So it is both good quality and good quantity.
A teacher will encourage people to spend time privately in the word of God. Its good to read Christian books, listen to tapes and watch DVDs teaching Gods word. But believers need to get into the word for themselves.
Through personal study of the word, a believer will get good quality spiritual diet. He will get spiritual proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and so on.
But he also needs enough quantity every day. This means he will have to spend enough minutes or hours studying the word. He may have to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour or even more on the word of God daily to have a spiritually balanced diet.
Lately, God has been directing me to spend at least one hour in the word daily getting different classes of spiritual foods. Of course, to spend enough time in prayer, too.
Sad to say, many believers are suffering from spiritual malnutrition. I used to have the same problem even as a minister of the gospel. One can become so busy working for God (not necessarily working with God) that one doesnt have enough time for personal walk with God.
Malnutrition results from taking insufficient quality of foods in insufficient quantities. There are two basis types of malnutrition, namely: dry malnutrition (or marasmus) and wet malnutrition (or kwashiorkor).
Somebody suffers from dry malnutrition if he doesnt eat enough quantity of any class of food, particularly carbohydrates. His body is very dry and thin. That describes the spiritual state of some believers.
On the other side, wet malnutrition is caused by not eating good quality of food containing different classes of foods, especially proteins. His body is 'wet' (full of water) and fat but weak. Doesnt that fit into the spiritual lives of some of the believers around us?
So a teacher should have a burning passion to see people grow into strong Christians by giving them a balanced diet of the word and encouraging them to get the same in their private time with God.
Perhaps the most interesting thing here is that a balanced diet protects the body against diseases. It both prevents and cures some sicknesses and diseases.
Im convinced that if believers can feed on a balanced diet of Gods word daily, then some sin problems, demonic oppressions and attacks, mental and physical health problems, etc will disappear.
The word of God is much more powerful than we realize. We will only experience its power more, only if we apply it correctly in quality and quantity per day. It takes time!
Certainly, one may sometimes spend a long time on just one verse of scripture.
6. HE BRINGS CHECKS AND BALANCES TO THE CHURCH THROUGH SOUND DOCTRINE TO PREVENT OR CORRECT DOCTRINAL ERRORS IN THE CHURCH.
Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven"
When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together" (Mat 22:29-30, 33-34, NIV).
Jesus silenced the wrong voices and brought checks and balances to his generation through sound doctrine.
Not every minister can do that. For example, Paul as an apostle and teacher could do that but Philip, the evangelist couldnt.
In modern times, we have seen anointed teachers whom God used to bring checks and balances to the church through sound doctrine to prevent or correct doctrinal errors in the church.
A teacher who is true to his calling will not teach wrong doctrine that leads to confusion and division in the Body of Christ.
A teacher who is not careful will get himself into doctrinal errors. I have seen this again and again over the years.
That a man is a prophet doesn't mean he can bring checks and balances to the church through sound doctrine to prevent or correct doctrinal errors.
For instance, someone like William Branham had a strong prophetic anointing but had no teaching anointing that could impart sound doctrine.
Unfortunately, by the time he delved into teaching, he caused much confusion, probably did more harm than good, and eventually paved the way for his own pre-mature death!
However, somebody like Kenneth Hagin Snr had both a strong prophetic anointing and a great teaching anointing. And he really brought checks and balances to the church.
He taught balanced teachings about faith, prayer, healing, the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, ministry gifts, believer's authority, demonology, God's plan and purpose for his church, and so on. But I think he missed it on Christian dressing and adornment as well as fasting.
Sound teachings of Hagin as well as those of Derek Prince, Watchman Nee, Kenyon, Gordon Lindsay, W. F. Kumuyi and others have brought checks and balances to the church.
Thank God for teachers because they steady other ministry gifts − apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors. They steady other teachers, too. Yes, they steady the church. They need the other saints as well.
Some time ago, I taught God's word in a church that was not sound in Christian doctrine. It was a message to correct some of the errors in that church.
It was the truth. But some of the members didn't like it. They needed it but didn't want it. It was written on some of their faces.
You see, you may not need what you want, or you may not want what you need. The two are different.
God spoke to those people in a straightforward manner at the meeting that night.
After the message, a brother came to me to say that he was blessed by that Word.
I firmly believe that God used that message to change the pastor's thinking in some areas because I soon began to hear him teach some balanced messages. Glory to God!
In fact, he confessed to me that he told his wife that he believed my message would bring balance to the message God had given him.
7. HE HAS UNDERSTANDING OF GOD'S WORD WHICH HE CAN APPLY FOR HIMSELF AND COMMUNICATE TO OTHERS DEPENDING ON HOW DEVELOPED HE IS.
Someone rightly said, "You teach what you know but you reproduce who you are."(see Gen 1:11, 21).
I strongly believe that Barnabas and Saul (Paul) could make such a great impact in Acts 11:26 where the disciples were called Christians for the first time in history because they as teachers of the Word had understanding of the Word which they could apply for themselves and communicate effectively to others!
So they (Barnabas and Saul) understood the Christian life, lived the Christian life, taught others the Christian life and so reproduced people who lived the Christian life by observing their teachers' Christian lives as well as their teachers' sound teachings.
Genesis 1:11, 21 reveals that everything reproduces after its own kind. That means a mango tree reproduces mango fruits. A lion reproduces lions.
You see, a mango tree cannot reproduce orange fruits nor can a lion reproduce goats.
In the same way, a holy teacher or preacher will reproduce holy saints while a greedy, gossipping, lying or adulterous teacher or preacher will reproduce greedy, gossipping, lying or adulterous believers.
EXECUTING THE MINISTRY OF A TEACHER EFFECTIVELY
1. HE SHOULD PRACTISE THE WORD OF GOD WITH RESULTS SO THAT HE CAN TEACH IT WITH AUTHORITY
"When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had AUTHORITY, not as their TEACHERS OF THE LAW" (Mat 7:28-29, NIV).
'Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "THE TEACHERS OF THE LAW and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, FOR THEY DO NOT PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH" ' (Mat 23:1-3, NIV).
These two portions of Scriptures both emphasize 'teachers of the law.'
In the first Scripture, we can see that those teachers of the law did not teach with authority as Christ did.
In the second Scripture, we see that they did not practise what they taught others.
By logic, these two Scriptures are saying that Christ had authority as a teacher because he practised what he taught (see also Acts 1:1), while the teachers of the law had no authority because they did not practise what they taught others.
Lasting impact in the teaching ministry comes if a teacher practises what he teaches, among other determining factors.
This applies to other ministries, too. I can't stop being captivated by the great impact of W.F. Kumuyi, a preacher, apostle and teacher in this generation. He is the founder of Deeper Christian Life Ministry and Deeper Life Bible Church.
Quite a number of people, even ministers criticize him. But how many of these critics stick to the word of God as he does?
Yes, he may not do everything perfectly well but his teachings have long-lasting impact on his listeners because he practises what he teaches, among other things.
I listen to him occasionally. We agree on some subjects. So I learn from him selectively. I used to reject some of his teachings on holiness until God opened my understanding through the experiences of those who saw or visited heaven or hell as well as through the Word.
We should judge our experiences by the word of God, and not judge God's word by our experiences. You see, experience can change, but God's word can't change. Experience can be different from place to place or person to person, but God's is the same forever.
Teachers need to realize that as they fast and pray and study, they can minister with a great teaching anointing, however, as they practise what they teach will they minister with great authority.
You see, the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the Word of God are not the same thing, though, very closely related.
A teacher should practise God's word consistently with results so that he can teach it with authority and long-lasting impact.
Paul instructed Timo, "Be diligent in these matters; GIVE YOURSELF WHOLLY TO THEM, SO THAT EVERYONE MAY SEE YOUR PROGRESS. WATCH YOUR LIFE AND DOCTRINE CLOSELY. PERSEVERE IN THEM, BECAUSE IF YOU DO, YOU WILL SAVE BOTH YOURSELF AND YOUR HEARERS" (1Tim 4:15-16, NIV).
2. HE SHOULD STUDY TO SHOW HIMSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD AS A WORKMAN WHO NEEDS NOT BE ASHAMED BUT RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, as a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15).
To be effective in the teaching ministry, a teacher should spend enough time studying the word on a regular basis.
He should study to show himself approved unto God. He shouldn't study to impress people with his knowledge. He shouldn't study to win human approval.
As long as God approves him and his teachings, whatever others say or do against him and will never disapprove him before God.
He should not try to create open doors for himself. He should not run from place to place seeking the recommendation of those who are ahead of him.
He should build his life and ministry on and around God. He should let the God-factor drive him on.
Paul wrote the Corinthians, "Are we beginning to be like those false teachers of yours who must tell you all about themselves and bring long letters of recommendation with them? I think you hardly need someone's letter to tell you about us, do you? And we don't need a recommendation from you, either!
The only letter I need is you yourselves! By looking at the good change in your hearts, everyone can see that we have done a good work among you" (2 Cor 3:1-2, TLB).
He continued, "For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends" (2 Cor 10:18, NIV).
I want to show you the 3 witnesses that Jesus had. Now read what Jesus said:
"There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is valid.
You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; I mention it that you may be saved.
John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John.
FOR THE VERY WORK WHICH THE FATHER HAS GIVEN ME TO FINISH, AND WHICH I AM DOING, TESTIFIES THAT THE FATHER HAS SENT ME.
And the Father who sent me has himself testifies concerning me" (John 5:32-37, NIV).
Here the Lord Jesus identified his 3 witnesses or testifiers, namely:
i. God-inspired man (great witness, commendation or testifier) − vs 32-35,
It wasn't John's doing but God did it through him.
ii. God's work (greater witness, commendation or testifier) − vs 36
After John had testified of Jesus in John 1:29-34, in his hour of desperation, he sent to ask if Jesus was the one to come or they should expect another person, but to this, Jesus used his RESULTS or WORKS to reply.
Jesus actually said, "GO BACK AND REPORT TO JOHN WHAT YOU HEAR AND SEE. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me" (Mat 11:4-6, NIV).
As someone else rightly said − I believe Jesus was trying to say: LET THE WORKS REPLY JOHN.
When John's testimony of Jesus came under severe attack, Jesus simply used a greater testimony of his God-assigned work!
iii. God himself (greatest witness, commendation or testifier) − vs 37. Read Matthew 3:16, too.
Do you notice that Jesus' commendations centred on God, not man? (Please read Rev 3:8, Gal 1:15-20).
With a life and ministry approved of God, a teacher or minister should do his best to rightly divide the Word of truth.
I'd like to emphasize the study life of a teacher here again.
The Scripture says: "This Ezra came up from Babylon. He was A TEACHER WELL VERSED IN THE LAW OF MOSES For Ezra had DEVOTED HIMSELF TO STUDY AND OBSERVANCE of (obedience to) the law of God and to TEACHING its decrees and laws in Israel" (Ezra 7:6, 10, NIV).
Ezra gave himself devotedly to 3 things, and these are arranged in the right order:
i. to study
ii. to observance (practice or obedience)
iii. to teaching
"To study," according to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, means "to spend a lot of time carefully examining a plan, document, problem, etc."
It's very helpful for a teacher to study the Bible thoroughly using different versions. The authorized King James Version, the New International Version, the Amplified Bible, and a host of other good versions can be used.
A concordance that helps him locate Bible verses more easily and quickly should be acquired. Cruden's Concordance helps to find Scripture verses as well as understand the meanings of Scripture proper names.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance combined with W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Bible words (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries) in a single volume will undoubtedly aid his study of the Bible.
Also Thayer's Greek Lexicon is another great book for deep study of the New Testament books.
For example, the Greek words 'dunamis' and 'exousia' are both translated power in the King James Version.
But they are not the same thing. Power in Luke 10:19a is 'exousia' which means 'delegated power' while power in Luke 24:49 or Acts 1:8 is 'dunamis' which means 'dynamic ability to cause a change.'
W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Bible words or Thayer's Greek Lexicon can help you learn such things.
Also a good Eglish Dictionary will prove valuable. Webster's World Collegiate Dictionary, Chamber's Twenty-first Century Dictionary, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, etc can be purchased as an ebook or print book. Thank God there are free online or downloadable dictionaries or Bible versions today. (Please check www.biblegateway.com).
3. HE SHOULD WAIT UPON THE LORD SO THAT HE CAN BE REFRESHED, HIMSELF, AND RECEIVE A RHEMA FOR HIS HEARERS
"I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and I will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it" (Hab 2:1-2).
"The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season" (Ps 145:15).
A teacher should not teach whatever appeals to his mind just to whip up people's emotions. He should not echo another teacher's voice, either. A man who goes about teaching what God gave to someone else will never be effective in ministry.
Teaching what God has not given him or called him to teach may just be teaching logos (the general word of God). Logos is cheap.
But to get rhema will cost you a lot. You invest your time, efforts, money, and so on. You don't buy rhema in the book shop, but you invest your money in good Bible versions as well as good and relevant Christian books.
Very importantly, he should wait upon the Lord long enough so that he can be refreshed himself and receive a timely word or rhema for his listeners.
Rhema is a specific word from God for a specific person or people, in a specific place or situation, at a specific time and for a specific purpose.
It gives life and meets the needs of people.
On the other hand, logos doesn't give life until the Spirit breathes on it to become rhema. You see, logos is the general word of God for all places and at all times.
To get rhema from God, he needs to be consecrated to God. He needs to spend quality time in study, praise and prayer to God (Acts 13:2, Eph 1:17-18).
He will also need to fast as the need arises. He should pray especially with the spirit (in an unknown tongue) and with the mind (in understanding) [1 Cor 14:2, 15].
Around 1996 or 1997, I was to speak in a particular meeting. So I had probably prepared a message before going to the meeting. But it was amazing how God gave me a rhema for the meeting. I received it right in the church building just some minutes to the time I was to teach.
We were all caught up in worshipping God with solemn songs of praise, when suddenly God dropped a message in my spirit.
It was a clear instruction. He wanted me to speak on, "Don't Give Up; God Will Make a Way for You" or something like that.
He led me to use the story of the Israelites: how God made a way for them at the Red Sea. I simply obeyed him and taught the people exactly what God put in my heart to teach.
Then after the meeting, a brother asked his friends, "Who (among you) went and told Bro Segun what we discussed just before we came to the meeting?"
None of them told me what to teach or what they had discussed before the meeting, I was only listening to God's Spirit.
Later, I learnt the brother in question had told his friends about his difficulties and frustrations. He had been facing some seemingly impossible circumstances. Discouragement and hopelessness were staring him in the face.
But God spoke a rhema to him not to give up because he would make a way for him. I believe that God eventually intervened in his life. That message brought hope to him! I was personally encouraged by it.
Jeremiah's challenge to some ministers of his day is relevant to us here. He asked: "But which of them has stood in the counsel of the LORD to see or hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?" (Jer 23:18, NIV).
A teacher should realize that his teaching ministry is an extension or continuation of Jesus' teaching ministry. He gave all the ministry gifts, teachers included so that he would fill all in all (see Eph 4:10-11).
You see, Christ Jesus, the Teacher of teachers, the Perfect and Greatest Teacher who ever lived here, desires to teach others through the teachers he has appointed in the churches.
So, it's more than teaching about Jesus. It's all about Jesus teaching through us. It is a ministration of life, not of dead rituals (John 6:63).
Even Jesus said his teachings were not his, they came from God as rhema. Are your teachings your own (John 7:16-18)?
Every teacher should note that "the prophecy (word of the LORD) came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God SPAKE as they were MOVED by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet 1:21).
Similarly, a teacher should teach rhema (not logos) as he is moved by the Holy Ghost! What's moving you? Who's moving you? God or Satan? Friends or enemies? Greed, fear, envy, lust, pride, strife or love (see Philippians 1:15-17)?
4. HE SHOULD RESEARCH INTO THE LIVES AND WORKS OF OTHERS, ESPECIALLY CHRISTIANS AS GOD DIRECTS
"Your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it' " (Is 30:20-21, NIV).
"Thus saith the LORD, stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls " (Jer 6:16).
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Pro 27:17, NIV).
"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Heb 6:12, NIV).
The book of Isaiah above says your ears will hear a voice from behind you, not in front of you. This means a voice from the past, a voice from history because the past or history is behind us.
Yesterday's events are today's history just as today's happenings are tomorrow's history.
The prophet said the voice from behind would guide or show the way. It's true.
Kenneth E. Hagin was influenced by the life and works of E. W. Kenyon just as W. F. Kumuyi was impacted through the life and teachings of John Wesley.
5. HE SHOULD PREPARE HIS TEACHING IN HIS OWN GOD-GIVEN STYLE
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Ps 139:14, NIV).
God made each of us fearfully and wonderfully. We are unique and original. Our peculiarity distinguishes us one from another. That's why what suits one person may not always suit another person.
Just as no two persons are exactly the same so are no two teachers exactly the same.
A teacher should be careful to adopt a style that makes him himself. He shouldn't force any style on himself that makes him another person.
The sayings: "One man's method is another man's confusion" and "Different folks, different strokes" hold true here.
Every teacher has a style peculiar to them. With the teaching gift comes a teaching style. God who gives one what to teach will also give one how to teach it!
We can learn a lot from watching the styles of others, but we shouldn't struggle unnecessarily to be like others.
Some teachers will teach better if they have an outline in front of them while an outline will only confuse some others.
Some may need to write out almost the whole sermon or message before they can feel well-prepared to deliver it.
Some others only need the topic, the Bible and a few notes. You see, a few notes do not necessarily mean an outline. Actually, an outline is like the plan of a new house to be followed to construct the house. It's like a human skeleton with little or no flesh. So it's a skeletal sermon.
Generally, a teacher who is a beginner may need to write some key points of his message or sermon down.
He shouldn't compare himself with somebody who has been teaching for 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years.
On the one hand, there are different styles of preparing sermons. On the other hand, there are also different styles of delivering them.
You see, one can be good at preparing sermons, but poor at delivering them. Or one can be weak in preparing them, but strong in delivering them.
Of course, some are good at both sermon preparation and delivery while some others are poor at both.
A teacher should stick to a style that brings the best results to the kingdom of God. He should avoid a style that makes him a caricature, copycat or photocopy of another person.
Years ago, I heard somewhere what a man said and I have not forgotten it. The man said, I was trying to be like someone until I discovered that the person I was trying to be like was actually trying to be like me!"
Dr. David Yonggi Cho, the pastor of the world largest church shared his challenges along this line.
His early days of ministry was rather frustrating for him. He has low self-esteem and poor self image (self-esteem is how you treat yourself while self image is how you see or imagine yourself).
He was not successful with many of his sermons. At a time, he found it hard to prepare a sermon. He became discouraged thinking God didnt call him into the ministry.
In less than twelve months, he had attempted to quit his ministry on about eight different occasions.
Initially he copied Billy Graham. He memorized a few of Graham's sermons and tried to preach like him. He might begin his sermon well but midway into it he will be burnt out and worn out.
Realizing he couldnt be another Billy Graham, he forced himself to adopt Oral Roberts style but all to no avail.
In desperation, he prayed out to God for help. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart:My son, I need only one Billy Graham and one Oral Roberts in this world. I want you to be the one and only PAUL (now David) YONGGI CHO.
A teacher should realize that in learning his own God-given style of preparing as well as of delivering sermons its neither by might nor by power but by God's Spirit (Zech 4:6).
6. HE SHOULD PRAY FOR UTTERANCE WITHOUT WHICH HE CANNOT PENETRATE THE HUMAN SPIRIT OF HIS HEARERS.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Praying always with all prayer and supplications for all saints;
And for me, that UTTERANCE may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds; That therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph 6;12,18-20).
I learnt first-hand about wrestling in prayer so many years ago. We were planning to have revival somewhere, and I was one of the speakers.
So I went to the church building to pray about the meeting. Suddenly, I discovered that I was wrestling in prayer. There was a resisting, striving or struggling!
Then the scripture in Ephesians 6:12, which talks about wrestling with demons came to my mind. And I reasoned that the spiritual wrestling Paul wrote about definitely had something to do with prayer.
Three of us had ministered on the first three days. The fourth day, which was also the last day, was planned for a Christian film show.
There was no teaching session on this last day apart from probably exhorting the people briefly. And it was on that fourth day that I had that experience of wrestling in prayer.
It's interesting to note that after Paul had talked about wrestling in verse 12 of Ephesians 6, he highlighted the armour of God from verses 14 to 17.
Then he began to talk about prayer from verses 18 to 20 for two main reasons:
i) We put on the whole armour of God so that we can pray effectively.
ii) Spiritual wrestling takes place as we challenge demons in prayer. (This is effective if we put on the whole armour of God.)
He wrote, AND PRAY in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of PRAYERS and REQUESTS.always keep on PRAYING for all the saints.
Pray also for me, that whenever I open mouth, words ( Utterance) may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospelPRAY that I may declare it fearlessly as I should ( Eph 6: 18-20, NIV).
You see, it is only as we wrestle in prayer using the Sword of the Spirit (the spoken Word of God) and other weapons of warfare, that we can subdue demons trying to influence people, and gain utterance that can penetrate the human spirit of our hearers.
Over the years, I have learnt to wrestle in payer for myself as well as for others. But that earlier experience left perhaps a stronger impression on me about spiritual wrestling. It was too real to forget easily!
7. HE SHOULD TEACH BOTH THE LEGAL AND EXPERIENTIAL SIDES OF THE WORD.
The Word of God has both the legal and the experiential sides. These two are very important.
The legal side deals with what God has already done or settled in His Word whereas the experiential side deals with what man can do to experience Gods Word and make what God has already done a living reality in his life.
For instance, the scripture says, Forever, O LORD they word is SETTLED in heaven (Ps 119:89).
On the legal side, every word from the mouth of God, every promise in the word is forever settled in Heaven. God had already perfected so many things we sometimes worry about according to His eternal word.
But on the experiential or vital side, we need to take one or more steps of faith and get the truth or promise of God established in our lives. A teacher needs to teach both sides to get good results.
If he teaches just the legal or theoretical side, then the listeners will know what God has done for us. They can admire it. They can sing it. But their experiences will deny the reality of such truths of Gods word.
On the contrary, if he teaches just the experiential or practical side, his listener will start building their lives on human experiences.
The realm of seeking experiences is a dangerous arena where Satan easily attacks the saints because they are trying to follow what someone did, not what God says in His word.
Let me illustrate it this way: since God speaks to us in various ways Heb 1:1 (generally through our human spirits, and specifically through one other means or another), a teacher who only teaches the experiences of his and of others can get his listeners into trouble.
A particular listener may start seeking to hear God speak to him compulsorily in a particular manner whether God has chosen to speak to him that way or not. I know God speak to all His saints generally through our recreated human spirits (Pro. 20:27, Ro.8:14, Job 32:8).
We need to learn to respond to our spirits by fellowshipping with God through His word and prayer by the help of the Spirit of God in us.
If we would draw near unto God, then He will draw near unto us and we will hear Him more clearly in our spirit (James 4:7).
But do you know that God may not speak to two people or even two prophets, apostles, pastors, etc, (specifically, not generally) the same way?
He told Aaron and Miriam, When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions. I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses ..With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? (Num 12:6, 8 NIV).
So a teacher should teach both the legal and vital sides of the new birth, Holy Spirit baptism, healing, deliverance, financial and material prosperity, spiritual growth and soon.
For example, as far as the new birth is concerned, God has already sent His Son to take away the sins of the whole world.
So legally, God has provided the new birth for all, but experientially, only those who believe in Christ and confess Him can experience it (Jn 3:16-17, Ro 10:9, 10).
Also on the legal side, God has already poured His Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17).
Jesus said in Luke 11:13 that God would give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. But then He said in John 14:16-17: and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever the Spirit of truth " (NIV).
You see, when He ascended to heaven, He asked the Father, on our behalf, for the Holy Spirit.
So on the day of Pentecost, God gave the Holy Spirit to all flesh, yet not all flesh have received him. He arrived the planet earth on the day of Pentecost and has been on earth ever since!
On the experiential side, however, one needs to take the right steps to receive the Holy Spirit and speak in an unknown tongue only as he gives the utterance. Do you know that the Holy Spirit doesn't speak in tongues? No, he gives the utterance or inspiration while we speak it out (Act 2: 4).
The subject of healing has the two sides. Legally, Jesus had taken up our infirmities or weaknesses, He had carried our sorrows or diseases and by his stripes or wounds we are already healed! We are not going to be healed some day in the future.
So, from God's point of view, the whole humanity was healed through Christ over 2,000 years ago (Mat 8; 17, 1 Pet 2:24, Is 53; 4-5)!
Whereas, experientially, one needs to obtain it by faith, sometimes through stubborn, reckless faith. It isnt automatic.
A teacher who is teaching on the subject of healing should not fail to show people how to be healed as well as how to stay healthy. It will help a lot if he shows them what God says about it and tells them how he (or others) stays healthy or gets healed (as the need arises).
Some people are afraid to teach on financial prosperity. It has both theoretical and practical sides.
Paul wrote, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He become poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich (2 Cor. 8:9)."
The scripture doesnt say, " that ye MAY be rich." Rather it says, that ye MIGHT BE RICH." You see, "might" is a past tense form. That suggests to me that God has already made us rich in Christ.
I love how somebody put it. We are not poor people (as believers in Christ ) but we are rich people discovering our wealth!
So we need to teach people what God says about wealth thats the legal side. More than that, we need to lead them or show them how to experience God-given wealth for the saints will enjoy the wealth of the heathen.
The vital side is important too! In this last days, God will gradually transfer the wealth of the nations to His people so that we can establish His covenant among the nations (Is 60:5, 11).
8. IN BASICS, HE SHOULD TEACH THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD; IN SPECIFICS, HE SHOULD FOCUS ON THE PARTICULAR MESSAGE GOD HAS COMMITTED TO HIS HEART EMPHASIZING HEAVEN AND HELL.
Therefore leaving the principle of the doctrine of Christ, let us go unto perfection; not laying against the foundation of REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS, and OF FAITH TOWARD GOD, OF THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS, and OF LAYING ON OF HANDS, and OF RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, and OF ETERNAL JUDGMENT. And this will be do, if God permit" (Heb 6:1-3).
Paul told the elders of the Ephesian Church, For I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL THE COUNSEL OF GOD (Act. 20:27).
Paul wrote Timothy, That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelled in us" (2 Tim 1:14).
A teacher should put the basics as basics if he is to be effective in ministry. Paul listed the six basics of foundational teachings of Christ in Hebrews 6, as shown above.
i) Repentance from Dead Works
The Greek word translated 'repentance means 'a change of mind resulting in a change of lifestyle.' Sinners need to turn from Satan and unto God.
Also believers need to be taught repentance as a lifestyle (2 Cor 7:8-10). These six basic teachings are actually meant for believers.
ii) Faith Toward God
Believers should be taught the three kinds of faith: natural faith, revelation knowledge faith and special faith. They should be taught that faith is not hope, presumption, feeling, manipulation, lying and so on. They should be taught the definition and the principles in Hebrew 11. They should be taught how to develop and release faith. The enemies of faith should be exposed to them. They should be instructed how to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12).
iii) The Doctrine of Baptisms
When "baptism" is mentioned, some quickly think of water baptism. But the scripture here speaks of the doctrine of baptisms, not of baptism.
They should be taught baptism into the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13), water baptism (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21), Holy Ghost baptism (Matt 3:11), fire baptism (Mat 3:11) and baptism of suffering (Luke 12:50).
iv) The Doctrine of laying on of hands
They should be taught the laying of hands as a medium of faith. Believers should be instructed about the multi-purpose of this doctrine.
The uses include: for ministering to people wanting to receive the Holy Spirit, for imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit to believers, for ministering healing to the sick and for ordaining ministers (Acts 8:17, Acts 19:16, 1 Tim 4:14, Mk 16;17-18, Acts 13:2-3)
They should also be taught about the right and wrong ways of laying hands. They must be equally warned not to allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to lay hands (holy or unholy) on them!
v) The Doctrine of Resurrection of The Dead
They should be clearly taught about the resurrection of Jesus upon which our faith and hope are establishment.
They should be thoroughly instructed about the resurrection of the dead which will partly take place at the rapture and partly after that (1 Cor 15:1-58, 1 Thes 4:13-18, Rev 20:4- 6).
vi) The Doctrine of Eternal Judgment
Finally, the saints should be carefully instructed about the eternal judgment of the sinners' works at the great white throne of judgment (Rev 20:11-15) as well as the eternal judgment of the believers' works at the Bema seat of reward ( 1 Cor 3:10-15, 2 Cor 5:10-11).
I intend to released a book on these foundational teachings soon. It`s already written. I only need to make it elaborate. With these elementary or fundamental teachings in place, a teacher should focus on the particular message God has committed to his heart.
God gave Peter a message to the Jews but Paul a message to the Gentiles (Gal 2:7-9).
Moses came with a message of law but Jesus Christ came with that of grace and truth (John 1:17).
E.M Bounds came with a deep revelation on prayer, Howard Carter on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Kenneth Hagin, Snr. on faith and later the Holy Spirit, John G. Lake on dominion, and E.W Kenyon on redemption.
Also W. F Kumuyi focuses on holiness, Cindy Jacobs on spiritual warfare, John Maxwell on leadership, Tunde Bakare on Kingdom, Myles Munroe on purpose, Greg Erhabor on hope, Bill Hamon on prophecy, Sola Areogun on divine call, Yonggi Cho on church growth, Gbile Akanni on discipleship, John Avanzini on divine wealth and so on.
That doesn`t mean one who teaches a particular thing can`t talk on something else. He needs to major, but minor in the minor! (It`s helpful to understand also that Paul`s primary (major) calling was to the Gentiles while his secondary (minor) was to the Gentiles (Acts 2:14, Acts 10:1-48).
9. HE SHOULD TEACH THE SOUND WORD OF GOD WHEREVER THE SPIRIT LEADS HIM TO.
Paul instructed Timothy, "Hold fast the form of SOUND WORDS, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 1:13).
He also told Titus, "You must TEACH what is in accord with SOUND DOCTRINE (Tit 2:1, NIV.)
More than 50 percent of the doctrines in some of our churches today are far from being sound. In a later book, I hope to look at how to distinguish a true teaching from a false one. But here, we will consider seven things about sound doctrine or teaching:
1) The law is made for whatever is contrary to the sound doctrine
Paul wrote Timo, We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine (1 Tim 1:9-10 NIV).
The law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai condemns and leads to bondage. It is founded on the Ten Commandments which are full of thou-shall-not's (2 Cor 3:9, Gal 3:5, Exo 19:20).
The Bible says we havent come to Mt. Sinai but to Mt. Zion, to the Heavenly Jerusalem. This spells freedom or deliverance for the saints (see Hebrews 12:18,22; Obadiah 17; Gal 4:21,26).
Moses could not fulfill the law with all the thou-shall-nots.
Jesus, however, came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He told a Pharisee, an expert in the law of Moses, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On this two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt 22:37-40).
Paul condemned legalism in Colossians 2:20-23 because such rules are mere human teaching these rules may seem good, for rules of this kind require strong devotion and are humiliating and hard on the body, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a persons evil thoughts and desires. They only make them proud" (vs 22-23, TLB).
Its imperative to understand that while legalism focuses on thou-shalt-nots, liberty emphasizes thou-shalts − thou shalt love God and thou shalt love others!
Legalism contradicts sound doctrine. It is an enemy of truth. Only the truth can make people free.
Liberalism is another enemy of liberty. It looks like liberty but its bondage in freedom.
Liberty says, Thou shalt do whatever God hath called thee to do with self-control, wisdom, modesty and moderation."
But liberalism says, "You can do whatever you feel like doing as long as you want, for God is your Father. Self-control, wisdom, modesty and moderation are not important here.
A legalistic teacher, on the one hand, can tell people, "If you read newspapers or watch television, you sin."
A liberalistic teacher, on the other hand, can tell people, Sin is no longer sin. It is now an ordinary mistake."
Liberalism says: "You can live as you like. You can dress as you want. You can watch both good and bad movies. You can have sex before marriage but ensure it doesnt lead to pregnancy. You can kiss, hug and caress your fiance. God has made you free...free to enjoy the pleasures of sin.
ii) The sound doctrine conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God (1 Tim 1:10).
Any doctrine that conforms to another gospel is not sound doctrine.
The Jehovah witnesses have their own bible. The Mormons have their own bible. They talk about another Jesus from another gospel. Beware of their teachings. Theyre poisonous!
iii) The time has come when people do not endure sound doctrine (2 Tim 4:3).
The Scripture warns us that in the last days perilous or terrible times will come! They are here already!
I love how its rendered in the Living Bible: "in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. They will go to Church, but they wont really believe anything they hear (2 Tim 3:1, 5).
iv) People who do not endure sound doctrine will gather around them a great number of the teachers to say what their itching ears want (not need) to hear and what will suit their own desires (not Gods perfect will) [2 Tim 4:3].
Folks who are anti-sound doctrine hate to hear teachings on submitting to Gods perfect will. They feel Gods permissive will is all right for them. They like teachers who will show them the shortest cut to spiritual maturity.
They love to learn from their teachers how to become a millionaire overnight. They endorsed sermons that will make them happy every time. They cant cope with messages that tell them to mourn or grieve for their sins (Mt 5:4; 1 Cor 5:2; 2 Cor 7:8, 11) and others' sins. They love to be at ease in Zion. Amos, the prophet said woe to such people. They dont grieve over the sickly state of the church (Amos 6:1, 6-7).
v) Those who do not endure sound doctrine turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (fables) - 2 Tim.4:4.
There are people in churches today who have turned their ears away from the truth unto falsehood.
They are too weak to stand the weight of sound doctrine. All they want is light and useless talks. Not everyone can endure sound doctrine because its heavy. Its not light, weightless stuff!
Such people are not comfortable with teachers of sound doctrine. They can only accommodate those who teach the adulterated word of God.
Vi) The only way to ensure that the sound doctrine is maintained (preserved) is to preach (or teach) the word; to be prepared in season and out of season to use the scripture to correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction (for God gave the scripture for that purpose)- 2 Tim 4:1, 3.
The Bible teaches that all scripture is given by Gods inspiration for the purpose of teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). How many ministers today use the word to rebuke or correct erring believers?
How many ministers today teach on training in righteousness? Only by using the scripture for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness in his own life first and then in the lives of others, can a minister be sound and thoroughly prepared for all good works (2 Tim 3:17).
Vii) Sound doctrine is best imparted to others through a sound lifestyle as an example (1 Tim 4:12, 16; Titus 2, 7, 8, 11, 13).
Paul warned Timothy about the danger of doctrines of demons at the beginning of 1 Timothy 4. But towards the end of that same chapter, he told him, ".SET AN EXAMPLE FOR THE BELIEVERS.watch your life (lifestyle) and doctrine closely save both yourself and your hearers (verses 12, 16, NIV).
Similarly, he wrote Titus, In everything SET THEM AN EXAMPLE BY DOING WHAT IS GOOD. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."
He continued saying Gods grace teaches us to say No to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope − the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:7-8, 12-13, NIV).
The Bible says the godly lifestyle of a woman can win her husband to the Lord without her preaching to him (1 Pet 3:1-20).
10. HE SHOULD CHARGE HIS HEARERS TO CROSS-CHECK THE WORDS THEY HEAR FIRST BY THE WORD AND THE SPIRIT, THEN OBEY ONLY THE TRUTH.
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11, NIV).
Jesus warned His disciples, Consider carefully what you hear" (Mk 4:24, NIV).
Paul wrote the Thessalonians saints, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thes 5:21,22).
John warned the saints, Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirit whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-2,6).
The scripture says that the Berean believers were of more noble character than the Thessalonian believers.
According to the dictionary, someone who is noble behaves in a morally good or generous way that should be admired.
So the Berean saints were morally better, more generous than those of Thessalonica. It was so because they received the message with great eagerness (readiness of mind) and examined (searched) the scripture daily to cross-check what Paul had told them and to see whether it was true or not.
Since none of us is infallible (without mistakes) and omniscient (all-knowing), a teacher should never have "I am always right" attitude.
In other words, he should never think and say, I can never miss it. My word is the final authority. I always teach accurately."
He should let them know that Gods word is the final authority in our lives, and hence encourage them to
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