Called To Teach
To teach means to make clear the authority of the Word of God. God means what He says.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright? I hope you are. God bless you. I hope everything’s alright at your house. If you struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord Jesus see me through,” and He will. You don’t have to like everything, but it says, “In everything give thanks and rejoice evermore.” You can be thankful for who God is and what He does in and through you, in spite of the circumstances. God makes it possible for you and for me to say “Hallelujah anyway,” right? So trust Him to see you through today and He will.
We’re looking at 1 Timothy 3, verse 2. We were talking the last time we got together about this phrase: “given to hospitality.” It means “a lover of friendship” and “fellowship.”
Now we come to the phrase, “apt to teach.” There again is just one word in your Greek New Testament, and it’s a noun from which we get our, our word “didactic” or “didactical.” Has to do with, with the effectiveness with which one teaches. Now what do we mean when we say, “apt to teach”?
Well, I, I have found, found a scripture that illustrates the truth here and I’m going to turn back to it now; Nehemiah, chapter 8, verse 5. “Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people” – this is Scriptures, the Scriptures, the law, the book of the law of the Lord – “he opened the Scriptures in the sight of all the people, and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.”
Then it speaks about the Levites, and this, and the priests, Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, and all the rest, and the Levites it said, “caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.” So this is verse 8: “they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. Nehemiah and Ezra the priest and the Levites said unto the people, ‘This day is holy unto the Lord your God.’”
What does it mean to “teach”? Well, in this simple profile you have certain concepts; let me line them out to you, may I? Says, “they read in the book.” One of the great Saints of God lay dying and they heard him say in a faint whisper, “Bring the book,” and someone said, “Which book do you want?” He said, “Bring the book. There is only one book. The Bible.” He wanted them to read the Bible as he lay dying. The book. Now, I may be dragging this in, but let me do it. I have to ask myself, and now I’m asking you: how important is the book, God’s Word, the Bible? The inerrant, infallible, eternal Word of God? How important is the book in your life?
I know some dear Christians who never open their Bible, except in church, or very, very rarely otherwise. I’ve been in homes with there’s a Bible on almost every table, but never, never opened. People don’t feed on it. Don’t talk about it. You’d throw a panic into the dinner table if you sat down and said, “You know, I’ve had such a blessing from the book of Ephesians. Let’s talk about Ephesians tonight, shall we?” “You take Ephesians 1,” you say to the lady, “and you take Ephesians 2,” you say to the husband, “and you take Ephesians 3,” you say to the, the brother, “and you take Ephesians 4,” you say to the sister, “and I’ll take 5 and 6,” you say. You throw a panic into the family. They don’t do that.
Now, how important is the book to you? Do you, do you, do you gauge your decisions, and do you adjust your operating principles according to the Word of God? Do you feed on it, day by day? Do you get something fresh from God’s Word for your own soul? Oh, that’s so important. My heart breaks for people who trust Jesus with all their heart, but who are starved spiritually, and who thus become refugees and victims spiritually because they don’t feed on God’s Word day by day. It’s not just a matter of dutifully reading it, beloved. You know that.
“How do you feed on God’s Word?” I asked that of Stephen Olford long ago. He said, “Stay with a given passage until it says something to you. Then write down what God said to you. Then pray it back to God until your heart is warm and tender with the truth, and share it with someone that very day.” A very good idea of how to feed on God’s Word. “They read in the book.” Then how authoritative is God’s Word to you? It’s the book of the law of God. It’s the book of the law of God. It said, “When the people heard this they broke down and cried. For all the people wept,” it said, “when they heard the words of the law.” How authoritative is it? To teach means to emphasize the importance of the Word of God. To teach means to make clear the authority of the Word of God. God means what He says.
Some liberal teacher was saying to a youngster, “God didn’t really mean this, He was pointing out some Scripture. God didn’t really mean this for you and for me, it was written in a different time.” The little child with that childish naïveté that goes right to the heart of things said, “Well, if God didn’t mean it then why did He say it?” Of course He meant it.
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked.” God doesn’t engage in, in fooling you. He never says, “I was just kidding.” And the wise man Solomon said, “Don’t, don’t say in the presence of God’s angels, it was an error.” Don’t kid around with God and say, “Well, I was just kidding.” “Why should you die before your time?” Solomon said, “God has no pleasure in the death of fools.” Be serious with God. The Word of God is of our authority. It means what it says.
You can’t bargain with God. Have you found that out? I’ve tried that different times in my life. I’ve said, “Lord, I’ll do this so you can do that.” You can’t bargain with God. All you can do is obey. God doesn’t ask you to be popular. He doesn’t ask you to be successful. He asks you to be faithful. “It is required among stewards that man be found faithful.” “Be thou faithful unto death,” Jesus said, “and I will give thee the crown of life.” You can’t bargain with God. You can’t fool with God, and the Bible says, “Don’t tempt the Lord your God.” What does that mean? Means, “I’ll try it one more time and maybe I’ll get away with it, again, and then God will forgive me.”
A lady said to me many years ago – this would’ve been in the 1930’s, 50 years or more – she said to me one day, “You know, I’m having this affair with this man. Couldn’t I divorce my husband and marry this other man, and then ask God to forgive me?” The answer’s “No, you couldn’t.” You can’t do it. You can’t bargain with God. You can’t fool around with God. You can’t kid God. He means business. You and I must also be deeply sincere. To teach means to establish the authority of the Word of God.
Then it said, “they read in the law of God distinctly.” Now, what does that mean? That means nothing left out and nothing played down. Everything in its own particular, important place. People need to understand what you’re saying. Dr. James M. Gray, who was president of the Moody Bible Institute when I was there as a student said, “Master what the Bible says. You’ll have very little difficulty with what it means.” “Distinctly” means “find out what the Bible says.”
Then it says, they “gave the sense.” That is, to say what this Word means. Find out what it says, and then teach your students what that means. You’ll find the meaning in any given portion of the Word of God, in examples from the rest of the Word of God. The best illustrations to give meaningfulness to the Scriptures are other portions of Scripture. Our Jesus, when He spoke to the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus, said, “beginning in Moses and all the Scriptures He expounded unto them the things concerning Himself.” The best way for you to “give the sense” – the meaning, in other words – of any given passage or of any given word or phrase, is to relate it to other portions of Scripture.
Then it says, he “caused them to understand the reading.” When do you really “understand”? You really understand when you make it your own. When you apply it to your own life. I understand because it’s now part of my own life. Then you teach, not only that way, but you teach by leading people to do what God has said for them to do. This involves simple obedience. It also involves skills and aptitude.
I’m turning now to Matthew 28: 19 and 20. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
Now, “teach all nations” is our word “disciple.” Make disciples of all nations. And you do that by getting them to commit themselves to Jesus Christ, and to confess that commitment in believer’s baptism. That’s the meaning of Matthew 28:19.
Now, what else? Verse 20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” That means to do, to do what God has said to you to do. When you teach… Now, remember what we’re talking about. 1 Timothy 3, the last three words in verse 2: “apt to teach.” When you teach a person, you do what I told you from Ezra 8, verse 5: you establish the importance of the book, the Bible. You establish the authority of it. You establish the, the fact of it, what it’s saying. You establish the meaning of it. You help people to identify themselves with it, and then we go a step farther and we say, you teach by getting people to obey the Word of God.
You’ve never really taught anybody anything eternal until they have said, “Lord what will Thou have me to do?” You follow that? You see, so many people are just – as, as they used to say in the old days in Christian Ed – just a quarterly wired for sound, just a textbook wired for sound. Has to be more than that. Has to be more than a recital of the facts. Has to be more than an interesting portrayal of the facts. It is only teaching when the person that you want to teach has said, “I will obey my Lord.” “Apt to teach.” Get busy teaching other people on that basis with you, beloved, and God bless you as you do.
Dear Father today, make us good teachers of the Word of God, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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