All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16).
Believing the Gospel
But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31).
First Principle: The gospel was meant to be believed!
Goal: To establish the idea that freedom is not just possible. It is promised.
By now, you should be finished with the entire book of Matthew. I asked that it be read in four days because I want it the teachings of Jesus to be fresh on your mind as we go through this lesson. Teachers teach, not to give you revelation, but to give you all the ingredients so that you can have revelation as you seek the Lord and continue studying the scriptures.
Romans 1:16 tells us: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
The Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. (Romans 1:17, NLT).
The Gospel is the POWER:
It is not stating that the gospel HAS the power. The gospel IS the power. This means all of us have access to the POWER through the revelation of His Word.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13)
Salvation: The original meaning behind the term includes deliverance.
Second Principle: The gospel is the answer to everything.
If a person cannot get past the doctrine of Christ part, they cannot be free. They can learn to cope with their trauma, but there is no real healing without Christ. Outside of Christ, there is only an illusion of freedom. True healing from Jesus is fellowship with the Father. His healing is not for this life only, but even for the life to come.
The goal of the gospel is not to feel better. The goal is not to change the situation. The goal is not even to reconcile. The goal is RIGHTEOUSNESS! The priority is this one thing: Righteousness through faith. The good news is that God has made a covenant that will remove the sin issue that separates mankind from Himself. He started with the Jews, but the salvation was for EVERYONE, including you. (Jeremiah 31:31).
Questions to discuss:
I am so excited about the coming weeks, that I cannot contain myself. But first, we have to conclude our teaching on the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. Tonight, we will look at the ministry gift of the Teacher: The Truth-Telling Theologian
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:10-11).
You might have the image in mind, already: the monotone, nerdy looking professor that stands in front of the classroom, endlessly rambling about some theological matter, ad nauseum. Or, maybe the cheerful old lady in the Sunday School class who knows more about the bible than the pastor of the church, but has been relegated to sharing with the children, because…women aren’t allowed to preach. Perhaps more than any other, the office of the Teacher is the most overlooked and undermined of the five-fold ministry. The church has turned this office into a classroom instructor, when it is far more than that!
Teachers were involved in the appointing and sending of Paul and Barnabas.
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away (Acts 13:1-3).
They are a part of the governance of the Church with a focus on the truth. To a teacher, the truth is what matters, period. Feelings, childhood trauma, issues of life, and even demonic torment are all subject to one primary question which a teacher will not allow to be overlooked: Is it biblically true? I have often said that wen a prophet is speaking, a teacher should be looking on, intently. In fact, teachers should make prophets shake in their boots. They are the “experts” in scripture – at least, more than others. They are the ones who laugh inside when a pastor tries to say, to say the Greek word, splagchnizomai. Still, there is an element of being a teacher that serves a greater purpose than biblical and theological accountability. They don’t just teach empty facts. They reveal God through the scriptures in order to keep the church focused on the truth. Just as the discipline of Apostles is to suffer, and the discipline of the prophet is intercession, the discipline of the teacher is to study, study, study. They do this, not only to be able to communicate facts, but to help people understand how to think and be curious about the truth; to never just accept things at face value. Teachers understand that we must not only know things, but we must also understand WHY we know things. Furthermore, teachers do not just engage the mind, but the spirit – the inner man.
Many who have this gift of teaching are called as elders/pastors of churches. They are strong in the area of giving instruction, and always have an answer when questioned. When everyone else is depending on the Holy Spirit to give them revelation, the teacher tirelessly studies – and the Holy Spirit meets them at their desk. The Spirit of God moves them to study, and they produce fruit that does not look glamorous, unless you are one who is interested in understanding the principles behind what we believe ourselves to know.
God as Teacher
Just as the gifting of Shepherd is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Church, God reveals Himself as Teacher to His people: For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” (Isaiah 30:19-22).
Just as the fruit of the Teacher relationship with God is for one to destroy their idols, the fruit of a good teacher results in a person rejecting lies, and embracing truth – this is the way, walk in it!
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. – Mark 6:34
Teachers do their work, not only because they love the truth (which they do), but because they love people. That’s the dividing line between teachers who are true (in the sense of spiritual gifting and calling), and teachers who are not. Teachers study, not for their own academic ability, but for the sake of those who will hear. They sacrifice time, money, and even personal goals so that they can pour out their precious gift of knowledge to those who are hungry for God.
Teachers Teach with Power
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 4:23-24
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:4-7).
You cannot separate the ministry of teachers from the demonstration of spiritual power. Those who are gifted in this area must not relegate their gifting to classroom instruction. Those who know, demonstrate.
If you do not begin to act in the role God has gifted you in, this will soon get old. It is vital that you find yourself in the study of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. Still, there are other giftings that may not look as spiritual, but are just as vital for the life of the church. We can find them in Romans 12:4-21, and 1 Corinthians 12:28, they include helps, governments, service, exhortation, giving, leadership, and mercy. Such gifts suggest an attitude in which we should function for the sake of the church. It is imperative that we discover HOW we should serve so that we can do so in a way that pleases God.
In order to do this requires a changed life through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Next week, we will begin a conversation on Restorative Discipleship. I will be sending out notes BEFORE the gathering so that we can share together. It is vital that you attend these gatherings because more than anything else, this will include the central teaching at First Love Fellowship, and the fulfillment of our mantra to “win the church to Christ.” Not only will you find personal freedom and victory, you will also understand how to walk others into freedom and a discipleship relationship.
Remember why we’re doing this: For you to find yourself. The scripture says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” You may not be called to the five-fold ministry, but if you are in Christ, you have SOMETHING. The time spent on these gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit ought to be seen as a journey of discovery. Whether you are a mature believer, or you are just getting started, it is vital, for the sake of the church, that you begin to operate in the spiritual gifts God has given the church.
Today, we will be looking at the ministry gift of the Pastor/Shepherd/Overseer. This ministry gifts has likely touched more individual lives than all of the other gifts, combined. It it the one most recognized by “institutional” churches. People study for years in seminaries, and Bible schools to attain the knowledge required to function in this office. Others serve in churches for years, looking to “climb the ladder” so they can be recognized in this ministry gift. Still, worldy pursuits do not grant the things which causes one to function in this ministry gift. The Father alone, gives such men and women to the church.
The Greek term for “Pastor” comes from a root word meaning, to protect. In a literal sense, it means “herdsman,” or “shepherd.” This term “Pastor” is used interchangeably with other terms in the New Testament such as “overseer” and “shepherd.” This person is one “whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts, they follow.”(Source). A pastor is a prophetic symbol of Christ (the Good Shepherd’s) relationship with His church. We can see this demonstrated in Ezekiel, when God corrects the shepherds of his day:
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
3Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them (Ezekiel 34:2-4).
Again, even in the Old Testament, the term “shepherd” spoke to the idea of guarding, caring, and ruling. It also suggests the idea of “looking upon with pleasure,” and to function as a “special friend.” (Source). According to the scripture in Ezekiel, there was correction because the shepherds were neglecting:
Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:14-15).
New Testament pastors function to help keep people in the faith, when the entire world is trying to get them to turn away. They run after the backslider. They are passionate protectors. Just as Evangelists are focused on introducing people to Christ, Pastors are laser focused on causing people to follow the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Pastors teach, but are not necessarily teachers. Their main concern is to teach people to follow Christ, and they function primarily in a discipleship role in the lives of the people in their care, with the expectation that those who are under their care will actually do the things they say. The author wrote to the church in Hebrews:
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch over your souls as those who must give an account. To this end, allow them to lead with joy and not with grief, for that would be of no advantage to you (Hebrews 13:17).
Pastors are leaders. As ministry leaders must give account as they watch over the souls of those they lead. They will have to stand before God, and speak, not only of how they treated their own selves and families, but also how they treated those God has placed in their charge. In their humanity, all are equal. In terms of authority, God has set pastors in place as a voice of spiritual accountability.
Even if you are strong, there is a need for accountability. Priscila and Aquilla are biblical examples of pastors (1 Corinthians 16:19, Acts 18:24-26). Although Apollos was ALREADY mighty in the scriptures, he needed to submit to pastors who could teach him more accurately. Timothy was also a pastor, as was (possibly) the Elect Lady of Second John. They were necessary to encourage the believers, guard against false teachers, and to teach the church to follow Christ. At times, pastors were charged to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5).
Pastors may be the most versatile of the five-fold ministry. If they are true, they love, genuinely. They care, not because it’s their job, but because they ACTUALLY care. Many give up dreams and desires to serve God in such a way. They open up their homes, set aside their time, contribute from their own resources, and they take hits so that those in their charge can be safe.
Who is an Evangelist?
Simply put, an Evangelist is an announcer of the good news that Yeshua has paid the price of redemption of man from the yoke of Satan and sin and that new, eternal life is possible in Him! Such men and women are personally consumed with the function of reconciling the lost to their heavenly Father to the degree that it becomes the primary thing they live for. They are wired to bear fruit in the form of souls coming into the kingdom of God. They also inspire people in the church to engage in telling others about the good news of the gospel, whether they are evangelists, or not.
Evangelists may not carry an apostolic burden. They are not necessarily the suffering sent ones. Neither are they necessarily prophets, who are interceding orators. They may not even have a pastoral calling or burden for the believers within a local body. Finally, evangelists may not have a masterful handle on many of the doctrines of the bible, as their message is very narrow: Jesus is alive!
Not everyone is an evangelist. Evangelists are ministers, chosen by God, Himself. Still, all believers have a calling and a charge to bring the good news of the gospel to others.
Evangelists in the Bible:
Phillip was the most prominent Evangelist in the New Testament. In this ministry, he:
PERSONAL BELIEF (But, take it seriously): If you are confirmed and appointed in the five-fold ministry (Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher), there must be some operation of the gifts of the spirit (signs and wonders) following what you do. The biblical examples of all of these ministries seem to show the operation of signs and wonders.
Question: What is the gospel?