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.