Summary: Three reasons why the teaching ministry of the church is indispensable.
BOLD TEACHING IN THE CHURCH
INTRO: Professor W. L. Phelps of Yale University once said, “I thoroughly believe in a university education for both men and women, but I believe that a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without the Bible.”
Whether a person has extensive educational achievements or none, the importance of teaching and studying the Bible cannot be overstated.
The teaching ministry of the church is indispensable for three reasons:
I. THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCHES EMPHASIZED TEACHING.
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42 (quickview) ). The function of teaching was not the mere dispensing of information but the application of the information for daily living. The New Testament emphasis on teaching was aimed at molding the conduct of an individual.
According to estimates of researchers, the average person, by the age of 65, will have spent nine years of his time watching TV and only four months studying the Bible.
There are four ways to know the Bible. First, know its beauty spots — the great texts of the Old Testament and the incomparable passages of the New. Second, know its individual books — the content and context of each. Third, know its characters — the men and women who throng it pages and illustrate its truth. Fourth, know its structural ideals — from creation to redemption.
II. THE VITALITY OF A CHURCH IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO TEACHING.
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). It is an embarrassing quirk of recent times that we have fought like Tasmanian devils to keep the Bible in public schools but have over-looked its significance in the Sunday School. The health of any church can be measured by its neglect of or commitment to communicating the truth of the Scripture.
Over eight million Southern Baptists are not enrolled in ongoing Bible study. Given that estimate, Elton Trueblood’s assessment of commitment is striking. “There is no real chance of victory in a campaign if ninety percent of the soldiers are untrained and uninvolved, but that is exactly where we stand now.” Sunday School is a training center to involve soldiers in the cause of Christ.
The Sunday School remains today the most people-involving approach in modern church life. Any church that is serious about growth must be serious about harnessing the power of this organization.
III. BELIEVERS ARE STRENGTHENED THROUGH TEACHING.
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42 (quickview) ). A teaching church is a learning center for strong morals and good habits.
The Sunday School is the church’s primary channel for witnessing to people, winning them to Christ and church membership, and involving them in a life of meaningful growth and service.
CONC: Bible study for a Christian is like a compass for an explorer, a map for a traveler, a tool for a carpenter, a textbook for a student, and a blueprint for an architect.