Summary: What is the spiritual gift of TEACHING?
The Gift of Quality Instruction
We’ve been looking at the spiritual gifts which God gives to members of the Body of Christ, His Church, in order to bring glory to Him alone, and to edify us together in unity and strength, to function as His Body while we live on this earth. We looked at the gift of prophecy, which is PROCLAIMING, speaking forth the Word of God. WE looked at “Service” last week, and saw that SERVING is exactly what the Lord Jesus did, even to the point of death for sins, so we really do not have a good reason why we would not serve Him by serving each other. Serving each other and our neighbors is actually demonstrating our love for God: Serving is faith in action. (By the way, sitting in church or sitting on the couch doesn’t qualify as “serving”.)
Today we look at the spiritual gift of teaching. We’ll read Romans 12:1-8: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think ; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Jimmy was having a tough day in school and the teacher said to him: “You aren’t paying attention to me. Are you having trouble hearing?” He replied: “No, teacher I’m not having trouble hearing; I’m having trouble listening!” Everyone but the teacher laughed, so she sent a note home with Jimmy about his behavior. As a result, his mom asked Jimmy what he thought of his teacher. He replied, “She’s mean but fair.” “What do you mean by that?” his mother asked. He replied: “She’s mean… but she’s mean to EVERYBODY!”
1. The Greatest Teacher
I’m sure that you had teachers that weren’t your “favorites”… and YOU probably weren’t THEIR favorites either; did you ever realize that? When you are young, you think that “a Teacher is a person who helps you solve problems you’d never have without them.” But actually good teachers are not always valued teachers.
The greatest Teacher who ever lived, still lives today, and he certainly was undervalued: His name is Jesus. Jesus consistently instructed others during his three year ministry. The Greek word for “teach” is “didasko”. We get the word “didactic”, meaning “intended to instruct or teach”. So-called “good” and Godly preaching used to be called didactic preaching; it was teaching and preaching which was to teach us God’s authoritative Word. It was meant to teach us God’s standards for morality, relationships and behavior. Now so much preaching is subjective, narrative, and experiential instead of intensive study and exposition of God’s Word.
a. Think about this: Jesus, Himself, WAS THE Word, the fulfillment of the Word, and yet He tirelessly taught God’s Word. The Living Word was writing the Word as He was revealing Himself as the Word, and as He quoted the Old Testament Promises from the Word. As some of Jesus’ teachings are recorded in the Gospels, He quoted from 27 Old Testament books, 78 times. In His words and instruction, He taught that ALL of life, the WHOLE PERSON, should be ordered in relation to a Holy God and to your neighbor.
b. Jesus systematically taught God’s Word, but He taught those who were teachable. He taught those who would listen. Jesus was recognized as a GREAT teacher until He made the absolute claim that, not only was He a prophet and teacher, but in his own name, Jesus associated Himself directly with God, as THE responsible bearer of God’s Own Will, and that He, Himself, would offer himself as the only one who could perfectly fulfill that perfect Will of God. After His claim, those who would NOT FOLLOW Him would abandon Him and some would even crucify Him: they were no longer “teachable.”