Summary: God has set teachers in the body of Christ to purge spiritual ignorance and to ground believers in the Word. Intellectuals often make simple truths difficult to understand. Teachers make even difficult or complex issues understandable.
The Office of the Teacher
Intro.: Educators tell us that a 3rd grade reading level is the benchmark educational level for success in our society. This means that anyone with a 3rd grade education can function adequately in life. They should be able to deal with the bank, the IRS, the government, their jobs, etc. Often, students are pushed thru w/o meeting the requirements because of overworked teachers, parental expectations, etc.
To a great extent, the church is guilty of the same thing. Our pews are full of people who have little or no grasp of even the most basic biblical teachings. Many believers are functionally illiterate in spiritual matters. People are given ministry responsibilities before they are ready with the hope that they will somehow catch up.
God has set teachers in the body of Christ to purge spiritual ignorance and to ground believers in the Word. Intellectuals often make simple truths difficult to understand. Teachers make even difficult or complex issues understandable.
In our Railroad analogy, the teacher is the tour guide, who explains the sights and sounds along the way, and helps prepare the passengers for the journey.
READ: 2 Timothy 2:2 “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
I. The Nature and Function of the Teacher
A. Communication is the Foundation
1. Communication has taken place when the student hears and understands
what the teacher wants him to hear and understand
NOTE: The best teaching and learning happens when it is based upon relationship, not merely the transfer of facts.
2. The are several levels of learning
a. Teaching by precept – learning is based on what the teacher says
b. Teaching by example – learning is based on who the teacher is in the student’s eyes
c. Teaching by conduct – learning is based on what the teacher does
d. Teaching by modeling – learning is based on the teachers living out the
principles being taught
NOTE: Good teachers realize that learning is “caught” more than “taught”
3. Jesus did all of these including modeling what he taught
a. His disciples watched His teachings being lived out in front of their eyes
B. Rightly dividing the Word of Truth
1. Teachers train believers to live on inspiration and instruction of the Word
a. Inspiration moves our emotions and spirit
b. Instruction moves our mind or intellect
2. Teachers also have the responsibility of teaching the ministry gifts
a. They teach those in the 5-fold ministries to function in their callings
C. Look for Results
1. Remember the teacher hasn’t taught until the student has learned
2. Lessons may need to be repeated until there is evidence of understanding
NOTE: It is not enough to impart information. The goal of all good teaching is to change behavior.
ILLUSTRATION: The story is told of a pastor that preached the same message several weeks in a row. A deacon challenged him by asking, “Why have you preached the same sermon all month? Let’s move on to something else.” The pastor replied, “We’ll move onto something else as soon as you start living this one!”
3. The problem in the church today is not a lack of sermons.
a. We are fat hearers rather than fit doers
b. If what we hear gives us “goose bumps” we want more and more.
c. If what we hear asks us to do something, we choose not to listen.
NOTE: We have a tendency to try and satisfy our spiritual “sweet tooth”
4. You’ve probably seen all the “… for dummies” books on the shelves
a. The Bible is our “Living for dummies” handbook
b. It is the job of the teacher to bring practical instruction from this manual
Concl.: The point of all this is that Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher are supposed to work together in the local church. One office cannot do everything. This will require a change of thinking from the traditional role of a single church leader to a manifold leadership concept which offers shared authority but different responsibilities.
We must allow the apostle to survey the spiritual landscape and lay the track for the church to run on.
We must allow the prophet to keep us on track and to continually stoke the fire of our spirits so we can continue moving forward on our journey.
We must allow the evangelist the freedom to invite onboard those that have yet to accept Jesus no matter what condition they are in.
We must allow the pastor to shepherd, care for and comfort the sheep rather than expecting him to do all of the above.
Finally, we must allow the teacher to teach until the students have learned what is being taught and it brings changed behavior in their lives.