Ephesians 4:11: And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Perhaps, just perhaps, the gift Lord Jesus has invested in you is that of teaching.
Ephesians 4:7 (NIV): But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Grace is given in varying degrees; some are given much grace, some less. Since grace is referring to gifts or abilities, it is therefore safe to conclude there are varying degrees of anointing upon a gift.
Ephesians 4:11: He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.
“He Himself” has determined that you will be a teacher, and “He Himself” has determined what degree of anointing to place upon you. Jesus is Lord and it is He who decides.
The gift of teaching is the ability and (usually) an enthusiasm to teach. You enjoy studying and like to educate others. You have an understanding of God’s Word and His ways. Perhaps the Lord has anointed you to accentuate specific truths.
Ephesians 4:12: for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Although you are one of the “teachers” in verse 11, you are also one of “the saints” in verse 12 needing to be equipped, a member of “the body of Christ” requiring “edifying”. The One who “gave gifts to men” teaches you through others who may have the same ministry gift of teaching. You are both a teacher and a student, and always will be.
Luke 16:10: He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much;
You may have visions of yourself standing behind a pulpit, and in front of that pulpit a room full of christians straining to hear your every word. In fact, the word “pulpit” was probably not yet invented when Ephesians 4:11 was written. Your career as a teacher may be limited to social media, your family and circle of acquaintances. You may be led of the Lord to have home Bible studies. It really doesn’t matter…. just prove yourself faithful.
It is the nature of the Lord to bless and increase. As you prove yourself faithful He will add anointing to anointing, opportunities to opportunities.
Matthew 23:10: do not be called teachers: for One is your Teacher, the Christ.
In a sense there are many teachers in the body of Christ. (Paul wrote to the Hebrews, “By this time you ought (all) to be teachers”. Heb.5:12) Again, there are layers of truth, one more relevant than another (a more spiritual perspective). Jesus taught He is the only true Teacher in the body of Christ. As Christ heals and delivers through His church, so He teaches through His church.
Jesus is also the chief apostle (“the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus” Heb.3:1). And prophet (“Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee” Mt.21:11). And evangelist (“the Lord of the harvest” Mt.9:38). And pastor (“I am the good shepherd” Jn.10:11).
Ephesians 5:25,26: Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Who sanctifies the church? Who cleanses? Jesus. How does He sanctify and cleanse? “By the word.” Through whom does He do this? Through you and me and everyone who submits to His lordship. He prophesies through the prophet, teaches through the teacher, pastors through the pastor.
Matthew 16:17: flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
Truth comes from God. All truth you have attained is because the Teacher has “revealed this to you”. People should be taught to look beyond “flesh and blood” and listen for Jesus speaking through the preacher/teacher. Discernment is required because in many cases it is not only Jesus speaking, but also “flesh and blood”.
Matthew 16:16: Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
As you know, Jesus was well pleased with this proclamation of Peter regarding Himself. Jesus said, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you.” This was Holy Spirit revelation. (“No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”) Witnesses might have concluded that everything Peter said from now on would be accurate, but not so.
Matthew 16:22: “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
This was Peter speaking again a very short time later. He didn’t like to hear Jesus talking of His crucifixion and said so. Jesus replied, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to me.” Ouch!
A preacher can say the right thing ten times successively but that is no guarantee the eleventh won’t be a blunder. Winds of doctrine come and go via teachers (speakers and writers). Sometimes preachers admit they once taught “this” but now teach “that”. Like their audience, they are learning. Generally, gullibility is a mark of christians, readily accepting both truth and error.
Christians should not be quick to shout, “Amen!” From my perspective few messages from the pulpit (or anywhere) are entirely true. The congregation naively assumes the speaker is somehow above them, more than merely a fellow student of the Word. Many times I have heard people say, “Amen!” to the most absurd statements from the pulpit. It seems as though preachers would have just as many people shouting “Amen!” if his position on the subject of his teaching was reversed.
James 4:6: God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Confess to fellow believers the times you have been in error. This reinforces that they ought not to trust in anyone but the one true Teacher, that they must judge all teachings.
And God will give you grace. (“God…. gives grace to the humble.”)
Jeremiah 17:5: Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.
In my opinion, believers are regularly taught to sin the sin of trusting in man. That’s just the way it is! teaches a subtle and damaging twist of Scripture: One trusts in God by trusting in leadership who has heard from God. (So also say the cults and other religions.)
The Lord declares that the heart convinced to trust in man is the heart that has departed from the Lord. As a teacher you must be careful to point people to, and not away from, a dependency on Christ.
Ephesians 4:11: And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
There is nothing in Ephesians 4:11 preventing you from having more than one gift. You may also be an apostle. Or a pastor. You could have a greater anointing on one gift than the other.
2 Corinthians 5:10: we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
When life on earth is over you must give an account for how you used the gift of teaching, and will be rewarded according to your faithfulness. Hopefully, your heart was to use the gift to bring honour to Jesus and not to yourself. (I confess my need to continually bring my less-than-perfect motives before the Lord Jesus. Blush.) You submitted to the lordship of the Holy Spirit rather than pry open doors of opportunity. Your focus was on “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” and not on the gift “He Himself” gave you. You did not become puffed because of your accomplishments, but did “walk humbly with your God”. No matter how much Jesus used you, you did not allow the approval and applause of others to distract you from drawing closer, ever closer, to Christ.
Hopefully, you were careful (and prayerful) to check things out so that you only taught the rightly divided Word. You were bold to speak truth even when truth was not welcome. You were not hesitant to say, “I don’t know.”
John 3:30: He must increase, but I must decrease.
Jesus said, “There has not risen one greater than John the Baptist”. (Mt.11:11) And John realized he “must decrease”.
Decrease. Don’t focus on you the teacher, but Jesus the “Lord of lords”. Don’t be concerned with “my ministry”, but pray to love Him more. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Let ministry flow out of relationship; it is the better, more fruitful way.
John’s reward is relative to his decrease of self. Paul was an apostle, a highly anointed one, but his gift was not a badge of honour; his badge was the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ph’p.1:21) His deepest longing was to know Him.
The most effective teacher is the one who loves Christ. The more real the relationship, the greater the anointing. Preaching from the intellect ministers to the intellect; preaching from the heart affects the heart.
James 4:6: God resists the proud,
Some preach/teach from a need to be heard. Expounding to others, bringing correction to the less informed, hearing all those “Amens” from an adulating audience, being ‘the man’ with the right word…. this is the high in their lives. Truths of God are used to comfort their egos. Such have long ago drifted from Christ and feel no urgency to return.
“God resists the proud.” How terrible for a christian to be resisted by his Redeemer.
James 4:6: But gives grace to the humble.
Some have to be dragged to the pulpit. Their cry is to be hidden behind the cross so people would see Jesus and not them. They love Him, they are His representatives, they want their lives to glorify His precious name. Their humility turns on a tap of grace (unmerited favour and much power). Their ministry of teaching brings much fruit, lasting fruit.
1 Peter 5:6: Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
Jesus was exalted and given a name above all names because “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Ph’p.2:8) God will exalt all who make the quality choice of being the servant, not demanding payment or recognition but using their giftings to bless others.
1 Corinthians 2:2: For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
I have said many times to whoever would listen: The lacking in the body of Christ is Christ! The church needs revival because it has drifted from its first love. Teaching facts and principles and keys and doctrines can enlarge the intellect while shrinking the heart. A teacher can pass on accurate information but still be part of the problem.
In order to teach Christ, one must know Christ. Being part of the solution calls for decrease of self, thus making more room for Jesus.
Teaching is a privilege and a responsibility. And we are all teachers, good or bad.
Every parent is a teacher. Dad and mom make lasting impressions on their children by what they teach, verbally and by example. Parents are responsible to oversee the spiritual life of their offspring, to convey the ways of the Lord, to implant a passion for Christ. The adults their kids become will be their consequence, more than any other.
We teach each other, intentionally or inadvertently. We influence. We have the capacity to draw people closer to Jesus, or to be a hindrance. We bless and hurt with the same tongue. The mature christian is slow to speak; he measures his words; he knows he is accountable.
Some are given a special gift of teaching, one of the five ministry gifts of Ephesians 4:11. To be called to preach God’s truth to God’s church should be humbling. No one deserves this high calling; it is truly a gift from the One so generous. And there is a reward, an eternal reward, for the faithful stewards of His truths.
For the teacher who serves Jesus everything will go right. For the one serving man, including oneself, everything will go wrong.
There are many teachers discipled in That’s Just The Way It Is!. Traditions of men are their lord. Even truths of the Bible are used (misused) to appease and reinforce this idol. Such teachers are part of the all-encompassing problem, and not the answer.
A teacher cannot afford divided loyalties; he will harm the body of Christ he is supposed to edify. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ”. (Gal.1:10)
Paul loved and served Jesus, his heart was not divided, he was part of the answer. But many in his day were proponents of the way it is, fearful pleasers of men. They were enemies of the cross, preaching a gospel of works. Their message was not “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, but something perverse.
Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters”. How can a teacher/preacher know he is serving Jesus, and not another? The answer is oh, so simple, and is found in 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word!” A spiritual teacher is one called by God to teach the Word of God. No adding, no subtracting, no compromising, no politics.
It was teachers who passed biblical truths from generation to generation. And it was teachers who likewise passed on traditions of men, trespassing 2 Timothy 4:2. They compromised truth so they could fit into, and not aggravate, their spiritual communities.
A televangelist once wrote an article in his periodical defending his palatial house paid for by the ministry (donations from his supporters). The media was crying, “Foul!” and this evangelist fought back, using two pages of his prominent magazine to defend his position.
I enjoyed his magazine because he “preached the Word”, always backing up his point of view with Scripture. But in this specific article he never quoted one verse when defending his multi-million dollar house. He used comparisons to other televangelists and much logic…. but no Word.
That televangelist is no guiltier than most teachers. Most bounce back and forth from the Word to the way it is with proficiency. And yes, we have all been guilty. We have all propagated the way it is, verbally and by example. We strayed from Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, “Preach the word!”
May the “teacher” teach us to be wise and faithful teachers. Amen?
—————————————————A TRIBUTE TO JESUS CHRIST
“it is finished!” (Jn.19:30)
it is finished
my course complete
death lost its sting
grave its victory
world ruler defeated
my blood innocent
father well pleased
i the seed
planted and died
my father had one
he has you
another will come
and be in you
he knows the way
a seed that died
finish your course
run the race
fight the good fight
abide in me
i love you