Saturday, February 13, 2010

Do teachers take their anointing seriously?

Good morning everyone. The theme from the Spirit this week seems to be "sound doctrine". As some of you know I do not choose the Scripture but instead I am systematically working through the New Testament. I take ten minutes to meditate on the Word and then ask the Spirit to guide my writing. I have 30 minutes to write. Often the Spirit teaches me as I do the writing. It is always an interesting result to me and I am glad to share it with you. As we continue with Titus this morning we again encounter Paul's instruction to teach from sound doctrine:

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)

Doctrine refers to the teaching of the Church that is taken directly from the Holy Scriptures. This should not be confused with denominational doctrine which sometimes leaves out important Biblical doctrine due to its identity and focus. We need the whole council of the Word which means plenty of study. Teachers of the Word must be very careful that they are teaching sound doctrine and are teaching all of the Word, not chosen parts. Paul gives Titus some examples of what he should teach to various groups of people, all coming from sound doctrine. Here is an example of this that shows how simple this teaching can be, and the great impact it can have:

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. (vv. 9-10)

Simple things that come from sound doctrine; don't steal, don't talk back, show you can be trusted. Everything Paul puts forward is about representing Jesus well to the world. That would be a perspective many of us could profit from and perhaps would cause us to speak, act, and even dress differently. But let's not get off track here as we consider how important it is for teacher's of the Word to teach properly. Paul continues with Titus:

In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (vv. 7b-8)

Those three things, integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech are important for any teacher to consider as they handle the Word of God. I can be a bit of a joker and often use sarcasm as a tool with the young people I work with. Yet, when I take out the Word of God something changes in me because we are not dealing with the trivial of life any more; we are discussing very ancient words written by God for the purpose of revealing his heart to us. If the teacher does not treat this Holy ancient text with respect why would his students?

We need those who have been anointed to teach to take up that calling and responsibility and step out. We need them to step out because we need to be reminded of this ancient Word that reveals God to us. It changes things:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (vv. 11-14)

Are we being changed by what God reveals to us in his Word? Do we allow the Holy Spirit to bring in that transformation as he shows us the need for it? Are we careful handlers of the Word, understanding that what we say in Jesus' authority has an impact on people's faith? Do we teach from the Word or do we teach from other teacher's teaching?  If you are a teacher of the ancient text then it is best you take time and reflect on these instructions that Paul gave to Timothy and Titus. You will be held to a greater accounting than anyone else. James warned:

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1)

So, let us take the time to learn sound doctrine instead of the fanciful teaching of men, and let us be brave enough to teach the truth. Be brave teachers and take Paul's words to Titus to your own heart:

These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (Titus 2:15)

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