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WE the CHURCH - The Teachers

Posted by Justin Burge on

When Jesus ascends into heaven He tells His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to come in power. Ten days later the Holy Spirit comes and fills the early church with power allowing it to expand quickly around the world. In Ephesians, we find that through His Spirit, Jesus gives the church five different gifts to receive and grow in together:

  • The Apostles
  • The Prophets
  • The Evangelists
  • The Teachers
  • The Shepherds

Together, these gifts allow the church to act as Jesus’ lived presence to the world where His Kingdom can break through.

As we have been exploring these gifts over the past four weeks it has been my prayer that you would discover the gifts that Jesus has given to you.

Now what is amazing about these gifts is that when you look at them you can break them up into two categories — the pioneers and the developers.

The pioneers are the apostles, prophets, and evangelists. Pioneers are those who take new ground for the Kingdom of God.

  • The apostles are asking - “Where is the Kingdom of God advancing in my community?”
  • The prophets are asking - “Where is the justice and righteousness of God breaking into the world?”
  • The evangelists are asking - “Are there new people entering the Kingdom?”

The developers help keep, maintain, and develop those in the Kingdom of God.

If, in the past few weeks you have found yourself thinking, I don’t feel like any of these gifts are me yet, it is very likely you are a developer and we need you!

If the church were only pioneers we would be like shallow soil producing quick growth with little depth or sustainability.

Yet, if the church were just developers we would become thorny soil choking out new growth, and eventually it would become hard soil where everything would eventually wither and die.

The beauty of the gifts is that we need both the pioneers and the developers to rise among us. It is here where the fertile and rich soil can be cultivated and new growth can take on deep roots.

The developers among us are the teachers and the shepherds.

Teachers develop the body into a deep love of scripture and the truth of God.

The main question the teacher is asking is: “Do the people of God know, understand, love, and apply God’s word in their life?”

When we look at scripture we find that Jesus is THE TEACHER.

He comes to us as a Jewish Rabbi or teacher. Jesus is referred to in many instances as teacher. And when we look at the life of Jesus we see that He taught people no matter where they were.

  • He taught in the synagogues explaining God’s Word to the religious leaders.  
  • He taught in the countryside explaining the reality of the law to the crowds.
  • He taught beside the sea telling parables to the crowds.
  • He taught His disciples by sharing life with them.

But Jesus wasn’t just merely a teacher. He is also The Word of God. In the beginning of John’s gospel, Jesus is referred to as The Word, and Colossians opens with a passage declaring how all truth, reality, and existence is found in Him. Jesus is the teacher and He is the Truth.

There is even one point where Jesus makes this clear to His disciples by saying “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

So the teachers among us are those who point us back to Jesus. They are the ones who open our eyes to the truth of Jesus in the scriptures in a way that transforms us and grow us. They are the ones who walk beside us exposing the truth in order that we might be developed further into the image and likeness of Jesus.

The best teachers understand that the best form of teaching and learning happens through imitation and shared life. It will be through shared life that you will find that imitation happens in four steps.

  1. The Teacher does — and you watch
  2. The Teacher does — and you help
  3. You start doing — and the teacher helps
  4. You do — and the teacher celebrates and supports

You might be a teacher if:

  • you are first a learner.
  • you are able to help others study, know, and apply the truth of scripture.
  • you are able to make observations in other people lives that helps them make connections and take next steps towards growth.
  • you enjoy coming beside people and meeting them where they are at.
  • you are a storyteller that leads people to discover new truths about themselves and the world.

We have all been called to teach. We have all been called to know the truth and to imitate and follow the way. As we enter into knowing and living the truth (who is Jesus) we are given wisdom and knowledge that we are called to pass down to others.

Some questions we can ask ourselves as we grow as a teacher are:

  • How is Jesus inviting me to know and imitate Him?
  • Who has He placed in my life who is worth imitating? - who is he calling me to learn from?
  • What has He given me that is worth imitating?
  • Who is God calling me to invite into my life in order that they might learn from me?

The reality is that teachers teach. They do not need a large audience. They do not need a stage or venue. They need a humble spirit who hungers after the truth of God and is able to speak that truth in love to those around them.

To the teachers among us we need your leadership. We need your wisdom. We need you to show us what it is to follow after Jesus as we together strive after him.

With you,

Pastor Justin

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