It really is as easy as 1-2-3. One glory should be evident, two coverings are needed, and three heads are mentioned. Along with the three heads mentioned, there are three glories associated with each head.
“To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.’ Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.’” Genesis 3:16-19
The fall of mankind brought radical consequences to Adam, Eve, and all of their descendents – in essence, every human being who ever existed was affected by it. Some of the reminders of Adam and Eve’s sin targeted their unique roles: the former as the provider and the latter as the mother. Their marital relationship – once meant for companionship and cooperation – now would be subject to strife, as competing desires between the spouses led to friction (Genesis 3:16, the last clause in particular.) Of course, the worst consequence of all was eventual physical and immediate spiritual death, ushered into the world by Adam’s sin (Romams 5:12.)Read More
Last week we looked at Ephesians 4:11-12 as key passage in understanding the New Testament principle that each believer is given a spiritual gift to be used for equipping the saints to do the work of ministry. The verse reads: “And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” And also, 1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administration, and various kinds of tongues.”
This week we are going to continue to look more in-depth at the spiritual gift of teaching. Teaching is a heart-to-heart endeavor that, with all the other gifts, is designed to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. Keep in mind that the goal is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. The goal is NOT to give every brother a chance to explain a Bible passage or to share how much we have studied and learned about a particular passage, the goal is unarguably to equip the saints.
Biblical teaching is NOT the same as explaining or expounding a Bible passage. Think, as well, on the passage in 2 Timothy. Paul writes to his younger brother who is actively engaged in ministry “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Notice again, that the goal is to equip the man of God for work – not to inform him (or her) so that they can pass a test or impress their co-workers, but to EQUIP them!
Both Jesus Christ and Paul handled the Truth in the same way – like a manual for life and ministry. Their teaching was more like that of a trade school than an academic setting. Paul’s letters clearly show that even in the structure where he lays out (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) biblical principles in the first part of his epistles and then the last section is filled with what to do with the principles. In other words, “here’s the truth and here’s what you do with it.” Neither of these men merely explained a passage, neither of these men spoke to their students’ heads, they were speaking to their hearts.
As believers who must be equipped by other believer’s faithful use of their spiritual gift, we need to be in prayer that the men of God who provide the biblical instruction to us and our dear brothers and sisters are men of God equipped to teach – equipped to teach with the goal of equipping to do work. We need to pray for men of God to take the platform who have a heart burden to speak to their listener’s hearts, not their heads. Most believers can explain a passage, but I would suggest that few, the ones given to the assembly by a Sovereign God as a teacher (or teacher-shepherd) are able to teach like Paul and the Lord.
Until next week, fulfill YOUR ministry using the gift given to you…
Over the last few weeks, we have been considering worshiping God as He has prescribed it in the New Testament. In my series of 3 posts I referred to the truth that I was discussing as a New Testament Principle. Now it is time to turn to another principle found in the New Testament. I want to remind everyone of what makes a New Testament principle. A principle is “a basic truth, law or assumption.” So, a New Testament principle is “a basic truth, law or assumption that was established or expounded upon in the New Testament for believers seeking to follow the Lord Jesus as His disciples, individually or collectively.”
To introduce this next principle, let’s look at a few verses. Ephesians 4:11-12 ESV “And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” And also, 1 Corinthians 12:28 ESV “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administration, and various kinds of tongues.” Therefore, another New Testament principle is that God has given each believer a spiritual gift.
Most Bible students will quickly recognize that there are several passages that deal with spiritual gifts. A spiritual gift is a super-natural enablement given by God to you at the time of your new birth. This gift is given to you along with a ministry and a series of related works that use the gift in an appropriate setting to accomplish God’s purposes.
God was gracious enough to give us some examples of these spiritual gifts. (I don’t for a moment believe that every spiritual gift has been enumerated in all of the passages on spiritual gifts.) God was also gracious enough to tell us the purpose for the gifts being given. They weren’t given to us, by God, for our own personal enjoyment, or even our own personal ministry. They are not to be buried and “kept for later” or exchanged because we aren’t happy with the one(s) we received. Rather, they were given to us by God to equip the saints for the work of ministry.
Most of you are saying “brilliant” at this moment because that is soooo obvious. But, I would like to suggest that perhaps from time to time we have lost sight of the goal when discerning gifts in our local meetings, etc. I am thinking, at the moment, specifically of the gift of teaching. I fear that for one reason or another, we have made the gift of teaching a “rite of passage” where every young man (or middle aged or older) is given a chance (or chances or even the platform regularly) to “teach.” We all know that we don’t believe in a “one man teaching ministry” but yet, we have embraced an everyman, or nearly everyman teaching ministry. That is certainly not scriptural (more on that later.)
Teaching is a heart-to-heart endeavor that, with all the other gifts, is designed to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. We ought not to be merely explaining Bible passages Sunday after Sunday. Almost any brother who studies the Word can explain a passage! But, dear saints, that is not teaching as envisioned by God and described in scripture.
We are going to talk more about this next week, Lord willing. But until then…fulfill your ministry (and use your gift to equip others to do the work of ministry.)
“…Lest you die.” Genesis 3:3
“There’s nothing certain except death and taxes” says the familiar adage, but why is that so? People of every race, nationality, socioeconomic and educational level die. One out of every one dies in our world today; these are easy statistics for the mathematically challenged (like this author.) How does one account for the ubiquity of death in our world? Genesis 3 gives the answer.Read More
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman,’Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’” Genesis 3:1
Among human beings, it is a common sin to discount the goodness of their Creator. Often when God is brought into any conversation, it is merely to complain about what’s wrong with the world. Many people live under the misconception that God wants to rob them of any enjoyment they might have on this woeful planet. This brings to mind the journalist H.L. Mencken’s definition of a Puritan: someone who fears that somebody somewhere is having a good time. Many people think God is like that. Not surprisingly, therefore, the first temptation to Adam and Eve came in the form of a question ascribing harshness to the Almighty’s provision for His creatures.Read More
The Lord’s Supper was instituted by the Lord Himself on the eve of His crucifixion. In the loaf and cup He was giving tangible emblems of His body and blood, and His command to His disciples was to perpetuate this ordinance in remembrance of Himself. The practice of the early believers in the book of Acts gives guidance regarding the ‘breaking of bread’. A quick glance at the end of chapter two will reveal that the participants were people who had been saved by responding to Peter’s preaching. Subsequently, they wereRead More
A reading of the New Testament will demonstrate that Christian women played a crucial role in the ongoing work of God. Such sisters as Priscilla, Phebe and Eunice are but examples of the noble band of women whose contribution to assembly life was invaluable. However, teaching the Word is vocal participation in the gatherings and is for the men only. That may sound strange in an age of equal opportunities in politics and business, but it is the clear teaching of scripture. The general statement that covers the point is, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak”, 1 Corinthians 14:34. The immediate context shows that the prohibition extends even to asking a question in a public gathering. Elsewhere, it takes in public praying, in that the men (Greek word meaning males) should pray, 1 Timothy 2:8, and it certainly forbids public teaching on the part of the sisters, 1 Timothy 2:12.Read More
In Christendom, a system has developed that we call the clerical system, in which one man has almost the sole responsibility of preaching to a congregation week by week. That practice is not based on the teaching of the Bible. In New Testament times, in each local church, a number of men had responsibility for ministering to God’s people. Indeed, every believer had some part to play, for the assembly is likened to a human body with each member playing a vital role. Every believer has been endowed with a spiritual gift that has to be employed for the good of the whole body. To pay one man to bear almost the whole responsibility of helping God’s people is a contradiction of the ‘body of Christ’ aspect of the local church, 1 Corinthians 12:27.Read More
One sad feature of the present day is that many of the Lord’s dear people are connected to religious systems in which believers and unbelievers are linked. That situation was never the norm in New Testament times. In 1 Corinthians 1:2, Paul described the composition of the church of God at Corinth like this, “them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints”. Thus each member was a genuine believer for it is our faith in Christ that sanctifies us, Acts 26:18. He also spoke of assemblies in general as “churches of the saints”, 1 Corinthians 14:33, another indication that there should be an exclusively believing membership.Read More