CHAPTER 24-THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A TEACHER
#Mt 28:19,20 Jas 3:1
The church has a teaching program as well as a program of evangelism. I would not say there is too much emphasis on evangelism, but I do say there is too little emphasis put on teaching. It is common to cry up evangelism and cry down doctrine or teaching. Evangelism has for its aim salvation of the soul; teaching has for its purpose the salvation of a life. Evangelism thinks of human need; teaching thinks of the glory of God. Evangelism seeks to get men saved; teaching seeks to get men to honor God. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" (#Mt 28:19). Paul worked at both tasks. He pioneered along both lines. He would go through a country evangelizing the people and making disciples, and then he would later visit those places again to confirm and indoctrinate.
The divine and human classification of the human race differs. Man discriminates between his fellows on the ground of birth, of natural ability, of wealth, of race, and of culture. A professor of Ethnology would classify men according to color; as Caucasian, Negroid, Mongolian, Polynesian, etc. A psychologist would class men as extroverts or introverts. French used to divide the race into men, women, and clergymen. Our Sunday School experts divide them into many groups according to age. But God's classification of humanity is different. He looks on the heart and not on outward appearance. God divides men into two general classes: the natural and the spiritual; those who have had one birth and those who have had two births; the saved and the lost. The great command speaks of teaching the saved. First word for teach means disciple. This is evangelism. The church is to make disciples and then teach those disciples. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (#Mt 28:20).
The Bible speaks of two teachers: the divine and the human. The divine teaching must precede the human teaching if there are to be results. Men must first be taught of God before they can be saved or taught. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (#1Co 2:14); "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (#2Co 4:4); "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" (#Joh 6:45); "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (#1Jo 4:5,6). Until God teaches in calling and regeneration we can only teach the historical things of the Bible.
Paul: "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (#1Co 9:27).
1. Who are to teach? In choosing teachers we should certainly select the most godly and spiritual among us and this is no easy task. What I know of the lives of our members would not make it easy for me to select a teacher. I dare say that nobody can be selected that there might not be some objection to. I do not live with you. I do not know your home life. I do not know much about your social life. I do not shadow any of you to see where you go or what you do. But certainly no teacher of God's word ought to mix and mingle with people of this world in their sinful amusements. I do not believe that any Christian ought to go to a show. If I thought they should I would go. And how unspeakably bad that one should desecrate the Lord's Day by such conduct. I do not see how many Sunday School teachers live with themselves, those who live as the world lives. Unspeakably sad is the very thought that a Sunday School teacher should be found in juke joints, night clubs, and the like. Teachers have a responsibility to practice what they preach. The teacher should be an example for his class to follow. How can a teacher warn against worldliness if he himself is worldly? How can a teacher teach liberal giving if he himself is covetous? How can any teacher warn against sin if he himself is living in either secret or open sin? How can a teacher emphasize honesty if he himself ignores his obligations and fails to provide things honest in the sight of all men?
2. What to teach? Teach the word of God. The church as such has no Bible program for teaching arts and sciences. The command says teach them to observe all things Christ commanded. Nothing about physics or science.
3. How to teach? I would not pretend to lay down any method of teaching as imperative. Our Savior taught by lecture method. His lectures were in the nature of parable and story and quiz. He did not ask many questions, but His disciples put many questions to Him. Our teaching ought to provoke questions and arouse interest in Bible subjects.