I started out working as an apprentice diesel fitter. In some ways I though in the beginning this was a gloried laborer until I understood that apprenticeship meant learning and learning is not a once off matter. As an example, you cannot watch an artisan take a huge six cylinder diesel engine apart that seized up and think you can analyze the components and determine what went wrong and then get new parts and put it together again. You see, the crank casing might have cracked or the cylinder head might have dropped a valve or the piston rings might have run dry or a conrod might have dropped a bearing. Many other things could have gone wrong and in our case, new parts were not available so we needed to repair or fabricate parts. This is why in our day there was a 5 year apprenticeship before you were a qualified artisan. A good artisan would teach his apprentice everything he knew about the trade. That is what “teach” means in our text:
Mt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The thrust of making disciples is “teaching”, but teaching needs to be at the level of the learner. Not everyone grasps at the same pace. Some are slower and some are faster in learning, so the teacher needs to be aware of this reality.
1) Teaching is teaching doctrine and theology. The word “teach” in our text means that the one teaching needs …
(1) to make the one the teaching is about known …
(ii) impart instruction and …
(iii) instill doctrine into one.
This is why Paul writes to Titus saying:
Tit 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
As you consider Jesus words:
Mt 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you
You soon realize that everything He taught was theology and doctrine, be it the Sermon on the Mount or the Parables or His responses to Religious Leaders and His disciples. All of His teaching was doctrine and theology. I want to suggest that far too often in our age, “teachers” want to teach other things to their people. Teaching people how to do so called miracles; teaching people to speak in so called tongues; teaching people to venture into the supernatural is decidedly not what Jesus had in mind because they are not Biblical. It is true that many say “doctrine divides”. They are one hundred percent accurate in saying that! Doctrine divides truth from error. After Jesus’ Ascension, the Gospel spread was phenomenal. It moved into pagan lands, many of whom worshipped idols who reacted against the Gospel. Then there was the Gnostics who believed Jesus was not God because flesh was matter and matter was part of the sinful nature. These two examples show us that we need to make very certain we are imparting healthy, Biblical doctrine and theology to our disciples. Good doctrine exposes man made religions.
2) The Pastor Teacher is to teach.
Eph 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.
We know the offices of apostles and prophets have ceased, but we do have evangelists and Pastor Teachers. The reason I exclude the word “and” between Pastor … and … Teacher is because it is not there in the Greek. The Pastor is a Teacher. He teaches doctrine and theology. That is his work. Many want the office but not the description. Too often today the pastor wants to be a CEO. I wonder what Jesus would have said when He taught servanthood. Far too many pastors are not fulfilling their duty. I wonder whether they have ever seen
Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Any serious pastor will cringe knowing he will give God an account of what he taught, especially if it was not Biblical doctrine and theology! So the Pastor Teachers role is to teach his people doctrine and theology so that …
3) The congregation become equipped to teach doctrine and theology. If all Scripture is
2 Tim 3:16 God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work
and if Jesus sends all His Born Again people to “go and make”, then all His people need to grasp Biblical doctrine and theology is some measure. If we don’t we will lead people to hell and not direct them to heaven!
4) The main purpose of teaching is that hearers (disciples) observe. Our text says “obey” but a better translation is “observe”. Observe means …
(1) To conform your actions and practices to something, like a law. Here observe means to comply.
(2) To watch carefully with respect to details and behavior. Here observe means to compare. Time, repetition and love are required when teaching Christian doctrine and theology because these are about Jesus, who is God, and His salvation plan. Neither the teacher nor the leaners want to get this wrong because it is all about escaping hell and reaching heaven. Effective teaching is where the learners (disciples) comply with the doctrine and theology they have been taught … and as they progress in their Christian Pilgrimage, they compare whether they are holding to the truth of what has and is being taught.
5) The Word of God is not a suggestion! Neither is it a book of nice ideas. It is God’s Word that must be taken seriously. Play with the Word of God and face the consequences of God’s seriousness in wrath. Jesus’ teaching is part of the Bible as is all of Scripture. Jesus being God, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit gave the Bible as a Book of Commands to His people to obey. Let me repeat that the Bible is not like some novel on your shelf … it is not a best seller. The Bible is God’s Word and what one does with it will affect one’s eternity. The word “command” means “to order” and “to command to be done”. A follower of Jesus needs a complete mind shift from living in this world to living in God’s Kingdom. The only way the transition will take place is when we are taught the Word or we study the Word and allow God the Holy Spirit to take His Word and ground it in our hearts.
Our majestic, glorious Father … thank You for the Bible. Help me to use it correctly so that I might share it correctly. Amen.