TEACHER (Rabbi -Heb., Di-da’skalos-The title demanded by some of the learned men, scribes, teachers of the law- Mat. 23:6-8)
We all know that God’s teachings are important. His words guide and lightens our paths. And we, as His His servants are expected to give importance in all His teachings. We are called learners of His teachings.
It is our obligation to show that we are truly learning from those teachings. On this topic, we try to review the importance, how we should give more value, what should be the effects and how can these teachings give significance in our lives.
When we speak about God’s words, we cannot avoid talking about Jesus Christ. There are some who do not believe that Jesus existed, there are some who say that He is an “ impostor,” there are some who say that His divinity was invented only by the early church, but no matter what they say, we cannot question that Jesus Christ is a Great Teacher.
Jesus preached approximately three years during His time, and within those years, His teachings gave so much effect in the lives of many people and until now, many recognize His examples, analogies and most of all the emphasis that He gave on the equality and morality of all people.
We can read in Luke 18:18 – “Now a certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” This gave proof that even the rulers on that time, recognize Him as a Good Teacher.
At the age of thirty, He started His ministry preaching the Gospel while performing astonishing works, which people call “miracles.” Almost all scholars are convinced and say that He is indeed a Great Teacher. They admire His views on morality issues.
In his book Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish scholar Joseph Klausner wrote, “It is universally admitted … that Christ taught the purest and sublimest ethics … which throws the moral precepts and maxims of the wisest men of antiquity far into the shade.” (Quoted in Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, vol. 1 (Nashville: Nelson, 1979), 127.) The “EQUAL RIGHTS” that many enjoy today are all taken from the teachings of Jesus Christ.
What more do we need to know about Jesus’ teachings?
Jesus speaks with authority. This is what the officers told the chief priests about Jesus when they fail to catch Him. (John 7:45-46) Then the servants went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, Why have you not got him with you? The servants made answer, No man ever said things like this man.
His teachings are simple yet straight forward and effective, His logic and analogies are uncontested, His usage of figure of speech is intelligently designed, and all His examples are always appropriate and exactly tailored to His listeners. Some of the examples are the following:
- He taught about hope that no matter what happens, God will never leave us.(Matthew 6:25-30) – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isnt there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Arent you more valuable than they are? And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, a which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, b wont he clothe you even more, you people of little faith?
- He taught about not to judge others. (Matthew 7:3-5) Why do you see the speck in your brothers eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me remove the speck from your eye, while there is a beam in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.
- Jesus was a perfect example of “practice what you preach.” (John 13:15) – I have given you an example, so that you may do what I have done to you. He was not like the Scribes and the Pharisees that teach about the law of God but do not do them. (Matthew 23:3) All things, then, which they give you orders to do, these do and keep: but do not take their works as your example, for they say and do not.
In a span of almost three years, Jesus taught His disciples of His teachings because they will continue His ministry. He promised that the Holy Spirit will come to them and will remind them of the things that He said to them. (John 14:26) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will be your teacher in all things and will put you in mind of everything I have said to you.
And before He went to heaven, He said to His Apostoles, (Matthew 28:30) Teaching them to keep all the rules which I have given you: and see, I am ever with you, even to the end of the world.
How did the Bible illustrate the value of God’s teachings?
The teachings of God are our guide to perfection. God is perfect and He wants us to be perfect too. We can be perfect through His teachings. (2 Timothy 3:15-17) And that from the time when you were a child, you have had knowledge of the holy Writings, which are able to make you wise to salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. Every holy Writing which comes from God is of profit for teaching, for training, for guiding, for education in righteousness: So that the man of God may be complete, trained and made ready for every good work.
To help us achieve perfection, God gave us teachers in His church. (Ephesians 4:11-12) And he gave some as Apostles, and some, prophets; and some, preachers of the good news; and some to give care and teaching; For the training of the saints as servants in the church, for the building up of the body of Christ:
Through this, the prophecy in the Old Testament will come true, which says, “Those whose hearts were turned away from him will get knowledge, and those who made an outcry against him will give attention to his teaching.” (Isaiah 19:24) The words of God will open our eyes so that we can see the truth and correct our wrong faith and beliefs that are only made up of men.
And so shall we have wisdom of the truth. And the false beliefs will no longer be a part of our lives. (1 Corinthians 13:9-12) For our knowledge is only in part, and the prophet’s word gives only a part of what is true: But when that which is complete is come, then that which is in part will be no longer necessary. When I was a child, I made use of a child’s language, I had a child’s feelings and a child’s thoughts: now that I am a man, I have put away the things of a child. For now we see things in a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now my knowledge is in part; then it will be complete, even as God’s knowledge of me.
Learning must continue. It’s not enough that we receive the truth. We need to understand more. We must not look on our achievements and we need to move forward and continue to learn to achieve perfections. (Philippians 3:12) Not as if I had even now got the reward or been made complete: but I go on in the hope that I may come to the knowledge of that for which I was made the servant of Christ Jesus.
No one attains success by turning away from the tasks. If we stop serving the Lord, then we can never attain perfection. If we stop learning, we get away from achieving perfection. Only those who persevere, endure and remain still will achieve it. And though salvation is free because it is a gift from God, we still need to do the will of God by attaining such perfections.
And besides, there are lots of hindrances in achieving that so called perfections. There will be tests, temptations and stumbling blocks along the way and we need to avoid them or rather overcome them. We need to focus on our goal, which is to achieve perfections. If we are weak, we can easily find ourselves failing to achieve it. We need to let God have total control of ourselves. (James 3:2) For we all go wrong in a number of things. If a man never makes a slip in his talk, then he is a complete man and able to keep all his body in control.
An example of obstruction happens when some brethren felt hurt while listening to a preacher. Some of them assume that preachers attack them and make everything personal. That is not true especially in the church of God. Some of them even choose the preacher that suits their spiritual appetite. (1 Corinthians 1:12-13) That is, that some of you say, I am of Paul; some say, I am of Apollos; some say, I am of Cephas; and some say, I am Christ’s. Is there a division in Christ? was Paul nailed to the cross for you? or were you given baptism in the name of Paul?
Actually, it is not right to choose a preacher whom we want to listen to because teachings of God are made not for an individual but for the whole body.
How can we give value to these teachings?
There are many ways on how we can give importance to all the teachings that we receive. One of the ways is to be part of all good things to our teachers. (Galatians 6:6) But let him who gets teaching in the word give a part in all good things to his teacher. Early Christians became part of the many burdens that the Apostles had. But the most important thing that we can give is by showing them that we follow their teachings wholeheartedly. Among the common teachings are the following:
- To all brethren, we are advised to have good behavior and good relationship to others. (1 Peter 2:12) Being of good behaviour among the Gentiles; so that though they say now that you are evil- doers, they may see your good works and give glory to God when he comes to be their judge.
- We are also advised to take care good care of one another. (Hebrews 10:24) And let us be moving one another at all times to love and good works;
- We are also advised to obey our leaders. (Titus 3:1) Make clear to them that they are to put themselves under rulers and authorities, to do what they are ordered, to be ready for every good work. To
- To all children, obey and respect your parents at all times. (Ephesians 6:1) Children, do what is ordered by your fathers and mothers in the Lord: for this is right. (Colossians 3:20) Children, do the orders of your fathers and mothers in all things, for this is pleasing to the Lord.
- To parents, don’t provoke your children to anger. (Ephesians 6:4) And, you fathers, do not make your children angry: but give them training in the teaching and fear of the Lord. (Colossians 3:21) Fathers, do not be hard on your children, so that their spirit may not be broken. To all
- To all servants, work as if we are working to the Lord and not of men. (Ephesians 6:7-8) Doing your work readily, as to the Lord, and not to men: In the knowledge that for every good thing anyone does, he will have his reward from the Lord, If he is a servant or if he is free.
Besides these, what good works can we do to help the teachers given to us in the church of God?
- Don’t take advantage on brethren’s weaknesses. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-7) And last of all, the prayer which we make to you from our heart and in the name of the Lord Jesus, is this: that as we made clear to you what sort of behaviour is pleasing to God, as in fact you are doing now, so you will go on in these ways, but more and more. Because you have in mind the orders we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For the purpose of God for you is this: that you may be holy, and may keep yourselves from the desires of the flesh; So that every one of you may keep his body holy and in honour; Not in the passion of evil desires, like the Gentiles, who have no knowledge of God; And that no man may make attempts to get the better of his brother in business: for the Lord is the judge in all these things, as we said to you before and gave witness. Because it is God’s purpose that our way of life may be not unclean but holy.
- Love one another. (1 John 4:7) My loved ones, let us have love for one another: because love is of God, and everyone who has love is a child of God and has knowledge of God. (1 John 4:20-21) If a man says, I have love for God, and has hate for his brother, his words are false: for how is the man who has no love for his brother whom he has seen, able to have love for God whom he has not seen? And this is the word which we have from him, that he who has love for God is to have the same love for his brother.
- Remind those who are walking without order. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-23) And our desire is that you will keep control over those whose lives are not well ordered, giving comfort to the feeble- hearted, supporting those with little strength, and putting up with much from all. Let no one give evil for evil; but ever go after what is good, for one another and for all. Have joy at all times. Keep on with your prayers. In everything give praise: for this is the purpose of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not put out the light of the Spirit; Do not make little of the words of the prophets; Let all things be tested; keep to what is good; Keep from every form of evil. And may the God of peace himself make you holy in every way; and may your spirit and soul and body be free from all sin at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Help those who are in need. (Romans 15:24-27) Whenever I go to Spain (for it is my hope to see you on my way, and to be sent on there by you, if first I may in some measure have been comforted by your company) — But now I go to Jerusalem, taking help for the saints. For it has been the good pleasure of those of Macedonia and Achaia to send a certain amount of money for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. Yes, it has been their good pleasure; and they are in their debt. For if the Gentiles have had a part in the things of the Spirit which were theirs, it is right for them, in the same way, to give them help in the things of the flesh.
- Respect and love the leaders of the church. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13) But we make this request to you, my brothers: give attention to those who are working among you, who are over you in the Lord to keep order among you; And have a high opinion of them in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. Let us always pray for our preachers so that God may guide them always, bestow them with wisdom to lead and instruct us and find happiness while performing their duties. (Colossians 4:3) And making prayer for us, that God may give us an open door for the preaching of the word, the secret of Christ, for which I am now in chains;
Also, we can include in our prayers the success of the missionary works of the church lead by our ministers so that many men and women will be added to the church to give glory to the Lord God. (2 Thessalonians 3:1) For the rest, my brothers, let there be prayer for us that the word of the Lord may go forward with increasing glory, even as it does with you; (Luke 10:2) And he said to them, There is much grain ready to be cut, but not enough workers: so make prayer to the Lord of the grain- fields that he will send workers to get in the grain. (Hebrews 13:18) Make prayers for us, for we are certain that our hearts are free from the sense of sin, desiring the right way of life in all things.
But what is the main reason why we have to ask for everyones help in the works of the church of God?
We have to understand that the church’s works are not that easy. The ministers and workers of the church do not only deliver teachings during our worship services. They also leave their loveones to go to far places and preach the gospel of the Lord to the unbelievers. Thus, their works are full of sacrifices.
Apostle Paul mentioned these sacrifices in his letter to the Corinth. His sacrifices, along with the other brethren of the church are not few. (2 Corinthians 6:3-10) Giving no cause for trouble in anything, so that no one may be able to say anything against our work; But in everything making it clear that we are the servants of God, in quiet strength, in troubles, in need, in sorrow, In blows, in prisons, in attacks, in hard work, in watchings, in going without food; In a clean heart, in knowledge, in long waiting, in being kind, in the Holy Spirit, in true love, In the true word, in the power of God; with the arms of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By glory and by shame, by an evil name and a good name; as untrue, and still true; Unnoted, but still kept fully in mind; as near to death, but still living; as undergoing punishment, but not put to death; As full of sorrow, but ever glad; as poor, but giving wealth to others; as having nothing, but still having all things. (2 Corinthians 11:26) In frequent travels, in dangers on rivers, in dangers from outlaws, in dangers from my countrymen, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers in the town, in dangers in the waste land, in dangers at sea, in dangers among false brothers;
The workers of the church sacrifice a lot for the sake of the brethren. They will do everything and will sacrifice anything to fulfill their duties, to help the brethren achieve their perfections before God. They are like parents to their children (2 Corinthians 12:17-19) Did I make a profit out of you by any of those whom I sent to you? I gave orders to Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus make any profit out of you? were we not guided by the same Spirit, in the same ways? It may seem to you that all this time we have been attempting to put ourselves in the right; but we are saying these things before God in Christ. For all things, dear brothers, are for your profit.
In order to manage the needs of the other brethren, Apostle Paul even took money from other churches as payment for his work. It is part of his dutiful management in order to facilitate the needs of others. (2 Corinthians 11:5-8) For in my opinion, I am in no way less than the most important of the Apostles. But though I am rough in my way of talking, I am not so in knowledge, as we have made clear to all by our acts among you. Or did I do wrong in making myself low so that you might be lifted up, because I gave you the good news of God without reward? I took money from other churches as payment for my work, so that I might be your servant;
By doing this, some brethren and locale of the church like the church of Macedonia gave more than what they can give to help others. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5) And now we give you news, brothers, about the grace of God which has been given to the churches of Macedonia; How while they were undergoing every sort of trouble, and were in the greatest need, they took all the greater joy in being able to give freely to the needs of others. For I give them witness, that as they were able, and even more than they were able, they gave from the impulse of their hearts, Seriously requesting us that they might have a part in this grace of being servants to the needs of the saints: And going even farther than our hope, they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us after the purpose of God.
The locale of Achaia became an inspiration for all the churches because Ang mga taga-Acaya naman ay naging inspirasyon sa maraming kapatid sa kanilang ipinakitang paghahanda tungkol sa amabagan. (2 Corinthians 9:1-2) But there is no need for me to say anything in my letter about the giving to the saints: For I have before made clear to those of Macedonia my pride in your ready mind, saying to them that Achaia has been ready for a year back; and a great number have been moved to do the same by your example.
Although according to Paul, workers of the church have right to take something from the donations of the members, but Paul emphasized that he never used this right instead, he worked for his own personal expenses because he knew that this will be a big issue on some brethren. (1 Corinthians 9:11-14, 15-17) If we have been planting the things of the Spirit for you, does it seem a great thing for you to give us a part in your things of this world? If others have a part in this right over you, have we not even more? But we did not make use of our right, so that we might put nothing in the way of the good news of Christ. Do you not see that the servants of the holy things get their living from the Temple, and the servants of the altar have their part in the food which is offered on the altar? Even so did the Lord give orders that the preachers of the good news might get their living from the good news. But I have not made use of any of these things: and I am not writing this in the hope that it may be so for me: for it would be better for me to undergo death, than for any man to make this pride of mine of no effect. For if I am a preacher of the good news, I have no cause for pride in this; because I am forced to do so, for a curse is on me if I do not. But if I do it gladly, I have a reward; and if not, I am under orders to do it.
Remember that not only the members of the church are obliged to give donations. Your ministers and church workers also do their part to help and give what they can to set us good example.
In conclusion, if we do all these things, God will surely be glorified because we are doing what He wants us to do, which is to continue serving Him according to His pleasure until we all come to the perfection that He wanted us to have. By this, we all come closer to His promise, which is to receive the eternal life. (Philippians 2:12) So then, my loved ones, as you have at all times done what I say, not only when I am present, but now much more when I am not with you, give yourselves to working out your salvation with fear in your hearts; (1 Peter 1:9) For so you have the true end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.