Teach One Another 5

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

The other day my wife and I were recommending a course of action with our teenage son, but he seemed reluctant to listen to our advice. I finally stopped the conversation and explained that what we were advising was not meant to frustrate and torment him, but the advice was intended to make things as good as they could be with our son because we loved him and wanted the best.

The same type of situation can occur when dealing with issues of faith, especially those new to the faith. The path of salvation, the changes needed, the new attitude can be confusing or difficult to accept.

In his letter to the church in Thessalonica Paul offers some encouragement. What does God want for us? What has Christ done? What are we to do?

As believers in the faith, as Christian brothers and sisters, we are meant to uplift and encourage one another. Part of our teaching is to be the message of salvation for those new to the faith and those who may have lost sight of the purpose of Jesus.

Even those who have been faithful for many years need to be encouraged and lifted up from time to time. But in our teaching and instruction, in our encouragement, we need to be certain that our purpose is clear.

As we have seen before, we must be certain that the word of Christ dwells richly within us. We must be certain that what we do, we do in the name of Jesus and for the purpose of strengthening faith and securing salvation.

We all must remember that God’s intention for us is that we do not suffer, but that we are saved, even when we are not completely aware of the salvation offered. We should continue to build up the family of faith but with the awareness that we may need to explain our purposes to those who are learning.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you encourage another in the name of Christ?

Teach One Another 4

Colossians 3:15-17

Teaching another person to do the things that you are skilled at doing can be quite frustrating sometimes. There are many times where I have gotten irritated with a learner because they don’t seem to grasp the ideas that I know so well. Likewise, I have been the difficult learner, unable to understand or remember what I was taught, causing frustration and flare-ups of tempers in those who are teaching.

But as Christians we need to have patience in our instruction and teaching. We are to allow peace to rule in our hearts because we are of the family of God. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus, and he is the Prince of Peace.

Paul offers some guidance in teaching in this passage. What two things are instructed in verse 15? What will guide us in our teaching, according to verse 16? How are we to go about teaching?

Teaching faith involves so much more than reading from the Bible or examining Biblical commentaries. To teach faith we must live as examples of that faith. Being a true example of what it means to believe and trust in the Lord is perhaps the best and most effective way to lead others.

But those who are new to the faith and those who may be struggling with their own place in the kingdom of God may frustrate those who are trying to teach about God. It may seem difficult to accept that others are not in the same place spiritually that we are in. But we cannot allow our own frustration, and indeed our own motivation and selfish ambitions, to be the controlling factors in our teaching.

We need to have the peace of Christ in us and we need to offer instruction in the name of the Lord. When that is the motivation and what controls our teaching, when the word of God has grown and developed within our own hearts, we can truly lead others into a strong faith with Christ.

As you lead others in the faith be certain that the word of Christ dwells richly in you, and allow the peace of Christ rule your instruction.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you do to be certain the word of Christ dwells richly in you?

Teach One Another 3

Ephesians 4:29-30

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That is a familiar saying from our childhood, something we were taught in the hopes of maintaining a positive self-esteem even in the face of criticism. But the truth is words can hurt very much. Bad words, criticism, ridicule can cause more pain and longer lasting damage than a handful of sticks and stones.

As Christians we need to be keenly aware of the power of our words. We need to be very conscious of our ability to tear down or to build up. When we speak to one another in our times of worship, when we try to lead or share with one another in Bible study, when we interact at our council meetings, we need to choose our words wisely.

We have talked about what to say to one another that we might teach one another. This passage takes a slightly different turn. What are we not to say? What are we not to do? According to the second half of verse 29, what are we to say?

Although interactions with others may not always go as smoothly as we would like, and spending time together inevitably leads to those times of friction and disagreement, we need to be careful with our words and our attitudes. We are told not to allow any unwholesome talk to come out of our mouths. Instead of arguing and criticizing one another, we should teach and build others up according to their needs.

But unwholesome talk is more than just rude words and harsh criticism. Unwholesome talk would include lies and deceit. Unwholesome talk would also include false statements and misinformation. These words would grieve the Holy Spirit for the evil that is perpetuated.

If we will teach one another we must choose our words wisely. We must treat one another with respect and acceptance. And we must provide one another with the truth, with learning that is based on fact and couched in mercy; not with hearsay, falsehoods, superstitions or erroneous tradition.

Keep unwholesome words from leaving your mouth. Instead, let us teach one another and build one another up in Christian love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you be certain that your words are wholesome and helpful?

Teach One Another 2

Romans 15:13-14

In a worship service two years ago I called on various people who had done mission work to have them tell their stories. When I called on one man in the congregation the first thing he said was, “I haven’t been anywhere.”

It was true, he had never gone to another country on a mission trip, but he had done God’s work locally. He simply had to tell the other people what he felt when he served God. And in his simple and honest story he was teaching others, providing them with a wonderful example of faith.

We do not have to travel the world visiting leper colonies or building hospitals to do God’s work. We do not have to be experts in the Bible, fully versed in Hebrew and Greek, to teach others about Jesus. We just need to be faithful believers willing to do whatever we are called to do and able to do. And we can teach, not through books and lectures and papers, but through example. We can teach by sharing our own stories honestly.

In his letter to the Romans Paul expresses some positive attitudes. What belief does he share in verse 14? What two things does Paul pray for in verse 13?

The letter to the church in Rome was not addressed to a select few, but was intended to all those believers in that city. Paul was addressing a large group, a whole church. And yet he was convinced that they were competent to instruct one another.

It is very unlikely that the whole church was peopled with educators of all types, professors and teachers. It was likely to have been similar to your church or body of worshipers. And yet all of those people were full of goodness and knowledge, competent to instruct others.

I would venture that your church is the same. Your church has good people who have had experiences of service and mercy which they could share with others. By witnessing, by telling the stories, by living as an example of Christ, all faithful believers can teach others.

We also need to remember that we are not alone. With the Holy Spirit we are able to instruct one another. And the Spirit can fill us with so much joy and peace that we overflow with hope, overflowing in our actions and attitudes which lead others to be faithful too.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Pray that the Holy Spirit will fill you with such joy and peace that you may overflow into the lives of others, guiding them in faith.

Teach One Another 1

1 Peter 5:2-3

While working as a teacher I had to think before responding whenever a student thanked me for helping them. Often my first response was to say, “It’s my job.” The same is true in ministry. There are times when a parishioner will thank me for stopping by the hospital, and my first impulse is to say, “It’s my job.”

The problem is that those words imply an unwillingness on my part. In other words, that statement could mean I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have to. But that is not true. It is my job, but I am also doing it because I want to.

Peter has a message for the elders of the early church. What does he instruct? What should be their attitude?

I believe these instructions are meant for every Christian. It is true that the elders of the church – those with authority and responsibility – should help in guiding the church. I believe it is also true that elder Christians, those who have been in the faith for many years, should help to guide those who may be new to the body of Christ.

But I also believe that every Christian has the responsibility to lead and nurture people who are trying to find their way in the faith. Even if you have only been a believer a short time, you can help those who have just accepted Christ.

We are called to teach one another. But we are also called to teach one another willingly, without reluctance or desire for reward. We should teach but not because we must, but because we want to.

Even those who are not skilled at teaching, those who do not want to be the leader or instructor in a church classroom, can still teach. You can teach by being a living example of what it means to have strong faith. Peter charges us not to “lord” it over others. We should teach with joy and enthusiasm and by example. We should avoid shaming others into obedience or lecturing them on their faults.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you teach faith without being in a classroom?