Teaching is a very important ministry. But the task of teaching is not about transferring a set of stale truths but about communicating truths that can transform lives. Often teachers dabble in abstract ideas that do not really translate into actual life change. The result is a lot of head knowledge on the part of the people but no real transformation. We must reclaim the true purpose of Christian teaching — to change lives. We must teach truths that transform lives.
What truths can we teach people that can transform their lives? First of all, we must teach the truth about the Gospel (vv.13-14). People without a clear understanding of the grace of God revealed in the Gospel will always fall short of God’s purpose for their lives. They will always be misled by false teachings all around them. Second, we must teach them the truth that the Gospel teaches us to say “No” to all ungodliness and worldly passions (vv.11-12a). This applies to different kinds of people in the church, each of whom are challenged by all sorts of worldly temptations to live in a way that negates the grace of God (vv.1-11). Third, we must teach the truth that the Gospel teaches us to say “Yes” to self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (v.12b). Again, this applies to different kinds of people (vv.1-11), each of whom must discover the “good” that they must practice in order to confirm the grace of God in their lives. Teaching in this way would require great courage (v.15) because it is always counter-intuitive and it goes against the culture of any group of people at any time. The Gospel transforms lives and that is the true test of the kind of teaching we teach.
Teaching in the church is a great responsibility and we must take this responsibility seriously. But more important than the way we teach is what we teach. We may be one of the great orators of our time but if what we teach don’t change lives, we are wasting our time. Teach truths that transform lives.
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