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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Teaching: An Instrument of Discipling

Teaching is the primary means of making disciples and developing them into being reproducing disciplers (2 Tim 2:2). Teaching influences their decisions to become permanent followers of Jesus Christ (John 8:30–36; Acts 14:22; 15:41). Whatever is done in Church life should have the effect of teaching for the edification of the members (1 Cor 14:26).

Karl Hinrich Rengetorf writes:
“The whole teaching of Jesus is with the view to the ordering of life with reference to God and one’s neighbor (Mt 22:37ff and par 1 of 19:16ff and par). Thus his teaching constantly appeals to the will, calling for the practical decision either for the will of God or against it.”
Further, the word "disciple" literally refers to one who learns at the feet of a teacher. It implies the recognition of authority. This authority rests in understanding God’s authoritative revelation. In the New Testament, group learning is centered in the teacher as one who knows and embodies the authoritative revelation. The qualified teacher knows the message well enough to pass it on to his students (Eph 4:11, 12; 2 Tim 2:2). Thinking based on group consensus does not reflect divine authority, but instead is humanistic (2 Tim 4:3, 4; Eph 4:14).

Throughout the ages, the divine revelation is tied to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is foreshadowed in the Old Testament from Genesis to the Prophets. His full humanity-full divinity is described in the New Testament. He used parables to teach about the Kingdom of God and to provide insight into the mind of God. Each parable and encounter with Jesus reveals more about the heart of God. A true disciple seeks to understand God’s priorities in order to align our own priorities with God's. This expresses the reality of newness of life.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him, but trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”― Mere Christianity

Related reading: Discipling With Authority; C.S. Lewis on Discipleship

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