Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:
Acts 6:2 (NLT)
2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God…”
Last week I wrote to you about the moral decline in our nation, and the crux of my argument is that we are experiencing moral decline because we have abandoned the Scriptures as our foundation for life. It has been estimated that only about 33% of Christians read their Bibles outside of church. What a sad statement that is for the church today. How can we expect unbelievers to read and live by the Bible if we aren’t doing it? Here are some more thoughts from RC Sproul, who writes, “This is not the model that Jesus Himself commended. You remember the encounter that Jesus had with Peter after His resurrection. Peter had denied Jesus publicly three times, and Jesus went about restoring the Apostle, telling him three times to “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-19). By extension, this calling is given to the elders and ministers of the church because the people of God who are assembled in the congregations of churches all over the world belong to Jesus. They are His sheep. And every minister who is ordained is consecrated and entrusted by God with the care of those sheep. We call it the “pastorate” because ministers are called to care for the sheep of Christ. Pastors are Christ’s under-shepherds, and what shepherd would so neglect his sheep that he never took the time or trouble to feed them? The feeding of our Lord’s sheep comes principally through teaching.
Typically, we distinguish between preaching and teaching. Preaching involves such things as exhortation, exposition, admonition, encouragement and comfort, while teaching is the transfer of information and instruction in various areas of content. In practice, however, there is much overlap between the two. Preaching must communicate content and include teaching, and teaching people the things of God cannot be done in a neutral manner but must exhort them to heed and obey the Word of Christ. God’s people need both preaching and teaching, and they need more than 20 minutes of instruction and exhortation a week. A good shepherd would never feed the sheep only once a week, and that’s why Luther was teaching the people of Wittenberg almost on a daily basis, and Calvin was doing the same thing in Geneva. I’m not necessarily calling for the exact practices in our day, but I’m convinced that the church needs to recapture something of the regular teaching ministry evident in the work of our forefathers in the faith. As they are able, churches should be creating many opportunities to hear God’s Word preached and taught. Things such as Sunday evening worship, midweek services and Bible classes, Sunday school, home Bible studies, and so on give laypeople the chance to feed on the Word of God several times each week. As they are able, laypeople should take advantage of what is available to them by way of instruction in the deep truths of Scripture.” How right Sproul is in emphasizing our need to commit to the Word of God. If we want to see the spiritual climate in America turn around we must get back on our knees and back in the Word.