What it means for the church and for you.
I enjoy spending time baking with my seven year old granddaughter. We have been doing this together for almost four years now and she has come a long way. The latest was pies, both apple and pumpkin; along with sweet corn bread muffins. She was able to do more this time than ever before and was so proud at the results.
I love seeing another generation learning how to bake; knowing they will be using some of the same family recipes I grew up with. I also know that passing on this knowledge and skill is important and will benefit her for the rest of her life.
But everyone who is perfectly trained
will be like his teacher.
Jesus spoke of passing on knowledge; He taught the disciples. He showed them the best way to do it. His own life as an example and sharing/teaching the word of God. Jesus taught constantly so that His disciples would be strong enough to stand on their own once He was gone from them. It wasn’t meant to be kept for themselves alone.
Matt. 28:19a & 20a
The early church knew the importance of discipleship. They gathered to sit and learn, first from the disciples of Jesus, then they themselves went out to teach others. That is the way it is supposed to go. We first believe, then grow and finally share.
…And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship.
We are to grow up in Him, in all things. The grounding of our faith will give us the knowledge to defend our faith and develop a strong belief system that we can use in our own lives and pass on to others.
So we too, as the body of Christ, are responsible for every new believer that joins the realm of the saved. It is up to us to see that they are taught the foundation principles of Christianity, so they have a solid knowledge and faith to grow on. If they don’t receive the necessary teaching, they will remain weak and easy prey to heresies and wrong thinking.
…That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
Many churches today don’t even have a class or small group for new believers. They are just expected to join in wherever the church is in their teaching at that time. Those believers will not grow as they should, will not learn the basic tenets of their own salvation. They will be prone to flounder in their walk.
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:14-15
Paul speaks of believers still stuck in the infancy of learning, that they weren’t progressing like they should and he scolded them for not taking the teaching to heart and growing in their faith. They were hearing it, but weren’t taking things and applying them.
But you have carefully followed my doctrine,manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, love, perseverance…
2 Timothy 3:10
Timothy on the other hand had grown much in the faith and was grounded enough to teach, even though he was young. Paul told Timothy that he was to teach others so they would be prepared to go out and do the same.
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
2 Timothy 2:2
Each of us should be able to teach or explain our beliefs. We should be familiar enough with them to do so. If not, it is a sign that we ourselves need to be in the word more; to strengthen our foundation. It’s so important that we know the word of God and continue reading it for life.
And always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.
1 Peter 3:15
The bible has been called the instruction book of the believer and that is a good adage. Not only to guide us on our own walk, but to back up our beliefs in different situations and to use to to lead others to Him.
Because God showered us with His grace, we should be eager to share it with others, then begin to teach them ourselves or see that they are taught properly elsewhere. Having them see our beliefs being lived out on a daily basis is great teaching too.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Check with your own church to see how they handle new believers. If they don’t have a class, suggest the need for one or offer to set one up yourself. If they are not willing or not interested in having one, then maybe you should reconsider continuing your attendance there.
Do you support Christian missionaries or groups that promote the Gospel through witnessing? How do they handle new believers? If your money is going to them, you need to find out what they are providing the new believers with.
You may even feel led to take a new believer ‘under your wing’ and guide and teach them yourself. Follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in this. It is a big commitment. Pray for young believers, that they would remain in the faith and grow in their walk.
Until next time, God bless.
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