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-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net
Editor: Bob Hawley

Finding Your Place In God's Kingdom Order

Lesson 11

By Teresa Seputis

I have met a lot of people who incorrectly think they are in one of the five-fold offices. Almost all of them think they are either an apostle or a prophet when they are not. A few thought they were pastors when they were not. But I have not met anyone who falsely aspired to the office of teacher or evangelist. Perhaps these two offices do not sound as glamorous to people, or perhaps they are just less in public focus. The offices of teacher and evangelist are just as crucial to the Body of Christ as the other three. But for whatever reason, people don't seem to falsely aspire to these two offices very often.

Let's look a little at the office of teacher. Jesus was a teacher when He walked on this earth. He spent a lot of His time teaching, so that must have been very important to Him. We see Jesus publicly teaching in many verses: Matt. 4:23, Matt. 7:28, Matt. 9:35, Matt. 11:1, Matt. 46:23, Matt. 22:33, Mark 1:22, Mark 4:1-2, Mark 6:2, Mark 6:6, Mark 6:34, Mark 11:18, Luke 4:31, Luke 7:1, Luke 13:10, Luke 13:22, Luke 19:47, Luke 46:37, Luke 23:5.

Others recognized that Jesus was a teacher. In fact, He was addressed as "rabbi" or "teacher" many times: Matt. 8:19, Matt. 9:11, Matt. 12:38, Matt. 17:24, Matt. 19:16, Matt. 22:24, Matt. 22:36, Mark 4:38, Mark 5:35, Mark 9:17, Mark 9:38, Mark 10:17, Mark 10:20, Mark 10:35, Mark 12:14, Mark 12:19, Mark 12:32, Mark 13:1, Mark 14:49, Luke 7:40, Luke 8:49, Luke 9:38, Luke 10:25, Luke 11:45, Luke 18:18, Luke 19:39, Luke 20:28, Luke 20:39, Luke 46:7, John 1:38, John 3:2, John 8:4, John 11:28 and John 20:16. Jesus even referred to Himself as a teacher in Matt. 10:24-25, Matt. 26:18, Matt. 26:55, Mark 14:4, Luke 22:11 and John 13:13-14. (I developed those lists of verses by simply reading through the Gospels, looking for verses that talked about Jesus teaching. (New King James translation.)

You can see that Jesus spent a lot of His time teaching people to rightly understand and relate to their God. It is clear that teaching was very important to Jesus, a part of His mantle and job description. When we talk about the five-fold office of teacher, we are talking about Jesus putting His teaching mantle on certain people and giving them a job to teach the Body of Christ about God and how to relate to them.

We don't always recognize and understand when a person is moving in the five-fold office of teacher. For instance, some five-fold teachers serve as pastors of highly successful churches. They move in their gift of teaching and activating people to be successful in their daily walk with God as they preach on Sunday mornings. So people assume they are in the office of pastor when in fact they are in the office of teacher.

Good teaching is very important to the Body of Christ. God wants each of His children to understand the truth so they are not easily led astray by false doctrine. God wants us to know what it takes to please Him and be in intimate personal relationship with Him. He also wants us to know how to live in right relationship with each other. So He has given a gift to the Body of Christ to help us in these areas. Those He places in the office of "teacher."

What does a teacher do? A teacher helps people in the Body of Christ understand God's principles and also helps them understand how to apply everyday life situations. A teacher is not just one who spews forth a bunch of facts and details and knowledge. A teacher is one who makes that information practical. A teacher shows us how to successfully apply God's principles to our personal lives.

Teaching can take many forms. Some people write books. Some get up in front of classrooms in seminaries or colleges. Some pastor churches and regularly impart into the lives of their local body on a broad scope of subjects. Others travel and are itinerate, teaching on a few areas of specialization to a lot of believers in a lot of locations. Some are systematic, expositing a text or teaching from an outline or notes. Others are more like storytellers, sharing a lot of their own personal experiences (or the experiences of others) as examples. The one thing they all have in common is that they take one of God's truths or principles and show people how to live it out, how to apply it to their own situation.

Most five-fold teachers also have a gift of impartation. God asks them to teach or expound on a given subject, and He also gives them the ability to make some sort of spiritual deposit into the lives of those they minister to. Also, if a teacher specializes in certain areas, they usually walk in whatever they teach on. For instance, those who teach on healing have a lot of success praying for the sick and seeing them healed. When they teach others how to pray for the sick, they will usually model or demonstrate it as a part of their teaching. And the sick are usually healed when they do this. The teacher seems to deposit two things into those they teach. The first is knowledge - an understanding of what God wants to do and how He wants it done. The second is some sort of intangible spiritual impartation. It is like part of what they specialize in rubs off on the people they are teaching and stays with them. It is as if the Holy Spirit activates something inside of the student or gives them a spiritual gift when they hear this teaching and begin to implement it.

John Wimber was an example of this. He taught one of my courses at Fuller Seminary. When he taught on healing, he developed the subject from scripture and gave us a solid biblical precedent for healing. He looked at different ways Jesus and the disciples prayed for healing. Then after awhile, he had us put down our books and notes and he demonstrated praying for the sick. He would choose one or more students from the class and pray for them. As he prayed, he would also talk to us and point out what was going on. It was almost like a blow-by-blow description. Then he would share what he was doing in response to what God was doing and why. I remember him saying things like, "Notice how the person's eyelids are fluttering, that is an indication of the Holy Spirit on them." He would say things like, "I feel a slight pain in the small of my back when praying for this person. I believe it is a word of knowledge that they have a problem there (even though they did not mention it) that God wants to heal. So I am going to ask them if they have been experiencing pain in the small of their back." Whatever came up as he was praying for someone, John would describe it to the class. We got a real detailed understanding of what he was doing and why. And the people he demonstrated healing prayer on were always healed. Then, after that course, it seemed that all of us in it began to move in the gift of healing. It was as if a spiritual impartation came along with the knowledge. So when we tried what John showed us to do, it worked. We saw God heal the sick when we prayed for them. Most of us did not move in it as strongly as John did, but we began to move in it. There was an impartation of knowledge and there was a spiritual impartation.

I used healing and John Wimber as an example. But this principle applies to any area that God wants the teacher to teach on; it is not limited to healing.

It can be fun and exciting to see the gleam in people's eyes when they "get it" and the look of delight on their face when they apply what they've learned and see that it really works! There are a lot of rewards that come from being a teacher. But there are also downsides to being a teacher, just as there are downsides to any of the five-fold offices. Here are a few of them:

I am not going to spend a lot of time developing the "costs" of being a teacher. Let me touch briefly on each one.

Teachers Are Often Under Appreciated or Taken for Granted

There is a saying. It is not a true saying, but it does reflect the attitude of our society toward teachers in general. You have probably heard it before. It goes like this:

"Those who can, do -- those who can't, teach."

Teachers are not valued and appreciated. This is common in most Western societies. They require a great deal of training and accreditation to teach, but they tend to make meager salaries. It is true of secular teachers, especially those who teach young children, such as elementary school (ages 5 to 12). The church seems to have picked up this value from its society. Teachers in the Body of Christ are often under appreciated and/or taken for granted.

God Holds Teachers More Accountable

God holds teachers accountable to live/practice what they teach. Jesus makes this clear in Matt. 5:19, where He said, "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

God also holds teachers accountable if they teach wrong doctrine and/or practices and lead people astray. Jesus said this in Luke 17:1-2: "Jesus said to His disciples: 'Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.' "

You Have to Live What You Teach

Have you ever wondered where teachers get some of their material? They get a lot of it by living the lessons God wants them to teach. A teacher who is teaching on "dying to self" has probably gone through that process in painstaking detail before s/he developed it into a teaching. A teacher who teaches on walking in holiness will probably be tempted in the area s/he has just taught on. Chances are very high that either during or shortly after the teaching series, the Lord will allow the enemy to tempt the teacher in this area. You have heard the saying, "practice what you preach." There is a very similar (albeit less well known) saying for teachers, "live what you teach." The teacher will be tested/attacked in the areas s/he teaches on.

Also, God calls teachers to be living examples or role models. Jesus did this when He walked the earth. He put aside his God-powers and became limited as a human being, empowered through the Holy Spirit to do ONLY what the Father was doing. Jesus did not get to set His own agenda; He had to let God set it. Jesus did not get to use His own power; He had to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Why was this? It was because He was modeling for us, His disciples, how to live the Spirit-filled life and how to live and move in God's power and anointing. He was our role model and we follow His example.

Likewise, God calls on His teachers to serve as role models for others. He will sometimes put them in difficult situations so they can model faith and trusting God in the midst of adversity. He will sometimes allow them to go through severe temptation to model keeping our focus on God and resisting the devil. He will sometimes allow them to go through personal adversity or hardship to model how God comes through for His own when they look to Him for deliverance instead of trying to fix the problem on their own. In other words, part of being a teacher is being a role model. This means a teacher's life serves as object lessons for others. They have to live out the principles they teach so others will see that they really work. God will demonstrate His faithfulness through them over and over again. God will always come through for them because He is making a point that He is trustworthy, powerful, that His principles work and that He is faithful to take care of His own. But it can be uncomfortable and difficult for a teacher while he is in the midst of these living demonstrations. Sometimes the period between when the problem starts and when God brings his deliverance can be exceedingly uncomfortable.

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

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