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A Warning to Would-Be Teachers

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
September 12, 2022 4:00 am

A Warning to Would-Be Teachers

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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September 12, 2022 4:00 am

If we were to make a list of the most dangerous jobs, “pastor” would likely miss the cut. But the book of James warns would-be preachers about the hazards of their profession! On Truth For Life, Alistair Begg highlights the vulnerability and responsibility of teachers.



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Alistair Begg

The probably don't think of your pastor's job as being particularly dangerous. But today on Truth for Life.

Alastair begged teachers about the serious and significant hazards that accompany the privilege and influence of teaching the Bible James chapter 3 and verse one that many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we would teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check before we turn to that.

Pray together set a guard over my mouth. Oh Lord to watch over the door of my lips, for Jesus sake, and if I ask you to list the top five most dangerous occupations in the country. I would be very surprised if teaching found its way into that list might say firemen might say bomb disposal expert, perhaps even a surgeon, and so on, but it is unlikely that anyone would assume that teaching would fall within that category.

And yet here we discover that James introduces the subject of teaching with a very striking morning. Because of the danger which he sees to be an inherent in the task at the end of chapter 1 he gave to us in verse 26 three marks on genuine religion or Christian experience that is real. One was a caring heart. The other was an uncompromised testimony and in the middle of a controlled tongue and it is as we come to chapter 3 that he gives the fullest treatment to this matter of the use and abuse of the tongue in the first 12 verses of chapter 3. You will see are taken up with this subject. The way in which he leads into it into the general treatment of the tongue is by paying specific attention to the task of the teacher and he wants his readers to understand that nobody should just be volunteering too quickly to fulfill that role and he points out to us two things that I want you to notice. First of all, that it is a significant task and secondly, that it is a serious task. The responsibility of the Christian teacher in the fledgling church was really closely akin to that of the rabbi and a Jewish congregation and Jewish parents. At that time, and indeed in orthodox circles and perhaps beyond. To this day would be delighted if there son grew up to fulfill the role of a rabbi because I rabbi has both status and influence and privilege, and yet here James suggests that one ought to be very very careful about assuming the rabbinic responsibilities. The role of the desk alloy little for the teacher here because of what attaches to in the early church before we had the Gospels in people's hands before we had the right things beyond the writings of the Old Testament in the hands of people I teachers were absolutely crucial. The literacy rate at that time was probably only 10 or 15% and so people were unable to go and look things up, but they would go to the teacher to inquire and in the same way with the transparency of things into the fledgling church people would come and say perhaps the teacher why did Jesus die upon the cross and the teacher who himself was the learner would then be able to let the individual know that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.

The Scriptures that he, the teacher has read and paid attention to the whole of the New Testament pulsates with this notion. Paul warns in his first letter to Timothy against those who fancy the idea of becoming teachers and yet they don't know what they're talking about. First Timothy chapter 1 in verse seven he says some of wandered away and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, they do not know what they're talking about or what they so confidently affirm not everybody who stands behind one of these pool points stands here by the appointment of God. Let not many of you desire the teaching offices J the consonant is important, and in all it's the same phraseology that Paul uses when he describes the Corinthians, not many among you were of noble birth are of significant background. It is a not any there where those but it wasn't the majority and is the same phraseology here.

We need teachers in the church.

We need those in being appointed by God. James says this is such a significant role. People not not to be clustering of the doors were volunteer for it to Timothy Tutu is a reverse if you like the first Timothy 17 the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. It is then a role of significance.

It is at the same time a role which is serious serious in the introduction to the marriage ceremony, at least in the Anglican prayer book. The minister says to the couple in prospect of marriage.

It is not to be entered upon likely or carelessly thoughtfully with reverence for God and with due consideration for the purposes of the purposes for which it was established by God. And the same is true in terms of entering into the responsibilities and privileges of a teaching role within the church that I think follows through every aspect of it, but I would imagine that James has in mind here is very specific and formal function such as you find in Ephesians 4 where God has given through Jesus. The ascended Christ to the church.

The gifts of the ascended Christ. One of those gifts being the role of pastor and of teacher. It is a wonderful responsibility. It is a dreadful responsibility and what makes it so significant and so serious is that the tool of the trade for the teacher opens the door to enter mistakes, confusion because it is the use of the tongue.

There is a distinct vulnerability in exercising the role of a teacher because of the exposure that attaches to because of the responsibility that is clearly inherent in it. And because of the accountability that is directly related to that's why James is so clear that's why it is so alarming.

In one sense, not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly will be under the gaze of a more severe judgment. I wonder did he remember Jesus saying the very same thing in Mark chapter 12 when addressing the congregation that was around 10. He pointed out the distinction between the externals and the internals in the lives of those who are the Pharisees says in Mark chapter 12.

Watch out for the teachers of the law, why they like to walk around in flowing robes and to be greeted in marketplaces adapt the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets, but they devour widows houses and four show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished. Most severe while if it is such a significant and serious issue than how should it be approached.

The answer is with a measure of hesitancy. The Greek here doesn't include the notion of presumption doesn't actually have a word about presumption the Greek here simply says let not many becoming teachers. The NIV is trying to help as our moods by introducing the notion of presumption and conveying the danger that is inherent in that.

In other words, you could possibly say well I love to be a teacher. I like to go up there and speak where he speaks. I like to have that position. There seems to be prestige that is attached to it on there is a grave responsibility. Isaiah says this is the one to whom I will look says the Lord. He was humble and contrite in spirit, and who trembles at my word. That doesn't mean somebody who when they have a responsibility to teach the Bible stands up and says a little. I can speak. I'm so nervous I don't want to do that is all. What a wonderful teachers. Fantastic isn't knowledge rightly shoots hopeless, and he needs to go away.

We may bring him back but for now you should go away leaving the issue is what happens when a man is alone before his Bible and along the God.

How does he view himself there.

How does he ask and cry out to God.

There it is what happens they are in private.

They give significance to what happens here in public. That's the key national appointed James and Maggie. If all you want to do is stand up and have people listen to you talk get a job as a town crier. Go get a job as it is, as a television pundit do whatever it is, but whatever you do do not presume to become a teacher of the Bible because those who teach will be judged with greater strictness, therefore there should be a hesitancy attaches to Paul when he describes himself in Ephesians 3 does not introduce himself as the mighty apostle who studied under Gamaliel and who went to one of the best law schools in the country. He could easily do that. He mentions it other places know what is is in Ephesians 3 he says to me the least, and last of all the apostles. Grace was given, to preach the gospel, God's word through Jeremiah which is an ancient word. I haven't heard a sermon on this verse, probably since I was a teenager. The word of God through Jeremiah to batter BA are you CH he says to batter should you then see great things for yourself. Seek them not, you can see great things for God for his glory and for his kingdom, and for these people, but for yourself.

No let another proration let another be the person who makes these plans and develops these opportunities.

Should you seek thing great things for yourself. No seek them not completely antithetical is hesitancy. Second word penalty. Why be so hesitant to look what happens.

You can judge more strictly. Those who teach understand that they undergo a closer scrutiny course they do not only from men but also from God. The responsibility brings accountability as why the people come in and then when I was a boy. These are come in and sit in the back of the classroom, who was the person that comes in is Lainey gentleman comes and says a regular classroom with a big, big at notebook. This is the area supervisor. The area whatever you call him or her. And suddenly the teacher got all very good teaching and really small, long class were all doing lovely today.

Our little snippet needed know what's going on here. I think it is because some of them with a clipboard.

Of course it does because she's getting marks for punctuality for joviality for clarity. For all these things and the guy in the back makes all the difference to the lady in the front. Why accountability the person who teaches others the meaning of the Bible will not only be judged as to the content of his teaching, but as to the conduct of his life and not only as to the conduct of his life, but as to what motivated the teaching in every instance. Notice how James includes himself in.

This is masterful and it is right. Many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

He's teacher and he's included in the group noticed that it is what they know about what will happen then that enables them to deal with the now you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Therefore it's not a good idea to jump up and volunteer for this hesitancy penalty and finally just a word or two about honesty. Honesty, the honesty that is here in verse two we all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

What is James saying saying that we all make mistakes in a variety of ways but none more easily so than in our words.

Let's be honest, says there is a problem for everyone. Anyone who speaks knows that you can make such a mess of things without even trying very hard and it is as we gain control of our times that we will then begin to get mastery over our bodies. That's the significance of the imagery is about to use. Inversely, and following a bit in the mouth of the horse and rider that is giving direction to the ship. We all stumble in many ways Be honest about this. Let's just image with a word to those of us who teach the task of the teacher of the Bible is to open up what's closed to make plain what is obscure to unravel what is noted and to unfold. What is tightly if I might just be honest with you the hardest Sundays and the toughest Sundays are the Sundays when the teacher himself knows that it into his best all people may calm and say this was terrific, or that was helpful or whatever else it is, the teacher knows I didn't do this properly. I know I didn't. No matter what anyone thinks of God's takes honesty. To be honest with ourselves and I am always wary when my colleagues walk away from the responsibility of teaching. Assuming that this was fantastic, or when they walk into the task of teaching with a kind of backslapping camaraderie on the locker room which is like the let's go get him way too serious for that. It's a matter of life and death is the surgeon with a scalpel and one wrong move matters tremendously. It is the least that this with all that chemistry. It is all of that and more, because it is like care on the souls of people or all of eternity and he teaches will be charged more severely, it is impossible to read the New Testament without recognizing that there is some correlation between degrees of judgment and the conferring of gifts and the nature of the responsibility and rightly so.

That's what makes it so phenomenally alarming and that's why I love the honesty of a guy like Luther, who in his introduction to the sounds is saying these sounds are really hard to understand and preach and he says some allies get one part right. Others teachers get other parts right. None of his get it all right.

And this is his, this is Luther one falls in one thing one in another. Others will see what I do not want then follows by that we should help one another and make allowances for those who err is knowing that we either have their or shall error ourselves and then what it big is in this.

I know that he must be a man of most shameful heartbeat who'd who would venture to give out that he understands a single book of Scripture in all its parts may who would venture to assume that one is Sam has ever been perfectly understood by anyone. Our life is a beginning, a setting out not a finishing.

He is best, who shall have apprehended nearest to the mind of spirits. That's the kind of pastor you need not a talking head who is the answer to every question but someone who comes before the Bible says this is my best with this, but now we see through a glass darkly, and that is not about embracing theological vagueness.

It's about recognizing what is actually true. And yet contemporary evangelicalism exults as Hebrews. These individuals of shameful heartbeat.

According to Martin Luther or finally, if there is a challenge that is attendant upon those who are the teachers are what shall we say, for those of us who are listeners. How should we listen what we need to listen to those who teachers recognizing that they teaches men who must give an account.

Hebrews 13 they would keep watch over your souls of men was given account and therefore when you think about that as you listen to whoever's teaching you the Bible you say what I want. I want to encourage this fellow by being a good learner, I want to keep in mind that they will be judged more strictly. So I want to try and make their job a little more encouraging perhaps a little more enjoyable perhaps a little easier. I don't know whether you have the pastor for lunch in your house when they have the sermon for supper. I don't know what you do with it. Five minutes after the benediction to tell you the truth, but I do know this, that, as I labor in the word and in doctrine and not half as concerned about that as I am concerned about the fact that as a teacher I will be judged more strictly for every word that is come out of my mouth words that not only fly around this room, but words that fly around the nation and on the Internet fly around the world. When an immense privilege want to keep you awake night responsibility. Let not many of you become teachers, for he teaches will be judged with greater strictness we all stumble in many ways is the honest reason the those who teach the Bible, will be judged more strictly, is because they are held accountable for the souls of those they teach your listing to Truth for Life and a message from Alastair Greg titled a warning to would-be teachers.

Alastair returns in just a minute now in today's message Alastair pointed out what a wonderful but challenging responsibility it is to be called to preach. Pastors need our prayers and our encouragement as they strive to minister to the church. Earlier this year Parkside church hosted the basics conference to refresh and encourage pastors and Christian leaders. If you were not able to attend, you can still watch the entire conference online for free. Visit basics conference.org/archives back in February we offered a children's adaptation of John Bunyan's famous book, Pilgrim's progress, the story book was titled little pilgrims big journey and it followed a character named Kristian on his journey to the celestial city. This allegory of the Christian life was so popular.

We quickly ran out of copies of the book, and we wanted you to know that today were offering a sequel to that story. This is called little pilgrims big journey, part two, and in this story. Your children can find out how Christian's faith inspired his family to embark on their own challenging journey. There are just a few more days left for you to request this adventurous sequel. So ask for your copy of the book little pilgrims big journey part two when you give a donation@truthforlife.org/donate now here is Alastair with the closing prayer father, thank you for the Bible. Thank you for those who have been our teachers down through the years for that clarity of their instruction in the quality of their lives. Help is then to follow their example and best of all, to bow down our knees before Jesus the great and best teacher of all promises to come by the Holy Spirit and enable the least likely of to be useful in seeking to see unbelieving people become the committed followers of Jesus Christ to grace and mercy and peace father son and Holy Spirit rest upon and remain with each one, now and forevermore about the team probably won't find this small muscle featured on the fitness routine at your local gym. But tomorrow find out just how powerful the tongue can be the Bible teaching of Alastair Greg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living


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