THERE ARE many things a Christian may learn about. A Christian may extensively learn about medicine, finance, law, journalism, criminology or anthropology in schools to enhance his knowledge, and to give him employment. But Christians are certainly not instructed by God to be taught about the aforementioned disciplines during reverent Church services.
Christ Jesus, the Owner and Head of the Church, gave ministers to the Church as gifts. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers” (Ephesians 4: 11, ESV). The Lord gave these gifts to the Church, but He did not leave them alone to do whatever they want. He actually instructed them to perfect the saints for the work of ministry, according to Ephesians 4: 12. To perfect Christians is to equip, develop, prepare and mature them to do ministry work.
But how are they to do this? I am convinced we should do this by teaching and preaching the Lord’s commands which are significantly the personal teachings of Jesus Christ found in the New Testament. Christ instructs that His commands be taught to His disciples (Matthew 28: 19).
It is the teachings of Christ that make Christians. I am not the one saying this. If you read your Bible carefully you will see it written in the gospel of John that people are made Christians by abiding in the Word of Christ.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘IF YOU ABIDE IN MY WORD, YOU ARE TRULY MY DISCIPLES, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8: 31).
This is not to say that the Old Testament should not be preached and taught to Christians. It should because a Spirit-filled minister can look into the Old Testament Scripture which is the shadow and type of the New, and preach and teach about Christ to make his congregation know Christ.
In other words, Christian ministers have the responsibility to instruct the saints to learn Christ. Thus they preach and teach Christ to them as Philip, Paul and other ministers of the Early Church did. And as ministers of the gospel teach about Christ, their congregations learn about Christ. To learn about Christ is to know Him. And to know Him is to be strong, and do exploits. A true Christian learns Christ, and is taught in Him.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds…They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you LEARNED Christ! – assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4: 17- 21).
Jesus Christ is the greatest and deepest theme in the Bible that true ministers must preach and teach. He is everywhere in the powerful book of books inspired by the Spirit of God. Christ is the focus of all the 66 books of the Bible, but unless you are given illumination by the Holy Spirit to see Him, your natural depraved mind will miss Him no matter your level of education and exposure.
Every message apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/bishops deliver to the Church ought to centre around Christ the Lord. Jesus Christ is knowable, teachable and learnable. To preach and teach the Word to feed the souls of Christians is to preach and teach Christ. He is the Word of God. And as we teach and preach about Him people learn about Him and grow in Him.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1: 1). “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God” (Revelation 19: 13). The person being talked about in the above scriptures is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the theme of the Bible. No one takes His preeminent place and position. The Bible is about Him and for Him.
This means every message intended to equip the saints for the work of ministry must be wired around Jesus Christ. For apart from Him, a minister can do nothing. Without Christ, no preaching or teaching to the Body of Christ can be rich. The power and authority of messages to heal the sick deliver the captive and set sinners free from bondage is in Christ Jesus.
Moreover, Christ is the flavour of preaching and teaching in the Church. It is when the people of God are fed with Christ-centred messages that they can be like their Lord.
Jesus Christ is not only the biggest theme in the Bible to be preached and taught, but He is the richest. It is written that the riches of Christ are unsearchable, incalculable, unfathomable and immeasurable. His depth and width is incomprehensible (Ephesians 3: 8). Teaching and learning Christ is not like science. Christ must be taught as the Holy Spirit carries the Teacher along to unearth the deep things about Him.
Take Jesus Christ out of a message, and you will be teaching and hearing about opinions of history and events. Unfortunately this is the situation in many local churches where the worshippers neither know Christ nor grow in Him. But genuine preaching and teaching to the sons and daughters of God must be Christ-centred.
We must do the work God has called us to do with the understanding that a day of reckoning will surely come; it will not disappoint. On that day every minister will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give account. It is on that day that many will weep and gnash their teeth for their disobedience and pride.
I believe it is not late to repent, return to the Lord and learn of Him. Jesus Christ loves you. He is calling you to come back to Him. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and LEARN OF ME…” (Matthew 11: 28- 29, KJV).
///FROM James Quansah, Kumasi