Monday, December 31, 2012

Light the Lamp

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)

To know what God has said is not enough. We must know why the Lord has given us admonition. What lies beneath the commandment is the counsel. The counsel, or the teaching, is the light that the lamp produces. Consider that a lamp can be placed on a stand without ever being lit. It can be displayed and referred to and talked about but not used without being lit. Now consider the Bible on display on some table. It's never opened but we can point to it and talk about it. Within this Book is the Word of God that will guide us into the right way of life. But it's not enough to know what God has said if we don't use it to direct us. This kind of living is as useless as carrying a lamp into the darkness without ever lighting it. The teaching of God's word illuminates what God has said. It is the why of the what. It gives us the when and the how of the obedience required for our transformation. In other words, the teaching counsels us to apply the commandment to our lives and realize its value to godly living. No teacher is satisfied to disseminate information without testing. How will we pass the tests of life if we do not know the information that the Teacher has revealed to us? It is no less important for teachers of spiritual knowledge to remind, reprove, and rebuke if necessary. One disciple has responsibility to make a disciple…under the direction and authority of the Lord. We need to understand that amassing information is not the primary goal of spiritual instruction. Transformation is the goal of receiving information. Unless we are willing to hold one another accountable for the information we receive, we will not be disciplined or motivated to learn and be transformed. At this point, preaching and teaching of the Word of the Lord becomes an intellectual exercise to be accepted or rejected based on individuals being the standard of whether they think they need to be changed or not. The right view is that God is the standard. And we all need to be changed into the image of Christ. God has provided His commandments to guide…His Spirit to teach…and one another as disciples to discipline. The question becomes whether or not we have the desire to become like Christ and if we will submit to spiritual teaching and surrender to the Lord’s authority. After all, Christ is the Way…and the Life. And Christlike living is the way of life. As we prepare to enter into a new year that promises great challenges may we light the lamp so we can see where we are walking and have light where we are living.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Words...Foundations To Build Upon

But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)

The only way the godless become godly is to hear how God designs for them to become godly. Titus is given practical teaching for practicing believers. This sound doctrine is the teaching that helps people see how God’s counsel looks when it all fits together. The Lord's word is the foundation upon which the church is built. The people of God are like building blocks that are joined together upon this foundation. The body of Christ is like a puzzle of different pieces, fitting together to help a community of believers be different than the culture from which they were rescued. Older men and women are to be examples and teachers of younger believers. Consider that older women are to be teaching the younger women how to love their husbands. I can understand that. Often younger people don’t really know how to love one another. But this sound doctrine includes teaching younger woman how to love their children. Wouldn’t that come naturally? Sadly, we all have to be taught how to love. Cretans are not the only people that need to be taught how to love like Christ. This is sound doctrine. This teaching is joins us together. Soundness, or integrity, is something that is foundational. These things are foundational to our faith and critical in building up the people of God. The sound doctrine that Titus is to preach is to live out the word of the Lord…beginning with his teaching. Titus is to be exemplary in living out this sound doctrine. He is to practice what he preaches! Speak about the things that you can build upon. The building up of the pastor is a priority for the Lord to build up the church.