White Unto Harvest
Christianity -- A Taught Religion
Under Judaism, or the Old Law, people were born into God's family by having Jewish parents, and then they had to be taught to "know the Lord." Jeremiah, the prophet, said that the day would come when "they shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord..." (Jeremiah 31:34). This passage is quoted in Hebrews 8 and applied to the New Testament. Therefore, under the New Covenant, people must be taught to "know the Lord" before they can enter God's family.
Jesus emphasized the importance of teaching when he said, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me" (John 6:45). In Matthew's account of the "great commission," Jesus said, "Teach all nations" and, after baptizing them, "teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 20:18-20). Christ also stressed the importance of teaching when He said that "the seed is the word of God" (Luke 8:11). Just as there can be no harvest without seed, there can be no child of God without the word being taught and obeyed.
Every child of God should learn to teach others. The writer of Hebrews said, "For when by reason of time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12). Paul told Timothy, "And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).
There are some conclusions that we would like to make from these facts.
Christianity cannot be inherited. A person who was "raised in the church" (by parents who were Christians), does not automatically enter God's family. God has no grandchildren! Each person must be taught the word. Many who were "raised in the church" have left their "inherited religion" because they were not taught. Both parents and churches have neglected to plant the seed while the ground was receptive. We must not assume that our children will grow up believing the truth, we must teach them!
Infants cannot be in the church. Under the Old Covenant, those who were born of Jewish parents were automatically in God's chosen family, but having Christian parents does not make one a Christian. Children must be "taught to know the Lord" before they can obey Him, just as their parents had to be taught. This implies that when children grow to the age of accountability, they must act individually. Sin is not inherited; neither is forgiveness.
The truth must be obeyed. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Paul taught the same truth when he said, "But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that from of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:17,18). One who is ignorant of truth cannot obey it. One who believes error cannot obey the truth. When Jesus said, "He that hath heard from the Father and hath learned, cometh unto me" (John 6:45), He was talking about hearing and learning the truth.
The importance of teaching the word should be recognized by every child of God. The job of teaching the lost world is too big to be left to a few "full time" workers. Every Christian should be awake to the importance of teaching the truth.
The rapid growth of the early church was the result of "teaching." Those who were scattered from Jerusalem because of persecution went everywhere "preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). This is what they had been doing before they were scattered too! One of the greatest needs of the church today is for brethren, all of us, to get busy teaching God's word to those who know it not. Weak members need to be taught and grounded in the truth. Our children need to be taught. Our friends and neighbors need to be taught. God has charged each Christian with teaching because we need to do the teaching! Teaching not only benefits the one being taught, but also the one doing the teaching. When Paul said that God "is not served by men's hands, as though he needed anything" (Acts 17:25), he implied that God is served by men's hands because men need to be serving. We may see the point clearly by thinking of an art teacher. Suppose that she gives an assignment to a student and the student goes home and gets his mother to do the drawing! The purpose of the assignment has been thwarted. God did not intend for us to shift our responsibility of teaching to someone else. Each of us needs to do his part. Let's arise and teach!
via Guardian of Truth, April 15, 1982
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