Friday, August 7, 2009

Teacher Devotions: True Teaching

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

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As far as I am concerned, my wife Evelyn is the best teacher in the world. She’s been a teacher for twenty eight years, so she’s dedicated to her profession. She knows how to motivate children and has dealt with more than her fair share of anxious parents through the years. She understands the need for her students to apply themselves and she tries very hard to encourage them to reach their fullest potential.

It isn’t easy because every student is at a different individual level from all the other students in her class. Evelyn concentrates on the basics – reading, writing, and arithmetic – as well as teaching art, science, and social studies. She has a lot of lessons and material to get through in any given school year. She does her best to help the children to do their utmost in order to prepare them for the next step: Middle School.

I could not do what she does for a full year. I could teach a class for half a day perhaps and squeak through a couple of lessons. I’ve seen her come home with tons of work to mark, and new materials to read, digest, and prepare lessons. Like all true teachers, Evelyn doesn’t do it for the money – it is a special calling. Without teachers like her in our community and across the nation, our children would become ignorant, unskilled, and unemployable. As someone else once wrote: if you can read a book, fill out a form, and work for a living – then thank a teacher.

Teaching is also an important part of Christianity. Without faith teachers, people would make up their own ideas about God and end up believing in anything. Sadly, there’s a trend in today’s churches where people don’t want to accept the old truths or the absolutes of our faith. They want to discover Christ for themselves and shape Him into being the Lord of what they want. Sunday school classes and Bible study groups across the land are diminishing because people are too busy doing other things. They want to put Christ in a convenient box and not be challenged by His ways or words.

All they want to hear is that they are good people, loved by God, and guaranteed everlasting life. Heaven is a given and hell is not real. Resurrection is guaranteed but redemption is not necessary. Confession is good for the soul but contrition is not required. In other words, they want to be accepted by God by rejecting the Cross, Christ’s teaching, and the need to be saved.

That’s not authentic Christianity, that’s post-modern universalism. It’s not Christian teaching; it’s a worldly heresy.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You were brought into the world to teach us about God. Your words reveal to us the true way to reach God. Your Gospel shows us how to be redeemed and restored to God. Keep us from false teaching and help us to pay attention to Your ways, instead of focusing on our own misconceived, misconstrued, and mistaken ideas. Remind us that no matter how sincere we are about our beliefs, we still can be sincerely wrong. Become our True Teacher and Holy Guide. In Your Sacred Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to

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