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Drunks and Bible Teachers

 

New Testament body life will give you quite an education when it comes to being impressed with men, their reputations, and their ranks. Over the years, I’ve developed close relationships with the highly respected and the highly esteemed. Most of those are vocal people who teach. When it comes right down do it, often these men are not much different then your average drunk who is laying in a gutter.

You might take offense by such a statement. But hear me out. The drunk in the gutter lusts for another drink of wine. The respected Bible teacher can often lust for position, power, respect, and control. Both are lust. The ambition of the drunk in the gutter is to get enough money to buy another bottle of booze. The ambition of the Bible teacher is often to always have an audience of people to listen to him so he can deliver his newest message. Both are ambition. The drunk in the gutter is drunk with wine and is therefore rendered useless to society. With the Bible teacher, because of his vast knowledge and understanding of the Bible, he can be filled with arrogance and pride, which renders him pretty useless as well. In fact, sometimes the drunk in the gutter is closer to the kingdom of God than the righteous man, because he knows he is a sinner.

It is not my intention to be disrespectful to people who teach. I myself teach. We need this work in the church and it is to be appreciated. The point is that no man is much different or very far away from being like the drunk in the gutter. I’ve seen that all people are pretty much the same. People just look different outwardly. Many fool themselves because they adhere to a list of Christian laws, therefore they look better than a drunk in a gutter. However, a lust is a lust, no matter what it is focused on. From within the hearts of all men proceed various forms of lusts, sins, fornications, deceit, selfish ambition, fleshly plots, unforgiveness, judgments, and lies. Some of these are polished and repackaged to look more noble and to look more Christian, which makes for the worst kind of all – religious flesh.

The Christian has an advantage over the detestable sinner in that the Christian has received the grace and forgiveness of God. The Spirit of God lives in him. This gives him the opportunity to know God and commune with God. Christians have the opportunity and power to not walk in sin. But Christians don’t always walk in the power they’ve been given. Also, all of the knowledge, Bible teaching, Biblical concepts, and information can tend to get in the way for the Christian. These things make him think that he is walking with God, when he really may be proud, hard hearted, and quenching the Spirit in his life.

Bible information and teaching can fool the Christian into not needing God. Many Christians are very religious and they don’t even know it. The person who is justified and close to God is the person who screams out from the top of his lungs and from the depths of his soul and says, “OH GOD SAVE ME, I’M SINFUL AND UNCLEAN!”

The person who has all their theology straight can be in terrible danger. The person who is dependant on their beliefs instead of being dependant on Jesus is in jeopardy. The person who has memorized scripture, has extensive Bible training, has listened to years of teaching, and who has thoroughly studied the Word of God is in danger of not having a broken heart. The new believer and the sinner do not tend to have this problem. This is why so many “leave their first love” as they gain years in the Christian faith.

When the highly educated Bible people regurgitate their Biblical knowledge, people respect it. People who teach are respected. People who can talk a lot and who can explain Biblical concepts are impressive. Men who act like they know it all, tend to be believed and followed by others. We would rather eat from the tree of knowledge than from the tree of life. Knowledge, education, information and concepts are more respected and sought after than love, brokenness, hospitality, and power.

People who don’t teach or say much, are usually at the bottom of man’s pecking order. But those who “do”, those who love, and those who serve in secret, are first in God’s view. I would rather hang out with the drunk in the gutter who has a broken heart than the well esteemed Bible teacher who knows all, but practices nothing.

We must recalibrate our thinking. We must re-order our list of what is most valuable and what is least valuable. We cannot take worldly standards and make them Christian standards. The world esteems knowledge and education, but the Bible says that “knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” (I Cor. 8:1)

Those who teach us the Bible should be appreciated. They are not to be despised. But we need to see what’s what, and in its proper perspective. Those who love us, lay down their lives for us, invite us into their homes, ask us about the condition of our hearts, are genuinely interested in us, and spend valuable time with us – these are the ones we should gravitate toward.

We should not be extremely impressed with those who want to do teaching among us, but don’t really want to spend any time with us.

We should not be fooled into thinking that those who teach are necessarily doing some great and fabulous thing. God may use their teaching in our lives. But we must realize that many times, those who teach are not loving us or laying their lives down for us at all. Many times they are teaching us because it meets a need they have within themselves.

Many times the content and the subject matter that people teach are the things that they need most for their own lives – that is how they received the revelation in the first place. Often teachers and preachers hear God speak to them concerning an issue for their own life and growth, and they think they are supposed to teach it to everyone else, when really it was meant only for them. I’ve seen quite a consistent pattern with Bible teachers in this area. Many times their own personal internal struggles come out in their teachings over and over again, while it is all directed at their audience.

Teaching can be good. Teaching can be helpful and profitable. But we have made teaching the crown jewel of the Christian life and experience. It should not have such a place (1 Cor. 2:4). Let’s don’t be fooled into thinking that teaching and those who teach are something more than they are.

Love, power, kindness, and hospitality are the true commodities of the Kingdom of God. These are the commodities that grow us, heal us, and equip us. A humble person who will be a friend to you, who will sacrifice for you, who will spend time with you, give to you, speak the truth to you, pray with you, and who will receive these same things from you as well, should be worthy of much more respect and honor than the person who only wants you as an audience so they can teach in front of you.

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