Equip through teaching and mentoring
Text: John 1:1 -14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2)He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men. (5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (7) He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. (8) He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. (9) The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. (10) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. (11) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
I chose this passage today because it defines who Christ is and it forms a foundation of all that we are to preach and teach in the church. I would propose to you that because Christ came and dwelt among us that all we teach and do should be founded upon the following concepts:
- What we teach must be founded on a Biblical construct that is focused and centered on the person of Christ. Colossians 1:28 – Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
- Too often we teach dogma and the law but they fall short of their purpose if we do not recognize that Christ is the only one that can bring lasting change into our lives. Dogma is what you believe, whether you believe it or not. And law is what you must do, whether it is good for you or not.
- The problem with the law is that it points to sin but it is powerless to do anything about the sin. But Christ came not to destroy the law but in order to empower people to live spiritual lives dedicated to passionately follow Him.
- We teach for transformation and not simply knowledge. Verse 9 – He is the light that has come to enlighten us to understand truth and grace.
- Romans 12:2 –Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Dallas Willard in his book Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ said this about the need to be transformed; the greatest need of collective humanity is renovation of the heart. That spiritual place within us from which outlook, choices, and actions come has been formed by a world away from God.
- This transformation is one that changes people from the inside through ongoing personal relationship to God in Christ and to one another. It is one that changes their ideas, beliefs, feelings and habits of choice, as well as bodily tendencies and social relations.
- Notice that Jesus did not send his disciples out to start governments or even churches as we know them today but they were to establish beachheads of his person, word and power in the midst of a failing and futile humanity. They were to bring the presence of the kingdom and its King into every corner of human life simply by fully living in the Kingdom with Him.
- We teach a living Gospel – V. 14 – He dwelt among us. Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. This living Gospel has the power to transform our lives.
- The Gospel of Christ is living because it is Christ.
- In John 1:4 john noted that life was in Him, life that made sense of human existence.
- To be the light of life, and to deliver God’s life to women and men where they are and as they are is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus.
- We teach a liberating Gospel – “Grace and truth” John 8:32 – If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. The amazing truth of the Old Testament is that its role is to show us the futility of trying to obey the law and fulfill all of its demands. It is impossible. But Christ came not to abolish the law but to fulfill the law and to give mankind power to live out this Christian life.
- Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
- One of the difficulties of modern Christianity is that the church today is that Christianity has not been imparting effectual answers to the vital questions of human existence. What has occurred is that many pseudo-spiritual movements have been created to fill this void. But the Gospel of Christ is what is needed to reach the crying, unmet need of the human soul.
- We teach not to get people to act right but to be transformed in their inner being so that who one is in their thoughts, feelings, dispositions and choices is changed.
 Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002).