Thesis:The gifts which focus upon attempting to get others to change the way they are living both have the same "requirement": the one so "gifted" must be constantly in the process of "changing" also.
Introduction:We have been led by the words of the apostle into a consideration of how the Body of Christ is supposed to serve God by serving one another. In our studies thus far we have seen that a major "big ticket" item is a commitment to the whole idea of serving God by serving one another. This evening we are going to take a look at the next two areas of apostolic focus: teaching and exhortation.
I. Beginning at the Beginning.
A. It is beyondcrucial that we understand the "grace/faith-function" terminology as the concept which is directly under the term "gift".
1. No one chooses, or volunteers for, his/her gift: it is a "grace" placement.
2. No one pursues his/her gift beyond his/her "apportioned faith", but that is not a static reality.
3. No one effectively lives without actual function: it is a "grace/faith" function.
a. Each of Paul's "whether" statements has the same "en plus the instrumental case" form.
b. The pointed reality is that "gifts" are to be exercised.
B. It is just as crucial that we understand that the "grace/faith-function" terminology is fully infused with the "God is a Servant" Theology.
1. No one can embrace a "Theology" without becoming a "son" or "daughter".
2. No one can "Live" without developing a growing commitment to "godliness".
II. The Next Two "Gifts".
1. In order to clearly understand what "teaching" means, we will consider its "definition" from the perspective of Matthew 28:15.
a. The rationale for this is that "definitions" bubble up to clarity when words are used in texts where our expectations are jolted.
b. This text does something that most of the other contexts simply do not do with as much clarity: it emphasizes the issue of "answering objections".
c. This enables us to see that "teaching" is not so much the communication of information as it is the use of information for the purpose of obtaining compliance by addressing whatever objections the idea of compliance raises.
2. We need to also understand, however, that "teaching" does not have to achieve its objective to be "teaching".
a. There are some "grace/faith-functions" that automatically achieve their objective (like "ministry" and "giving"), but there are others which have the element of reciprocity built into them so that the objective does not rest in the power of the exerciser.
b. Some have said, "If the student does not 'learn', the teacher has not 'taught'", but this flies in the face of the vast majority of God's "teaching".
c. The biblical text even uses the word "teach" in the context of Jesus' deliberate use of parables with the declaration that He did not expect His "teaching" to bear the "fruit of compliance".
1. The term so translated is the very commonly used word that was deliberately applied to the Holy Spirit as the replacement for the physical presence of Jesus.
2. The "definition" is basic, but the translations shift according to the settings.
3. Exhortation shares a major characteristic with "teaching": intention.
4. Exhortation differs from teaching in one respect: it does not necessarily address objections.
III. The Common Factor in These Gifts.
A. The common factor is the assumption that the "teacher" and the "exhorter" are, themselves, doing what they seek from others [Note Romans 2:21].
B. This is also common to the order of Paul's explanation of the various gifts wherein he makes the issue of personal application critical to the legitimate use of the gifts.
1. The movement from "prophecy" to personal "use" is both natural and automatic.
a. Any word from God is intended to be believed.
b. The non-application of any such word is considered by the Scriptures to be "unbelief".
c. Thus, "ministry", "teaching as removing objections", and "exhortation as urging compliance" are all "application" focused.
2. It is notably contrary to Truth for anyone to reject it.