January 2023 | The True Vine and The Soon Coming King

TEACHER (This article is taken from his book “The Fullness of Ministry”)

TEACHER (This article is taken from his book “The Fullness of Ministry”)

Mr. Christopher Patrick Johnson

There are primarily four Old Testament books which are related to the restoration of Israel after their captivity in Babylon. They are Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah. The men after whom the books are titled played very critical roles in Israel’s return and rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple.  Although there was no concept of fivefold ministry in the Old Testament, we can see some wonderful similarities and draw some tremendous restoration principles from the lives of   these men and their books. Under the section on apostles we saw how Nehemiah “set things in order.” Nehemiah had a view and perspective of the entire city of Jerusalem. He saw it as it really was and planned for its restoration (Nehemiah 2:12-20). He had an initiating ministry toward the rebuilding of the city of God. Under the section on prophets we discussed how the prophets Haggai and Zechariah corrected and directed, stimulated and encouraged the people of God through the prophetic word. Without their message and without the burden and vision of Nehemiah there would have been no restoration of Jerusalem or the Temple.

We know historically that the synagogue worship of the Jews was really instituted while they were in Babylon. They gathered together for prayer, worship and INSTRUCTION in the Law. They gathered for synagogue worship as a REPLACEMENT for the Temple which was in ruins in Jerusalem. No doubt they had teaching while in Babylon as a means of informing the people of God of His ways. Regardless of the profit they received from this, one fact remains: The Temple in Jerusalem was the only acceptable place at that time in the sight of God for the people to gather themselves unto the Lord. While they were captive they had a “form” of worship and a “form” of instruction, but they lacked in PURPOSE because they were captive. It wasn’t until AFTER they had returned to Jerusalem that the true worship and anointed instruction in the Law began. The ministry of Ezra is a picture to us of the teaching ministry in the Church. First of all, let us understand that there was a restoration of the true instruction and teaching ministry that coincided with the restoration of Jerusalem. Without the ministry of Ezra there would have been NO restoration. Without the people of God receiving instruction and understanding they would not have been stirred to restore the house and city of God. The same applies today. Teachers have existed under the religious systems of bondage which have plagued the Church for hundreds of years. However, today God is restoring a true teaching ministry which will flow in God’s order by building upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.

The teaching ministry is a ministry devoted to giving INDEPTH UNDERSTANDING to the Church Of the Written Word of God. Teachers have a deep rooting and grounding ministry. In Israel they “CAUSED THE PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THE LAW; AND THE PEOPLE STOOD IN THEIR PLACE. SO THEY READ IN THE BOOK IN THE LAW OF GOD DISTINCTLY, AND GAVE THE SENSE [AMPLIFYING THE MEANING] AND CAUSED THFM, TO UNDERSTAND THE READING” (Nehemiah 8:7-8). Teachers are burdened by God in the area of line-upon-line, step-by - step, detail-after-detail instruction of the Word. This is important for the people to be established in the objective truth of God’s eternal Word. Teachers generally tend to be more technical and precise in their handling of the Word than are pastors. Teachers instruct through the ministry of the Word, while pastors tend to guide through the Word.

The teaching ministry is also involved in the systematic study of the Word. Systematic study does not have to be dry and dull. It is a valid method of instruction and one which is important if the saints are to know the objective content of the Word of God. As saints are rooted and grounded in the Word, God can expand the resident understandings within them by focusing on particular aspects. The teaching ministry is vital because it assists the pastoral ministry in the practical application of truth.

One of the aspects of the application of truth is teaching through real-life examples. The truth of the physical world parallels truth in the spiritual realm. We find Jesus on many occasions teaching through the parabolic method (Matthew13). Illustrations and examples are two of the most important elements which bring the teaching ministry to life. Through examples, illustrations, visual aids, etc., people receive a very practical implementation of truth into their lives. If truth is not made real within believers through practical applications, they will not know HOW to perform and assimilate that teaching as a reality within them. If truth does not become a reality within them, they will not express that truth in their lives. The teaching ministry helps people learn “HOW” to implement “WHAT” God is saying “WHEN” He is saying it. All three aspects of truth are important, but none is more important to God’s people than “how” they are to bring it to pass. The apostolic and prophetic ministries inform the Church “WHAT” GOD IS SAYING “WHEN” HE IS SAYING IT, BUT TEACHERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INSTRUCTING “HOW” TO IMPLEMENT AND ASSIMILATE (to take in and appropriate as nourishment, to absorb into the system) THE PLAN OF GOD.

One of the most valid criticisms in this hour of this present move of God is the lack of sound biblical instruction. People have become experience, gift and sign oriented. The gifts are vital to the life of the Church. Without them, the Church is forced to revert to the methods of man for supernatural results, which is impossible. Miracles are valid and necessary to testify of the reality of the message. But so many people are aware of these things and yet not able to give a reasonable answer and explanation of the hope within them that the move of God is sometimes suspect as to its validity. There needs to be the balancing factor of instruction which gives a root and basis for experience. There must be that delicate balance between the spontaneous moving of the Spirit of God and the objective-truth basis which solidly grounds the people of God. What God is doing in the earth is in His Word. If it is contained in the Word, the people of God can know it and be able to give an answer to him that asks. If they are not properly taught and instructed, but left to the subjective realm of experience, they will go into error because of a lack of knowledge. Remember God told Hosea, “MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE” (Hosea4:6). The teaching ministry must be raised up and restored to its true function in order to raise a standard against the ignorance of the Word which exists among God’s people. 

As the pastors and teachers are restored according to the New Testament pattern and order, their people will be matured and equipped according to the pattern and order of the scriptures. They are the key ministries on the local level to God’s having a mature Body in the earth. People need the guidance and instruction of these offices more in this hour of apostasy and deceit than at any other time in the history of the Church. Pastors and teachers also need to recognize the foundational aspects of the apostolic and prophetic ministries, without which they have no foundation upon which to build.

If pastors and teachers do not open their own hearts and admit the failure of the Church, they never will see the need for a true restoration of their own ministries as well as the apostolic and prophetic ministries upon which theirs is built. Pastors and teachers are the keys to the local churches. If they do not become the open doors of their assemblies to receive the apostles and prophets with their revelation, their churches will remain without a proper foundation and their own ministries will never be totally fruitful. This is perhaps THE MOST IMPORTANT paragraph in this entire book. This is not some theoretical concept or wishful thinking about a possible hope to turn the tide for the Church of the last days. This is the ONLY HOPE for the last days. THIS IS TIIE TRUTH, BECAUSE IT IS THE CHRIST, IN MINISTRY, IN HIS FULL APOSTOLIC, PROPHETIC, EVANGELISTIC, PASTORAL, AND TEACHING ANOINTING. But if we who are called to represent and express Him in the fulness of His ministry will not repent and allow God to do this marvelous work of restoration IN OUR OWN CHURCHES, then we will settle into lukewarmness once and for all. Nevertheless, God will have a people. God will have a remnant as He always has had. God will have His glory in the earth. Jesus will have a glorious Church, a pure Bride. He will have a Body which is not simply positionally His fulness, but experientially and in reality His fulness.  And may that spread until the whole Church is aflame with the vision of BEING ALL THAT HEIS. Without apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers co-laboring in respect for one another and the fear of the Lord, not this world will see the many-membered, corporately expressed Christ in the earth. The ministries of the Christ are THE KEYS to the maturity of the Body. May God give us eyes to see.

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