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Learn the basics of teaching!

 

For decades, the vast majority of pastors and leaders with a responsibility to teach have been wondering how best to get their message across. Everyone has had the experience of going to a local church on a Sunday to listen to a teaching. Then, by the time we get to the next Wednesday, we've sometimes even forgotten what we've heard. So how can you put the teaching you've heard into practice? It's simply impossible!

That's why, year after year, we see that the majority of Christians are not growing spiritually, let alone being transformed into the image of God. Of course, the fault does not lie entirely with those who teach, for it is easy to see that Paul himself encountered many problems with some of the Christians he taught. However, today we find many local churches that are not growing, we find many Christians who are the same after years of conversion, we also find teachers who are not evolving in what they teach.

If you teach the Bible regularly, or even occasionally, this quick lesson will help you get the basics right.

Now, in the more than 35 years that I have been a Christian, I have had the opportunity to listen to thousands of different teachings by different pastors or teachers. We could mention a whole series of different ways of teaching that are more or less useful and effective. But from my personal experience, I would say that there are two main distinct ways, which we will detail here.

Sometimes, and this has been my case, I listen to someone I know from certain aspects of their life, giving their teaching. Because of this, it's easy in some cases to see whether this person is practising what they teach or not.

There are far too many people teaching today who are just content to give what I call explanations of biblical texts. In this example, the teacher simply explains one or more biblical passages. Sometimes these explanations are even wrong, not corresponding at all with what the Bible says according to the context. But whatever the case, and in the best of cases, all we have is an explanation of a text that provides nothing more than sterile knowledge, with no practical application.

I've even seen websites that sell ready-made sermons for pastors in need of inspiration - what mediocrity! Some pastors I know sometimes use them. On the other hand, I've seen other pastors or leaders read a book and explain it as a sermon. Let's be clear, there's nothing wrong with reading Christian books to increase your knowledge, it's happened to me over the years, but there will never be a drop of anointing in a sermon that hasn't been experienced personally.

The purpose of this teaching is not to incriminate certain pastors, but simply to reveal, by way of example, practices that are not acceptable in the body of Christ.  

Have we ever read the apostles Paul, Peter, James or John speaking on behalf of another in their letters or in their preaching?

Certainly not!

So why do we do it today in certain cases?

Fortunately, this example is not one of the majority. However, still too many teachers use this kind of thing, and will have the poor result that is tied to it, i.e. to have no anointing in their words. No anointing does not mean seeing no fruit, but simply seeing only a tiny fraction of what would be a result with the anointing of the Holy Spirit on their words. In practice, we could be talking about a few dozen more people being added to their churches each year, rather than seeing that number steadily double in a few years. We can see in this case that the growth of the local church is on a natural basis and not on a supernatural basis.

It is important to understand that a teacher is not there to convince the people he speaks to, but simply to proclaim the truth of the Gospel. His role is to give the powerful example of his own life in his teaching in order to make his experience fully accessible to others. Not convincing people does not mean remaining neutral without using arguments, or using what the Bible teaches us. We could say that not trying to convince in the context of biblical teaching means giving all the elements and examples necessary for proper reflection and understanding, so that the listener can make a good choice.

Few Christians understand this, but the ultimate purpose of our time in this world is to make choices. These choices will determine our position in eternity: whether in heaven or in hell. These choices will also, in the case of a born-again person, eternally determine his or her position in the kingdom of God. It is impossible to be able to make a balanced choice until we understand the options and their consequences that are placed before us. That's why a teacher's task is to ensure that his or her listeners fully understand all the ins and outs of his teaching, as well as the positive and negative consequences of the choices proposed.  

One day, one of our LVBN readers told me that she had the distinct impression that I was repeating myself a little too much in my writing. I explained to her that when I read someone else's teaching, I find it very uncomfortable to say to myself: "But what does he (she) mean here, because it can be understood in two ways". In that case, the author has simply missed the point, because he hasn't made his point clear enough. This is why I often bring several different angles to some of the explanations in my teachings. If the person you're talking to is faced with several options for understanding because you're not precise enough, then the point you've made could be interpreted in a way you don't want... and in that case you've missed the point. Of course, I'm fully aware that there will sometimes be people who misinterpret our writings or our words. However, it is our responsibility to ensure that anyone who reads or listens to our teachings has no doubts about the thought we wish to express.

Today, there's a virus that's taking root more and more in the world, and unfortunately sometimes in the Church too...

Frustration!

For example, frustration is at the root of the main demonic demands coming from so-called "woke" movements. Today, susceptibility is developing rapidly in people's minds. satan instils susceptibility into people's thinking, fuelled by self-love. As a result, many pretexts are used in society to denounce others who do not go our way. We are asked to accept homosexuality, feminism, gender reassignment and certain perversions that have become "normal" in today's society. It's easy to see that most of these demands have a demonic source, because they often go against the Gospel.

We are beginning to see that a certain mentality has crept surreptitiously into the Church.  Most of the time we find it in countries like Australia, the United States, Canada, England, etc., but this mentality is also infiltrating Europe and elsewhere.

We find this mentality which says that we must not frustrate people, that we must not contradict them, and even less show them that their way is not that of the Gospel, when this is the case. All this under the guise of: "God loves us, and it is not good to frustrate or contradict people openly".

Some people might say to me: "But Franck, what does this have to do with having a good teaching base?"  

Well, the fact is that to have a good basis for teaching it is important to accept first of all that the Gospel is not based on what Christians can experience in our time. What counts is what is written. Some people today are afraid of frustrating people with their teachings. On the pretext that God is love and that we must also become love, then we should no longer go against what people think.

Jesus Himself never compromised with the people He had in front of Him. The love of God means giving your life, but it also means putting the Pharisees in their place without sparing them. God's love is also Paul praying in tears for his brothers and sisters, but also telling them that he feared he had taught them for nothing when he saw the way they lived. God's unconditional love hides nothing, even the negative things that need to change.

This is why a person who teaches the Bible must never compromise for fear of upsetting some of the people he or she is teaching. Too many teachers put on gloves and over-gloves for fear of frustrating their audience. They think they have to go easy on them, so they carefully gift-wrap their sentences to try to soften a rebuke and make it seem less important than it really is. But the truth is, if we're going to make a negative remark, well, we should. Too many Christians in this situation think that the proclamation of the Gospel should not include negative remarks. We often hear phrases like: "That's demeaning" or "I feel judged".

Jesus Himself was confronted with people who left Him because of what He said.

John 6:56-69 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Many Disciples Turn Away 60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

This is just one example to show us that Jesus, although He was love, spoke the truth without making any concessions or compromises in His words. Jesus did not ask His disciples to leave because He was irritated. Jesus spoke these words without any frustration or annoyance. I understand, of course, that customs and ways of speaking can change with the times, and that there was a certain frankness in Jesus' time that has diminished today. However, the important thing to remember is that Jesus made no compromises and that what is written in the Bible does not change. The times in which we live must not change what the Bible says, or the way it says it.

Today, the watchword in many "watered-down" teachings is not to frustrate in the name of God's love.

Or we have the religious opposite, which in its rigid stupidity scares off many candidates for the new birth or sanctification. From these two extremes, the laxist who doesn't want to frustrate anyone, and the religious who often doesn't practise what he preaches, we can see that the Church is paying the price. We must teach what the Bible teaches, there is no subject that the Bible talks about that should not be chosen as a theme for teaching.  

Another point that I have saved for last, because in my opinion it is the most important, is the fact of living what I teach. Too many teachers are sometimes, without realising it... lecture givers.

As we said earlier, the anointing of the Holy Spirit is not something we can do without. However, as I often say: "Salvation is free, but anointing is not!"

This simply means that if I want to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit on my person, if I want to 'sweat' Jesus out of myself so to speak, then I have to be prepared to do certain things, or give up others in my personal life. There are some very simple rules that can be made into a lifestyle. All these actions must be a joy and not be done under personal constraint. Acting under duress would show that I'm not in a mature attitude, and that I need to understand better why I need to change my way of thinking and my attitudes. There's no question here of thinking that everything should happen effortlessly, because sometimes my flesh may, in its weakness, express its disagreement. But simply that before triggering a change in my person, I must have understood that it is good and necessary for me to change my attitude in order to advance in my transformation into the image of Christ.

 

So if I wish to acquire or develop the anointing of the Holy Spirit on my person with a view to helping others through my teachings...

 

  1. The first thing is to do what I say.

This may seem very simple and easy, but it's not so natural for everyone. Many people think they do what they say, but sometimes you only have to look at them to see that this is not the case. We often lack objectivity about ourselves. I see a lot of Christians who think they have an objective view of themselves, but their personal judgement is often at odds with their words and/or attitudes. Many Bible teachers think they are doing what they say, but sometimes they are not. One of the pitfalls (and this also applies to a person who does not teach) is to think that we do what we say in the broad outlines of our lives. However, doing what we say implies all areas of our life: our private life, as well as our professional or public life. So it's important to ask ourselves the following question: "Do I really do everything I say?  Do I think carefully before I speak, telling myself that I will have to respect my own words?"

Why is doing what I say so important?

Quite simply because if I don't do what I say, then I'm not keeping my word. And if I don't respect my own word, then I'm not being consistent with myself. And if I'm not consistent with myself, it's impossible for the anointing to be activated on me, because the anointing is the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that covers my whole person. This anointing cannot cover me until I am ready to receive it in coherence with myself.

If there remains an area of my thought system that is still managed by the mentality of my flesh, then the anointing cannot cover it.

Why not?

Simply because God considers that I have expressed my free choice by maintaining the management of certain areas of my thoughts, and because of this the Holy Spirit, not going against my will, respects these areas that I have chosen, consciously or not, to manage with my flesh, and cannot activate His anointing there, that is to say His supernatural power.  

The image is exactly the same as when you want to repaint a surface. As long as the base that is to receive the paint is not prepared and cleaned, then the paint will not be able to cover that base. Of course, I can try to apply the paint anyway, but it won't hold. When in the Old Covenant a person was anointed with oil to symbolise anointing, the oil was poured from the head, which is the top of the body. But the head is also where our carnal thoughts are located in our brain, where our soul is. It is no coincidence that God asked for the oil symbolising the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be poured out from the head onto the body.

Without anointing in my teachings, I will only see results based on human power of persuasion. That's why we sometimes see year after year people teaching the Bible without getting the results God intended for them.

 

  1. The second is to refrain from teaching what I don't practise.

This may also seem obvious, but here, as in the case of doing what I say, we quite often find people who, whether unconsciously or not, teach things that they don't practise themselves. It's sometimes difficult to be objective with yourself in certain areas because it requires not only a great deal of humility but also a real view of yourself. The best solution is to team up with the Holy Spirit.

But in the vast majority of cases, with a little common sense and humility, it is very easy to see whether or not we are practising what we teach. I still sometimes stop writing a Bible study or a book for several months at TRGN, because I see that I'm not yet practising certain points that I want to develop and teach.  So I concentrate on that point, and only when I'm practising it naturally do I resume writing my teaching.

Not practising what I teach will produce a spiritual effect that is important to be aware of. There's a rule of common sense that works in the spiritual world too: "I can't give what I don't have". 

It's impossible to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit on me if I don't practice what I preach. This is directly linked to doing what I say, as we saw earlier. The anointing of the Holy Spirit on me will make all the difference, because my role is not to persuade the people I speak to. My role is to announce, and it is the Holy Spirit who takes charge of persuading (without forcing) the people I am speaking to. That's why depriving myself of the anointing in my teaching will jeopardise good results. These results are directly linked to the number of people who will follow and practise my teachings, and therefore linked to the number of people who will grow in a personal transformation into the image of God. 

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

This passage is one of the examples where the anointing of the Holy Spirit is present, and that makes all the difference. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard pastors I knew say: "But hearts are difficult in this region, people don't want to hear the Gospel". Of course, it's easier to put the blame on others than to question ourselves.

What I mean is that, of course, as I've already said, the Holy Spirit doesn't force anyone to change, but He does know how to give us the right arguments to help us understand. So there's no question of saying that all the people we talk to have to accept our words, but simply that we have to do everything in our power, and according to all the potential God has given us, to give those who are listening to us every chance of understanding what we're teaching.

It's a fact that no-one can make a choice if they don't understand the options open to them. Our time on earth today has been given to us solely to make choices. Among those choices is the crucial one of accepting or refusing the offer Jesus made us at the cross.

But how can we make a choice when we don't have the right information? It's simply impossible.

That's why we have to make sure that we give the real options that God offers to all human beings at the cross on the one hand, and give the real choices and options that every Christian has before him on the other. So that no one can ever say: "I made a mistake in my choice because I didn't understand it properly".

There's a lot more to say about how to teach, but this brief teaching is only here to give the basics of teaching, which, if respected, will provide an important foundation for building our teachings according to what the Bible teaches us.

 

Bye for now…

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