What are you imparting to people around you?
Jesus returned to His hometown in Mark 6 to minister. The people, however, did not respond well to His ministry or message. In fact, they took offense at Him to the point that the Bible says, “He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them” (Mark 6:5). Their response caused Jesus to “wonder” over their unbelief, but it also initiated an activity in Jesus that must be replicated in our lives as well. The Bible goes on to say, “He was going around the villages teaching” (Mark 6:6). Jesus confronted faithlessness with the impartation of truth; that’s what the ministry of teaching does. Two weeks ago, we began a four-part study about the believer’s assignment to replicate Jesus. He instructed His followers to do the things that He did and even greater things because of the distribution of the Holy Spirit (see John 14:12). Amidst all of the activities recorded about Jesus, we see three that encompassed the majority of His ministry. Matthew 4:23 says, “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people [emphasis mine].” Today I want to underscore our commission to teach the truth.
I’m not sure if we truly realize the power and potential of a teaching ministry. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like leaven which has the capacity to affect everything it is part of (see Matt. 13:33). Leaven (zume) is an influencing or fermentation agent. It originates from a word that means to boil within. In the natural, leaven causes dough to rise, but in the spiritual realm, leaven causes the mind and heart to be provoked—in a good sense. When kingdom leaven is dispatched into the minds and hearts of people through the ministry of teaching, it boils in their spirit until the truth permeates every aspect of their life. The teaching of God’s Word—leaven—is so profound and influential that God declared, “It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter of which I sent it” (Isa. 55:11).
Paul entered the city of Ephesus and for over two years he dispensed truth by teaching. One scholar noted that Paul taught the Word for over 3000 hours in those two years. Not only did the Word spread throughout Asia, but the Bible indicates that the Word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed (Acts 19:20). Teaching is a prevailing ministry because it’s the distribution of kingdom leaven that deeply affects people with eternal realities. I realize that people must respond obediently to the truth that’s been given, but I believe that if we faithfully teach God’s Word, it will germinate them with kingdom possibilities. That’s why we’ve all been commissioned to teach nations everything that Jesus commanded (see Matt. 28:20).
Teaching is more than merely dispensing instructions to others, though. The word teaching (didasko) in the Bible refers to the impartation of truth. Teaching actually is the transfer or the instillation into another person the truth that has shaped our lives. Most anyone can explain a lesson, but biblical teaching is imparting a life. When we teach, we are imparting who we are into the lives of others around us. In other words, we don’t merely give a message to someone; rather, we become the message. Our lives are to personify the kingdom realities that we talk about with others. We’re not to teach theories and ideas, but we’re to impart realities that have become part of who we are. Truth has to become visible. It has to take on flesh and blood so that we’re able to give away what we actually possess. Our lives are to become the illustration upon which we “show and tell.” And in some cases, we may never open our mouths to teach some of heaven’s greatest truths.
Paul said, “I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established” (Rom. 1:11). The believers in Rome needed to be encouraged and strengthened, so Paul went to “impart” supernatural abilities into them. This meant that Paul was going to teach believers in Rome how to remain steadfast, fully devoted to God, and to be supernaturally empowered in the Holy Spirt. Yet, teaching for Paul was more than expressing spiritual platitudes and religious pep talks. Paul imparted to others what he demonstrated in his life. That’s why He said, “For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed” (Rom. 15:18). He fulfilled the command of Jesus: “Freely you’ve received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8). The fact is you are always imparting something! Your life always gives something away. You teach others the realities that you’ve allowed to shape your life. The question is: what are the life-lessons that you’re distributing? When Jesus traveled about the cities and villages He taught people about the kingdom of God because it was within Him and part of Him. He imparted a lifestyle that was fashioned out of intimacy with the Father and He commissioned us to fulfill that same assignment.
Let’s allow ourselves to be molded by the leaven of the kingdom so that we can teach our families, churches, cities, and nations the realities of heaven. Become the message that you impart to others and watch the Word of the Lord prevail wherever you walk.
Jesus, transform me with your Word. Let the truth of your kingdom become the reality of my life so that I can teach others. Let the intimacy of my life cultivate a lifestyle worthy of imparting to the world around me. Amen.