OceanSide church of Christ
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Do I Have To Teach Others?
W. Timothy Wilkes, Sr.
Director, Fishers of Men Ministry — http://fishersofmen.net
Having taught Fishers of Men on a full or part-time basis for nearly twenty years, and preached for twenty-five years, this preacher has heard many Christians ask if they “have to teach others?” This question is actually synonymous with several other questions. What is the question “do I have to teach others” really asking?
The question is asking: “Do I have to be like Jesus?” Who would argue the fact that Jesus was a teacher? He taught publicly and privately; He taught multitudes and individuals. When He gave His disciples the command to go and make other disciples, He was telling them to follow the example He set. Yes, we are to follow Jesus’ example; not only when we suffer (I Peter 2:21) but also in the way we live, and teaching others was a way of life for Jesus. “Do I have to teach others” is the same as asking “Do I have to be like Jesus?”
The question is asking: “Do I have to help others go to heaven?” The objective to teaching others is to lead them to Christ. Even in the miraculous age, the Lord relied on individuals to teach others. It was true with the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8), with Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9), with Cornelius (Acts 10), and it is still true today. Rare is the case when a Christian cannot point to a “key person” responsible for leading him or her to Christ. “Do I have to teach others” is the same as asking “Do I have to help others go to heaven?”
The question is asking, “Do I have an obligation to my debt?” Knowledgeable Christians understand what they deserve because of their sins (Romans 6:23); they also understand what their forgiveness cost the Lord (Revelation 1:5). Paul certainly understood his debt for being taught the gospel (Romans 1:14). Because of his debt, he felt the obligation to teach others (Romans 1:15). Anyone saved from sins owes the same debt. “Do I have to teach others” is the same as asking “Do I have an obligation to my debt?”
The question is asking: “Do I have to be a servant?” Servitude is a mark of discipleship. Paul made himself a servant to all by “becoming all things to all men” (I Corinthians 9:19-23). Why did Paul become a servant? He became a servant to teach and save others. Why would today’s Christians become servants? They will become servants for the same reason—to teach and save others. “Do I have to teach others” is the same as asking “Do I have to be a servant?”
The question is asking: “Do I have to grow?” The writer of Hebrews clearly connected teaching with growth. It was time that the Hebrew Christians should be teaching others, but instead they had not grown, but rather still needed to be taught first principles (Hebrews 5:8-9). Was their lack of teaching others the reason for their lack of growth, or was their lack of growth the reason they were not teaching others? Regardless of the answer, the absence of teaching was an indicator of stunted growth. “Do I have to teach others” is the same as asking “Do I have to grow?”
While these thoughts do not exhaust the subject, they do give us an idea of what is being asked. Do I have to teach others? NO, if you do not want to be like Christ, if you do not want to help others go to heaven, if you feel no obligation to your debt, if you do not want to serve, and if you do not want to grow. However, if you do want those things in your life, the only way to achieve them is to GO TEACH!