What to Teach

Like Paul, the disciple-making minister has a goal. That goal is to “present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28b). So he, also like Paul, will “admonish every man and teach every man with all wisdom” (Col. 1:28a; emphasis added). Note that Paul didn’t teach only to educate or entertain people.

The disciple-making minister can say with Paul, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). That is, he wants to produce true Christ-likeness and holiness in the lives of the people he serves, which is why he teaches believers to obey all of Christ’s commandments. He teaches the truth, admonishing his hearers to “pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification [holiness] without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

The disciple-making minister knows that Jesus commanded His disciples to teach their disciples to obey all, and not just part, of what He had commanded them (see Matt. 28:19-20). He wants to be certain not to neglect teaching anything Christ commanded, and so he regularly teaches verse by verse through the Gospels and the epistles. That is where Jesus’ commandments are recorded and re-emphasized.

This kind of expository teaching also insures that his instruction will remain balanced. When we teach only topical messages, we are more apt to focus on topics that are popular with people and likely to neglect those that are not so popular. The verse-by-verse teacher, however, will not only teach about God’s love, but also about His discipline and wrath. He’ll not only teach about the blessings of being a Christian, but also about the responsibilities. He’ll be less likely to major on minor themes, emphasizing what is less important and neglecting what is most important. (According to Jesus, this was a fault of the Pharisees; see Matt. 23:23-24.)