The Purpose of the
Pastor-Teacher Gift, No. 4 -
We have come now to the purpose of the
part 4. Will you turn to Ephesians
4:12? This is the basic verse in the
Word of God that explains to us the relationship of the pastor-teacher
local church. It explains the divine
provision that God has made for the protection of the individual
the church age against statement.
There are three purposes in this verse. The first purpose is introduced by the word
“for.” This word appears three
this verse. The first “for”
the perfecting of the saints.” This
declares that the pastor-teacher is preparing them members of the local
congregation for spiritual combat.
That’s what the word “perfecting”
The second “for” is “for the work
of the ministry. We learned last week that
this had to do with
the production of divine good by the members of the local congregation
God then rewards in heaven.
This morning we come to the final
“for.” The third purpose is
the erecting of a
spiritual maturity structure in the Christian soul.
We will be going into this structure in
considerable detail in the Sunday mornings ahead of us.
We remind you again that the second and third
purposes expressed in this verse are dependent upon the first purpose. If the pastor-teacher does not do his work
for perfecting the saints for the work of the ministry, the Greek text
indicates that it is not possible for the work of the ministry to be
which means that the Christian cannot produce divine good; nor can
there be the
edifying of the body of Christ, there can be no developing of spiritual
maturity on the part of the individual believer.
So all is dependent, we have said and
say again, that never
in the history of spiritual conflict has so much been owed by so many
solitary a figure as the pastor-teacher.
If he breaks down, the congregation is hopelessly
adrift and at sea, and
they will experience what the rest of this chapter in the immediately
verses describe as those who are “tossed to and fro (verse 14)
about by every wind of doctrine and by the slight of men (that means
easily conned) and cunning craftiness by them which lie in wait to
The professional ministry, even those
who know the Word, is
full of smoothies—full of people who know how to con the people
of God in a
very subtle way to gain and to advance personal ends and ends that they
are desirable but which are in conflict with the Word of God. Many a Christian gets burned badly because he
cannot discern that he’s dealing with somebody that may be a nice
may be a nice individual but he’s a professional smoothie, and
therefore he has
a slight-of-hand trick that he pulls and the people jump.
He has a little conning that he presents and
the people jump. There is a whole
contingent of people, including some in churches, that have a common
comradery in a common deception that is being placed upon them. So it’s important to know your ground. If you’ve ever understood any verse of
Scripture, I want to be sure you understand this one.
We indicated in detail what human good
consisted of and what
divine good consisted of. We summarized
those doctrines. We touched upon the
doctrine of morality and I want to briefly review that a little more in
than we did at the end of our last session.
The Christian who is under control of
the Holy Spirit
through the filling of the Holy Spirit as a result of confession of his
sins is the Christian who produces divine good in his service. The Christian who is under control of the old
sin nature because he has unconfessed known sins produces human good in
service which he does. They may both be
performing the identical acts. One is
rewarded by God and one is burned up at the Judgment Seat of Christ and
Now here’s the summary of the
doctrine of morality. Let’s just
read Romans 13 once more to give
you the background. Romans 13:4-5 says,
“For he (civil authority) is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid
for he beareth not the sword in vain.
For he is the minister of God and avenger to execute
wrath on those who
doeth evil (those who bread the moral standards). Wherefore
he must needs be subject not only
for wrath but also for conscience sake.”
Point number one:
Morality is necessary for the function and
perpetuation of the human
race. Now morality, you must understand,
applies to the believer and to the unbeliever.
That’s why we said last week,
“Don’t confuse morality with human
good.” God rejects human good but
expects everybody to be subject to His moral laws.
Whether you are a Christian or a
non-Christian makes no difference in the basic moral code:
stealing, killing, morality, and all the rest
are applicable to Christian and non-Christian alike.
It’s necessary for the operation of the
divine institutions. Without the
of the moral laws, there could be no consistent application of the
of marriage, of family, of nation, and of church.
So morality preserves the human race
to the conclusion of
the divine conflict of Satan. If Satan
had his way, he’d kill every person on the face of the earth. It is morality that keeps the
between human beings on such a level that they do not slaughter
themselves. They will come to the point
in the tribulation period where morality will come to such a low level
they will be on the verge of mutual self-destruction all over the face
earth. The Bible says that if Jesus
Christ did not advance His coming a little bit earlier, there would not
anybody left alive on the earth. At that
point, morality will have reached a level of practically a
human society. So morality is necessary
for the functioning and for the preservation of the human race.
Number two: Christian
is not a morality but a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This relationship with God we have described
as positional sanctification, and you should know that doctrine now,
of the points that deal with your position in Christ and what that
to you now and in eternity. Secondly,
this morality is a byproduct of Christianity, but it is not
Morality has no power for its execution.
The power for Christianity is in the spirit-filled
life. Christianity makes supernatural
us. Therefore it requires a supernatural
means for its execution. Now the old sin
nature can only imitate phases of the spirit-filled living for short
time. So you can get people who are not
Christians who look more like Christians that Christians do. That’s morality operating in short
under the influence and the power of the old sin nature.
But morality has no power for its long-range
observation and execution.
Number four: Morality
has two sources—the filling of the Holy Spirit, and the function
of the human
conscience in reference to divine laws.
Human conscience accepts the moral laws of God, and
morality stems from
that conscience in an unsaved person. In
a saved person, it stems from the filling of the Holy Spirit which
Number five: Morality
without spirituality tends to produce self-righteousness, legalism,
and hypocrisy. So morality is acceptable
and desirable and has a place in human society, but it is not the same
good. So we don’t reject morality
we recognize that it has no power for its performance, and though we
that it is not Christianity, and though we recognized that morality is
equivalent of being saved and does not get you into heaven. That’s why you can be the most moral
on earth and you’re not going to heaven because of that.
So we come to this third reason in
Ephesians 4:12 for the
work of the pastor-teacher. In order to
explain this, it is necessary for us to look at some descriptive words. “For the edifying of the body of
Christ.” Here’s a word that
you are acquainted with: the word
“edification.” In the Bible,
it is used in three ways. The first way is
as we have it used here in
Ephesians 4:12. It’s three related
words. The first is “oikodome.” “oikodome” means the act of
something. Here in Ephesians 4:12, God
is saying that the work of the pastor-teacher is to result in something
built in the body of Christ within the believers. The
body of Christ refers to the
Christians. What it is referring to is a
building that we may call a spiritual maturity structure.
So edification first of all is
something that’s being built
into your soul. The act of building is
made possible because God has provided you the grace system of
perception. God has provided you the
“GSP,” the grace
system of perception, a system whereby you can enter to understand
things apart from the human IQ. It’s
pastor-teacher who supplies the information to this.
While God has provided you a system for you
to learn spiritual things, for you to hear, to grasp them in your mind,
positive toward them, and thereby to store them in your human spirit
whence God uses them for building this spiritual maturity structure in
life, you have to have information for the whole thing to work. And that information is Bible doctrine. If you don’t have that information then
cannot be done. There can be no
structure of spiritual maturity erected in your soul.
Alright, this word
“edification” is used in a second
way—this time as “oikodomia.”
“oikodomia” means the result of the
process of construction; that is,
the building itself. The Bible uses the
word, in speaking of our responsibility to seek edification, in this
respect. James 1:4 uses it in this
way. James 1:4 says, “But let
have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking
nothing.” What James is speaking
here is this spiritual maturity structure in the soul—this
building. This is the building that we are
erect within our souls. He describes
this in James 1:4 with the word “perfect,” which is the
“teleios.” The word
fully developed or brought to completion.
So God is interested in you doing something in your
soul in the way of a
construction project that comes to a fully developed mature structure
have built within your soul.
There’s a third way that the
Bible speaks of
edification. All of these tell us
something about this problem that we’re facing.
The third word is “oikodomos,” and
that’s the builder. This refers to
the builder. The builder here is God the
Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is
building in our souls
as a result of information which the pastor-teacher gave us so that our
for perception can operate, so that we can erect a building which is a
maturity structure within our souls.
Now there are several facets to this
structure. That’s the next question. How do I know that I’m a spiritually
Christian? What should be reflected in
me? What should I be able to look at
myself and see existing and see that I’ve come to a point of
maturity? Do you want to trust your
thinking so that you’re stable and you know that you’re
going right down the
line and you’re cutting the thing the way God cuts it? This is what you have to have.
Do you want to trust your emotions so that
you’re forever not flitting off having feelings about somebody or
that are way out of line with God’s feeling?
You have to have this. Do
want to be able to make choices and say, “Now this is the right
choice?” Do you want to be able to
make decisions with
confidence and know that you’re lining up with God’s
decisions? You’ve got to have this. Without this you cannot trust your thinking,
you cannot trust your feelings, and you cannot trust your choices. And God says that He has come to make us
totally trustworthy; to make us perfect; to make us
developed and reliable. Now that’s
Listen to what it says:
“But let patience have her perfect work that
ye may be perfect and
entire lacking nothing.” Now
awfully big order and that’s exactly what God says He has come to
So you see, getting back to Ephesians
4:12, “for the
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the
edifying of the
body of Christ,” will result in verse 13:
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith
and of the knowledge of the
Son of God unto a perfect man (there you’ve got our word
developed) and unto the measure of the stature and fullness of
Christ.” “The stature and
fullness of Christ.”
Now is it unbelievable to you to think
that you can, in your
soul, respond perfectly to Jesus Christ?
That your mind can be His mind?
That your feelings are His feelings?
That your choices are His choices?
That’s what it’s talking about.
And verse 12 tells you how to do it.
The result will be verse 13. And
if you don’t do it, the result will be verse 14.
We are everybody’s patsy when it comes to
spiritual and other things.
Now you’re not going to find
this phrase “spiritual maturity
structure” in the Bible, but you will find several other phrases
going to look at now that speak of this very
structure,” but in other words. One
“light.” You have this in
passages: Psalm 119:130, Psalm 43:3,
Ephesians 5:8-9, 13, 1 John 2:8, 11.
Let’s read Ephesians 5:8-9:
we were once darkness but now are ye light in the Lord,”
illuminated in all
aspects of your soul. This is spiritual
maturity. “Walk as children of light
the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and
Verse 13 says, “But all things
that are reproved are made
manifest by the light.” All things
are reproved, all things that God objects to are revealed by the light,
revealed by your spiritual maturity structure.
If you have this, you have light.
Therefore you know what God disapproves.
“For whatever doth make manifest is
light.” And that’s what
maturity does. It illuminates your being.
As a matter of fact, this word
“light” is used in the sense
of being reflected glory of God. Angels
have the reflected glory of God and they wear it as clothing. We have the reflected glory of god and
in our souls. This is what Ephesians
4:24 means when it speaks about putting on the new man, “that ye
put on the new
man which after God is created in righteousness and true
holiness.” This is the new man, the
structure. This is something that Satan
can never duplicate in your soul. This
is something he can never imitate—the reflected glory of God.
We use the phrase, “We do all to
the Lord’s glory… A life
lived to the Lord’s glory.” And
you’re going to find several phrases now
as we mention these things that are totally meaningless to you. If you’re honest with yourself,
“Well they’re nice phrases and I can’t object to them. I’d like to reflect the glory of God. I’d like to live to the Lord’s
you don’t know what that means. Well
here’s what it means. If
you’re going to
reflect the glory of God, it means that there is a spiritual maturity
built in your soul as a result of what your local church has done for
Another expression that means the same
thing is “glory of
God.” The glory of God itself. 1 Corinthians 11:7 says, “For a man in
ought not to cover his head for as much as he is the image and glory of
God. But the woman is the glory of the
man.” Just as the right woman is the
glory for her right man and for him alone, so the believer who has a
maturity structure in his soul is the glory of God.
This is the glory of God in us.
Ephesians 1:17 speaks about the father of
glory which means that God is the source of this spiritual maturity.
Another expression in Ephesians 3:19
is “the fullness of
God.” What does the fullness of God
mean? Well you’re going to learn in
detail what that fullness means. It
means this building of maturity in your soul.
Ephesians 3:19 says, “And to know the love of
Christ which passeth
knowledge that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” There’s our word “filled”
“pleroo,” which means making up our spiritual deficiency. It’s made up with all that constitutes
spiritual maturity from God.
Number four: Another
that is used is to be “followers,” or the Greek says
“imitators” of God. Ephesians
5:1 says, “Be ye therefore
imitators of God as dear children.” What
is an imitator of God? Somebody that has
this structure in him.
Number five: Another
one is “that Christ may dwell,” and the Greek says
“to be at home,” in your
hearts. Ephesians 3:17 says, “That
Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye being rooted and
love.” “That Christ may dwell
home) in your hearts by faith.” That’s
how you get the truth down there, by believing it.
How does Christ dwell in your hearts by
faith? What good is it for you to go
around telling people, “Now you know you should let Christ dwell
in your hearts
by faith?” Does that mean anything
you? Do you go home and say, “Now
how I can have Christ dwelling in my heart by faith?” Not unless you understand what this. If you understand what this spiritual
maturity structure is, then you’ll understand how Christ can
dwell in your
heart by faith.
Number six: Another
expression in Scripture is “Christ be formed” in you
(Galatians 4:19). Now how is Christ going
to be formed in
you? Through this maturity
building. Galatians 4:19 says, “My
little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed
you.” Incidentally, you’re not
this into the Christian life. When
you’re born into the Christian life, you are a baby spiritually. We’re talking about something that has
Another expression for this is
“the new man.” What is the new
man? This spiritual building of maturity. Ephesians 4:24 says, “And that ye put on
new man which after God is created in righteousness and true
Then another expression is
“obeying the truth.” 1 Peter
1:22 says, “Seeing that ye have
purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit.” You notice you can’t obey the Word of
except through the spirit, through being filled with the spirit. “Unto unfeigned love of the brethren see
ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”
The emphasis here, “seeing that ye have
purified your soul in obeying the truth through the spirit”
grace system for perceiving spiritual things.
One more, number nine:
The Bible uses the phrase “perfect work.” James 1:4 says, “Let patience have her
perfect work,” and her perfect work is this spiritual maturity.
Now let’s look at some examples
of what we’re talking
about. What kind of a building is
this? We’ll see some actual examples
in Scripture. We’ve been studying
Ephesians 4:11-12. Here these verses
have given us that there are certain gifts for communication: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and
pastor-teachers. We have been studying
what the pastor-teacher gift is particularly for. The
concept here is erecting the spiritual
maturity structure. The spiritual
well-being of the church as a whole and of the individual members
exists to the
degree that the believers have this spiritual maturity.
When you find a snarling, fighting,
contending church, you may be sure that you are dealing with people who
never erected this structure.
They had to do this:
They had to proceed to build, and they had to
produce a building by
means of the builder, the Holy Spirit.
These three Greek words indicated to us how
edification is brought
about. You have to build it.
You have to use information to erect a
building, and God the Holy Spirit does it.
But when you find a church of a contentious nature,
you know that some
place along the line, this chain of relationship has been broken, and
been dealing with people who do not have a spiritual structure. They don’t know what it is to be light. They are not reflecting the glory of
God. They have not the fullness of God,
and so on down the line.
What a church should be is nicely
summed up for us in the
book of Acts. Acts 9:31 says, “Then
the churches rest through all Judea and Galilee and Samaria and were
edified.” And there is your word. Here it is again. They
were mature spiritually. “Walking in
the fear of the Lord and in the
comfort of the Holy Spirit were multiplied.”
Now that’s what local church business is all
about. Right here.
This and this alone: creating
structures of maturity within the believers.
Another example of edification is in 1
Corinthians 14. Here’s the passage
that deals with speaking
in tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 says,
he that prophesieth speaketh unto men for edification.” Before the Bible was written God spoke
through prophets who delivered God’s information.
“He speaketh to edification and to
exhortation and to comfort. And he that
speaketh in an unknown tongue (that is unknown to himself—a
edifieth himself, but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
Verse 12 says, “Even so, ye
forasmuch as ye are zealous of
spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the
church.” Verse 26 says, “How
is it then brethren when
ye come together every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a
hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.
Let all things be done unto edifying.”
Now this is the great chapter which is
giving guidance to
the New Testament church at a time in the history of the church when
in foreign languages under the guidance of the Holy Spirit was a
proper spiritual gift. It was
legitimately function, it was no fakery, and it was the real things. And yet throughout this passage, Paul is
stressing that the big business of the local church is not getting up,
those of you who don’t know how to speak German getting up and
German. Or those of you who don’t
how to speak Hindustani getting up and rolling it off your tongue like
pro. That’s not the object of the
church. The object of the local church
is edification, edification, edification, and developing a spiritual
structure. The word keeps cropping up in
People who are in the tongues movement
today are way out of
line because this gift ceased in August of 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed
city of Jerusalem and God’s prophetic dealings with Israel came
to a stop. Now the tongues gift was
evidence to the
Jews. There were always Jews present
when tongues were used because it was a proof to them that the Mosaic
was indeed set aside and that God was doing a brand new thing in
Christianity. But today, this temporary
gift—and it was temporary from the beginning.
1 Corinthians 1:8 tells you right off the bat that
this is going to
pass. It always was a temporary gift but
it no longer exists. It is no longer
The big thing here is the example of
edification. Look at 1 Corinthians chapter
8. Another example: Verse
1 says, “Now as touching things offered
unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge.”
Now this is that word for knowledge in your
head. The Greek calls it
“gnosis.” Notice what this
will do for you. “Knowledge puffeth
up.” What you know of Bible doctrine
in your mind
but which you have reservations or you sit here indifferently. You sit here because you have an obligation
to be in church so you’re kind of tuning yourself out and showing
bored and you’re not going to be influenced.
What you have there will puff you up.
It will make you arrogant. It
will make you proud of what you think you know.
But on the other hand, it says,
“Love edifieth.” Now this is
the Greek word “agape” for love,
the love that only God the Holy Spirit can produce.
So what he is talking about here is someone
who is filled with the spirit who has that kind of knowledge which is
knowledge, and the Bible calls that “epignosis.”
You can’t make a congregation
proud by teaching it too much
doctrine. Every now and then somebody
comes and says, “Why, he’s going to get those people down
they’re so proud and they’re so good and they’re so
much better than all the
other churches in town because they know so much doctrine.” Well they know a lot more than all the other
churches. That’s true.
But if they know it as “epignosis,” if
know it is full knowledge, they’re not going to be proud or
arrogant. It’s going to be humbling
to them. They’re going to breathe a
sigh of relief
like a person who learns about the sovereignty of God and the doctrine
election and says, “God chose me.” And
you breathe a sigh of relief that He did and you wonder why and you
understand, but you’re sure glad He did.
And the same thing about this. You realize “I could be the most
backwards nincompoop in the world when it comes to spiritual things if
hadn’t been for the fact that somehow in the providence of God,
God says, “Sam,
I’m going to teach you something. And
I’m going to put you some place where you can learn.” But Joe—Joe drifts off here, and he sits
he gets inspired in a church and he storms out to do something and he
anything because he’s got no structure of spiritual maturity on
So if you’ve got real knowledge,
you can just breathe a
sense of relief that God brought you to the place where He could teach
you. What’s so special about you or
me? That He has given you the
information that we are getting in this place week after week after
week as the
spirit of God unfolds to you out of His Word.
What’s so special about you?
over this city much larger groups are gathering and they’re going
to go home
with corn husks and nothing. What’s
special about you? It doesn’t tend
make you proud. It tends to make you
breathe a sigh of humble relief.
Look at another example in 2
Corinthians 10:8: “For though I
should boast somewhat more of
our authority which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for
destruction, I should not be ashamed.”
“Though I should boast somewhat more of our
authority.” That’s pastor
teacher. “Which the Lord hath given
edification.” That’s the
reason he has
this pastor-teacher authority. “And
for your destruction, I should not be ashamed.”
Compare this with Ephesians 4:12, our verse on
saints—work of the ministry, edifying the body of Christ.
Here Paul says that he is involved in
building up, not
destroying. When it comes to edifying,
there are two spirits involved here. Two
spirits are involved in your edification.
One is God the Holy Spirit who makes the grace
system for perception
work. The second is your human spirit in
which you store what has come to you from this grace system and toward
you have responded. It’s the Holy
who makes this system work as He fills us (1 Corinthians 2:9-16 and 1
2:27). And the whole point of this grace
system of spiritual perception is your human spirit which God has
the point of salvation, so it’s apart from your IQ, and
it’s only the doctrine
in your spirit that will bring edification into your soul.
James chapter 1 is another example of
structure edification. James 1:3 says,
“Knowing this, that the testing of your faith work with
patience.” Verse 4 says, “But
let patience her perfect
work that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.” We looked at this verse earlier.
You could very rapidly build this structure
of spiritual maturity in your soul as the result of taking in doctrine. Verse 3 says, “Knowing this, that the
of your faith work with patience.” He’s
talking about Christians being under pressure.
When people are disoriented and when
people are having
spiritual trouble and when people’s lives are way off, and they
come to the
sudden realization that they are offbeat spiritually, then they have to
crash program of doctrinal instruction.
They have to get into some kind of a system whereby
on an intensive
daily basis they take in doctrine.
Somebody who is a new Christian will have to go for
about two years
before he comes to the point under intensive instructional care, before
comes to the point where he begins to function as an independent
taking things and finding things in the Word of God that are useful and
are operational in his life. Don’t
kid yourself that just because somebody has been born again that they
something to open their mouths about to tell you.
That’s a favorite stunt of
organizations who are trying to
raise money—to find some famous personality who has become a
Christian and then
to run a business man’s or some other kind of dinner for them to
come and have
this famous recently born again personality speak as if he had
say. But when the greatest personality
was born again in the form of the apostle Paul, nobody ran any business
banquets for him to come in and make any speeches at.
Instead, God closed his mouth and put him out
in the Arabian Desert for three years and taught him and taught him and
him and taught him. Then Paul walked
back to Jerusalem and he opened his mouth for his first sermon. So don’t get carried away with people
have something to say who have no spiritual maturity structure from
You notice these fantastic words here. It says that you should be perfect, entire,
lacking nothing. Now how many of us are
ready to stand up this morning and say, “Now that describes my
entire, lacking nothing?” We recoil.
I once was teaching a class in this
auditorium and before I
knew as much as I needed to know about what it is to be spiritual, I
a real cagey question. I said, “Now
many of you would say you’re spiritual here?”
I didn’t think anybody would raise their hand,
but one fellow who was a
missionary there raised hand. He knew
about being filled with the spirit real clearly, about being in or out. And it surprised. I
though nobody could be that arrogant to
say, “Yeah, I’m spiritual.”
There’s something about us that
recoils from the idea that
we can say that my spiritual life is perfect, entire, lacking nothing. Because you have some reservations on
involved in this, you think that you cannot say that.
But when you find what it is to be a
spiritually mature Christian and how you can build this in your soul,
hit the ceiling with thrill and joy. I
won’t have to tell you any funny stories to make your heart
happy, to make your
heart light-hearted, or to make you rejoice.
Like someone told me the other day, “I
discovered what it is to be happy
and to have enjoyment in the Christian life.
It isn’t all this rinky-dink stuff that we get
in churches to make us
happy, but it is knowing doctrine and knowing God’s thinking. When I’ve got that, I become the
person I’ve ever been because I’ve got reality.
One more example:
look at, of all people, the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
This example of spiritual maturity is in the
book of Luke 2:40. I remind you that
while Jesus was God, He was also man, and he had a humanity just as you
do. And the humanity of Jesus Christ
needed a spiritual maturity structure.
It did not have that structure when He was born but
this is something that
He had to build into His life just as you and I do.
Verse 40 says, “And the child (Jesus) grew
and He became strong in spirit, He was filled with wisdom, and the
grace of God
was upon Him.”
Now there is a certain folly upon us
in churches in
reference to youth programs. We have the
idea that a church is responsible and it’s going to reach its
young people by
having recreational and activity programs.
But these recreational and activity programs very
frequently do not
build a spiritual maturity structure in the lives of those young people. When they do not, nothing could be more
illegitimate on the church calendar than recreational and activity
that do not build spiritual maturity. We
have kids involved in all kinds of Mickey Mouse competitions with one
under the illusion that we are advancing them spiritually.
I inadvertently discovered in Vacation
Bible School, when I
was trying to promote interest among the kids there for our summer
I could play this folly of competition with one another to a fantastic
degree. The campground is a beautiful
campground, and one week the boys come and they move into the cabins. The next week the girls come and they move
into the same cabins in the section of the camp that we use. I would give the report of how many boys were
going to camp and how many girls were going to camp.
One day, as a lark, the girls were
ahead and I said, “And
the girls are going to get the best cabins at camp.”
They cheered and yelled. Well
the next day a couple of guys got out
and they signed out and the boys were ahead.
And I said, “And today it stands that the boys
get the best cabins at
summer camp.” And they went crazy
the girls looked sad as they were talking to one another.
And pretty soon this thing began to
snowball. That’s partly why we got
kids in camp. They just went crazy over
the misery of having to not be in the best cabins.
It never occurred to anybody, except a couple
of them at the end began to sit and think, “We’re not even
going to be in camp
at the same time. How can one have the
best cabins over the other?” A
smart kids finally figured it out, and I warned them that I had some
connections upstairs and they were going to be in a lot of trouble if
But this is the kind of Mickey Mouse
competition that we
forever are doing in churches, putting one kid against another, and
gaining his little points, and now we’re advancing.
Aren’t we doing a wonderful spiritual
thing? Then once in a while we have a
big spiritual binge for a couple of days’ rally or maybe even a
then we’re all exhausted and we try to get rested up from that,
and we call
this a youth program. Entertainment is
not going to carry your kids when they have to go out there and face
world. They’re going to fall apart
going to be disoriented on you. If you
think that by putting screws on your church saying, “Now
weekend. You should do something for our
kids. You should set up some kind of
program for our kids to go to,” you are inviting disaster. The thing that’s going to count with
is whether he is functioning under the grace system of perception and
he’s going positive toward what he learns.
If he’s learning and going negative,
he’s going to be dead no matter how
much you entertain him when he faces the world.
That’s the thing.
So you beware of these substitutes for
gimmickries that a church can get into under the guise of a youth
program. We’re not a babysitter and
we’re not in a
position to have parents put screws on us to play babysitters for their
Now this verse gives us the divine
goals here for youth
programs. Luke 2:40 says, “The child
grew.” The Greek word … is in
imperfect tense which means He kept on maturing physically. “And He became strong in spirit.” That means He developed spiritually and He
was filled with wisdom, and there’s our word “filled”
again for meeting our
spiritual deficiency and giving us God’s divine viewpoint, and
Jesus in His
human nature had to have God’s divine viewpoint, just as you and
I do. And “wisdom” here
… the idea is that full
knowledge in His human spirit. Jesus
grew in “epignosis.” And
it’s in present
tense which indicates that He continued to grow. It’s
passive which means it’s the result of
doctrine. He didn’t do it to
Himself. It’s what He got. It’s a participle, (meaning that)
principal. “And the grace of God was
upon Him” (indicates that) divine viewpoint and divine good
production was the
paramount thing in His life, and these are the result of grace.
Now look down at verse 52.
We have this printed on our youth club checks. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and
and in favor with God and man.” Wisdom
is doctrine in the human spirit of Jesus Christ. The
word “increased” means He cut a path,
like you would take a machete and go through the jungle, and you would
path and then you would go through it. Now
Jesus Christ, in His life, between Himself and His parents, sliced this
that led Him to the development of this spiritual maturity structure in
soul. The result was that He grew in
wisdom which was doctrine in his human spirit; He grew in stature, in
being; and, He grew in favor, and the word is “grace” here
in the Greek, with
God and man. He grew in favor in his
relationships with people and He grew in favor in His relationships
because He had this spiritual maturity structure built in His soul.
Now this is what a youth program is
supposed to be, and the picturing
of the maturing of the boy Jesus is the key to how we should go about
youth meetings and what the content should be.
The result of this development in the person of our
Lord is reflected to
us in John 1:14. Because He grew up like
this as a boy, this is what He was like as a man: “And
the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among
us, and we beheld His glory,” the glory as the only begotten of
the Father, “full
of grace and truth.” When this boy
became a man He was full of the grace of God and He was full of the
God, and when He came to be a man He reflected the glory of God. Why?
Because He had a spiritual maturity structure in His
soul as the result
of His functioning under teachers to whom He responded with positive
So let’s tie it up once more. In Ephesians 4:12 the pastor prepares the
people for spiritual combat in order that they may perform their
divine good for which God will reward them.
And the result of this will be that they will be
built up in their souls
in spiritual maturity in several specific facet which we shall look at
future, and which will build up thereby the body of Christ and
perform the work of the church. Unless
you have this spiritual maturity, you are a patsy for Satan’s
attack. You will not resist him; you will
up against him; and, you will not be productive. It’s
all tied together and it begins with the
Dr. John E. Danish, 1971
to the Basic Bible Doctrine index
the Bible Questions index