CHURCH & MINISTRY
Christ Ed. Part 1
Our Need for Jesus Christ
By Jerry Smith
The term "Christ ed." gets to the heart of what many call Christian Education. Christ ed. focuses on going beyond superficial mentions of Jesus Christ and a little Scripture peppered here and there in spiritual teaching. It is a term I coined as a result of what I personally observed in local churches over the past years and what I am observing until now in others. Specifically, Christ ed. is a guideline for education practices in the Christian church. Spiritual teachers include pastors, ministers, reverends, Sunday school teachers, and the like: anyone who would stand (or sit) before members of an organized Christian assembly and teach members are included in the term spiritual teacher. Christ ed. is a term that inherently asks two fundamental questions: (1) are spiritual lessons centering on, exalting, and glorifying Jesus Christ (2) are spiritual lessons that are centering on, exalting, and glorifying Jesus Christ anchored to the Scriptures?
Christ Ed., The Series
Our Need for Jesus
The Importance of Scriptural Teaching
Teaching Adults in Church
The first aspect of Christ ed. is concerned with our need of Jesus Christ as both Savior and the Source of spiritual life and vitality. Scripture reveals that Jesus Christ is the ultimate need of all mankind. Indeed, He has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). So it is essential for one to inherit eternal life that He be exalted (John 12:32). Anything other than Christ being exalted will draw people away from Christ. One way people benefit, the other way they suffer. As a matter of fact, the end of every believer's spiritual walk is to eventually become the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Image, meaning likeness, representation, illustration, or reflection of Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ pleases God (Matthew 3:17). Does that mean that as Christians we cannot please God? No. It does mean that apart from faith in Christ, we cannot please God. One must first be in Christ before he can please the Father by walking in faith in Christ. That makes Jesus Christ of preeminent importance in Christian assemblies today. However, none of these, salvation, pleasing God, conforming to the image of Christ, or maturity, can take place if the believer is not presented with Jesus Christ, the very image that God desires His people to conform to. Everything must relate to Christ where spiritual matters are concerned because Jesus Christ is the Christian's...
Water (John 6:35): Can humans last long without water? Without it, our bodies would shut down. How then can people's spiritual thirst be quenched without Christ being taught?
Bread (John 6:35): Without physical food, our energy would be low and possibly our work less. How can believers be nourished, strengthened, and energized without Christ being taught?
Light (John 8:12): What happens when a person walks around in the dark? They stumble, get hurt, and or possibly fall down. How then can people see spiritually to know which way to go in their personal lives without Christ being taught?
Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30): When a Christian faces difficulties in life or when they do not know what to do, they need wisdom. But, earthly wisdom fails especially in spiritual matters. Hebrews 12:3 tells Christians to consider Him. What did Jesus do? Who is Jesus? What did He endure? What was His example? How can He transform us and our lives? How can He lead us? Wise answers to these questions are what Christians need to hear.
Way (John 14:6): If someone is traveling to a destination, and does not know how to get there, what happens? It could become a pretty terrible trip and they may very well end up lost to boot. Spiritually speaking, believers can be detoured by poor teaching, take longer to mature, and suffer needlessly if they are not on the right path. How can people know the way they should go in salvation, in their spiritual walk, or even in their life decisions if Christ is not being taught?
Truth (John 14:6): What happens to those who follow a lie? They get deceived and end up in a worse condition. Christians need to know the truth so they can make informed decisions and follow after the right things that God has shown us in His Word. How can people know the truth if Christ is not being taught? People need to know what Christ says to avoid getting lost or on a detour.
Life (John 11:25): If we do not have life, we are dead. There are people who attend church meetings that do not know the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:23-25). How can they hear the words of life if Christ is not being taught?
Example (1 Peter 2:21): People benefit from positive role models. We humans, like sheep (Isaiah 53:6), need to follow someone. How can believers follow Christ's perfect example if Christ is not being held up in the spiritual teaching of the church?
Hope (1 Timothy 1:1): People need hope to make it through tough times. Hope keeps us going as humans. Spiritually speaking, Jesus Christ is the Christian's Hope. How can the people sitting in churches be given hope if the teacher does not speak of Him? Even after a 60-90 minute lesson and numerous points, without Christ exalted, they are still without hope.
No Christ in spiritual teaching in the church means no spiritual water, no bread, no light, no wisdom, no way, no truth, no life, no example, no hope for people to attend to — nothing of spiritual value for the members. If spiritual teachers truly desire to see their students grow, they will provide their learners with what is best for them. How then can they neglect Christ in teaching? Jesus Christ is everything to the Christian. He is an eternally abundant source of spiritual lessons to be discovered and shared in the spiritual teacher's teaching.
Christ Taught Himself
Luke 24:27 says, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." As our Model, Jesus shows people that the essence of teaching is the teaching of His own Person, and the apostles followed in His footsteps. They taught Him in the fullness of His Person and work: Jesus as Christ, promised, living, dying, rising, and reigning (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). John 17:3 tells us that "And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." This means that Jesus Christ must have the preeminence in His church (Colossians 1:18) for Christians to grow closer to God. According to Byrnes,  the purpose of education is to restore the image of God in man through Christ which leads to Christ-like character and conduct. One aspect of Christ ed. involves focusing attention on Christ the source of the believer's spiritual strength, his inspiration, his model of faith, and his ultimate goal. Education in the church must be scriptural, and to be entirely scriptural, it must center on Christ.  It must be Christ ed.
 Ventura, R. (2010). What Does It Mean To Preach Christ? Reformation Heritage Books, USA.
 Byrne, H.W. (1988). A Christian Approach to Education. Baker Book House Co., USA.
Image Credit: U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud; "Vacation Bible School July 2012"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Jesus-Christ | Ministry-Church
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