"GO TEACH ALL NATIONS..." Matt. 28:16-20.
1. The great commission, though primarily stated to the apostles, apply to all Christians of all time. Jno. 8:31,32; Rom. 10:17
2. This teaching of the gospel can be done by many various means and methods. Such as:
A. Word of Mouth. Written Page. Radio. TV. Blackboard. Charts. Filmstrips. Flannel Boards, etc.
3. I don't think anyone would object to using these means and methods to teach the gospel of Christ, anywhere and everywhere.
A. Of course, maybe some would. Some seem to be born in a "kickative mood" and "objective case."
4. But I recognize that there are those that oppose the employment of classes in which to teach the gospel.
A. ABUSES OF BIBLE CLASS ARRANGEMENTS.
1) Just because people abuse the Bible class arrangement of teaching the gospel, does not prove that it is wrong to have such classes.
2) Just because teachers do not prepare their lessons well, and do not show enough interest in their class, does not mean that the class itself is wrong.
3) Just because students are unruly, and parents do not help to control them, does not make the class wrong within itself..
4) So, the many abuses that enter into the class arrangement many times, by no means make such classes wrong in and of themselves. Anything can be abused.
5) The opposers of such classes will have to show from Scripture that classes within themselves are unauthorized and therefore unscriptural.
5. Even these opposers of classes agree with us on many things concerning the teaching of the gospel to the world.
A. We will now look at some of these arguments and then look at the major disagreements.
A. What to teach -- The Gospel. Mk. 16:15; Matt. 28:19; Gal. 1:6-9.
B. When to teach -- Instantly. 2 Tim. 4:2.
C. Who is to teach -- The Church. Jude 3; 1 Tim. 3:15.
1. Both men and women. 2 Tim. 2:2; Titus 2:3-5; Acts 18:26.
A. The PLACE that teaching can be done. Jno. 4:21.
1. A close study in the real heart of the contention that opposes Bible classes will reveal tht it is the PLACE that is opposed and not the WHAT that is being done.
2. Most will agree that Bible classes can be convened as long as it is not done in the church building.
B. Since this is true, let us here ask some questions concerning such:
1. May a Christian teach a group of children the truth of God as they ride along in an automobile or bus?
2. If one carload or bus load of children can be taught by Christian as they drive along, why can't two carloads or bus loads of children be taught by two Christians as they drive along?
3. Now suppose the cars or busses should stop -- does this cause the scriptural teaching to beome unscriptural?
4. Suppose we take the wheels off the cars, or busses, or convene in two rooms to teach the children, would it still be scriptural teaching?
5. How far apart must these two rooms be before they can be considered scriptural?
a. This might seem absurd, but whenever these two groups of children are convened under one roof in order to teach them the gospel, then to the opposers it becomes unscriptural. The PLACE is then wrong.
C. Paul said that he taught publicly and from house to house. Acts 20:20.
1. Did Paul sin when he conducted classes in different houses?
2. If one Christian does not sin in conducting such studies, would two Christians conducting such studies at the same time be sinning?
3. how far would these "cottage Bible studies" have to be apart before they would be scriptural?
a. The opposers say they cannot be under the same roof.
b. So, once again, it is not the WHAT that is being done, but the PLACE in which it is being done.
c. So our opposing friends are not really opposed to Bible classes, per se, as long as they don't meet under the same roof at the same time.
1) This makes me sorry for those people that live in big apartment houses under the same roof, because even though there might be a hundred families living under this roof only one family can enjoy the benefit of a Bible class at one time.
2) When my son was teaching the gospel in London, England along with his partner Brownie Reeves, they did a lot of Bible teaching in the large apartment buildings in London. They held classes at the same time in different apartments under the same general roof. Were they wrong in what they were doing?
D. So, if it is not the PLACE that is opposed, then what is it?
III. "GO YE THEREFORE AND TEACH..."
A. Class arrangements of teaching are authorized by the generic command to teach, found in Matt. 28:19.
1. Generic is general as opposed to specific.
a. General: "Not restrained or limited to a precise import or application; not specific; not entering into details or minutiae."
b. Specific: "Precisely formulated or restricted; specifying, definite, or making definite; explicit; or an exact or particular nature." ----Webster.
B. In executing a generic command, all specifics, detailed, exact action, of the general are authorized unless a particular specific is statedly forbidden.
1. Matt. 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations..."
a. "Go" is generic, therefore, no specific way or means of travel is inherent. Therefore, any means may be used unless the Lord has statedly forbidden some means.
b. "Teach" is generic; embodying specific methods necessary to the execution of the command "teach". All methods are authorized and may be employed unless the lord has statedly forbidden some particular method.
c. Some ARRANGEMENT or SPECIFIC, is necessary in order to TEACH which is generic.
1) Place of meeting, time of meeting, length of meeting, etc.
d. All arrangements are authorized by the generic "teach", and may be employed unless the Lord has statedly forbidden a particular arrangement.
e. In teaching, one may arrange to teach in a public, didactic discourse, with or without audience limitation.
1) Or to an audience as arranged through the medium of radio or TV.
2) Or in a private select group.
3) All of these are authorized in the command "teach".
4) The Lord has not statedly forbidden any specific arrangement.
C. Therefore, the class arrangement of "teaching" is authorized by the Lord.
IV. OBJECTION TO WHAT HAS JUST BEEN SAID:
A. Objection Number One: Since a "generic" does not legislate "how", and every way is thereby authorized, "We can sprinkle, pour or immerse because the Lord didn't say 'how' to baptize in the Great Commission."
1. The answer to this objection is found in the word "baptize" itself. The "how" of it is inherent in the word itself.
2. If "sprinkling" and "pouring" were ways of "baptizing", then, of course, they would be authorized; but they are actions differing from baptism and consequently are not authorized.
B. Objection Number Two: "We conclude then that you endorse missionary societies, endeavors, ladies societies, etc."
1. No. Missionary Societies, etc. are ORGANIZATIONS, not methods or arrangements.
2. The Lord authorized the CHURCH, the only organization, to teach His gospel. Other organizations are not authorized.
3. The Lord authorized the class arrangement, and others, in Matt. 28:19.
a. But sectarian and foreign organizations are not authorized.
b. Therefore, the church may arrange classes in teaching the gospel of Christ.
V. SOME ARRANGEMENTS AUTHORIZED BY THE COMMAND "TEACH" UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT:
A. How did Israel carry out (specifically) the generic command to teach?
1. Moses instructed a class of teachers to teach all Israel.
2. Joshua used teachers to instruct Israel.
3. Ezra used teachers in CLASS ARRANGEMENT.
4. The synagogues of the Jews during Jesus' day, were arrangements for class teaching.
5. Jesus attended and taught in these.
B. So, the use of classes in expediting the command to teach was divinely approved in the Old Testament.
1. We read of Moses instructing in Deut. 31;9-13.
a. In this arrangement did all speak one at a time to an assembly numbering as many as 3,000,000? Impossible!
b. Did they all speak at once? If so, confusion!
c. Or did each speak to a segment of Israel?
2. Next, we have the case of Joshua, as is found in Jos. 8:34,35; 5:7,8.
a. Joshua here is doing a work of the Lord: teaching Israel the law.
b. How did Joshua accomplish this work?
1) Note Joshua 1:10;3:2,3.
c. So, when Joshua wanted the people instructed, he sent out helpers among the people to instruct them.
d. In Jos. 5:7,8, we find that Joshua circumcised the people.
1) How did he do this?
a. He did it by arrangement. Note vs. 8. "They had done".
e. So, when the scriptures say that Joshua circumcised the people, it means through helpers.
1) Equally true, when he read to the people, it was through helpers. Thus, the people were taught in class arrangement.
3. Now let us look at Ezra's case. Neh. 8:1-8.
a. Ezra taught a group of men. Neh. 8:13. Why these men were taught to "understand the words of the law" is understood in view of their functioning.
1) This in turn caused the people to understand the law. vss. 7:;8.
2) The people stood in their place: they had some arrangement for people to know their place.
b. Note the scene: The teachers (plural) stood upon "stairs" and they read and explained. Neh. 9:4; 8:8.
C. So, in Deut. 31:9-13 is necessary inference of class or group arrangement in teaching. In the description of Joshua's work the class arrangement is more definitely stated. And in Nehemiah, detailed mention of class arrangement is made.
1. All of this arrangement was derived from God's command to 'teach'.
2. A failure to see that the command "teach" authorizes arrangements for teaching (including classes) is the cause of opposition to this arrangement.
VI. SOME ARRANGEMENTS AUTHORIZED BY THE COMMAND "TEACH" UNDER THE NEW TESTAMENT"
A. How may the command "teach" (generic) be carried out?
1. Jesus studied and taught in the synagogue.
a. He was even called Rabbi.
b. Not once do we find Him condemning the class arrangements in the synagogue.
c. Jesus Himself taught select groups from time to time.
d. So, there has been a type of class teaching from the beginning.
e. Paul taught in a school.
f. He preached and taught.
2. So, the use of classes in expediting the command to teach is divinely approved in the New Testament.
B. The synagogue arrangement.
1. The synagogue was used for worship (Bet-ha-cneset) and for education, classes, discussions, etc. (Bet-ha-midrash).
2. Jesus endorsed this arrangement.
a. He attended a class. Lk. 2:46.
b. He taught and preached in the synagogue. Matt. 9:35; Mk. 1:39; Jno. 18:20.
3. The synagogue is mentioned 34 times in the first four books of the New Testament, and not one place is this arrangement of teaching (including classes) condemned!
C. We are often told, by those who oppose Bible classes, that it is a sin to separate a few for the purpose of teaching them.
1. Note with me Mk. 9:2,14.
a. Did Jesus sin in
(1) leading a group apart,
(2) teaching this class,
(3) then when He came to His disciples
(4) teaching them all?
b. Do we sin when we imitate Jesus?
2. Note that Jesus "took them apart by themselves" vs. 2.
3. He instructed them while He had them apart. vss. 9-13.
4. At the same time the rest of the disciples were teaching and discussing with others. vs. 14.
5. When He and the ones that went away into the mountain with him had returned to the remainder of the group, He taught them all together.
a. Is it wrong to imitate Jesus in these matters of teaching?
6. Note another example of Jesus teaching a full group and then a given few. Mk. 7:14,17.
a. We are told that it is wrong to call an assembly and then teach a class from this larger number.
1) Jesus called all the people unto Him.
2) He then taught the people the truth. vss. 14-16.
3) Then, "When he was entered into the house FROM the people," He taught them, His disciples.
b. Did Jesus sin in doing this? Will we?
7. Let us now notice the teaching done on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:4-11.
a. ALL of the apostles spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance.
b. The multitude heard THEM speaking. This was done simultaneously.
1) All were speaking to the same persons. Confusion!
2) Or, each addressed a segment (class) of the crowd.
d. Leland Knight says: "The context shows that only twelve apostles spoke on that occasion, and only Peter addressed the entire audience." (The Sunday School -- Is A Spiritual Institution).
e. So, only the latter of the two could be true: All the apostles spoke, at the same time, each to a group in the language native to the group, the hearers!
8. So actually, the first teaching in the church was in a class arrangement, and it occurred on Sunday morning about the same time we have our Bible classes now!
1. The apostles spoke one at a time.
a. This is not true, because the verb "speak" as it is found in vss 6,11 is in the plural, masculine form. In the gen. participle, present active case.
1) This means that all the apostles were active in speaking at the same time.
2) Verse 7 also bears this out. 2. Acts 2:;8 says that the audience heard every man : hence, one apostle spoke at the time/
a. "Every ;man" has reference to the hearers not the speakers.
1) This is borne out in many different translations and especially from the original Greek.
E. Another case of teaching in simultaneous groups. Acts 12:5-17.
1. The Jerusalem church prayed for Peter. vs. 5 2. Many (not all) of the church gathered at Mary's house. vs. 12.
3. "James, and the brethren" were somewhere else.
a. Here is an example of the Jerusalem church functioning in an arrangement of simultaneous groups!
1. It has been proved that the class arrangement of teaching is authorized in the generic command of the Lord. Matt. 28:19.
2. All specifics of a generic command are authorized.
3. If any specific is not to be employed, it must be statedly forbidden.
4. Since the specific arrangement of classes is authorized in the generic "teach", and is nowhere forbidden, by what authority do the Bible class opposers oppose this arrangement which God has authorized?
5. Since it is not by the authority of the Lord, the law they preach is of human origin.
6. So, we conclude, that Bible class opposers forbid the class arrangement of teaching, which the Lord has authorized, by reason of their own human legislation!
by Jim Sasser
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