As They Were Able To Hear It
By: Brian A. Yeager
If you were building a house, would you start by building the roof? Wait, there’s nothing to put a roof on so we cannot start there. If not the roof, why not the Master Bathroom? Wait, how can there be a Master Bathroom when there are no rooms at all. Okay, maybe we’re being silly. If you are building a house we would all start with the living room, right? Wait, where would you build any room without a foundation? In fact, the truth is, you don’t even start laying a foundation until you’ve taken other steps. You need to clear an area to build on. You need to do some surveying. You need blueprints. You cannot even lay a foundation until you’ve done some electrical and plumbing work.
Teaching is a lot like building a house. Before you can even lay a foundation you have to do some surveying. When you look at the New Testament you find one direction of teaching to a group of Jews (Acts 2:1-41) and another approach when teaching the Gentiles (Acts 10:24-48). You have to know who you’re teaching, what they need to hear, what needs untaught, etc. There is much to do before Bibles are opened and teaching begins. If you are teaching someone who has never learned of the true and living God you are going to have to start there (Acts 17:16-31). However, someone with some knowledge requires a different approach in teaching (Acts 8:25-39).
Such is true even when a Christian is being taught. Some Christians are ready to learn some things that other Christians are not (I Corinthians 3:1-3). There is a difference between a mature Christian and a babe in Christ (Hebrews 5:12-14). A babe in Christ is still learning and changing their mindset from carnal thinking to spiritual thinking (I Peter 2:1-2). Therefore, while no Christian is supposed to be sinning (Romans 6:1-2 and II Timothy 2:19), you can still expect babes in Christ to lack understanding in many things. They need time to learn and grow. Again, that does not mean they get a pass to sin against the Lord (I Corinthians 15:34). However, it does mean they’ll not have the same understanding that a mature Christian will have. In this, mature Christians should help those babes in Christ get through these growing times (Romans 15:1-3). Those of us who are stronger need to realize that babes in Christ are not always going to be ready to learn the things we want them to know.
They’re Not Always Ready To Hear Some Things
Notice this example of how Jesus taught: “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples” (Mark 4:30-34).
As you look at how Jesus taught the disciples, you find that they were not always ready to hear what Jesus had to teach them. In fact, that was part of the reason why the Holy Spirit was sent after Jesus left this world. Notice: “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:1-13).
As we can clearly see, people are not always able or ready to hear the whole truth. Sometimes you have to teach one thing before you can get to another. Sometimes we forget these things as we learn more and forget how much we’ve learned to get to where we are. For example, when we’re studying Isaiah we know that it is for our learning (Romans 15:4), not our law (Romans 7:1-6, Ephesians 2:11-17, and Hebrews 9:15-17). Yet, many people in this world do not know the difference between the Old and New Law. I was once there. On the other hand, in regard to being ready, we forget that for someone to learn, sometimes they have to make some preliminary changes.
The Soil Has To Be Ready
Before anyone can learn anything they have to be ready to hear (Luke 8:4-15). If someone is stubborn and refuses to learn, nothing taught will benefit that person (Jeremiah 17:23). For us desiring to help people be saved we have to learn to survey at this point. We have to make sure we are seeing whether or not someone really wants to be taught. God doesn’t want us wasting our efforts or His word on people that refuse to listen (Matthew 7:6 and Matthew 10:14). When someone refuses to learn, and thus stands in their own way of salvation, we are clean from their blood when we turn away from teaching them (Acts 18:4-6). We are expected, of God, to be the ones teaching His word to those who will hear it (Acts 28:17-31). Remember, reception requires a “readiness of mind” (Acts 17:10-11). If they are ready, it is a delight to teach what someone is able to learn.
Let’s remember to think before we speak at all times (Proverbs 15:28). It is noble to want to teach all people. However, we can do more harm than good if we teach someone who is not ready or able to hear what we’re teaching them. We have to take the time to be sure we are not putting a roof on a house that doesn’t even exist yet. Remember, we will have weak people among us (Romans 14:1). Don’t make them even weaker by putting more weight on their shoulders than they can bear.
Volume 14 – Issue 9 - November 17th, 2013