Section 8: The Church
Week 2: The Church’s Authority and Power
Day 3: The Church Has Been Given Authority to Preach and Teach
1 Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:1-9
Jesus gave the Apostles a specific mission – to make disciples. What was the primary way the Apostles went about fulfilling that mission? The first thing we see the Apostles doing after the Spirit comes upon them on the Day of Pentecost is preaching the gospel to a large crowd in Jerusalem (Acts 2).
And when a problem develops within the Church over the distribution of food to widows, what is the Apostles’ response?
“It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2-4).
What kind of response is that? Are they lazy? Do they have distorted sense of self-importance? No. They knew preaching and teaching played a fundamental role within the Church. And they needed to make sure they didn’t neglect that work. Meeting the daily practical needs of people within the Church was important too. That’s why they made sure steps were taken to ensure those needs would be met. But whatever else was done, preaching and teaching had to remain the priority.
We’ll talk about this later when we talk about leadership qualifications within the Church, but for now just take a quick look at 1 Tim. 3:1-7. Notice that all elders (not just the senior pastor) are supposed to have the ability to teach.
Why are preaching and teaching so important? Some would say that preaching and teaching don’t really accomplish anything. After all, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Right? I’m not sure that saying has much truth in everyday life, but it certainly doesn’t have any truth when it comes to the Church.
The Church has been entrusted with a message. That message in a real way controls everything the Church does. We are to make disciples, but how do we do that? It starts with evangelism, which is obviously intimately tied to the message of Jesus Christ and what he did for us.
As we’ve seen, the Church’s work doesn’t end with evangelism though. Once a person puts their faith in Christ, the Church has the task of working to transform that person into the image of Christ. How does it do that? By renewing the mind, which involves taking the message of Jesus Christ and working out the implications it has for all of life. Preaching and teaching are, thus, much more than incidental tasks of the Church. They operate at the very core of the Church’s mission.
Read Acts 2.
Do you think the Church’s preaching and teaching has power? Where does that power come from? How does that affect our view of what goes on during the sermon, in small groups, in bible studies, etc.