Friday, October 16, 2015

EZRA'S SECRET

Sermon on the Mount (pt 12)

Ezra was one of the leaders who helped to bring the Israelites out of Babylonian captivity. “…(H)e was a ready scribe in the law of Moses…” (Ezra 7:6) The king of Babylon granted him anything he asked, “…according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.”
What was Ezra’s secret?
How did he gain such favor with a civil ruler who showed no desire to follow the Lord?
Did he know something that we don’t?
No; but he probably did something that most of us don’t.
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. (Ezra 7:10)
He did four things:
  1. set his heart
  2. learned the law
  3. practiced what he learned
  4. taught what he learned

Jesus spoke of this in the Sermon on the Mount.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [Mat 5:19 KJV]

Doing and teaching. How important is that?

We know that if we don’t “do,” then we are simply deceiving ourselves (James 1:22).
We also know that a mark of maturity in the things of God is that we teach (Heb. 5:12).

Doing and teaching is very important then.

However, let’s be clear.

This is not about becoming a teacher, holding the office of a teacher, or having the gift of teaching.

It is simply passing on what one has learned, which is accomplished in a variety of ways that do not include any form of group instruction.

The “doing” part, however, should not be neglected under any circumstance for any reason. (Of course, possibly being called “least in the kingdom of heaven” may not be a big deal to you.)

The power of teaching, whether as a classroom instructor or as one who simply shares with another, cannot be overlooked as a principle for solid growth in the things of the Kingdom of God.
The Latin phrase, docendo discimus, means "by teaching, we learn". (Seneca the Younger c. 4 BC – 65 AD)

I have proven this to be true in my own life for more than a few decades. I learn even more when I am teaching what I just learned. I find opportunities during the day to bring some new thing I've garnered into the conversation, thereby cementing it into my awareness.

It was also the guiding principle of the great physicist, Frank Oppenheimer.

Do we realize that it is possible to teach by our actions?
Most will completely agree with that idea.

If that is true (and it is), then it is also by our actions—or lack of them—that we teach others to break one of the “least commandments.”

Uh-oh.

We often hear, and possibly quote, that “We are the only Bible some people will ever read,” in an effort to get people to live better. “Your life is a witness.”

Do we not also realize the opposite of that is just as true? (2 Pet. 2:2)
To name the name of Christ, and live like everyone else is a blasphemy.
It is the greatest violation of the second commandment about not ”taking the name of the Lord in vain.” (which has next to nothing to do with cussing, by the way)

Jesus takes this concept even further in the next verse, which I mentioned in a previous article.

Our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. [Mat 5:20 KJV]

Entering the kingdom of heaven is directly related to our righteousness being greater than that of the Pharisees. This was explained also in a different article.

The Pharisees taught, but according to Jesus, they didn’t practice what they taught.
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, [that] observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. [Mat 23:3 KJV]
(Sounds like teaching negatively by their actions, does it not?)

The idea of “doing” is both foundational and a capstone to fully understanding the teachings of the Lord Jesus.

Essentially, it boils down to

NOT DOING = NOT LEARNING

We have managed to deceive ourselves into believing that since we have a stockpile of Bible verses in our knowledge bank, then we must be okay.

Maybe it’s time we unlearned that lie.

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