Educational Ministry of the Church - Lesson 8

What Must We Teach? (Part 2)

The Torah contains the essence of what God wants us to know. Jesus clarifies and exemplifies the Torah.

Gary Parrett
Educational Ministry of the Church
Lesson 8
Watching Now
What Must We Teach? (Part 2)

Content: What must we teach?

Part 2

II.  Biblical and Historic Summary of Three Key Areas of Teaching




(Torah applied)



(Torah Contemplated)





Israel's Teachers





House of Assembly

House of Study

House of Prayer

Jewish Formation


Talmud, Torah


Jesus said:

Obey my commands

Abide in my teaching

Believe into me

Acts 2:42

The Fellowship

The Apostles' Teaching

The Breaking of Bread; the Prayers

Pastoral Epistles

'Things that adorn sound doctrine'

'Sound doctrine'


1 Tim. 4:16

'Watch your life ...

... and your teaching'


Rom. 10:2

Zeal for God ...

according to knowledge


1 John's three tests

Does what is right; loves his brother

Believes that Jesus is the Christ

His Spirit testifies with our spirit

The Didache

The way of life and the way of death

Discerning between true and false prophets

The Lord's prayer and worship rituals

Cyril of Jerusalem

Virtuous actions

Pious doctrines


Augustine -Enchiridion




Benedict's Code




Historic Catechisms

The 10 Commandments

The Apostles' Creed

The Lord's Prayer and Sacraments

Eastern rite churches

The Mystery Lived

The Mystery Believed

The Mystery Celebrated


A Code

A Creed

A Communion









Jesus is ...




Jesus is ...





© Gary Parrett

  • Seven questions that provide a framework for choosing and implementing curriculum.

  • Our misconceptions about Christian education can cause us to choose poor or inaccurate content and use ineffctive strategies.

  • The three essential tasks of the Church are worship, outreach and teaching.

  • Christian formation focuses on the process of becoming more like Christ.

  • Instructions for spiritual education from passages in the Old Testament and New Testament.

  • History of Christian education from the early church to modern Sunday school.

  • The Heidelberg Catechism provides essential elements for a Christian education curriculum.

  • The Torah contains the essence of what God wants us to know. Jesus clarifies and exemplifies the Torah.

  • A CORE curriculum should be Comprehensive, Orthodox, Reforming and focused on Essentials. Delivery systems may include bible studies, small groups, Sunday school and sermons.

  • The Ten Commandments are the basis for Old Testament Law and the core teaching of the New Testament.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • A key element for effective education to take place is for teachers to know their students relationally.

  • Effective teachers know their audience and avoid attitudes and expressions that would create obstacles to communication.

  • Asking the right questions about the curriculum and the audience can help you identify what information to emphasize and how to present it effectively.

  • How you define teaching determines content and strategy.

  • Effective teaching engages the whole person.

  • When preparing curriculum, an effective teacher will take into account both the content and the audience.

  • Many people fill the role of teacher in your life at different times and in various ways.

  • Christian education involves recruiting, training, modeling, organizing and supporting people who volunteer to teach.

  • Being trained in skills for conflict resolution helps you to have realistic expectations and gives you the tools you need to effectively resolve situations as they arise.

Through this course, you will gain a deep understanding of the educational ministry of the church, its foundations, principles of teaching and learning, and the development of an effective educational ministry. You will also explore strategies for different age groups, including children, youth, and adults, and learn how to address contemporary issues such as cultural relevance, technology, media, and special needs inclusivity.

Educational Ministry of the Church 
Dr. Gary Parrett 
What Must We Teach? (Part 2) 
Lesson Transcript


In the Heidelberg Catechism. Remember, again, the key components of content were I'll just write them out here and not in particular order necessarily, but the creed, the Commandments, the Lord's Prayer and the sacraments. I'm going to isolate those four things because if you look at the other great cataclysms from the history of the church, that's exactly what you find is these things. They show up again and again and again. They may be outlined differently, packaged differently. And when you get into the specific question and answer period, the answers will be different. And there may be supplemental materials and some will have all four of these items. Some will only have three of these items instead of the creeds, someone like a shorter Westminster catechism, instead of getting at our redemption through a discussion of the creed, will get out of redemption simply by walking through some biblical text, but all tell the same basic idea. So you see these again and again. And interestingly, if you were to pick up, go to the bookstore and pick up the latest edition came out a few years ago, the mega catechism, the catechism of the Catholic Church, guess what you would find? The creed, the Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the sacraments. And if you read the introduction, you would find we have followed the historic pattern of catechesis by doing our teaching around the creed, the catechism, the Lord's Prayer. Why these things? Well, first of all, let me just buttress the point that indeed this is pointing to a historical pattern. I'm going to put several overheads up here, and at the end of our discussion, I'm going to give you one handout that has some of the stuff pieced together for you so you don't have to write all of this down back.


We're not going to talk about all of it here together. And some of this stuff, by the way, is just intended to be suggestive. It's not intended to say clearly, we see here that this is a three fold or four fold pattern that's been followed everywhere. But this points to the fact that people have been thinking in this kind of three fold or four fold pattern. Let me just show what I mean. The historic pattern again, we see down here, the Creed, the Decalogue. Decalogue is just another word for the Ten Commandments. Decalogue, meaning ten words, The Lord's Prayer and Sacraments. I put together on this overhead. And I'll show you why as we go along. Remember, there was already we saw something in the Hebrew Bible last time. We have this discussion, the three fold division of the Hebrew Bible. And I suggested that maybe there is something in there already in that division that's maybe pointing to something. Let me tell you what I think it may be pointing to. Now, the Torah becomes in the section of the Torah. It's the main this this is sort of like the main identity stamp for the people of Israel. This is who we are. This is our story. This is our identity. This is what we believe the Shamma. And this is what we stand for. The commandments, the prophets, the prophets. Clarion Call the trumpet call of the prophets. Prophecies don't boast about being people of the book. You must be doers of the book. It's not enough to say that you have Torah. You have to do Torah. And so the prophets say, It's not about your religiosity, it's not about the fact that you're just sons of Abraham. You have to do justly love mercy, walk humbly with God.


And I see the prophets is pointing to the need to obedience. And then we have the writings. In the largest section of the writings is the Psalms. And right from Psalm one, we know what the emphasis is going to be. Blessed is the man who meditates on Torah already here? I think I see hints of in the Hebrew Scriptures and the scriptural division, hints of something comprehensive, something about contemplation on Torah, obedience to Torah, and then the Torah itself later, even today in Jewish emphasis, there are some some Jewish thinkers like Abraham Heschel, again, a name we mention who talks about the importance of balancing ignorance and outer ness. Halacha is a description for the Jewish law. These are the things that Jews do. These are the laws that we follow, the rituals we obey, and it's important that we obey them. They structure our life. But Agarkar talks about the inner ness of a person's soul development, spiritual development that really is intangible. And Heschel says if someone has lots of emphasis here on the inner ness but doesn't have an emphasis on the outer ness, it will be an untamed wild beast of a creature. But on the other hand, if someone in focus is only on the external obedience but doesn't cultivate the spirit. They will be rigid and legalistic and perhaps lifeless. So there needs to be a balance. There's also, of course, an emphasis on Torah study in Jewish thinking. Just the study of Torah. We could actually add to this category here, which I've done in the later chart and say this is an emphasis on the study of the Torah itself is also a vital part of Jewish life and Jewish devotion, sometimes called Talmud Torah study of church.


Remember what we acts to our study of Torah? Remember what we saw in access to the First church? I think following the same kind of pattern, there was a commitment to teaching of the apostles. And we know from what we see that much of the teaching of the Apostles was focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ, who he was, what he did, interpreting the Scriptures in light of the revelation of Jesus, they made that commitment. They also made the commitment to living out their faith amongst one another. So how do we put this faith in practice, in this new community, the fellowship? And they made a commitment to the breaking of bread, which was a sacrament and to the prayers. We saw that not just prayer in general, but to the prayers very late first century or early second century. A document called the Didache, which purported to be a summary of apostolic teaching. The Deduction of the Apostles is the title. You can find this document still has a similar kind of comprehensiveness to his concerns. It starts with a discussion of two ways. There are two ways a way that leads to life, a way that leads to death. And it was about lifestyle that people live. There's also teaching about the need to be careful in the area of doctrine. In the area of truth, you have to discern between the true and false prophets that were traveling. There is also discussion about the Lord's Prayer and the sacraments and how they were to be observed. For example, the Lord's Prayer, the believers are admonished to pray the Lord's Prayer three times daily as part of their devotional life and other Biblical teaching in the didache some other folks. Let me just skip ahead here to Cyril of Jerusalem.


Cyril of Jerusalem is one of the first writers from whom we have a full package on catechetical instruction. And when Cyril of Jerusalem says this is what ought to be taught, there are several things that stand out. But what stands out the most is a balance between pious doctrines and virtuous actions that the catechist is supposed to be instructed primarily in these two streams. Pious doctrines. What do I believe as a Christian? And virtuous actions? How do I behave as a Christian? There's also some teaching about sacraments and some biblical teaching. St Augustine has also a book on catechetical instruction. Augustine's suggestion is that the first thing a new believer is instructed in is the Bible story. And for August, and you start from creation and you go all the way up to the present life of the church. And Augustine would go out of his way to say, You don't just say everything. It's not detail by detail by detail. Your law, the law, the catechism. And to sleep, you hit the main points in a powerful way, and then you move rapidly over the details. So tell the Bible story, says Augustine elsewhere. Augustine is asked by a Roman named Laurentiis. What does a new believer need to know? And Augustine's answer is a book that you can purchase today called The Caribbean. It's a word that means handbook. And so he offers a handbook on the Christian life. And what he does is he he speaks about these three words, this Christian triad. We know this from the New Testament, faith, hope and love. Sometimes these are identified as the theological virtues. And Augustine said, This is what you need to believe. Faith, hope and love. Or this is what you need to know.


Faith, hope and love. And if you have this figured out, you've got your life figured out. What he does, though, is with faith. He walks through an exposition of the creed, through takes the creed, line by line, and explains under the head of faith, under hope. He does the same thing with the Lord's Prayer. And then he closes with a very small section on love. And it uses the double commandment of love. Love the Lord your God, heart, soul, minus strength. Love your neighbor as yourself, surprisingly, is very brief. I think maybe he can just got tired writing this thing and wrapped it up. But you can buy this in about 120 page paperback today version. And then we move down all the way now to the to the Reformation period. But if I were going to emphasize one thing from the medieval church, I would probably put the emphasis over here again on the Bible story. Remember, we talked about the retelling of the story of Christ through the iconography and through the liturgy, through the mass. The church. That was probably the key thing content wise that was being taught. But in the Luther and Luther, we find the Creed, the Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the sacraments. First thing, when he gets a chance to put truth into print, that's what he comes up with. And when he does it in the preface to his catechism, Luther says, I am following the historic pattern of catechesis. This is what we've done. And then Luther says, If a man does not know the creed, the Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, such a man not to be called the Christian and not to be confirmed as a Christian, not to be admitted to any of the sacraments of the church.


If you don't know the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Commandments, don't tell me you're a Christian. A lot of folks in our church today who, of course, would be that would be unqualified for participation at the Lord's table. And then in the same line, Luther said, Certainly if a man knows the Decalogue, he knows the whole Bible. That was Luther's understanding. If you know the Ten Commandments and know them well, you know the whole line. It's a sort of a surprising statement. I'd like tomorrow, if I might, to make a make a case for that. I think Luther's probably close to right. It's an overstatement, But but I think it's interesting, and we'll make a little bit of an argument for that tomorrow, perhaps. Just let me ask you a question here, though. Think about our discussions ongoing here, but just paused for a minute. Think about life in the church that you're familiar with. Of these three or four things, what do you think believers in your church are most familiar with? The creed, the commandments, the Lord's Prayer? And what do you think they're least familiar with of those three least Decalogue? More familiar with the Creed, perhaps, because at least sometimes we'll recite that the Lord's Prayer. We may see it not necessarily talking about articulating, but I am shocked how many times I'll talk to a group of Christians and say, So tell me, tell me what you think about the fourth commandment. And they have no idea what commandment they're talking about. I won't put anybody on the spot here, but I can tell you, when I taught at a nearby Christian college so near you could walk to it. And that taught a class. And I taught a class typically down there of youth ministry majors, I might have 40 youth ministry majors in a class, and they're the cream of the crop at the school in terms of their spiritual background, spiritual motivation, all of them.


I asked them, How many of you grew up in an evangelical home? 35 or 40 hands go up. How many of you could tell me the Ten Commandments? 35 or 33 out of 35 hands go back now, maybe two. And then if I say to one of them, So stand up and give me the Ten Commandments. Well, that would be very rarely could I find anyone. And that represents an absolute historical phenomenon. If you go back 100 years in the life of the church and you wouldn't have seen anything like it. Part of the reason is this thing we talked about earlier today of the movement away from a catechism to teaching Bible stories. So people don't know the commandments anymore, don't even know what they are, let alone what they mean. And certainly don't know that they might have some import for a Christian life. Calvin's Catechism from Geneva. Just to compare a little bit, there is discussion of the Creed, the Decalogue, the laws, prayer, the sacraments, and another section on just some Bible teaching. We saw the Heidelberg Catechism noted that it's written in a gospel outline short of Westminster, doesn't have the creed expounded some versions of the shorter Westminster Catechism will put the creed up back as just sort of an appendix, but it won't have an exposition. But if you look at the creed it has, and a biblical exposition of the redemption, rotten Christ, Catholic catechism as we've seen. Same thing, the Creed, the Decalogue, our Father, or the Lord's Prayer in the Sacraments. But what you'll also notice is a lot of distinctive doctrines. There'll be teaching about the sacraments. But guess what? A lot more sacraments. Not just the Lord's Prayer in baptism, but a number of other sacraments and all kinds of distinctive doctrines.


And the Catholic catechism is is it's probably I don't know how much how many times thicker, much thicker than that. And then going along with your catechism is an even larger companion to the Catholic catechism. So this is very significant stuff. Byzantine Christianity is Eastern Christianity and the Catholic Church today there's a Byzantine wing is basically Catholic Church, Eastern, right. So there's sort of a kind of us in between Catholics and Orthodox. And in this branch of teaching, I have a series of books at home where they offer basic instruction in the faith and under three heads the. Still, we believed the mystery lived. The mystery celebrated. What do I believe? How do I worship or celebrate this truth? And how do I live this truth? Richard Baxter, who we're going to read. We're going to find out that Richard Baxter felt it important to do one on one catechism and put a catechism in everybody's hands. And what was the substance of his categorizing and teaching? Is the Creed, the Decalogue, the Lord's Prayer? And he calls the Creed the doctrine of faith, the Decalogue, the Law of Practice, the Lord's Prayer of our heart, our desires. So just to put them out together here, this this becomes remember, they're saying this is the historic pattern. The historic pattern then is the threefold component, the historic pattern. You could put it under these heads, a create a code. And the third category sometimes is identified as a cultists cult as just a word meaning religious practices or religious rights, creed, code code and cults. I like to use a different word over here because I think what the sacrament and the Lord's Prayer are getting at are communion. So creed, code and communion. In other words, what do I believe about God is sure about my believing? How do I act towards God and toward my neighbor? And then how do I pray or worship or encounter or commune with God? I think at this point, I'll just go ahead and do this now and give you this handout, and we'll walk through this handout together where I tied together a few more pieces, adding to this historical sketch, adding some biblical pieces, and some additional thoughts of my own.


Take the side of the chart that has the big full blown 25 items on the column here. I'm running with this three fold pattern. Again, these lines are not rigid or fixed, and some of these are more suggestive than actual. But what we saw above, one way of thinking about the three fold scripture is, as I had it on the previous chart, the Navy game is the prophets, the Torah and the writings. Or you could switch it around. I'm not sure what the best way is to do there, but I am intrigued by the three fold division. We also saw last time that Israel has three teachers, prophets, priests and sages. Prophets teach obedience, righteousness, priests teach commandments, precepts, doctrine. Sages teach wisdom. The synagogue has historically been understood as having three central functions. It is a house of study, a house of prayer, and a house of assembly. We saw this things on Jesus Jewish formation. Let me add some biblical components here from the New Testament. I think from the teaching of Jesus, I see something of this idea of comprehensiveness and comprehensive is a word that's important to me. So much of what comes from the mouth of Jesus is obey my commands. But also, as we saw, Jesus taught a lot about himself and the kingdom and other aspects of teaching. And then Jesus talked about himself as not just someone strictly to be imitated, but someone in whom faith was to be invested in, through whom life would come. So believe into me is an interesting statement. Acts 242 We saw that. And then notice also in Paul's teaching. I like this emphasis in Paul to Timothy and to Titus Teach sound doctrine is one of the things that's constantly emphasized.


But at the same time, they're also to teach things which accompany sound doctrine. Somebody turn open your Bible to Titus Chapter two for us. Let's all turn there Titus chapter to many places in Timothy and Titus, the message from Paul is Teach the word, Preach the word, teach sound doctrine. Men will not endure sound doctrine, but you be faithful in it. But then there's also this emphasis that shows up a lot as well. Titus Chapter two, verse one become sound doctrine. It's an interesting thought, and I love that expression most of all, although this is one of those cases where you throw it out to a modern audience and they would be confused, mean things that become sound like they start off as heresy. But if you see them long enough, they turn into sound doctrine. Now, this is the use of the word becoming in good old English fashion. My wife puts on a new dress and comes out and I say, Oh, honey, that dress is so becoming. On you. What would that mean? That would mean that dress draws out your beauty. That dress really fits you well. And that's what these other words are getting in, that things that properly adorn sound doctrine, things which are in accordance with sound doctrine, things which are fitting for sound doctrine. And then look what follows right after he says, Teach those things which are becoming of their beautiful gospel and doctrine. What what is said. Teach the older men to be temperate, serious prudence, sound and faith. Tell the older women to be reverent. Teach the younger men to be self-control. Teach the slaves to be submissive. Teach. What is this all about? Behavior, ethics, lifestyle. So there's this twofold division throughout the pastoral epistle Sound Doctrine, Sound doctrine, sound doctrine, truth about Christ, the deep mysteries of the faith, and at the same time teach them how to live, teach them how to live.


So we see that from the pastoral epistles and then Paul to Timothy, not only for others, Timothy, but for yourself. Watch your life and your doctrine where by doing so, you will save both yourselves and your hearers. I'm reminded of the same two fold division in Romans ten to Paul, speaking autobiographically here, says, Right, testify about my Jewish brothers. Brothers that they have a zeal for God, but it's not according to knowledge. The idea that zeal and maybe zeal fits in the right hand column rather than the left hand column, or maybe in both of them. I don't know where to put that, actually. But again, there's this distinction between something that I feel for God or think about God or do on behalf of God in the name of obedience and the importance to be guided by truth. Zeal and knowledge, spirit and truth. That's another great one. John. Chapter four, Verse 24. We must worship in spirit. And in truth, that same kind of distinction. And again, actually both spirit and zeal, I probably would think has application to both of the outside columns. But truth and knowledge relates to the center column. Let me just tell you how I think this works out as a practical application. If you have if you have knowledge without zeal. We might call that dead faith, but if you have zeal without knowledge, that's deadly faith. That's where the cults come from. Where we get into all kinds of trouble and spirit and truth, there has to be a worship that's both. You can think of Spirit as that inner as part of you. Inner communion with God. Yes. But also, if you read John chapter four, where that teaching is situated, much of much of the emphasis is on worship is everywhere you go because God is not limited by space or time.


So wherever you go, you worship. That means everything you do. Life itself is worship, which would point me back towards the way we live. The first cone. Anyway, all this is merely suggestive of this idea of balance and comprehensiveness. First, John asks the question How do we know that we know him? How do we know that we know him? And there are three essential tests that emerge over and over and over again in the Johannine writings. Johannine letters. This is how I know that I know him by doing what is right by loving my brother. In other words, by the way, I live my lifestyle. This is how that I know him by believing the truth about Jesus. That Jesus is the Christ. That Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. I don't believe that I'm not of God. And this is how I know that I know Him. His spirit testifies with my spirit that I am a child of God. So there's this. There is a comprehensiveness about this testing that I'm in the faith did. Okay. We saw Cyril of Jerusalem, we saw Augustine, we saw Benedict. We add to our discussion. This comprehensiveness shows up in a three fold division of the day, work study prayer, work, study prayer, historic cataclysms, the Eastern Rite churches, and then some generalizing things a creed, a code, a communion, behaving, believing, becoming, head, hearts, hands, teaching for the whole person and now relate this to the person of Jesus himself. Jesus is the king who gives the commands, who governs his world. He's the prophet who teaches the truth, and he's the priest who leads us into the life of God or the words that I'm going to work with for the rest of our discussion here.


Jesus is the way. Jesus is the truth, and Jesus is the life in John 14 six. I don't think that Jesus just pulled those terms out of mid-air and apply them to himself and said and just use those terms because they sounded nice together and they kind of fit this idea that he's the only pathway to salvation. But these three terms are huge biblical concepts. The way the truth, the like we saw the way in our discussions of the Old Testament yesterday, Derek, and the distinction clearly between what is your way or God, teach me your way. Oh Lord, show me the path that I should walk. Let me show you one more Old Testament passage here. Isaiah Chapter 30, Isaiah Chapter 30, verses 20 and 21, Isaiah 30, 20 and 21. This is a marvelous statement for me of what the way represents in the Old Testament. And we live in a world full of confusion, many choices, all kinds of moral dilemmas that confront us, which is the path that pleases God, which is the path that leads to life. And God says that as a promise hear you will hear you will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way walking it. And as we saw yesterday, the linkage between Torah and Derrick in the Old Testament, I think that's the idea that Torah will lead the person to know, which is the way that will lead to God, that will lead to life. So go back to our little discussion of the Seventh Commandment yesterday and just think about this. This is something I could say to a young person as they're looking out into the world, not just do not commit adultery, but take that commandment, meditate upon it, chew upon its meaning and understand what God is really saying in that command.


What's positively stated as well as negatively stated. What is the truth about sexuality? What does that what does that reveal about deeper issues of loving my neighbor as I love myself? And then if I can immerse a young person, a young Christian, in that that kind of mindset, then in a sense I set them out into the world and say to them, This is the way walking, and it will go well. And I personally think if you can get that kind of timeless transferable principle in a young person's heart, it will serve them much better than a one time discussion on sexuality. Because we're trying to be relevant, we'll talk about it this way. But if instead of that, I can give them some principle that applies to every situation of their life for the rest of their lives, a commandment that they can chew on over and over and over again. How I'm cheating. Going ahead, tomorrow's conversation. So I'll get back to my preaching. Sorry, this is the way walking it. Well, that's the whole idea of the idea of the way. Let me just talk you through a couple of other passages on the way or I write some up here. You can look them up later. The concept of the way especially notable in the Psalms, Psalm one, the whole psalm, some 32, verse eight we looked at last time, which said, I will teach you and direct you in the way that you should go some 8611 and then some 19 and Psalm 119, these three Psalms are all Torah centered Psalms and Psalm 119 is full of this. I will run the way of your commands, for you have enlarged my heart and the way becomes freeing, liberating. This is not binding, restricting.


But when I know the way that I can run, I can run in life. In the New Testament, the idea is picked up in several places. First of all, Matthew 713 through 14. Jesus, at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, talks about the two paths and the two roads, one that leads to life, one that leads to destruction. And then in the Book of Acts, it shows up in a number of places. Let me give you a couple of these references 9 to 18, 25 through 26, 19 nine and 23, 24, 14 and 22, etc.. How does how does the way show up in the book of Acts? This from your memory, right? This is what the Christians evidently call themselves. This is what Paul calls himself when he gives his defenses later in Book of Acts. First, he says, I persecuted the followers of the way. And then he says, I am a follower of the way. And the way I think is doing two things here. It's hearkening back to that Old Testament understanding, but it's also hearkening back to a New Testament, understanding that Jesus is the way Jesus is, the way incarnate. The reason I like to use the way the truth and the life as the this as the big picture categories for these three streams of teaching is because it points me back to Jesus and reminds me that Jesus himself is the one that we proclaim. Remember Colossians 128 Him, we proclaim Who is he? He is the way he's going to show me the heart of God, what God loves, what God desires, how God wants me to live in this world. He is the truth. He unlocks the mysteries of God, the invisible God becomes visible in Him, and He is the life I experience, the living God in personal communion through Jesus Christ.


So the way the truth and the life points me back to Jesus. So if I'm doing the commandments, what I'm thinking from a Christian perspective is that I am putting them to Jesus. A couple of other things here. On these other words, the truth. The truth is actually much more an idea that we find as a phrase in the New Testament than in the old. And part of this may be in response to what we saw last time that in Old Testament, thinking of Jewish thinking, the emphasis is not on right doctrine, the emphasis is on right living. So it's not abstract theology that's emphasized, it's ethical behavior. And it shouldn't surprise us that the truth is mentioned more in the New Testament because of our understanding of God's ongoing revelation of himself, his ongoing self-disclosure. I think of Hebrews chapter one In the past, God spoke to us through the prophets, but in these last days He spoke to us in his son. And the son is the exact representation of the invisible God. So in the truth, our point, especially to some New Testament passages, John, does much with the idea of truth. John 114 in him was grace and truth, of course. John 423 through 24 as we saw worship in spirit. In truth. John 832 You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 1613 The other comforter who comes, who will guide you into all truths and then is picked up also in the sense of an objective body of information. Especially by Paul in Second Thessalonians chapter two, where he's talking about the coming of the lawless one who will deceive many people. And he says they will be deceived because they have refused to love the truth and so be saved.


And then in the pastoral epistles, the idea is brought out in first Timothy number of passages, two for three, 15 for three people will not endure the truth in the last days. And then finally, let's turn together to second and third John verses second. John verses one through oh, let's just read verses one through four. Second John verses one through four. And then third John versus one through fourth. Think there's anything in particular important to John. John is a he believes there's something out there called the truth. It's wrapped up in the person of Jesus. And don't talk to me about love if you're not going to talk to me about the truth as well. Also, notice that the truth is linked to the commandments here, and they have to walk together. So the truth the other word that I'm using is the life. The other word that Jesus uses in John 14 six, which is where the way the truth in life is found. The life especially is a Johannine word or Johannine concept. And couple of things that we can say about it from the Gospel of John. Well, first of all, let's just write down some of the basic references. There are a number of Old Testament references to life that we could point to, but I'm just going to point to John's amplification of these things. John one four in him was life, and the life was the light of man. John 316 Of course, believe into him will have eternal life. And then just a number of other passages. John four We have the story of the woman who offers or Jesus asked her for water, but soon is offering her water living water. She'll never thirst again. John seven Jesus at the Great Feast.


Whoever believes in to me, out of his innermost being shall flow. Rivers of living Water. John. Chapter seven. John Chapter six. We could add John. Chapter six to the discussion. This is where Jesus does the flesh and blood stuff. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of God and drink his blood, you have no life in you. And then a little bit later. John 1010. The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy. But I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 17 three. This is particularly helpful for the point here. John 17 three Jesus praying to the Father. This is life eternal that they may know thee. The only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. So we have. John 17 three. John 2031. These things are written that they may believe that Jesus is the Christ believing they may have life. Galatians 220 Maybe we could put that up here as well. I'm crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, but not I, the Chrysler within me. But also back to John in First John Chapter five, verses 11 through 13. This is the testimony God has given us eternal life. In this life as in his son, who has the son has the life, who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. So all of this stuff, the life, a couple of things stand out to me. It's communion with the living God. It's not enough that I believe the right stuff. It's not enough that I do the right stuff. I have to know the living God.


And it's often linked in John to the Holy Spirit. And the metaphor that it's often linked to is water. So living water, when Jesus says in John seven, Whoever believes in me out of his innermost being shall flow those rivers of living water. The explanatory verse that follows. He said this about the Holy Spirit, whom he was going to pour out on those who believed him. So the other thing that I would say we have to emphasize about the life is this always presented as the gift of God. This is the gift of God. Nothing that we merit. It's nothing that we earn. It's nothing that God bestows because we're good folks. It's the gift of God. All that we do is enter into it through belief. So the way the truth and the life, these are huge biblical concepts. I use them because they are such large biblical concepts and because they point us back to the reality of Jesus. But they embrace those streams of teaching, and they tell us why those things wound up in the historic catechesis of the church. Because there's a comprehensiveness. We're not only concerned about our minds and what we believe as Christians, but we're also concerned about how we act and behave. And we're concerned about the devotional life communion with the living God. A lot of Christian education, of course, has been guilty of. Emphasizing one without due emphasis on the other. So we have the emphasis on the head so much in the way we teach. Even modern evangelical churches emphasize that overboard. But on the other hand, if you look at the larger life of the church and maybe even ourselves as individuals, I think we all have our tendencies to focus in on one of these kind of areas.


Some of us are head Christians. We love to study the truth and study the word. And some of our churches are like that. They're strong in that area. But if you looked at their hands and how much they're acting upon the faith and living out the faith as a community or as individual Christians maybe would come up short. And if we looked at the heart and their communion with God and how how serious they are in their devotional life, maybe that's a shortage to overgeneralize, of course, but I'll do it just for the sake of illustration. Maybe that modern New England evangelical church. It's a head truth kind of church and a West Coast charismatic church. Sorry, I'm over generalizing here. Maybe it's that heart, that heart, devotion, worship, prayer, kind of church, and then maybe that moderate mainline kind of church. Not so sure where they stand theologically, but they're out there in the neighborhoods doing justice and mercy in their hands and get it done. Individually, we find the same tendencies. I'm a do person. You're a think person, you're a feel person, whatever. Tragically, I think maybe tragically, our tendency is find someone who's just like us and we hook up instead of thinking, Well, what was that body analogy all about again? And maybe if I'm a foot, I should find a hand or a mouth out there somewhere to hang around with.