The Five Fold = Peer2Peer Relationships – Part IV
John 4:19, 23-24 (AS) – The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” …..”But an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Matthew 23:8 (NIV) - “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.
John 14:26 - But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Acts 4:8,13 - Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…. Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus
I have sat through 65 years of sermons, thousands of hours of Sunday School classes, hundreds of hours of Bible Studies, hundreds of more hours at Jesus Rallies in the ‘70’s & 80’s and Conferences in the 90’s, even hundreds of more hours listening to teaching cassettes, radio and tv preachers, and have even earned a Masters Degree in Biblical Studies, but am I a qualified Bible teacher? Since I am not “ordained” or a “paid professional”, I am not considered clergy. I teach as a volunteer when asked. I feel the stigma of just being called “laity”. I have had little opportunity to fill a pulpit or exercise my teaching skills in church in spite of being Lay Speak Certified through the United Methodist church and being recognized as Teacher of the Year after 40 years as a public educator.
Since I had a college degree, as a public school teacher, confined to a classroom with textbooks, I discovered the easiest way to teach was by lecturing. I learned the most effective teaching came through hands-on field trips and through student self-discovery. Lecturing, via the sermon, has been the teaching technique of choice by the church who covets their pulpits. Although informational, this technique left no room for discussion, rebuttal, or inquiry. Unlike Jesus, who took walking field trips with his disciples to experience everyday kingdom of God principles, I was instructed, through the sermon, how to do those principles, but they were never modeled by the preacher since I only saw him on Sundays standing in his pulpit often wearing a garb he never word any other time during the week.
Teaching middle school students for 40 years, I have witnessed that middle-schoolers prefer peer acceptance and peer pressure over the academics, for at that age they are purely social creatures hunting for their identity. Being a teen is all about “peer acceptance.” What you remember about 8th grade is not the academics but the “relationships” you built. You remember your bf’s, best friends, your favorite teachers, and who were the bullies. High School is all about being relational, so much so that high school alumni meet every five years for class reunions, not to review the academics, but to reminisce the “good times” they had relationally. Relationships are also important at the college level where frat and sorority parties and tailgating on weekends out weight the academics.
Then why hasn’t the church recognized the importance of peer-to-peer relationships? Instead it opts for the academics of correct doctrine and theology taught through lecturing sermons over building relationships among peers. Even at the seminary level, intellectual knowledge of theology and doctrine trump the teaching of relationship building with future congregations. The believer will never become the clergy’s academic equal peer.
Unlike seminary training, Jesus walked with his disciples, built relationships while talking to them when going to Jerusalem to celebrate festivals and feasts, picking grain in the fields, breaking break, feeding 5,000 at one time then making them collect the spoils. He took them with him to wedding receptions and dinners hosted by tax collectors! He never founded a rabbinical school of higher Jewish education. These “uneducated and untrained” disciples loved the social life with Jesus! He included the in Passover meals, walked with them through the Garden of Gethsemane, prayed with them, and even led them to the Cross. It was there they decided to flee leaving Jesus to face the Cross alone.
Jesus never encouraged his disciples to earn a B.A. or B.S. Degree in Religion, nor prepare them to become “clergy”. His disciples earned B.A., “Born Again” and B.S., “Born of the Spirit” Degrees by accepting Him as their Savior at Passover and accepting His Holy Spirit to be their teacher at Pentecost. To Jesus “accepting” and “receiving” is all relational!
In Acts 4: 8 & 13, Peter and John are labeled “uneducated” and “untrained” by their religious superiors. These leaders recognized them as having been with Jesus. It was this “relationship” with Jesus, not an educational degree that gave these men “confidence.” Jesus promised His Holy Spirit would speak through them when they were interrogated. “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…” Peter, who before Pentecost, was rash, inserted foot into his mouth, now when being led by the Holy Spirit spoke with confidence and authority.
What qualifies one to become a five fold Peer2Peer teacher? His willingness to listen to the Holy Spirit and be obedient! The way he reveals what he has seen and heard makes him a teacher. Every moment can now be a teachable moment! No formal classes, courses, lectures, or sermons are needed, only hands on, everyday practical applications of kingdom principles is needed. Everyday can be a personal field trip with the Holy Spirit.
It is humbling to realize that the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is the teacher, and that Spirit can arise from one’s own soul like a gushing well of living water since the Spirit resides in every believer. The Holy Spirit is the “revealer” of “Spirit” and “truth” as promised to the Samaritan woman at the well. These gushings, these teachings, these revelations bring life.
Let me make it perfectly clear: The five fold Peer2Peer teacher must be grounded in the Word, both written, the Logos, the Bible, and the living, the Rhema. Jesus, the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us. He, the Logos Word became the Rhema Word according to John 1. When the Logos Word was fulfilled through Jesus, “It was finished”, so Jesus returned to the right hand of the Father to intercede for these new saints. In His place was sent the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Logos Word, to become the Rhema, active living word, in every believer in Jesus Christ! Everything a five fold teacher teaches is grounded in the Logos Word. It is the goal of the five fold teacher to make this Logos Word become a living Rhema Word through faith in Jesus Christ. This is done through relationships; this is done through “experiencing” Jesus Christ.
The book of Acts records what the apostles “experienced”, what they “witnessed”, when they followed the Holy Spirit. It begins with Peter teaching in the Temple after Pentecost, sharing Old Testament scriptures to ground believers in the validity of this new “experience” that they were having in Jesus. The rest of the book records what the apostles witnessed, seen, and “experienced” as the Holy Spirit went from just being the Logos Word to manifesting Himself as a Rhema, or living, Word in their own personal lives!
The five fold Peer2Peer teacher is not to be called “Rabbi”, or Pastor, or Professor, or have a title, but is a common, everyday believer in Jesus Christ who is willing to be a vessel in Jesus to allow His Spirit to arise from within themselves and invest kingdom of God principles in other fellow believers! Matthew 23: 8 (NIV) records: “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. We Christians are not to have titles or offices, but have a relationship with one Teacher, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, as equal peers, equal brothers, members of a Priesthood of Believers!