Instructions, we either follow them or toss them in the trash. I like to think I fall somewhere in between. I use the instructions to get started and then toss them once I feel I got it.
Spoiler alert! My plan is not full proof. It tends to come back and burn me more often than not. Not sure why I continue to ignore the well thought out instructions giving me steps to follow to ensure a well built (insert whatever I'm building here).
I can vouch that the only instructions I've come across that don't help at all are IKEA furniture instructions. Oh, how I despise IKEA furniture. It should have a note on the front of the instructions saying some trips to Home Depot required just under the Tools Needed section. It a sick, cruel game the Swedes are playing!
I apologize for my small rant on IKEA. Back to the usefulness of Instructions.
Over the next three weeks, we're going to dive into our next section of Module 4 God's Unfolding Narrative - Christ The Prophet. In this section we will look at:
Christ The Prophet - Instructions
Christ The Prophet - Divine Warning
Christ The Prophet - Speaking on God's Behalf
Why are we splitting this into three sections? Let's take a look at what Matt Allen has to say:
The role of prophet has a a number of functions through God’s historical narrative. We will explore three roles of a prophet and demonstrate how Jesus the Christ fulfilled these functions. The prophet of God speaks: instruction, divine warning, and on behalf of God the Father.
Before looking at these functions, it is important to establish that Christ was promised to fulfill these roles far before His advent on earth in Human form.
Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (God speaks to Moses and foretold Christ the prophet.)
Acts 3:22-23 (Peter preaches and explains how he has met, spoken with, and learned from this very prophet that the Lord told Moses about.)
The reason we're splitting this one section into three segments is the importance of what Matt explained above: "Christ was promised to fulfill these prophetic roles (Instruction, Divine Warning, and Speaking on God's Behalf)."
Today we're diving into Christ The Prophet - Instruction. Let's take a look at how Matt opens up this section:
Jesus during His three years of earthly ministry consistency carried out one key aspect of the prophetic office: giving instruction. Like Moses, Samuel, and the many prophets of the Old Testament, Christ constantly taught His disciples, the Jewish leaders, and the general public on the Scriptures and the nature of Almighty God.
Something I'd like all of us to note. Matt say's Christ constantly taught on the Scriptures and the nature of Almighty God. We must do the same. We must continuously teach on the scriptures and the nature of Almighty God.
Bank that information as you interact with people daily. We must 1. understand His word as God intended it 2. love others as God loved us (in the Bible love is an action word meaning to act in loyalty and faithfulness, i.e., faithful obedience to God's instruction). By taking these two steps, we can stay the course in continuously teaching on the scriptures and the nature of Almighty God.
Here's where we're going to tie in what I talked about above with what God is calling us to do. Matt noted that Christ consistently taught from the scripture and the nature of Almighty God. Love according to the Bible is an action word that calls all of us to faithful obedience to God's instruction.
We're not to go "off script" or "ditch the instructions" when it comes to spreading His gospel. Recommended Reading: 2 John 1:4-11
Next, let's look at Christ from a young age demonstrated His divine mandate to discuss and teach God’s Word. Look at Luke 2:41-52. As we read this passage, think about these aspects of the text:
Jesus, as a child, was drawn to those who were supposed to be the teachers of the people
Jesus, as one who gave instruction, employed rhetorical questions to reveal the heart of those He spoke with
Jesus, even as a child, gave answers with divine wisdom
Matt brings this to our attention to note that even at a young age, Christ demonstrated His divine mandate. Christ didn't wait until he was older and rose through the ranks. Jesus was following the instructions given to him from day one.
Another note to bank!
Let's take a look at the final thing Matt has to say on Christ The Prophet - Instruction:
After commencing His public ministry, Christ gave instruction on a wide range of topics such as salvation, honoring God, loving our neighbors, marriage, divorce, fasting, giving offerings to the Lord, parenting, and a myriad of themes. Yet, as God in the flesh, He gave this instruction with an unprecedented and unequaled authority.
Recommended reading: Luke 20:1-8 (Jesus questioned about the authority of His teaching)
Why do we bring this up? Instructions can feel confining or be restricting or binding. I'm sure we've all said it before, "Why does God want to hold me back with rules and regulations?" God is not holding us back... he's setting us free and giving us a set of instructions by which to carry out His mission so that we don't go "off script" or "off instructions." He's given us His authority just as Christ had and when we follow His instructions and teach His scripture and Love others, as defined in the Bible, people will take note.
The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
But be careful as to not go overboard. God's instruction is given in love, guidance, and understanding or grace. Don't thump people over the head with it! Walk alongside them just as Christ did for you!
Live for His glory... Succeed for His kingdom!
*Passages in blue come from FPAM Biblical Foundation Material authored by Matt Allen