Sermon:  Christian Schooling  (#3 in Series: "Your Kingdom Come")

Summary:  The Gospels introduce us to Jesus as the King who inaugurated the Reign of God, 
which requires allegiance to Christ as Lord, master, and teacher.  Unlike the instruction of the Torah, 
Jesus is the embodiment of Torah, which means that we not only listen to his words, but observe his 
actions as well.  This means that learning to be a Christian is not merely academic, but hands on.  
All of life is a classroom for the Christian not for the purpose of information, but formation.

Know:  For us a Christians, we learn not merely for academic knowledge, but even more so to practice 
the lifestyle of Jesus every day.  

Feel:  The inadequacies of book knowledge so that there is a desire to learn and teach by doing.

Do:  Reflect on the teaching style and methods of Christ.  Compare Christ's teaching methods with 
our own and list ways that our own teaching methods could be improved.

Text:  John 1:14; Mark 3:12; Eph 4:20-21

Scripture Reading:  Lk 6:40

1.  Have you ever known anyone that never heard of God?
	a.  Had a friend named Steven when I was young never heard
	b.  Invited him to come to Sunday School on the bus
	c.  Learned a lot on the bus, class, and children's worship for elementary
		- Variety of methods to teach
		- Songs, puppets, skits, reading, stories, crafts
		- Teachers demonstrated that God loves all children
2.  You may not realize that the Sunday School movement is a recent 
     innovation in the church.  Just over 200 years old
3.  There needs to be an emphasis on learning
	a.  Classroom is a valuable resource
	b.  It is not the only resource
	c.  Jesus is the master teacher
	d.  Lot of teaching and learning goes on, many do not even realize it
4.  Points about education as modeled by Christ

I.  Not merely informational
	A.  It is not merely an academic exercise
	B.  Academia in Christian education goes back a long ways
		1.  Hebrew thought gave way to Greek thought rather early
			a.  Began with the use of Greek philosophy 3rd Century
				- First Christian philosopher was Origen
				- To defend and explain Christianity
				- Christianity appropriated Greek philosophical 
			b.  Hebrew - Knowledge of God through experience & history
				- Didn't think of God in Greek philosophical categories
			c.  Greek - Emphasis on rational knowledge
				- More interested in God's being that God's acts
				- Desire to define the metaphysical nature of God
				- Systematized faith and doctrine
			d.  Church councils produced precise doctrinal formulations
				- Produced definitive statement and formulations
		2.  Reformation & enlightenment years continued this practice
			a.  Formulations multiplied 
			b.  Examples:
				- Jesus of like nature or same nature?
				- Transubstantiation; Consubstantiation
				- Propitiation, expiation, justification, sanctification
				- Developed precise formulations
			c.  For us - Formulations emphasized institutional structure
				- Pattern theology and pattern theologians
				- Books on the church - Government of, organization 
				  of, Elders, deacons, right name, date of founding, 
				  how to become a member
				- One books says, "A practical course by which the 
				  New Testament Church can be identified and 
				  established anywhere on earth"
			d.  Everyone had various formulations
				- Some codified them officially into creeds
				- Some codified them unofficially in other ways
		3.  Faithfulness became measured by subscription to formulations
			a.  Shaped initially by Greek philosophical thought
			b.  Then again in Reformation and Enlightenment
			c.  Scientific formulations
	C.  Something is missing in all of this.
		1.  Compare the Nicene Creed to the Sermon on the Mount
			a.  Nicene creed considered the definitive statement of faith 
			     for most Christians
			b.  The Nicene creed is focused on metaphysical nature of 
			     Christian faith
			c.  The Sermon on the Mount is focused on ethics and 
			      behavior with very little appear to precepts or doctrinal 
		2.  Why is there little appeal to these in the sermon on the mount?  
			a.  Sermon is rooted in the "person" of Jesus himself
			b.  Jesus defines faithfulness in terms of "doing" and "action"  
			     at the conclusion of the sermon
				- Not everyone who says to me "Lord, Lord"
				- Parable of wise man house on rock
		3.  Compare a typical book on the Church with Sermon
			a.  What defines a New Testament Church in the book:  
				- Right Name, Christ is the Head, Correct government 
				   with elders & deacons, worship services are correct
				- Goal appears to be to establish and institution
			b.  Sermon on the Mount is exposition of the kingdom:
				- Salt & Light, righteousness that surpasses 
				   pharisaical formulations, reconciliatory relationships, 
				   faithful in marriage, loves enemies, benevolent, 
				   praying people
				- Other characteristics:  Sacrificial (Lk 18:22), concern 
				   for the poor (Lk 16:19), egalitarian (Lk 14:11; Gal 
				   3:28), humble (Mt 18:4)
				- One Another Passages:  Love (Jn 13:34), Honor 
				  (Rom 12:10), Build Up (Rom 14:19), Admonish 
				  (Rom 15:14), Stumulate (Heb 10:24), Care For (1 
				  Cor 12:25), Accept (Rom 15:7), Kind-tenderhearted-
				  forgiving (Eph 4:32)
		4.  God did not come to establish an institutional structure
			a.  Reign of God is not about an institution
			b.  It is about a people
			c.  Jesus said the Reign of God is "in you" (Lk 17:21)
	D.  Purpose of this is to show that education is not about formulations
		1.  Christian education is not an academic exercise
		2.  Karl Barth, a German theologian said:  "The word became felsh, 
		     and through theologians it became more words again."
			a.  This is what happens when you make it academic
			b.  Goal of Christian education is not to know words
		3.  Goal of Christian education is knowing for the purpose of doing
		4.  It is not about information, but formation

II.  It is formational
	A.  Goal of Christian education - To be formed into the image of Christ
	B.  Key passages from Matthew (Much of Matthew is arranged topically, 
	     reflecting an instructional emphasis)
		1.  (Mt 5:17) - Not to abolish Torah, but fulfill
			a.  Not talking about it in legal terms
			b.  The Greek "nomos" is from "Torah" - "instruction"
			c.  Jesus is the embodiment of Torah
				- The word became flesh
				- Jesus is the model
				- God's instruction IS a person
		2.  (Mt 10:24-25) - Disciple to become like his teacher
			a.  A disciple is not just a "student"
			b.  "Student" carries academic overtones
			c.  Focus of a "disciple" is the teacher/master
				- A disciple models himself after his master
				- Jn 13:15 - I left you example to do as I did
		3.  (Mt 28:19) - Make "disciples" of all the nations
			a.  A purpose of Matthew is to help make disciples
			b.  The Gospel is a disciple manual
			c.  Perhaps that is why it arranged topically
			d.  Central emphasis is Jesus - He is the model
		4.  (Eph 4:20-24) - Instruction is centered on Christ
			a.  We are to "learn Christ"
			b.  Not just learn facts about him
			c.  Put on the new self - not just information but formation
	C.  Goal of Christian education not a formula, but a person
		1.  ILL:  Met Stacey in the Air Force
			a.  Talking to my friend Brian
			b.  Told him I was "fixin" to go out of town
			c.  "Fixin?" You have been around Stacey to long, he said
		2.  I met and grew to know Stacey - She had an affect on me
		3.  If someone were to ask me to describe her, and I said
			a.  She is 98% water, hair is about 8 inches long, 5' 6", 
			      caucasian, shoe size is 7, etc.
			b.  That is not "who" she is
			c.  Reduce her to metaphysical formula, miss who she is
	D.  If you reduce Jesus to a formula, you miss something 
		1.  To know him is to follow him, not just describe him
		2.  We are to know him, not just about him
		3.  Brings us to our final point

III.  It is Relational
	A.  The way to be formed is through relationship
	B.  Relational is the model that Jesus demonstrates
		1.  (Jn 1:14) - Incarnational ministry 
			a.  God's word did not become more words
				- Didn't establish an institutional school
				- Didn't just dictate, but demonstrates
			b.  He came alongside us and fleshed it out
			c.  (Jn 20:21) - Jesus sends us incarnationally
				- We are to do as he did
				- Incarnational education means being a model
			d.  (1 Cor 11:1) - Paul demonstrates this as well
		2.  Mark 3:14 - Chose 12 to be with them
			a.  First and foremost in his education is relationship
			b.  Jn 15:15 - He called them his "friends"
			c.  Many of the educational experiences could have not 
			     happened without relationship
		3.  Relationship allowed for formational education
			a.  Allowed for a variety of methods
				- Parable, object lessons, lecture, question, life 
				  experience, etc….
			b.  Allowed for demonstration of personal disciplines 
				- Prayer, solitude, meditation, etc.
			c.  Allowed for learning through experience
				- Jesus used experiences to teach
					- Pharisees and an object lesson
					- Woman who gave at temple
				- He created experiences
					- Decapolis
					- Limited commission
		4.  All of life was a learning lab - Look at where he taught
			a.  On the mountain, synagogues, when crowd was around
			b.  Along the way, at meals, while working, funerals
			c.  Unlimited teachable moments
			d.  Demonstrated that Christian faith was not for the 
			     classroom, for Sunday, but for every day!
	C.  ILL:  Chester's definition of faith - 
		1.  Faith as agreement with a set of facts and nothing more
			a.  He was contentious about this
			b.  Didn't see it as trust in God through life
		2.  He had reputation for arrogance, unkind, contentious
			a.  Would start with, "You are going to hell"
			b.  He claimed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ
		3.  For him, it was very academic - Not formed into His image
			a.  You shall know them by their fruits
			b.  If not have the characteristics of the sermon on mount
		4.  Chinese Proverb:  "Tell me, I'll forget; Show me, I may 
		       remember; But involve me and I'll understand
	D.  Majority of learning does not happen in academic setting
		1.  Information is what happens in class setting
		2.  Formation is what happens outside class setting
		3.  Faith is more caught than taught

1.  Jesus came to redeem us and transform us (invitation)
2.  Afterward, we begin to learn Christ
	a.  It is not just information but formation to the image of Christ
	b.  In Jesus' model it happens through relationships
3.  This is why mentoring is so important
	a.  There needs to be a commitment to mentoring
	b.  Learning Christ can only happen in context of relationships 


Small Group Notes:   

Summary:  The Gospels introduce us to Jesus as the King who inaugurated the Reign of God, 
which requires allegiance to Christ as Lord, master, and teacher.  Unlike the instruction of the 
Torah, Jesus is the embodiment of Torah, which means that we not only listen to his words, but 
observe his actions as well.  This means that learning to be a Christian is not merely academic, 
but hands on.  All of life is a classroom for the Christian not for the purpose of information, but 

Open: (choose one)
- What was your favorite class you had ever taken?
- Who was your favorite teacher or mentor?


1.  Mt 28:19 - How does the concept of "disciple" differ from the typical concept of "student?"  
What would calling someone a "disciple" suggest about them?  What does it mean to say that 
the goal of Christian teaching is discipleship?

2.  Since the commission is the climax and conclusion of Matthew, how does this shape our
 understanding of the Gospel of Matthew?  What is the purpose for the Gospel with all of it stories 
of Christ?  How should an understanding of this purpose affect the way disciples read the Gospel?

3.  Brainstorm and list as many methods as you can think of that Jesus used to teach (formally or 
informally).  Also list as many occasions, places, or times as you can think of when Jesus taught.

4.  What part did Christ's relationship with his disciples play in their education?

5.  Mt 5:17; Jn 1:14 - What implications do these passages have for education of Christians?  How 
would you describe an "incarnational model" for education?


6.  Compare the teachings methods of Christ with some of the typical teaching methods we use today.  
Where are the differences or similarities?

7.  How can Christ's methods, relationships, etc. be applied as a model for us in our teaching 

8.  In what way can "learning lab" type of experiences be incorporated as part of our learning process?  
What would be the strength of the "learning lab?"

9.  Whether you are a teacher, parent, friend, etc., what are some possible ways this lesson could help 
you in leading others?