What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (ESV)
My friend Kristen just retired from a career as a school teacher. I am sure that in the many years of her teaching students she assigned plenty of homework. Homework never seems like a fun thing for students. But there is a reason why teachers assign homework. They want their students to do more than just learn information. They want the students to put it into practice. Homework helps that.
The Apostle Paul continues to amaze me. As I read the Epistles that he wrote in the New Testament I am astounded at his teaching. I have learned so much from the writings of the Apostle Paul, which were inspired by God himself. However, I recognize there is a great danger for me if all I do is read what the Apostle Paul said, and do not put it into action.
Paul tells the Philippian believers in this verse that they have learned from him. They have received much teaching. They have heard what he has said. Maybe even most importantly, they have seen in him an example of his teaching. But, with all that Paul gave to them by way of teaching, he says it is necessary that they put it into practice. In other words, Paul was giving them homework.
I have recently been very impressed by a Pastor and author, Karl Vaters. He wrote the book Small Church Essentials, which is a must read for any pastor in a small church setting. He makes this very insightful point:
"If all we do is teach people more about God and the Bible, we won’t have better equipped church members, just better informed ones. Information is not enough. It never has been. So how do we fix this oversight? Do what Jesus told us to do. Jesus didn’t tell us to teach students, he commanded us to make disciples. Disciples aren’t just learners, they’re doers. Doers of the Word, not just hearers of it."
- Karl Vaters, www.christianitytoday.com
Do your homework. You have heard great teaching in the Word of God. You have sat under preacher after preacher. All that information is useless if not put into practice.
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