THE TONGUE OF THE LEARNED
Isaiah 50:4, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakethen mine ear as the learned.”
God is explaining to us the tongue of the learned is the one who is appropriate with his words with the example of speaking a word in season to the weary. A preacher should not preach on Hell at a funeral for he must be appropriate. The pastor should conduct the Wedding ceremony appropriately.
The word “weary” can be defined as “those who lag behind.” “The Lord GOD has given the tongue of the learned.” Why does he have the tongue of the learned? Why is he a scholar? Why is he an educator? God simply says so that they can know how to speak a word in season to him that is lagging behind or someone who is weary.
I am known as a rock-ribbed right wing fundamental independent Baptist preacher. Often a pastor around the country will introduce me by saying, “You’d better buckle up cause the Texas Tornado is about to preach!”
The truth is I love people and I love deeply. Billy Sunday was right when he said, “You can’t love flowers without hating the weeds.” If a preacher loves people he will prove it by being a right wing fundamental preacher. Preaching against sin is not a sign of a lack of love, but a sign of intense love. I often wish folks could see my heart.
As of the writing of this post I have preached over 25,000 sermons, preached in every state of the union but one, preached in seventeen foreign countries, averaging leading a soul a day to Christ, and when my critics say I don’t love that hurts. When my critics say that all I know to preach or teach is soul winning I must admit it stings because it is not true. Any one who has read any of my books knows that is a total fabrication by my enemies. I am not an Einstein, but I’m not an imbecile either.
I wish folks knew of my love and my depth of thought. Fundamentalists are often thought of as lacking love and not very scholarly. If you are an honest person and you read my writings you will find some depth of thought. If you follow me around you will find I love very deeply. I regularly write poetry and I do think deeply.
WHY THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 4?
May I ask a question? Why was it a temptation for Jesus when he was tempted in Matthew chapter 4? Jesus’ temptation was to be able to show himself. He could have easily turned those stones into bread, he would have like to have done so, and he was tempted to do so.
Hold it! This was hard for the Saviour for he was not able to show exactly what he was. The hardest thing he did was to appear simple. Here is the one who was the truth. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Here is the one who is Omniscient for he was everything, but he had to come down to the level of people and talk on their level.
He took the greatest truths known to mankind and he placed them into simple stories such as a boy who ran off from home, like a lady who lost a coin, like a shepherd who lost on of his sheep, like a man who was attacked on a road, and like a man who planted a crop.
He who was truth took deity and placed them on the level of man so that man could understand. Jesus had to break the great truths down into small portions so that you and I could understand them.
Here was Omniscience appearing simple, Omnipotence appearing weak, wealth appearing poor, King of kings washing the feet of the Disciples, the King of glory submitting to baptism by a Baptist preacher, Omnipresence yielding to confinement, the creator of bread becoming hungry, the living water becoming thirsty, perfection becoming sin, and the judge of the universe being tried by mortal judges.
Here was he whose home was in Heaven being reared in a carpenter’s house. Here is Jesus the Son of God being in subjection to creatures that he created himself, here is total profundity appearing in simplicity, here is the builder of Heaven living in a city of bad repute named Nazareth, here was understanding being misunderstood, the all powerful one yielding to arrest, here was the perfect one being considered a criminal, here is God incarnate being considered the worst of mankind. Here is Jesus being perfect yet was clothed in weakness and perfect love being unrecognized.
If I could wish people could see my love how much more frustrating it must be for Jesus who is love. If I wish people could see the depth of my thoughts how much more frustrating it must be for Jesus.
Jesus came back from the heighth of Omniscience to become simplicity
Herein lies one of the great problems of leadership and Christianity today especially in our seminaries and Bible colleges. Some how we learn and learn and learn and learn and learn and then a scholar is born. Yet, the very purpose of going to the mountaintop is so we can go back to the valley where the hurting people are living. A lot of Bible knowledge does not help if the people do not even know the books of the Bible. Mercy always precedes truth in the Bible and many push truth without mercy and it does extreme damage.
A young person enrolls in Bible College and takes New Testament Survey along with more Bible courses. He becomes a Systematic Theologian. He delves into Ecclesiology. He keeps on burying himself in theological studies until he receives a degree. He then enrolls in Seminary earning a Doctor’s degree. He is so intellectually equipped that he feels he is better than the common layman or his mentors who have socks older than them.
The man is not a scholar who knows a lot. The man is a scholar who knows a lot yet he goes back to those common laymen and teaches them on their level what he knows. Meekness is like approaching an elevator entering the elevator with the ability to choose to go up or to go down. When a man can go up or down intellectually he is a meek man. Your knowledge is not given to impress people but to equip people. Your disrespect for the aged mentors just proves how spiritually immature you have become with all of your education.
Profundity gives a person the right to use simplicity. College students are not being taught so they can store up knowledge and then to build bigger barns for their collective knowledge. They are being taught so they can go back and help those who are not as privileged. Simplicity should be a choice. Learn all you can from your mentors and then teach beginners.
A math major that knows calculus yet teaches addition and subtraction in school knows the purpose of his or her education. The theologian who knows Systematic Theology and yet teaches New Testament Survey to freshman knows the purpose of his education.
The author who teaches composition, the English major who teaches spelling to first graders, the All-American football player who coaches a high-school football team, the PHD teaching freshmen, the scholar teaching the educable slow, the concert pianist teaching beginning piano students, the opera singer teaching voice lessons to a beginning voice student, the decorated war veteran as an instructor in boot camp teaching the raw recruit, the financier teaching a young person how to balance a checking account, a pro ball player playing catch with a little boy, a hall of famer coaching in the little league.
God wants leaders to learn all that they can, but that is not the purpose of it all. Many of you know the Bible, but never teach anybody. Veteran Christians ought to take a little Beginners Sunday school class or Primary Sunday school class or a Junior Sunday school class and teach that you have been taught.
God calls us fools who store up what we have learned in the barns of our minds. The purpose of knowledge is to teach those who do not have that knowledge. Many leaders have bought a one-way ticket to knowledge and information, but the truth is they should have bought a round trip ticket. Leaders should be on their way back to the uninformed. They should be on their way back to the unknowing. This is where the arrogant young leaders are all knowing and yet never coming to knowing for their refusal to be warned or learn from mentors who are attempting to help those young leaders who lag behind.
Learn all you can, but do not forget to come back to those who have not had the privilege of learning yet. There are people who are now where you were at one time. You have a responsibility to go back to where they are and you were and help them get to where you are.
I do not care for intellectual snobs. I do not care for theological snobs. In a question and answer session in South Carolina on a Tuesday with Dr. Jack Hyles a professorial type preacher was dominating the Q & A and it was irritating every one there. This seeming intellectual asked Dr. Hyles, “Of all the things you have done what would you change?” Dr. Hyles replied, “My underwear!” It was hilarious!
Ladies and gentlemen God intended for leaders to learn, grow, attain knowledge, and gather information, but God also intended for you to teach what you learn, garnered, and gathered. This is the responsibility of all those who lead to equip everyone with knowledge for the warfare of life. The Bible is our weapon and if you know it teach it. If you read it teach it. If you meditate on it teach it. If you learn it teach it. If you love it teach it. If you have been corrected accept it and pass it on.
It is time for leadership to make the round trip and go back where you started and teach those just starting. Every deacon ought to be teaching a Sunday school class. Deacon’s wives ought to be teaching Sunday school classes. Staff members ought to be teaching Sunday school classes. Staff members’ wives ought to be teaching Sunday school classes.
There are people who have stored and stored and stored knowledge and yet never shared and shared and shared that knowledge. It is time to return to where you started and teach.
The Bible is not a math book. The Bible is a love story from the lover of my soul. Go as far as you can, but do not forget to go back as far as you came. Do all you can, but do not forget to go back to where you started doing. Go as high as you can, but do not forget to come back down to where you started. Accomplish all you can, but do not forget to come back to your first accomplishment.
It is on the way back that you become a scholar. The trip to knowledge does not make you a scholar. You are not a scholar because you have accumulated knowledge. You are a scholar because you spread knowledge. Tis the spreading of what you know not the gathering of what you know that makes you knowledgeable.
If you are so smart that you know Greek and the Hebrew languages, but do not teach the Bible you are not a scholar. Paul in Hebrews said, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again...” (Hebrews 5:12)
How much Bible have you taught lately? How much truth have you taught lately? Do you have a Sunday school bus route of people who depend on your teaching? It is the trip back that shows you are a real scholar. The trip forward gives you the scholarship credentials while it is the trip back that gives you the scholarship credibility.
How do you handle correction from the hoary heads? You have not arrived and certainly should be receptive to those who love you. Contemporaries will not tell you the truth always because they do not want to lose you; yet mentors will tell you the truth because they fear the lose of a cause more than your admiration.
A College professor who teaches above the student’s is a scholar to himself, but the one who teaches at the student’s level is a scholar to them. Teaching more theologians to be more theologians is not what God had in mind. When you learn so much that you do not want to lower yourself to keep someone out of Hell you have learned too much. Intellectual snobbery is ruining our nation.
When you are too good to put your arms around a little bus rider or have them seat with you in church you are a spiritual snob. If you are too good to drive a Sunday school bus, work a bus route, win a bus child to Christ, too good to preach at a rescue mission, too good to reach the homeless for Christ, too good to go soul winning, too good to feed the hungry, too good to clothe cold bodies, and too good to bring food for the food pantry then you my friend are a spiritual pharisaical snob.
The whole purpose of the trip forward is so you have something to bring back to those who are right now where you were when you started your trip forward. You become intellectual when you go back to where you started to reach those who are starting. You do not become intellectual when you gather you knowledge rather you become intellectual when you distribute your knowledge.
Your success in life depends on whether you come back to where you started for others who are starting. It is not the distance away from your beginning that gives you the right to be called a success, but it is the distance you travel back to help others make the same trip that gives you the right to be called a success.
A one-way ticket to knowledge is useless. A round trip ticket to knowledge and back is useful. The one ticket is a one-way ticket to being a Pharisee, Sadducee, a snob, untouchable, and a failure. Greatness is found in the one who comes back from where he was to help others get to where he is.
Intellectualism is teaching what one has learned so they can teach what they have learned. We want to reproduce reproducers. Scholarship can have credentials without credibility. Real education is in coming back to help others to go forward so they can come back. Higher degrees without lower depth are a fake degree. Higher training without lower teaching is deceptiveness. Education without educating is a man without substance. Years of training without years of teaching produces an unbalanced intellectual life.
What good does the tongue of the learned if it does not help the one who has fallen behind? What good is Bible knowledge if it does not help the Sunday school bus rider, the homeless, the mission man, the poor, the sinner, the fallen Christian, the educable slow, the forsaken wife, forsaken husband, orphan, and the widow who has fallen behind? What good is a mentor if he does not warn of pending pitfalls?
Knowledge that is gained not worth using is not worth knowing. Dr. John R. Rice could quote Shakespeare, write poetry, write music, and write books yet play hopscotch with little children on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Tom Malone had a massive library filled with Shakespeare and other famous authors. He earned several Masters Degrees yet he put the jelly on the bottom shelf. Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. Lee Roberson, and yes even Evangelist Lester Roloff were intellectual giants, but they returned back to where they were to lead from there to here the followers.