Teaching by Example
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3
suggested further reading: 1 John 2:1–6
People who take upon themselves the office of teaching and exhorting should not only sit down and command others but should also join and walk along with people as companions, Isaiah teaches us. Some men are very severe instructors and eager to urge others forward, yet they themselves do not move a step. But here, believers, we learn that instead of commanding people what to do, teachers should lead the way by their own example. The true method, therefore, of profitable teaching is actually performing what we demand, thereby making it evident that we speak with sincerity and earnestness.
And he will teach us of his ways. He shows, first, that God cannot be worshiped aright until we have been enlightened by doctrine; and, second, that God is the only teacher of the church on whose words we ought to hang. Nothing is less acceptable to God than foolish and erring services that men call devotion. Likewise, though God uses the agency of men in teaching, still he reserves as his own right that they must utter nothing but his word.
Had this rule been followed by those who called themselves teachers of the early church, religion would not have been so shamefully corrupted by a wide and confused diversity of superstitions. Nor is it possible that we today shall not be carried away by various errors when we are tossed about by the opinions of men. So Isaiah justly claims for God alone the power and authority to teach the church and to shut the mouths of all mortals, so that the office of teaching is committed to pastors for no other purpose than that God alone might be heard. Let those who wish to be ministers of Christ allow themselves to be regulated by Isaiah’s teaching, that they may take nothing away from God’s authority.
for meditation: The same principles apply for all Christians. If we are going to bring others to Christ, we must walk alongside them, our example declaring that we are committed to what we say. All our verbal evangelism will be ineffective if we are not living as authentic Christians.