Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bible Teaching: The Power of the Holy Spirit

Recently, a church member called me with a question about the Bible. "Where is the story about Elijah on Mt Carmel?" she asked. I gave her the reference from 1 Kings 18. Then she explained the reason for her question. Her sixteen-year-old grandson, Johnny, had asked his mom where the story was, for he wanted to read the story for himself. Her curiosity piqued, his mom asked him if he had heard the story recently. No, Johnny explained, he recalled hearing the Bible story many years before, wondered where it was in the Bible, and now wanted to read the story for himself.

I love to hear stories like this! It's a perfect example of how the Holy Spirit works. Jesus told his disciples, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26)." What a tremendous help the Holy Spirit became as he enabled these men to inscribe on paper the words that would become the New Testament. The Holy Spirit continues to work in the hearts and minds of believers, reminding them of what they had heard. It's a promise that gives me, a lowly Sunday School teacher, hope that, even though it doesn't seem like my students are listening to me on a particular day, the Holy Spirit will bring to their memory the words of Scripture they have heard through my teaching days, months, even years later.

That's not all. Isaiah 55:10,11 says, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." One of our highest goals as teachers should be to motivate our students to study God's Word for themselves. Be assured that God's Word will work within the minds of our students, even years later to convict them of sin and righteousness, to convince them, like Johnnie, of the power of God and to challenge them to seek Him and know Him for themselves.

On my most discouraging days, when I feel like I'm speaking into the haze of too little sleep and the hyperactivity of a high sugar breakfast, when it seems my kids care more about what's for snacks than about my awesome memory verse game, I can be confident that God through His Spirit is more powerful than I am and He will make sure His word reaches into the recesses of my students' souls where it needs to reach. "The word of God is living and active," says the writer of Hebrews. "Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thought and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

So let's be bold about presenting the word of God! Let's give God's Holy Spirit something to work with! As teachers, let's promise ourselves we will never shy away from proclaiming God's truth, quoting His word, being prepared "in season and out of season" like Paul admonished Timothy (2 Timothy 4:2). Even though we may never know the end results, even though we may never hear that our students picked up a Bible years later to find for themselves where that story was located in the Bible, let's give it all we've got.

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