1. The basis for our confidence as communicators is the inherent power of God’s Word. Jeremiah 23:29; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12
Our hope and confidence as preachers or Bible study leaders is not in our giftedness, experience, personality, or education. It’s the life-changing nature of God’s Word that instills hope that God will use what we say. His Word is like a fire, a hammer, and a sword. We sow seeds of truth within minds and hearts, giving fuel for the Holy Spirit’s work long after the teaching session ends.
2. Bible teachers “sow to the Spirit” as they prepare and present God’s truth. Galatians 6:7-9
We equate the sow-reap principle with a negative application. But Paul utilized this principle in a positive way for his readers. After explaining the principle, he said, “And let us not lose heart when doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9). We “sow to the Spirit” when we pray for learners; when we do the hard, private work of preparation; and when we expend energy in our presentations.
3. God promises dividends for our labors. 1 Corinthians 15:58
“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58). The phrase “not in vain” means “not empty-handed.” Even when we do not see results of our teaching, it doesn’t mean we aren’t bearing fruit. Charles Spurgeon told a story of a 15 year old who heard the gospel from his pastor. On the young man’s 100th birthday 85 years later, God’s Spirit brought the pastor’s words to mind and he gave his life to Christ, living three more years with a positive testimony.
4. The Lord provides adequacy for what He has called us to do. Philippians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6
If God intends for us to do it, He enables us to do it. As we prepare and present a Bible lesson, we aren’t alone. He’s at work within us (Phil. 2:13) and He has “made us adequate as servants of a new covenant” (2 Cor. 3:6).
5. God uses unlikely people to accomplish extraordinary things so when the fruit comes, HE gets the credit. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; 2 Corinthians 4:7
As a rule, the first converts in Corinth were social outcasts: not many were wealthy, educated, or wielded political clout. He chose foolish, weak, despised persons to launch this ministry so “that no man should boast before God” (1 Cor. 1:29). When we feel like an unlikely candidate for usefulness, there’s less chance that pride will get a foothold and the spotlight will go where it belongs: on Christ.
6. God promises His presence when we are directly involved in ministry endeavors. Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:19-20
When Jesus commissioned His followers to “make disciples”—which included a teaching mandate—He promised to be with them. When we feel anxious or fearful about an assignment, the antidote is to remember His promise to be with us. When we prepare and present sermons or Bible studies, we don’t always feel God’s presence. Our feelings are fickle and fluctuate. But we can know He’s with us because His Word says so. And His Word, which promises His presence, is far more reliable than our feelings.
Which Bible passage or truth resonated most with you? Why? What other Bible truths sustain you as a preacher or Bible study leader? Teaching wrings from us much energy of mind, body, and spirit. We must replenish that energy by ingesting texts of Scripture pertinent to our teaching.
For a much more extensive coverage of these truths, see Terry’s book Serve Strong: Biblical Encouragement To Sustain God’s Servants. Put the following link on your browser to get a 40% discount from the publisher (February 2016 only). http://tinyurl.com/h9pd2e5