A Good Word In Behalf Of An Old Friend
1. Today I want to put in a good word in behalf of an old friend.
a. She comes around a couple of times a week to inform and strengthen and encourage us–on special occasions, even more often.
b. Her faithfulness leads to familiarity and sometimes he gets taken for granted, perhaps even ignored.
c. The old friend of whom I am speaking is Bible class.
2. We need to renew not only our appreciation for this old friend but also our commitment to her.
a. In fact, in terms of our spiritual health and our sense of belonging and our growth, it may be that we could not do ourselves a better favor.
b. A good Bible school that has the interest and support of all the members of the congregation is one of the best friends the Lord’s cause has.
c. There are at least three reasons why.
1. Bible school is the church doing what Jesus said we should do.
a. What he said we should do matters to us, both because of who he is and because of who we are.
i. He is the King; we are citizens under his rule.
ii. He is the Lord; we are his servants.
iii. He is the head over all things to the church; we are his body.
b. Jesus wants us to make disciples by teaching people.
i. Matthew 28:18-20
ii. Look at what Jesus said he wanted his servants to do, then think about what we actually do in a good Bible class.
iii. Bible school is not the only way to do what Jesus said for us to do, but it is one way, maybe one of the best ways.
c. The Lord expects us to equip the saints for works of service by speaking the truth in love.
i. Ephesians 4:11-13
ii. Notice that elders, preachers, and other teachers are to be, by faithfully teaching the word of God, equipping the saints for the work of service so that each one can do his part in building up the body.
iii. Surely when a congregation has an active teaching program like this it pleases the Lord who gave this way to his body to start with!
d. Christ Jesus would have the church to turn students into teachers.
i. Hebrews 5:11-12
ii. You can see the problem the Hebrew writer identified: enough time had passed for the students to have become teachers, but instead they needed to be taught the most basic things all over again.
iii. That is an ever-present problem, and Bible class is at least part of the remedy for it.
iv. It is one place where a person can learn to handle the word of truth so he can pass it on to others also (2 Tim. 2:15, 2).
v. That is the church doing what Jesus said it should do.
2. Bible school is families doing what they are supposed to do.
a. Healthy development in life has to include spiritual training.
i. Luke 2:52
ii. Jesus developed in intellectual ability, physical stature, and social relationships–but also in his religious life.
iii. Which part of this could be left out and one still be a balanced human being?
b. The evidence from the Bible is that the family is expected to be the first school room in the favor of God.
i. In the same breath as the Proverbs say “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,” they speak of a father’s instruction and a mother’s teaching (Prov. 1:7-8).
ii. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
iii. Ephesians 6:4
c. You can see that all human beings need to learn of God, and that he has given the primary task of teaching children to their parents.
i. Parents are duty-bound to provide their children with religious training; it is their God-given responsibility.
ii. No parent can merely pass that responsibility off to somebody else, but neither do any of us have to do it alone as if in a vacuum.
iii. The Bible school is a great resource and support for families who are engaged in this all-important process.
d. Great Bible classes are a cooperative effort.
i. As mature spiritual shepherds, elders to give the teaching program the highest priority in their time, interest, and efforts.
ii. The congregation should pursue excellence in its Bible school, providing outstanding classes with qualified teachers.
iii. Families should see to it that they are present for class consistently, prepared for it, and interested participants in it.
3. Bible school is persons doing what a person must do.
a. In a good Bible class, an individual is getting to know the heart of his heavenly Father.
i. That person is seeking to know him, not simply to know about his word.
ii. Jeremiah 9:24
iii. Colossians 1:9, 10
b. In a good Bible class, a person is storing up energy that will be there when the demand arises.
i. Psalm 119:11 – “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
ii. Matthew 4:4 – “But he answered, ‘It is written...”
iii. Psalm 37:31 – “The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.”
c. In a good Bible class, an individual is taking time to build ties with other persons who share his precious faith.
i. The song “Take Time to Be Holy” advises:
“Take time to be holy, Speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, And feed on His word;
Make friends of God’s children; Help those who are weak; Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.”
ii. Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens [the face of] another.”
iii. Since the word “face” can refer to the edge of an ax or a sword, the idea is that interaction with a good man, as he encourages and corrects, hones a person’s skills in handling challenges.
1. Bible school is an old, familiar friend whose capacity to bless should not be overlooked.
a. It is the church doing what the Lord said we should do.
b. It is families doing what they are supposed to do.
c. It is persons doing what a person must do.
2. I suggest that we ask ourselves whether our hearts are in a condition to appreciate these blessings, and that we invest ourselves in that which produces them.