The Adequate Teacher
Sunday School teaching is not getting any easier, and this is not surprising, for “in the last days, difficult times shall come” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). There is no promise of spiritual recovery to pristine beauty and strength; only further emphasis of increasing apostasy and declension as “wicked men wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:1).
In such perilous days, every teacher needs a prayerful and thoughtful appraisal of his spiritual resources, coupled with a determination to appropriate them for his blessing and for God’s glory. God has always provided the necessary resources for His children in every age; but we must know what they are and how to use them, if we are going to serve Him effectively in bringing the gospel to girls and boys today.
The Holy Spirit
The Spirit of God is a real, living Person, One of the members of the Godhead. Although He has not taken human form as did the Son of God, yet the reality of His Personal Being is clearly taught in Scripture.
To the children of God today, He bears a special relationship not known in past ages and not to be known in future dispensations.
The Lord Himself promised the Spirit of God to His disciples just before He went back to heaven. “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever”‘ (John 14:16).
Consider first the greatness of His Person — another Comforter. The words imply “another like myself”— One Who is equal in His Person to Christ our Lord!
The word “Comforter” also means one who helpfully carries on the cause of another. This the Saviour did for His own when He was on earth; and this He now does for them in heaven (1 John 2:1-2). But the Holy Spirit has been given to manage, control, direct and take charge of our affairs while we are here upon the earth.
Do we permit Him to thus manage us? What is our attitude toward His Person? Do we yield ourselves to His government? Great is our responsibility. But if we obey, greater still will be the proof of His power working in and through us, for the blessing of the children committed to our care.
Consider also the irrevocable character of the Spirit’s presence! “That He may abide with you FOREVER!” We may vex, grieve, or even quench the Holy Spirit, but no conduct of ours will ever drive Him away. Blessed grace of our God!
But should we not make complete surrender to His sovereign presence and power by yielding our beings to His control? He is our resource of strength today, and will be to the end of our days!
The Word of God
God’s Word is also one of the greatest sources of strength and an unfailing channel of divine help for those who diligently seek its truths.
Timothy was admonished to “continue … in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of” (2 Time. 3:14). We must maintain our affection and appreciation for God’s Word. It is the source of vital strength for us and has a dual effect in us (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
First, “the Holy Scriptures… are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” God’s Word brings the knowledge of salvation; but in addition, it imparts the guidance and wisdom needed when we are surrounded by spiritual difficulties and when we need to be delivered from the dangers that would overcome us in “the last days.” Do we believe it? Do we daily use the Scriptures to this end?
Second, for our spiritual growth and maturity, completing our spiritual equipment, through “doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction”, the Word of God will prove all-sufficient to increase our usefulness in reaching youngsters for God’s glory.
What is my attitude towards God’s Word? Do I use it daily to seek its divine strength and comfort for my soul? Let me say with the Psalmist, “How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103).
The Throne of Grace
Weaknesses and infirmities harrass us continually, but God has provided access to a throne in heaven, from which our great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, is able to minister the needed help for us on earth.
“Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace — the throne of God’s unmerited favour; that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in good time for every need — appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it”, especially in teaching the Scriptures to the young (See Heb. 4:16, Amplified Version).
A living, loving, risen and glorified Lord as our Great High Priest, is upon that throne above on our behalf. Through His sufferings on earth, He is able to run to the cry of those who are being tempted and tested and tried (Heb. 2:17-18). What a blessed source of strength this is for every teacher!
But does every teacher use it? Is every opportunity seized upon to prove the merits of the Lord’s grace when needed? The throne of grace is another incomparable provision for our spiritual strength in these “difficult days” of ministering the gospel.
A Pair of Knees
The spiritual emergencies recorded in the Bible indicate that God’s servants who manifested spiritual strength in apostate and unholy days, were men who used their knees. Glance with me at Elijah on Mount Carmel during Israel’s apostasy. While “Ahab went up to eat and to drink … Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees” (1 Kings 18:42). Look into the chambers of Ezra the scribe, in the days of the peoples’ transgression. With heaviness of heart he cries: “I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God.” Travel in memory into godless and heathen Babylon to witness the consistent behaviour of Daniel. “He went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Dan. 6:10). The beloved Paul reveals his love and concern for the saints at Ephesus, saying, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ …” (Eph. 3:14). The dying Stephen ends his powerful testimony on his knees. “He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60).
Well has Isaiah written long ago: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31).
May the Holy Spirit help us to use these resources every day and prove our God is able to keep and to use His own, particularly in winning young hearts to the Saviour.