I am Caleb Fielding and I have a question for you, Did you learn about the Bible just so I could get a piece of candy?
If you grew up in church you probably learned all the basic Bible stories and when questions were asked you did your best to answer cause you got candy for the right answer. You probably memorized a bunch of verses and when you quoted them correctly you got more candy. When the teacher was teaching you were on your best behavior because you wanted the quiet seat prize, which was even more candy.
Is that all our Bible knowledge is for? A piece of candy? There are so many people who grew up in church has a lot of Bible knowledge and the real question they should be asking is “what do I do with all this Bible knowledge I have?”
Hebrews 5:12 tells us
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
In the last lesson we talked about how a baby Christian needs to learn how to walk with God and learn doctrine, but today we are going to talk about how once you have that knowledge you need to learn how to put it to good use. That knowledge isn’t just there so that you can get a piece of candy, according to Hebrews 5:12 that knowledge is there so you can teach others about Christ.
This can take many forms. This may be opening your Bible and showing a lost person what the Bible says about being saved. This may be teaching a Sunday school lesson. This may be teaching during a Bible study. This may be preaching a sermon. This may be something else.
The reality is that there comes a day as a Christian where I should take the knowledge I have about God and share it with others. Maybe you are thinking that you have Bible knowledge but you do not know how to share it with other people, this is where discipleship comes in.
When you were being discipled in a walk with God, and doctrine you were a baby Christian. When you learned enough to be able to teach; that puts you in a place where you are now at the youth stage of spiritual maturity, this area of spiritual maturity puts you in a place where you need to learn how to use your knowledge.
Discipleship at the Youth stage is far different than the discipleship at the baby stage. It will basically cover two areas. The first area of discipleship is How to Effectively Serve.
When you step into the youth stage of spiritual maturity you are probably not going to be very good at what you do. That’s fine, as anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you know how to do it well. The first time you teach it will likely be a two minute lesson and you are probably going to stumble all over yourself to do it, and honestly I think that’s wonderful.
At this point discipleship can really begin.
I believe one of the first things you must learn at this stage is how to lead someone to Christ. In the little child stage of spiritual maturity you learned about sin, grace, and how Christ paid the price for that sin. You may have even memorized verses dealing with salvation and repentance.
It is at the youth stage of spiritual maturity where you take that knowledge and find out how to show a lost person how to be saved. Personally I learned this through a program my church did called Operation Go, it was a 13 week course going into real depth on how to give the gospel to a lost and dying world. Awana does this through the gospel wheel. I have heard of another program that is the good test that takes the ten commandments and shows people how they are lost and in need of a savior.
It does not matter how your local church shows you how to lead someone to Christ, what matters is that your pastor or some other mature Christian gets you to the place where you can open up the Bible with a lost person and show them how to be saved.
During the course of learning how to lead someone to Christ it is very important that you are following a mature Christian as they try to win souls to Christ, whether that’s as an alter worker, a door knocker, a street preacher or something else.
Its wonderful to learn how to lead someone to Christ in a classroom setting, but its necessary to follow a mature Christian and see it in actions. There will come a day where you are following the mature Christian and you have seen what they have done a number of times and they will let you take point and put what you are learning into action.
It is my experience that adult Christians who do not know how to lead someone to Christ will not serve in other areas so I encourage you to learn how to lead someone to Christ as early as you can in your life.
Soul winning is important but its not the only thing. Whether its teaching in a Sunday school class, or a Bible study, or even preaching, when you first do it, you are going to struggle.
One of the early struggles is going to be finding out how to take what God is showing you in His word and putting it in a lesson or sermon to help those you are teaching.
This is where discipleship really shines. Whomever is discipling you should have some idea on how to put a lesson together and it is your job to follow them to wherever they put their lessons together and learn how they do it.
This is going to have a long lasting effect on how you teach. For instance when I learned to prepare sermons and Sunday School lessons I learned to do it homiletically. I have no problems opening up the Bible and getting a sermon or Sunday School lesson, or Bible study homiletically. But I really struggle using other people’s curriculum.
There are some really good curriculum out there that I just can not use because I just was never shown how to use someone else material. As I say this I am thinking of some Children’s Curriculum with beautiful hand drawn pictures of scenes from the Bible that I just do not use because I can not hold those pictures up and teach a good lesson. I can not do it although I have watched other people do a fantastic job with it.
It really doesn’t matter how your church trains you to teach, as long as it does so. In the end however they train you to teach will help you to do some things really well and will not let you do other things. That’s normal and okay.
Although learning to lead people to Christ and learning to teach well is very important to learning to serve well in the local church, there is more to serving effectively than just being able to teach well.
Whether its your pastor or someone else, discipling you in this area of spiritual maturity, in the act of following another Christian to follow Christ you will learn that you will need to get to church early to prepare your classroom, you will learn how to prepare, and not only that in following them you will learn how you will often have to stay behind after everyone else has already left to clean up afterwards.
It doesn’t matter if this is a Sunday school class, a Bible study or a sermon. There are things you have to do before and after your preaching or teaching in order to be effective.
And honestly in serving the Lord effectible there is one last thing we have to talk about. How you dress will often impact how well you serve the Lord. When I went to Bible college we were required to wear a dress shirt, suit and tie to church. When we went soul winning we wore a dress shirt, tie, and no suit. When we went to Fort Gordon to invite soldiers to church we wore t shirts.
Our dress was always about how to be the most effective Christians for Christ. When Hudson Taylor first went to china he dressed in a western Business suit, and because of his dress the Chinese would not listen to him give the gospel. Later on he began to dress in Chinese robes and the Chinese were much more open to the Gospel and started getting saved.
One of the conversations you need to have with your pastor (or for the ladies your pastors wife), is how to dress to effectively serve the Lord. If they tell you to dress a certain way and you do not know how to find a suit, or for the ladies a modest dress, the reality is that a part of your discipleship process needs to be following them to the clothing store and figuring out how to pick up clothes.
The reality is that everything mentioned here is well within your churches ability to do. Most churches already have a curriculum to teach someone how to lead someone to Christ, most churches have curriculum to help their Sunday school teachers, most churches have someone serving the Lord now that would love to have you help them as an assistant until you know enough to lead yourself.
The reality is that it may take a year to two years to go from teaching your first two minute lesson to being able to run a Sunday school class, or a Bible study by yourself. But Most churches have plenty of good programs to prepare you for that.
That said the youth stage of spiritual maturity is not marked by service alone, the youth stage of spiritual maturity is also where you need to be discipled in People Skills.
Charles Spurgeon once said that he heard a young preacher preach a sermon and he did such a good job Spurgeon didn’t want him to ever leave the pulpit, but then once the sermon was over and Spurgeon met with him later, the young mans words and actions outside of the pulpit made Spurgeon wish that he would never preach again.
You ought to use your Bible knowledge to serve God but the reality is that if you don’t have any people skills you will not get the opportunity to teach, or when you do teach, soul win, preach or do something else for the cause of Christ your testimony will be so bad that it will hurt the cause of Christ regardless of how well you do.
Can you be honest with yourself? Do you struggle with how you deal with people? If you do then according to Titus 2 it is for the older women to teach the younger women how to act, and its for the older men to teach the younger men how to act.
When we talk about baby Christians the reality is that to a certain extent babies can act however they want and nobody cares. If a baby is young enough people will consider their crying to be precious. But as a baby grows into a youth they have to learn how to act. Has anyone ever taken the time to really show you how to act?
I didn’t ask if someone told you that you were acting wrong. I am asking if someone has ever taken the time to show you how to act properly.
When you are getting discipled and you are learning to teach in some way fashion or form and you are following your mentor around you are going to have conversations about how you deal with people. One of the things you need to talk with your mentor about is asking them to correct you when you are dealing with people poorly, or point it out when you are doing so correctly.
When you see your mentor handling a situation well; ask them about it. Ask them If they have any rules about how to deal with people. Find out the things they intentionally do.
As you learn to deal with people serving God will go much smoother. Are you willing to have someone you look up to as a mature Christian correct and inform you on how to do things properly? When I was in karate I had men tell me how to stand, hold me self, move, and even told me when and how to say kia. If I can do that for a secular karate class, how much more willing should I be to listen to mature Christians who are trying to show me how to act in a godly manner?
In conclusion if you grew up in church, men and women spent a lot of time and energy teaching you about God, the Bible and doctrine. They did not do this so that you could win candy. They did it in part because they wanted to see you come to a saving knowledge of Christ and in part because they wanted you to serve the Lord one day. Are you willing to put that knowledge into action?
I think this is an excellent example of why we should wait to date until we have been discipled. I learned a lot of Bible because I wanted candy, or I wanted to win a game. In all honesty this was a pretty selfish motive on my part, but I learned a lot of good things from it.
Most people as adult singles go to work with the idea that I am doing my job for my money and when I get off work its my time. This person dates and gets married with this idea that the person they date and marry is supposed to make them happy, so its very normal for two people to marry each other with selfish motives, and when they have marriage trouble they go to the pastor expecting the pastor to fix the person that they think is supposed to make them happy.
To a real extent dating is selfish because everyone wants to find the best person they can to marry. But once married marriage is supposed to be selfless, you are supposed to put the needs of your spouse above your own. In your life where do you practice putting other peoples needs above your own?
When you serve God, you practice putting peoples needs above your own. Most people who serve in church do not get paid, I know pastors who work a full time job so that they can afford to pastor the church they pastor. So the lesson you learn in learning to put your Bible knowledge to work is how to be selfless, which is a much easier lesson to learn as a single than a married adult.